But Descartes does not say that God is infinite and powerful. What he says is that our idea of God is the idea of an infinitely powerful being. And that is different.
I entered this thread with an attack on "cogito ergo sum." To say "I think" is already to imply an I that thinks. And what does it mean to say I am? What is indeterminate being? I am what? I exist? What is this existence devoid of content? I think what?
My point is that the statement is silly, when carefully examined. The rest does not concern me. I'm sure you know more about Descartes than I. And I don't mind that.
I respect your thoroughness and clarity. Also your tenacity. You seem to have read Descartes carefully.
On to the argument. I do not believe in objective certainty as objectivity itself is nothing but a useful fiction. This is the essence of my point. There are only feelings of certainty in regards to certain descriptions of "reality." And the word "reality" itself is an abstraction, and never perfectly definable. My general attitude has often been called "anti-foundationalist." Truth with a capital T is a fiction, a myth, not unlike the transcendent creator who probably inspired it. I use the word "fiction" in a metaphorical sense, for perhaps there is a transcendent creator. I don't believe this or anything else can be dis-proven. At the same time I find certain opinions to be more desirable than others. Perhaps you and I have different mental-models of human nature.
I did not say there was such a thing as objective certainty. I said objective certainty was what Descartes was aiming at, not subjective or psychological certainty. He did not care about that. People feel certain about all sorts of things, about which they later turn out to be wrong. And people feel certain about contrary things. Subjective certainty is of no epistemological interest. Descartes presented as his prime example of objective certainty, "I exist". So, if you are going to deny there is such a thing as objective certainty, you have to deny you are objectively certain that you (yourself) exist. That is, that it would be possible for you to be mistaken about whether you exist. Do you think it would be possible for you to believe that you exist, and still not exist? For that is what it would be for you to be mistaken that you exist.
None of your pronouncements about certainty being a useful fiction really matter. You may think what you like. But you still have Descartes argument to wrestle with, and simply saying that objective certainty is a useful fiction, or the truth with a capital T is a fiction, will really not cut it. It is the argument that is the thing, and as Socrates said, "we must follow the argument wherever she leads us". How do you handle Descartes's argument that it is impossible to be mistaken about whether one exists, for in order to be mistaken, one must exist? Have you a reply?
Not quite sure that subjective certainty is of no epistemic interest, but otherwise I agree.
Yes. I have been told over a trillion times not to exaggerate.
Kennethamy i wish you would just answer my question instead of dodging it.
Descartes's argument, aside from the practicality of it, makes no sense at all. It is completely fallacious and devoid of logical procedure.
How can you turn a blind eye to such informal and formal fallacies?
It is not that i don't agree with what the product of his argument, i beleive i exist, i beleive i can sufficiently prove many things beyond that. The manner in which he proved it though is illogical and many other philosophers have improved his argument, and deserve credit for it.
What is your question?
DO you beleive that the cogita argument, as provided by Descartes, hold up logically as a philosophical argument?
What do you imagine that "hold up logically as a philosophical argument" means? I have no clue.
Ok let me be clear then. Is it fallacious?
Not that I can see.
So that we may be clear let me restate his arguments:
- We have in our mind the idea of God as an infinitely perfect Being.
- But an infinitely perfect Being must have existence, otherwise it would not be infinitely perfect.
- Ergo, God exists.
second dline of thought
- We have the idea of God in our mind.
- Since this idea represents an infinitely perfect Being, we, as finite beings, cannot have originated such an idea in virtue of our own powers.
- This idea being beyond our mental capacity, it could have originated only from a Being who possesses such infinite perfection.
- Ergo, God exists.