Response Paper of Meditation Four, Five, and Six
Descartes talked about the true and the false, and how we make mistakes in Meditation Four. Descartes believed that error as such is not something real that depends upon God, but rather is merely a defect. And thus there is no need to account for my errors by positing a faculty given to me by God for this purpose(546). He thought that the reason why we make mistakes is that the faculty of judging the truth, which we got from God, is not infinite(546).
When Descartes focused more closely on more closely on himself and inquired into the nature of his errors, he noted that errors depend on the simultaneous concurrence of two causes: intellect and will(547). He didn’t believe that God ought to have given us a greater faculty of knowing than he did(547). So we cannot make no mistakes like God. Then Descartes raised a question that can he complain that the will or free choice he have received from God is insufficiently ample or perfect(547).
After using paragraphs talking about it, Descartes perceived that the power of willing is not the cause of his errors, for it is most ample as well as perfect in its kind(548). This idea is similar to Augustine’s ides in On Free Choice of the Will. Then he thought if he held off from making a judgment when he do not perceive what is true with sufficient clarity and distinctness, it is cleat that he was acting properly and not committing an error(548).
In the end, he said he would indeed attain it if only he paid enough attention to all the things that he perfectly understand, and separate them off from the rest, which he apprehended more confusedly and more obscurely(549). Descartes talked about the essence of material things and prove that God exists again. Descartes said that it is obvious that whatever is true is something, and he have already demonstrated at some length that all that he know clearly is true(550).
Then he thought that it is obvious to anyone who pays close attention that existence can no more be separated from God’s essence than its having three angles equal to two right angles can be separated from the essence of a triangle(551). So existent belongs to the essence of God. Descartes can no more think of God as not existing than he can think of mountain without a valley(550). Actually, I do really agree with Descartes’ prove process, even if I do not agree with some of his conclusion. I think the way he prove things is rational and logical.
He thought we should raise some ideas which he has no doubt about it. Then he use them to prove things. It just like what Euclid did in Elements. Raise some Axioms first, then use them to prove all others and build the whole system. Elements presents them in a single, logically coherent framework, making it easy to use and easy to reference(3). But the key point to get a true conclusion and build a logical system is to find the correct Axioms or foundations. I have to say that Axioms or foundations changes because of the religion and the development of science.
For example, the Axioms of the theory of relativity are different from the classical physics’ Axioms because human know more about the nature. Descartes thought that necessary existence belongs to the essence of God in Meditation Five, and take it as a foundation. But there must be someone does not think so. He thought that because of his brief. But someone may not believe in God. I think Axioms or foundations might be various depends on individual difference and timed difference.
But I think if you can raise your own Axioms or foundations build a logical system and make sense, it well be good for sure. We cannot get the truth straightly, it just like we climb up cockle stairs. And all Axioms and foundations and knowledge systems which are built by different foundations does contribute to achieving the truth. Without the old foundations and the system built by them, we cannot have new recognizing and raise new foundations to build new system and approach the truth.