You are on page 1of 1

1.

Descartes wants to explain the sense data he gets and also maintain his hard
fought belief in his own existence. This leaves him in a bit of a quandary, his
proof in a sense (cognito, sum) doesnt give him any way to talk about the
world he finds himself in. He still cant trust his senses, everything could be
dreams, and the evil demon still stands in the shadows waiting to twist
everything he could ever know. So Descartes figures that if he can kill the
demon, then he is on his way to making the world of the senses something to
if not trust, at least not suffer from consistent doubt. Therefore God (or
something sufficiently powerful to beat up on the demon) needs to be in the
picture, and Descartes needs God to not actually be the evil demon, or allow
something like the evil demon to exist.
2. Descartes makes it clear that at the very least psychologically he cant find it
in himself to doubt the clear truths given by natural light. At least not while
they are happening, though he can doubt that earlier he did experience the
truths, when he is experiencing them he cant doubt them. While the
intuitions he says he can doubt, even when he is experiencing them
Descartes says that he could just be dreaming. So if he cant doubt it, it is
clear truth by natural light, if he can, it is just intuition and it seems pretty
clear that most of the clear truths he has are body independent truths,
requiring no basis in a material world.
3. All ideas are just the things being thought, the things that the mind brings up
when thinking on something. However this does not make them all the same
thing in the world of the senses, water is water, air is air, and cardboard is
cardboard, not ideas. The idea of a thing in Descartes is not the same thing
as the thing itself, the idea of a fish is not some fish out in the sea. There is
no fish that is an idea.
4. Descartes gives the example of the sun. The sun looks like it is the size of a
small coin and whenever he thinks about the sun the image that comes to
mind is of that small bright coin in the sky. However he also has evidence that
the sun is many times larger than the earth, and the earth is much larger
than a small coin. So obviously there is a discrepancy between what he thinks
about the sun, and what he observes about the sun. He goes even further
along this by saying that it appears that the ideas of things has more reality
than the sense data of the things. His eyes tell him the sun is a small coin,
but math and reason tell him that it is massively large, so this idea that the
sun is a giant ball of fire has more reality than the experience that the sun is
a dot in the sky.
5. It is impossible to actually think of an infinite substance (he means to bring
up a picture of one) so it must be impossible that he actually came up with it.
As mentioned earlier, ideas are all he can actually trust, and it isnt possible
that he came up with the idea himself because he cant think of something
infinite. Therefore something else must have come up with it for him and put
it in him.
6. Descartes posits first that his intellect is too small to handle everything, and
the second that free will makes him able to make choices without knowing all
the relevant facts. Pretty much borrows a line of thought from Genesis that
we are at fault for not being made perfect, though he tries to cover that up.