Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course


A God exists (?) -Eric

Does a God exist? I have always gone under the assumption that the existence of a God could never be proven, and then here comes Descartes challenging everything I ever thought, again. The whole topic of Descartes, metaphysics and existence has been interesting, yet extremely confusing and infuriating at the same time. How can anyone prove a god exists? In Descartes’ Meditations 3 and 5, he comes up two different logical argument proving the existence of God. Here they are from Mediation 3 and 5, respectively (summarized by Wikipedia) .

  1. Something cannot come from nothing.
  2. The cause of an idea must have at least as much formal reality as the idea has objective reality.
  3. I have in me an idea of God. This idea has infinite objective reality.
  4. I cannot be the cause of this idea, since I am not an infinite and perfect being. I don’t have enough formal reality. Only an infinite and perfect being could cause such an idea.
  5. So God — a being with infinite formal reality — must exist (and be the source of my idea of God).
  6. An absolutely perfect being is a good, benevolent being.
  7. So God is benevolent…
  8. So God would not deceive me, and would not permit me to err without giving me a way to correct my errors.
  1. God is defined as an infinitely perfect being.
  2. Perfection includes existence.
  3. So God exists.

This has  got me thinking, looking for any holes in Descartes carefully constructed Mediations. I don’t really expect to find any gaps or flaws in Descartes work, whose logic has held up for centuries. However I still plan to try and challenge his arguments, and understand(or disprove) how Descartes managed to answer a question which I have always thought was unanswerable.

What is Formal/Objective Reality?

Formal reality is basically a scale of an object’s reality/existence. Some objects are more real than others. Objects(dogs) are more real than properties (redness). God, if he exists, has the highest formal reality.

Objective reality is only possessed by representations of objects, or when one object represents another object. (An idea of something). And the amount of objective reality something has, is based on the formal reality of the object which it represents, if it was to exist. (The objective reality of the idea of a dog, would be the same as the formal reality of a dog, if it hypothetically existed.)

Can something of “medium” formal reality (like humans) even fathom, or determine something “more real”? What do we mean by the ‘highest’ formal reality? Can we even describe that?

How are ideas caused/created?

It seems obvious that all things must have come from something else. But does this also apply to ideas? Who/what can create ideas? Can things create ideas that have more objective reality, than formal reality of the creator?

What is Essence vs Existence? (Does the essence of God exist, or does God exist?)

These are some of the questions I have came to, and the areas I plan to research and explore further. Thanks for reading.


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