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Word Count: 3,087
Many readers follow Descartes with fascination and pleasure as he contends in the midst of all the skepticism in the first two Meditations Descartes refutes the skeptics by means of his famous axiom cogito ergo sum From this premise that a clear consciousness of his thinking proved his own existence he argued the existence of God However many readers find themselves baffled and repulsed when they come to his proof for the existence of God in Meditation three and five In large measure this change of attitude results from a myriad of factors One is that the proof is complicated in ways which the earlier discourse is not Secondly the complications include the use of abstract mental constructs for which the reader is overwhelmingly unprepared-including such doctrines as the Cartesian version of the Great Chain of Being the heirloom theory of causality and confusing terms that are used in technical ways which requires clarification Lastly we live in an age which is largely skeptical of the whole enterprise of giving proofs for the existence of God Descartess cosmological argument of causality raises questions among critics in the Preface of the meditation about what he meant by the term idea and other key concepts So even those inclined to concur with the conclusion of Descartes proof are often skeptical and raise objections about the method which he employs to validate his argument for the existence of God Before beginning his support for the existence of God he strived first to lay out a strong foundation in which he could refute his skeptics As the Meditation three unfolds Descartes makes progress towards defeating skepticism the agnostics Using his methods of Doubt and Analysis he has systematically examined all his beliefs and set aside those which he could call into doubt until he reached one belief which he could not doubt-that the evil genius seeking to deceive him could not deceive him into thinking that he did exist
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