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Descartes, Hobbes, Locke, John Webster and his Boehmist friends, Henry More, Spinoza, Leibniz, Christian Wolff, and Wolffs followers. Descartes does not hold that God's existence is immediately self-evident, or self-evident to everyone, but that it can become self-evident to some careful and industrious meditators. Recognizing the implications of this radical philosophy, Berkeley claims that his God constantly perceives the world and thus the world is real after all. Now, when Descartes says that a substance (be it finite or infinite) is merely rationally distinct from its existence, he always means an actually existing substance. Losonsky argues that Henry More, officially a critic of Enthusiasm, does not escape its influence, (p. Humes Doubts on the Existence of God Hume asks why religious belief is so common, in The Natural History of Religion: Hume argues that the causes of religious belief are independent of rationality and are instead based on human fear of the unpredictable and uncontrollable influences. In response to these difficulties some scholastic philosophers developed a position at the polar extreme from the theory of real distinction. Scientific knowledge is not absolute because there are problems with the idea of cause and effect as well as with inductive reasoning. Recall that the geometrical method of demonstration is grounded in the principle of clear and distinct perception and consists in drawing out the contents of our clear and distinct ideas. We must presuppose a self that experiences, a cosmos to be experienced, and a cause of the cosmos which is God. Descartes sometimes uses traditional arguments as heuristic devices, not merely to appease a scholastically trained audience but to help induce clear and distinct perceptions.
Kant And Descartes
Rene Descartes An Advocate of Dualism,
It is widely believed that Descartes did not have a response to this objection, indeed that he blithely assumed that existence is a property without ever considering the matter carefully. To illustrate this point Descartes appeals to divine omnipotence. He should be able to dismiss most objections in one neat trick by insisting on the non-logical nature of the demonstration. According to Kant himself, physical things do exist independently of us, but Kant ascribed much more to the mind and less to the physical universe than did Descartes. According to the version of this rule invoked in the Fifth Meditation, whatever I clearly and distinctly perceive to be contained in the idea of something is true of that thing. It is not that the relation between essence and existence is any different in God than it is in finite things. With this he showed that subjective things, such as ones existence, are real.