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PHL lecture, dec. 1.doc

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Peter King

Meditation 4 • Fourth Meditation deals with an objection that arises out of the Meditator’s attempt to prove God’s existence in the Third Meditation • There is a classic objection raised against the proof in the Third Meditation initially voiced by Antoine Arnauld in his Fourth Objections o “The Cartesian Circle”  The only remaining scruple I have is an uncertainty as to how a circular reasoning is to be avoided in saying: the only secure reason we have for believing that what we clearly and distinctly perceive is true, is the fact that God exists. But we can be sure that God exists, only because we clearly and evidently perceive that; therefore prior to being certain that God exists, we should be certain that whatever we clearly and evidently perceive is true o In short, the Meditator seems to appeal to what he is trying to prove in the course of his proof. Whether he does in fact do so is controversial • The objection raised in the Fourth Meditation is that the proof of God’s existence proves too much, since the guarantee that God would not give us a nature such as to be deceived seems to rule out any deception at all o To strong a claim: we are sometimes fooled, even if we aren’t always fooled th o The meditator’s strategy in the 4 Meditation is to claim that we are responsible for such cases of deception in virtue and misusing faculties that God gave us o The moral is clear  If we do not misuse our faculties, then we will not be deceived  Equivalent to the Clarity and Distinctness Rule • Here’s the account o Meditator notices that he has two distinct faculties:  Intellect and will o Former concerned with understanding  Perceiving, thinking, imagining, etc. o Latter with willing  Choosing, hoping, deciding, etc. o Faculties not only do different things, they have different natures  Intellect is concerned only with thinking  Merely entertains or combines ideas  “Turns out to contain no error in the proper sense of that term”  Meditator aware that is intellectual abilities are limited and therefore finite • It
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