Title

Would not existing put a limitation on the idea of infinity?

Presenter Information

Melanie Stankus

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC Room 271

Start Date

15-5-2014

End Date

15-5-2014

Keywords

Philosophy, Ontology, God

Abstract

Rene Descartes gives an ontological argument for the existence of God in his “Fifth Meditation.” He claims to have a vivid and clear idea of God, and a vivid and clear idea of God having the property of perfection. Perfection entails the property of existence, because in order for something to be perfect, it has to actually exist. Therefore, God has the property of existence, that is, God exists. Descartes’ argument relies on his vivid and clear perceptions. Earlier in his Meditations, he argued that a vivid and clear perception is unquestionable, or self-evident. I argue that Descartes’ ontological argument for the existence of God does not prove the existence of God because Descartes could not have vividly and clearly perceived God to have the property of perfection. Given that a vivid and clear perception is unquestionable, if I prove that God’s property of perfection is questionable, Descartes’ ontological argument falls apart. The goal of my paper is to show that God’s property of perfection is inseparable from God’s property of infinity, God’s property of infinity is questionable, and thus God’s property of perfection is questionable. Since God’s property of perfection is questionable, it could not have been provided by a vivid and clear perception.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Bartlett, Gary

Additional Mentoring Department

Philosophy and Religious Studies

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May 15th, 1:10 PM May 15th, 1:30 PM

Would not existing put a limitation on the idea of infinity?

SURC Room 271

Rene Descartes gives an ontological argument for the existence of God in his “Fifth Meditation.” He claims to have a vivid and clear idea of God, and a vivid and clear idea of God having the property of perfection. Perfection entails the property of existence, because in order for something to be perfect, it has to actually exist. Therefore, God has the property of existence, that is, God exists. Descartes’ argument relies on his vivid and clear perceptions. Earlier in his Meditations, he argued that a vivid and clear perception is unquestionable, or self-evident. I argue that Descartes’ ontological argument for the existence of God does not prove the existence of God because Descartes could not have vividly and clearly perceived God to have the property of perfection. Given that a vivid and clear perception is unquestionable, if I prove that God’s property of perfection is questionable, Descartes’ ontological argument falls apart. The goal of my paper is to show that God’s property of perfection is inseparable from God’s property of infinity, God’s property of infinity is questionable, and thus God’s property of perfection is questionable. Since God’s property of perfection is questionable, it could not have been provided by a vivid and clear perception.