(Name of Student)
At the beginning of the reading, Descartes devotes himself to uncovering the truth about himself using any viable means. In search of his answers, Descartes applies known methods. He applies a widely known philosophical adage that ‘I think, so I exist’ (Descartes, 2010). He also tries to pretend that his thoughts are illusions of his dream about his existence. He later found that to think that his thoughts are dreams or illusions justify the philosophy that he thinks, thus, he must exist. All his known methods of getting a solution to explain his existence prove to be futile. Descartes comes to realize that everything that our human minds perceive may not necessarily be true. In this line of thinking, he comes to acknowledge the presence of God which is a surprise ending in the discourse. At the end of the reading, Descartes tries to convince people of the existence of God. This is a surprise ending as since the beginning of the discourse; Descartes tries various methods to prove his existence. He has confidence that scientific and philosophical methods can provide the answers he seeks.
At the end of the discourse, he gives a completely different finding rather than what was expected. He acknowledges the presence of God and the role that God might have played in his existence. He does this by providing proof that God exists while in the beginning he was trying to prove his own existence. Descartes begins to give his proof with the fact that he doubts himself. He says that the rule that the things that are conceived very vividly are all true. The doubt comes in when he admits that one cannot tell which conceptions are clear with utmost confidence. He then concludes that he is not wholly perfect and for this, there must exist another power that gave him the idea that he I not all perfect.
He then concluded that the being responsible for those thoughts had to be more perfect that him. He also says that the existence of thing such as light, the sky, and earth could be illusions of his mind. He, however, says that this does not apply in the case of God. Another proof of God by Descartes was arrived at by geometric means. He gives an example with a triangle and says that all triangles add up to 180 degrees even if there may be many different triangles (Descartes, 2010). He says that the essence of God is like the degrees of a triangle which adds up to 180 degrees. The way the angles of a triangle will certainly add up to 180 degrees, it is also certain that the essence of God signifies of his existence which is also certain.
How successful is the author at validating a surprise ending
Descartes validates his findings by providing proof that God exists. The first proof is the imperfection of man. Descartes says that the general rule is that everything with clear conceptions is true. He then appreciates that it is difficult to be sure whether the conception is clear for it to be true. He concludes that these imperfections such as doubt must have been placed in his mind by another being that is perfect enough to discern between clear conceptions and those which are unclear. Also, Descartes at the beginning applies mathematical methods to try and get a solution for his existence.
Another surprise is that he ends up applying geometry to try and prove the existence of God. He does this by showing that despite there being different triangles of different shapes and length; they all add up to 180 degrees. He says that the essence of God adds up to the existence of God. He also shows that the soul and the body are two different entities (SparkNotes). Each entity signifies the presence of a supreme being who must have come up with the entities. Descartes recognizes that his existence is dependent on the existence of another being. This is why, when he tries to solve his own existence, he cannot reach a conclusion and he keeps circling around one point. By explaining that he is dependent on another being, he is able to show that he exists by proving the existence of God.
Descartes, R. (2010). Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting one’s Reason and Seeking Truth in the Sciences. http://www.earlymoderntexts.com/pdf/descdisc.pdf
Mattey, G. J. (1999). Philosophy Notes: Descartes. http://hume.ucdavis.edu/mattey/phi022old/desclec.htm
SparkNotes Editors. (n.d.). SparkNote on Discourse on Method. Retrieved October 21, 2013, from http://www.sparknotes.com/philosophy/discoursemethod/