Descartes and the Question of God's Existence


  • Thoibisana Akoijam University of Gauhati, Guwahati Assam India



Descartes, God, Existence, Perfection, Meditation Third and Fifth


When Antoine Arnauld in his Fourth Set of Objections to Descartes’ Meditations expressed the difficulty of accepting the certainty that God exists only because we clearly and distinctly perceive this, with the claim that, what we clearly and distinctly perceive is true only because God exists; he sets the structural problem of Cartesian epistemology, which is also popularly known as the Cartesian Circle. Descartes replied by drawing attention to the difference between clear and distinct perceptions to which one is actually attending and clear and distinct perceptions that one merely remembers having considered in the past. He claims that whereas the former sort of perception is beyond doubt, the latter cannot be trusted until it is established that a non-deceptive God exists. The controversy surrounding the Cartesian Circle has been reduced to the debates concerning the questions of whether Descartes was interested mainly in providing a psychologically stable system of beliefs, or if he wanted to establish that these beliefs correspond to reality. Hence, the underlying question concerning the Cartesian Circle, is whether Descartes is intended to provide a deep challenge to the reliability of human cognition, or he merely wanted to use the skeptical process to direct the reader to clear and distinct perception and then on to the first principles of metaphysics. Whereas there is evidence on both sides of the argument, the present essay will focus specifically on the metaphysics of God.


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How to Cite

Akoijam, T. (2024). Descartes and the Question of God’s Existence . Tattva Journal of Philosophy, 16(1), 1-19.