Descartes Meditations 3-6

Descartes Meditations 3-6 - 33 34 24. Second Meditation...

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Unformatted text preview: 33 34 24. Second Meditation THIRD MEDITATION OF GOD, THAT HE EXISTS ments, I cannot I say, am I who seem to perceive this wax so distinctly? Do I know [rognosca] myself not only much more truly, much more at“ tainly, but also much more distinctly and evidently than the m; For, if I judge that the wax exists, for the reason that I see it, it is a lock 11 m ears, I shall divert all now Chris: :hlzllezjzhldillftli: ltill bodily iriiages from my thought s"inseihlmis virtually impossible to achieve, at least count them a}: "we d :orthless and I shall try, by conversing only With myse ficfing deep within myself, to make myself 2632:: and more familiar to myself. I am a thinking thmg, a l , t of " ’ W b affirms denies, understands a few things, is ignoran (is; wills this and not that, and also imaagItfies afidgrfleilzg: ’ remarked, oug the 'senseslnf: fife hfliiizeaiflilr do not perhaps exist, yet I am ' Cid-fa: 1tile mgddes of thinking that I call sensations and unagrn:E ', considered purely and simply as modes of thmlnng, do exrs not really wax; it could be the case that I do not or when I think I am seeing something (the difl'erenee irrelevant for the moment), that I myself who think should not .j something. By the same token, if I judge that the wax exists, for reason that I am touching it, the same consequence follows: namely that I exist. If I judge it exists, for the reason I am imagining it, or any other reason, again, the something, 35 fridntl‘iis short as it is, is a complete list of what I truly know [sew], out least of what up to now, I have realized that I know. Ngw I- [examine more cariefulh whether perhaps there are any t: I11mm Bfknowledge in my possession to which I have not yet pi: af re 315‘; lam certain that I am a thinking thing. But do I not tf ere 0 thing? i ' ' be certain to some . hat is re aired 1n order for mete - _ finOS-Vlfnwfllis first get of knowledge [cagmtzone] there is nobtlgiirhgeocgis: than a clear and distinct perception of what I :Eirgctzatain of fin; ' ' ' to ma find this ertamly would be msuffiment _ _ mid! of tile matter, if it could ever come to pass that somethmglieieé'y 08ide so clearly and distinctly was false. And therefore I Iseem Clearly t0 be able to lay down, as a general rule, that everything very ' ' erceive is true. mdASiItEtcillieEe are many things that I once accepte: asbctgrrlipatfiiyt rtam' ' I ' ealized were on u . ‘33 d obv1ous, that I have since r — kind of Things were these? The earth, the sky, the stars, andheyezlyd thing else I became aware of through the senses. Buth w i; snob I Clearly perceive here? Certainly, that the ideas or thoug I: 0 that ings were present to my mind. And even now-I dolnottheé'q; was these ideas exist in me. But there was something e se ath ht ammng and that because I was used to believmg It, I oug of my own mind. But there are so many things besides in the mind ' make the knowledge [notitia] of it more dis- . tmcgthat there seems scarcely any point in listing all the perceptions ' that flow into it from the body. But I see now that, without realizing it, I have ended up back where I wanted to be. For since I have now learned that bodies them— ‘ selves are perceived not, strictly speaking, by the senses or by this 7 imaginative faculty, but by the intellect alone, and that they are not 37 26 Third Meditation I perceived clearly, although in fact I was not really perceiving it; namely, that there were certain things existing outside me from which these ideas derived and that the ideas perfectly resembled. This Was my mistake; or at least, if I was after all right in thinking this, the tightness was not due to my perception. But when in arithmetic or geometry I considered something very simple and easy—for instance, two plus three equals five—surely I intuited this kind of thing at least clearly enough to declare it true? In fact, when I later judged that such things should be doubted, this was only because the thought had come to me, that perhaps some God might have endowed me with such a nature that I could be deceived even about those things that appeared supremer obvious. But whenever this preconceived opinion of God’s supreme power occurs to me, I cannot help admitting, that, if indeed he wishes to, he can easily bring it about that I should be mistaken, even about matters that I think I intuit with the eye of the mind as evidently as possible. On the other hand, whenever I turn my attention to the things themselves that I think I perceive very clearly, I am so thor- oughly convinced by them, that I cannot help exclaiming: ‘Let who— ever can, deceive me as much as he likes: still he can never bring it about that I am nothing, as long as I think I am something; or that one day it will be true that I have never existed, when it is true now that I exist; or that perhaps two plus three added together are more or less than five; or that other such things should be true in which I recognize an obvious contradiction.’ And certainly, since I have no grounds for thinking that any deceitful God exists—in fact, I do not yet sufficiently know whether there is any God at all—then a reason for doubting that depends wholly on the belief in a deceitful God is ‘ very slight, and, so to speak, metaphysical. In order to remove it, then, at the first opportunity, I must examine whether there is a God, and, if there is, whether he can be a deceiver; since, as long as - I remain ignorant of this matter, I seem unable ever to be certain of ' any other at all.* But now it seems that, to proceed in an orderly fashion, I should first divide up all my thoughts into definite categories, and examine to which of these truth and falsity can properly be said to pertain» . Some of these thoughts are apparently images of things,* and to these alone the name ‘idea’ is properly applied: for instance, when I think of a human being, or a chimera, or the heavens, or an angel, Third Meditation 27 or God. But others have certain other forms as well; thus, when I will, or fear, or affirm, or deny, I am always in fact apprehending some thing as the subject of this thought,* but I am including some— thing further within the thought than the mere likeness of the thing; and of thoughts of this kind some are called volitions, or afiects, whereas others are called judgements. Now, as far as ideas are concerned, if they are considered purely in themselves, and if I do not connect them with anything outside themselves, they cannot, strictly speaking, be false; for whether I am imagining a goat or a chimera, it is no less true that I am imagining one than that I am imagining the other. Again, there is no fear of falsehood in the will itself, or in the affects: for although I can desire something wicked, and even something that does not exist at all, this does not mean that it is not true that I desire it. This leaves only judgements: in these alone I must take care not to be deceived. The most glaring and widespread error that can be found in them consists in my judging that the ideas that are in me are similar to or in accord— ance with some things existing outside me. For certainly, if I con— ceived the ideas themselves purely and simply as modifications of my thinking, and did not connect them with anything else, they could scarcely give me any occasion to err. Of these ideas, some seem to me to be innate, others adventitious,* others produced by myself. For understanding what a thing is, what truth is, what thought is, is something I seem to possess purely in Virtue of my nature itself. But if I am now hearing a noise, seeing the sun, feeling the heat of a fire,* up to now I have judged that such sen— sations derive from things existing outside myself. Finally, sirens, hippogriffs, and suchlike creatures are inventions of my own imagin— ation. But perhaps I can think that all my ideas are adventitious, or all innate, or all produced by me: for I have not yet clearly discovered their true source. About those ideas that I consider as proceeding from things eXisting outside myself, the key question to ask here is: What reason do I have for thinking the ideas are like the things? Well, certainly, l"Hill'llte itself seems to teach me to think so. Besides, experience shows me that they do not depend on my own will, and therefore do not dePend on myself. For they often intrude upon me against my will. NOW, for instance, I am feeling heat, whether I want to or not, and this is why I think that this sensation, or idea, of heat is coming to me 39 28 Third Meditation from a thing distinct from myself, in this case from the heat of the fire by which I am sitting. And by far the most obvious judgement to make is that what the thing is transmitting to me is its own likeness rather than anything else. But I shall now see whether these reasons are sufficiently solid. When I say here that ‘I am taught by nature’ to think so, I mean only that I am prompted to believe this by some spontaneous inclination, not that it is shown to me to be true by some natural light.* The two things are very different: for whatever is shown to me by the natural light (for instance, that, from the fact that I am doubting, it follows that I exist, and suchlike) can in no way be doubtful, because there can be no other faculty that I could trust as much as this light, and that could teach me that such things are not, after all, true. But when it comes to natural inclinations, I have before now often judged in the past that I have been led by these in the wrong direction, when it was a matter of choosing the good,* nor do I see why I should trust them more in any other domain. Then again, although these ideas do not depend on my own will, it does not necessarily follow that they derive from things existing outside me. For just as those inclinations of which I was speaking a moment ago, although they are inside me, seem, however, to be dis- tinct from my will, so perhaps there is some other faculty within me, as yet insufficiently known to me, that produces such ideas—just as up to now it has always seemed to me that they form themselves in me while I am asleep without any assistance from external things.* And finally, even if they did derive from things distinct from myself, it does not follow that they have to be like those things. Indeed, in many of them I seem to have discovered major discrepancies between the idea and the object. For instance, I find within me two difl‘erent ideas of the sun. One appears to be derived from the senses, and it would absolutely have to be placed in the category of ideas I class as ‘adventitious’. This idea represents the sun as very small. The other, however, derives from astronomical reasoning—that is to say, it is derived from some notions innate within me, or has been produced by me in some other way. This idea represents the sun as several times larger than the earth. But certainly, both cannot be like one and the same sun existing outside me; and reason persuades me that the one that seems to have flowed directly from the sun itself* is in fact the one that is most unlike it. ————— Third Meditation 29 All these considerations are sufficient proof that, up to now, it is as a result not of a certain judgement, but only of some blind inclin— ation, that I have believed in the existence of various things distinct from myself, and conveying ideas or images of themselves to me through the sense—organs or in some other manner. But there is yet another way that occurs to me by which I could investigate whether any of those things of which the ideas are in me exist outside me. Certainly, in so far as these ideas are only various modifications of my thinking, I acknowledge that they are all on the same footing, and they all seem to derive from me in the same way. But, in so far as one represents one thing, another another, it is plain that they difl'er widely among themselves. For beyond doubt those ideas that represent substances to me are something greater, and con— tain, if I may use the term, more ‘objective reality’ in themselves, than those that represent merely modes or accidents. And by the same token, the idea by which I conceive a supreme God, eternal, infinite, omniscient, all—powerful, and the creator of all things that exist beside himself, certainly has more objective reality in itself than those by which finite substances are represented. But now it is manifest by the natural light that there must be at least as much reality in the total and efficient cause as in its effect. For, I ask, from where could the effect derive its reality, if not from the cause? And how could the cause give it reality, if it did not also possess it? Hence it follows, both that nothing can come from nothing, and that what is more perfect (that is, what contains more reality within itself) cannot derive from what is less perfect. And this is not only plainly true of those effects whose reality is actual or formal, but also of ideas, in which only the objective reality is considered. For instance, a stone that did not previously exist, cannot now begin to be, unless it is produced by some thing in which everything exists, Either formally or eminently,* that enters into the composition of the Stone. Nor can heat be brought about in a subject that was not hot before, unless by a thing that belongs to at least the same order of perfection as heat; and the same is true elsewhere. But, by the same token, the idea of heat, or of the stone, cannot exist in me, unless it is Produced in me by some cause in which there is at least as much real— ity as I conceive to be in the heat or in the stone. For although this Cause transmits none of its actual or formal reality to my idea, we muet not therefore think that it (the cause) must be less real; rather, 4o 41 3° Third Meditation the end we have to arrive at some first idea, the cause of which takes ' the form of an archetype, which formally contains all the reality that is only objectiver in the idea. So that it is clear to me by the natural light that the ideas in me are of the nature of images, which can easily fall short of the perfection of the things from which they derive, but cannot, however, contain anything greater or more perfect. And the longer and more carefully I examine all these things, the more clearly and distinctly I realize [cognosco] they are true. But what conclusion am I to draw from them? Certainly, if the objective real— ity of some one of my ideas is so great that I am certain that that real- ity does not exist in me either formally or eminently, and therefore ' that I myself cannot be the cause of this idea,-it necessarily follows ' that I am not alone in the world, but that some other thing also extsts that is the cause of this idea. But if in fact no such idea is found . in me, I shall certainly have no argument that can convince me with certainty of the existence of any thing distinct from myself; for I have examined all these things very closely, and up to now I have found no other such argument. Third Meditation 31 God, others bodily and inanimate things, others angels, Others amp mals, and others, finally, other human beings like myself. As regards the ideas that represent other human beings, or annuals, or angels, I can easily see that they might have been put together from the ideas I have of myself, and bodily things, and God, even if there were no other human beings, or animals, or angels in the world. As regards ideas of bodily things, they contain nothing that is so great that it cannot apparently derive from myself: for if I inspect _ them more closely, and examine them one by one in the same way as I yesterday examined the idea of the wax, I realize that there is very little in them that I clearly and distinctly perceive: there is only mag- nitude, or extension in length, breadth, and depth; shape, which results from the limitation of this extension; place, the situation differently shaped bodies occupy relative to one another; and motion, that is, change of place. To these substance, duration, and number can be added. But the rest, such as light and colours, sounds, smells, tastes, heat and cold, and the other tactile qualities are thought by me only in very confused and obscure fashion—so much so that I do not even know whether they are true or false, that is, whether the ideas I have concerning them, are ideas of actual things or of non—things. For although I remarked not long ago that falsity in the proper (‘formal’) sense can be found only in judgements, there is nonethe— less certainly another (‘material’) kind of falsity in ideas, when they mpresent what is nothing as if it were something. For example, the ideas I have of heat and cold are so unclear and so indistinct that 44 I Cannot tell from them whether cold is nothing but a privation of heat, or heat a privation of cold, or whether both are real qualities, or neither. But there can be no ideas that do not seem to represent sOmething to us. And therefore, if indeed it is true that cold is noth- ing other than the privation of heat, the idea that represents it to me as something real and positive can very properly be called false. The Saint: applies to all other such ideas. Certainly, I do not need to ascribe any author to these ideas apart fr0m myself. For if indeed they are false—that is, if there is nothing they actually represent—it is known to me by the natural light that they derive from nothing: that is, they exist in me purely on account ofsvfll'ne shortcoming in my nature, which indeed is far from perfect. B‘“ if, on the other hand, they are true, the degree of reality they 45 32 Third Meditation represent to me is so scanty that I cannot even distinguish between it and unreality; and therefore I cannot see why they might not derive from myself.* But of the clear and distinct elements in my ideas of bodily things, there are some that it seems possible I borrowed from the idea of ' myself, namely substance, duration, number, and any other things there may be of that sort. For when I think that a stone is a substance, that is to say, a thing capable of existing by itself, and likewise that I am myself a substance, then although I conceive myself to be a thinking and not an extended thing, and the stone, on the other hand, to be an extended and not a thinking thing, so that there is a very great difference between the two concepts, they seem, however, to have this in common: they both represent a substance. Again, when I perceive that I exist now, and also remember that I existed at some time before now, and when I have various thoughts of which I know the number, I acquire the ideas of duration and number, which then I can transfer to other things, of whatever kind they are. On the other hand, all the other elements from which the ideas of ' bodily things are put together, namely extension, shape, place, and motion, are not contained formally in myself, since I am nothing other than a thinking thing. But because they are only various modes of substance, and I moreover am a substance, it seems they could be contained in me eminently. And so there remains only the idea of God, in which I must con— sider whether there is anything that could not derive from myself. By the name ‘God’ I understand an infinite, independent, supremely intelligent, supremely powerful substance, by which I myself and whatever else exists (if anything else does exist) was created. But certainly, all these properties are such that, the more carefully I consider them, the less it seems possible that they can be derived from me alone.* And so I must conclude that it necessarily follows from all that has been said up to now that God exists. For indeed, even if the idea of substance is in me as a result of the very fact that I am a substance, the idea of an infinite substance would not therefore be in me, since I am finite, unless it derived from some substance that is really infinite. Nor should I think that I perceive the infinite not by a true idea but only by negation of the finite, as I perceive rest and darkness by Third Meditation 33 the negation of motion and light; for on the contrary, I manifestly understand that there is more reality in infinite than in finite substance, and that therefore the perception of the infinite in me must be in some way prior to that of the finite: the perception of God, in other words, prior to that of myself. For how could I possibly understand that I doubt, and that I desire, that is, that there is something lacking in me, and that I am not completely perfect, if there were no idea in me of a more perfect being, by comparison with which I could rec— ognize my own shortcomings?“ Nor can it be said that perhaps this idea of God is materially false, and could therefore derive from nothing, as I remarked not long ago apropos of the ideas of heat and cold and suchlike. For on the con— trary, since it is supremely clear and distinct, and contains more objective reality than any other, there is no idea that is truer in itself and in which less suspicion of falsity can be found. This idea of a supremely perfect and infinite being is, I say, supremely true; for although it perhaps might be imagined that no such being actually exists, it cannot be imagined that the idea of it represents nothing real to me, as I previously said of the idea of cold. It is also supremely clear and distinct; for whatever I clearly and distinctly perceive that is real and true and that contains some perfection is all included within it. And this remains no less true even though Ido not com— prehend the infinite, or even if there are innumerable other attributes in God that I can neither comprehend, nor even perhaps apprehend* in the slightest by my thought; for it is of the nature of the infinite that it should be incomprehensible to me, who am finite. Provided that I understand this and judge that everything I clearly perceive, and that I know [trio] to involve some perfection, as well, perhaps, as innumerable other attributes I do not know, exists in God either for- mally or eminently, the idea I have of him will be the nuest and most clear and distinct of all my ideas. And yet perhaps I am something greater than I understand myself to be, and all the perfections I attribute to God, are in some sense in me potentially, even if they have not yet revealed themselves, or been brought into actuality.* For I am already experiencing a gradual i“Crease in my knowledge [mgnitio]; and I cannot see any reason why it Should not be increased in this way further and further to infinity; not why, if my knowledge were so increased, I could not by means of 47 34 Third Meditation it obtain all the other perfectian of God; nor finally why the poten— tiality of these perfections, if it exists in me already, should not be enough actually to produce the idea of them. - But none of this can be true. For, first of all, even granting it to be true that my knowledge [mgnitio] is gradually increasing and that there are many things in me in potentiality that are not yet so in actu— ality, nothing of this is relevant to the idea of God, in which indeed there is absolutely no potentiality: for this very fact of gradual increase is an infallible index of imperfection. Besides, even if my knowledge did continually increase, nonetheless I understand that it would still never be actually infinite, since it will never get to the point of being incapable of further increase; but I judge God to be infinite in actuality in such a way that nothing can be added to his perfection. And finally I perceive that the objective being of an idea cannot be produced from purely potential being, which properly speaking is nothing, but only from actual or formal being. And indeed there is nothing in all this that is not manifest by the natural light to one who considers it carefully; but because, when my attention wavers, and the images of sensible things blind the eye of the mind, I do not remember so easily why the idea of a being more perfect than myself necessarily proceeds from some being that is 48 truly perfect, I wish to investigate further whether I, who have this idea, could exist if no such being existed.* From what indeed could I derive my being? From myself, per— haps, or from my parents, or from some other beings less perfect than God: for nothing more perfect than him, or even equally perfect, can be conceived or imagined. _ But if I existed of myself, I would not doubt, or wish, or lack any— thing at all: for I would have given myself all the perfections of which there is some idea in me, and thus I should myself be God. Nor should I suppose that what is lacking in me is perhaps more difficult to acquire than what is already in me, since on the contrary, it is plain that it was far more dilficult for me, that is, a thinking thing or sub— stance, to emerge from nothing than to acquire knowledge of the many things I do not know, since such knowledge is only an accident of this substance. But certainly, if I had this greater thing [existence] from myself, I should not have denied myself at least the things that can more easily be obtained; what is more, I should not have denied . myself any of those things I perceive to be contained in the idea of Third Meditation 35 God; for indeed none of them seems to me'more difficult to achiein But if any were in fact more difficult to achieve, certalnly they wou pear to me to be so, if I did indeed der1ve my other properties from $315611“, since I would experience the limits of my power With respect them. _ m And I cannot elude the force of these reasons by supposmg that perhaps I have always been as I now am, as if it follow? 5:12:31: {hat there is no need to seek an author of my ex1stence. o f hi h the time of a life can be divided into Innumerable parts, 0 w 0 Each particular one in no way depends on the rest, 1t does not follow from the fact that I existed not long ago that-I have-to must now, unless some cause, so to speak, creates me again at this moment,_or in other words, conserves me in being. For It 15 Clear, if one cpnsrd- ers the nature of time, that the same power and action is required to conserve any thing, whatever it may be, in being durmg the 1nd1v1d- ual moments in which it continues to ex1st, as would be needed to create the same thing from the start if it did not yet exist. So clear is this in fact that we may add to the list of thmgsrmamfest by the natural light that the distinction between conservation and creation ' ts urel in our thought.* mgo tiherefbre I need now to inquire of myself, whether‘l’have some power, by means of which I can bring it to pass that this I *' that now exists shall still exist at some time in the near future. For smce'I am nothing other than a thinking thing, or at least, to speak-prects-ely, since I am now dealing only with that part of myself that IS a think- ing thing, if any power of this sort were in me, I should beyond doubt be conscious of it. But I can find no such power, and from this I very ‘51le realize [cagnasca] that I depend upon some being dlsunct from myself. d But perhaps this being is not God, and I was and am produced Either by my parents or by some other causes less perfect than G; , Whatever they might be. No: for, as I have already said, it IS plain t at there must be at least as much in the cause as there IS in the effect, afld therefore, since I am a thinking thing, and one that has 'the Idea 0f God in'myself, it must be admitted that whatever cause 18 finally assigned to me must also itself be a thinking thing and one that has the idea of all the perfections I ascribe to God. And then of this thing too We can ask whether it exists of itself or by virtue of some other thing- For if it exists of itself, it is clear from the above that It must 50 SI 36 itself be God, because since it has from itself the power to exist, it undoubtedly has the power to possess in reality all the perfections of which it has the idea in itself, that is, all the perfections I conceive to be in God. But if, on the other hand, it exists in virtue of some other thing, then we shall ask whether this thing too exists of itself, or in virtue of some other thing, until finally we come to an— ultimate cause: and this will be God. For it is sulficiently plain that here there is no possibility of an infinite regress,* especially because I am not dealing so much with the cause that produced me at some time in the past, as, above all, with the one that conserves me in the present time. Nor can it be imagined that perhaps many partial causes have come together to produce me, and that from one of them I received the idea of one of the perfections I attribute to God, and from another the idea of another perfection, so that all these perfections are found, indeed, somewhere in the universe, but not all combined together in any one being that would be God. For on the contrary, the unity, simplicity, or inseparability of all those things that are in . God is one of the principal perfections that I understand to inhere in him. Nor, certainly, could the idea of this unity of all his perfections have been implanted in me by any cause from which I did not also derive the ideas of the other perfections: for such a cause could not have brought it about that I should understand them as simultan— eously combined and inseparable, unless it had at the same time enabled me to know what they all were. Finally, as far as my parents are concerned, even if everything is true of them that I have ever thought to be so, certainly they do not conserve me in being, nor did they in any way produce me insofar as I am a thinking thing; they only implanted certain dispositions in the matter that I judged myself (that is, my mind, which for the moment I take to be identical with my self) to inhabit. And so there can be no difliculty here about them; but we must necessarily conclude that, from the bare fact that I exist, and that in me there is an idea of a supremely perfect being, that is, God, it is proved beyond question that God also exists. It remains for me only to examine in what manner I received this idea from God. For I did not derive it from the senses, nor did it ever thrust itself spontaneously on my attention, as do the ideas of sensible things, when the things themselves make an impression on T hird‘ Meditation Third Meditation 37 the external sense—organs (or appear to do so). Nor is it a fiction, a creation of my own, for I cannot subtract anything from it, or add anything at all to it. It must therefore be that the idea is innate within me, in the same way as the idea of myself is innate within me. And certainly it is no wonder if God, when he created me, inscribed this idea within me, to serve, so to speak, as the mark by which the craftsman makes himself known in his handiwork. This mark does not have to be something distinct from the object itself. But, given this one basic fact that God created me, it is highly cred- ible that I was in some way created in his image and likeness,* and that the likeness, in which the idea of God is contained, is perceived by me by the same faculty by which I myself am perceived by myself. That is, when I turn the eye of my mind on myself, I do not only understand myself to be an entity that is incomplete and that depends on another, and that is endowed with an indefinite aspir— ation to greater and greater or better things; but at the same time I understand that the being on whom I depend possesses all these greater things not only indefinitely and in potentiality but in actual— ity and infinitely, and is thus God. The whole force of the argument comes down to this, that I recognize that it cannot be that I should exist, with the nature I possess (that is, having the idea of God within myself), unless in reality God also exists—the same God whose idea is within me, that is, the one who possesses all the perfections that I cannot comprehend but can to some extent apprehend in my think— ing, and who is subject to no kind of deficiency. From this it is sufficiently clear that he cannot be a deceiver: for all cunning and deception presuppose some shortcoming, as is plain by the natural light. But before I go more thoroughly into this, and at the same time investigate the other truths that can be deduced from it, I wish to remain here for some time in the contemplation of God himself, to ponder on his attributes, and to gaze on, wonder at, and worship the beauty of this immense light, as much as the eye of my under— Standing, shrouded as it is in darkness, is capable of doing. For, just as we believe by faith that the supreme happiness of the other life Consists purely in the contemplation of the divine greatness, so We find also by experience that this contemplation, though far less Parfect, affords us the greatest pleasure of which we are capable in this life. 52 53 54 c FOURTH MEDITATION OF TRUTH AND FALSITY Over these last few days I have grown so accustomed to withdrawin my mind from the senses, and have so thoroughly grasped that perceptions of bodily things are very rare, but that more can be known [rognosci] about the human mind, and still more about God, that I can new direct my thought without any difficulty away from; things that can be imagined and towards those that are purely intela' ligible, and detached from all matter. And certainly the idea I have of? the human mind, in so far as it is a thinking thing, not extended in- length, breadth, and depth, or having any other bodily properties, is- much more distinct than the idea of any bodily thing. And when- I consider that I doubt, or that I am an incomplete and dependent thing, so clear and distinct an idea of an independent and complete being (that is, God) comes to my mind, and from this single fact that- such an idea is in me, or that I exist possessing this idea, I so mani- festly conclude that God also exists, and that all my existence, from one moment to the next, depends on him, that I can confidently assert that nothing can be more evidently or certainly discovered [cognates] by human intelligence. And now I seem to glimpse a path by which, from this contemplation of the true God, in whom indeed all the treasures of the sciences and wisdom lie hidden, we can pass to the knowledge of other things. First of all, I recognize that it cannot happen that he should ever deceive me; for in all deceit and trickery some element of imperfec— tion is to be found; and although to be able to deceive seems to be some indication of intelligence or power, nonetheless to wish to deceive is beyond doubt a proof of malice or feeble-mindedness, to which God cannot be liable. Besides, I know by experience that there is within me a faculty of judging, which I cerminly received from God, along with everything else that is in me; and since he does not wish to deceive me, this God—given faculty must be such that I shall never go astray, as long as I use it correctly. It would seem that there is no room left for doubt on this matter, except that it would apparently follow from what has just been said, Fourth Meditation 39 I can therefore never be mistaken at all. For if whatever is in me, ihave from God, and if he has not given me any faculty of making histakes, it seems I can never be mistaken. And indeed, as long as {am thinking only of God, and directing my attention wholly to him, {cannot detect any cause of error or falsity; but when presently I turn back to myself, I find by experience that I am, on the contrary, subject to innumerable errors. When I investigate the cause of time, I observe that, besides the real and positive idea of God, or the supremely perfect being, there is also, so to speak, a certain negative idea of nothingness, or of that which is infinitely remote from all per— fections, that presents itself to me; and I see also that I am so consti- tuted as a medium term between God and nothingness, or between the supreme being and non—being, that, in so far as I was created by the supreme being, there is indeed nothing within me by which I can be deceived or led into error; but that, in so far as I have, in a way, a share of nothingness or non—being (in so far, in other words, as I am not myself the supreme being), and very many things are lacking to me, it does not seem so strange that I should be deceived. And thus I can understand, quite certainly, that error, in so far as it is error, is not something real dependent on God, but purely and simply a deficiency; and therefore that, in order to make mistakes I do not need a special mistake-making faculty given me by God for this purpose, but that it happens that I make mistakes, for the reason that the faculty of judging the truth, which he did give me, is not infinite in me. And yet this does not satisfy me completely. For error is not a pure negation but a privation,* a lack of some knowledge [cognitio] that Ought to be in me in some way; and when I consider God’s nature, it does not seem possible that he should have endowed me with some faculty that is not perfect of its kind, or that is deprived of some perfection due to it. For if, the more skilful the craftsman, the more Perfect the works he produces, what can have been produced by this supreme creator of everything that is not perfect in all its com- Ponents? Nor is there any doubt that God could have created rne incapable of being deceived; besides, there is no doubt that he wishes always what is best—but could it be better for me to be deceived than not? When I go into this more closely, it first occurs to me that I should not be surprised if God does some things the reasons for which I do 55 40 Fourth Meditation not understand. Nor would there be any reason to doubt his existence if perhaps I discovered other things of which I cannot understand how or why he produced them. For since I already know [56mm] that my nature is very weak and limited, while on the other hand God’s is immense, incomprehensible, and infinite, it follows that I know [trio] quite clearly that he can do innumerable things of the causes of which I am ignorant; and for this reason alone, I judge that the whole category of causes that people are in the habit of seeking by consid— ering the purpOses of things* is of no use in the study of physics; for I think that it could only be rash of me to investigate God’s purposes. My next reflection is that we should not look at any one single creature in isolation, but at the whole universe of things, whenever we are inquiring whether God’s works are perfect. For what would perhaps appear (and not without reason) very imperfect if it were taken in isolation, is completely perfect if considered as a part of the universe; and although, since I have decided to doubt everything, I have not yet discovered [cognow] for certain whether anything else exists besides God and myself, I cannot however deny, since I have become aware of the immense power of God, that many other things have been created by him, or at least could be created by him, in which case I too would exist as a part of the universe. Finally, coming closer to myself and investigating the nature of my errors (which are sufiicient proof by themselves that there is some imperfection in me), I realize that they depend on two simultan— eously operative causes, namely, the faculty I possess of acquiring knowledge [cognoscendt] and the faculty of choosing, or free will; that is, they depend on the intellect and the will simultaneously. For through the intellect alone I only perceive ideas on which I can pass judgement, nor can any error in the strict sense he found in it when considered from this precise viewpoint. For although, perhaps, there are innumerable things in existence of which the ideas are not in me, I cannot be said, strictly speaking, to be deprived of these ideas, but only, in a negative sense, to be without them; since, certainly, I can adduce no reason to prove that God should have given me a greater faculty of acquiring knowledge [cagnoscmdz] than the one he has given me; and although I understand him to be the most skilful craftsman possible, I do not therefore think that he should have endowed each individual piece of his handiwork with all the perfec— tions with which he may endow some. Nor indeed can I complain F can]: Meditation 41 that I have received from him an insufficiently wide—ranging and perfect will, or freedom of choice; for I experience it as unbounded by any limits. And it seems to me particularly important to note. that there is no other property in me, apart from this one, that 15 so 5;- perfect or so great that I cannot understand how it could be more perfect or greater. For if, for example, I consider the faculty of understanding, I immediately recognize that in me it is very small and seriously limited; and at the same time I form the idea of another faculty that is far greater, one indeed that is supremely great and infinite, and, from the very fact that I can form the idea of it, I per— ceive that it belongs to the nature of God. By the same token, if I examine the faculty of remembering or imagining, or any other, I realize they are all very inadequate and restricted in me, but that in God they are boundless. It is only the will, or freedom of choice, that I experience in myself as so great that I can form the idea of none greater; so much so that it is chiefly on account of the Will that I understand that I bear a certain image and likeness of God. For although the will is incomparany greater in God than in me, first, in virtue of the knowledge and power that are combined with it in him, and that make it stronger and more effective, and secondly, in virtue of its object, since its range is far greater, nonetheless, when it is con- sidered strictly as it is essentially in itself, it does not seem to be greater in him than in me. This is because it consists purely in our ability to do or not to do a given thing (that is, to aflirm or deny something, pursue something or avoid it); or rather, it consists purely in this: that we are moved in relation to that which the intel— lect presents to us as to be affirmed or denied, pursued or avoided, in such a way that we feel we are not being determined in that direction by any external force.* For, in order to be free, I do not have to be able to be moved in either direction.* On the contrary, the more I incline to one alternative, whether because I clearly understand that 58 the good and the true are on that side, or because God so disposes my innermost thoughts,* the more freely I choose it. Certainly, neither divine grace nor natural knowledge [cognitia] ever diminishes free— dom; on the contrary, they increase and reinforce it. On the other hand, the indifference I experience, when no reason impels me t(-Wl’ards one alternative rather than the other, is the lowest degree of freedom, and is not a mark of perfection but only of a shortfall in my kIlOWledge, or a certain negationf" for if I always clearly saw what is 59 Fourth Meditation 43 42 Fourth Meditation true and good, I would never need to deliberate about a judgem to be made or a course of action to be chosen; and in that although I would be fully free, I could never be indifferent. From all this, I perceive that the cause of my errors is neither 1,; God—given power of willing, considered in itself, for it is extreme] H extensive and perfect of its kind; nor the power of understanding, f whatever I understand, since my understanding is a gift of . most certainly I understand it correctly, nor is there any possib ‘ of my being deceived in this. So what is the origin of my errors? ;: can only be this: that, since the range of the will is greater than t of the intellect, I do not confine it within the same limits, but exte a it even to matters I do not understand;* and since it is indifferent . these, it easily falls away from the true and the good, and this is both, how I come to be deceived and how I come to sin.* For example, when I was examining, over these last few days” whether anything existed in the world, and realized that, from the} very fact that I was examining this point, it clearly followed that I existed, I could not indeed refrain from judging that what I so clearly understood was true. It was not that I was compelled to this by some external force, but that a great illumination of the intellect was followed by a great inclination of the will; and in this way my belief was all the freer and more spontaneous for my being less indifferent. But now, however, I not only know that I, in so far as. I am a thinking thing, exist: a certain idea of bodily nature also pre— sents itself to me, as a result of which I doubt whether the thinking nature that is within me, or rather that I myself am,* is distinct from this bodily nature, or whether they are both one and the same. (I am ' supposing here that no reason has yet occurred to my intellect to convince me in favour of one view or the other.) And from this faCt alone, I am certainly indifferent as regards affirming or denying one 7 view or the other, and indeed as regards making no judgement at all about the matter. But indeed, this indilference does not extend only to those matters about which the intellect has no knowledge at all, but also to all things in general that are not sufficiently clearly known by the intel- lect at the time when the will is deliberating about them. For how— ever strongly probable conjectures may draw me to one alternative, the mere fact of knowing that they are only conjectures, and nor certain and indubitable reasons, is sufficient to impel me to assent to . contrary view. This has been fully borne out in my own experi— Ce during these last few days, when, considering all the beliefs had once very firmly held as true, I decided, simply because I had I ' ed that it was possible to doubt them in some respect, to sup— - . - them to be altogether false. . I Now, if indeed, whenever I do not sufficiently clearlyr and dis— finctly perceive where the truth lies, I refrain from passmg judge- agent, it is clear that I am acting rightly and not being deceived. But K I either affirm or deny, then I am not making the right use of my freedom of choice; and if I adopt the view that is false, I shall be alto— gether deceived. Yet if I adopt the other view, although itIhappens to ' be the true one, I shall still be at fault, because it is manifest by the natural light that a decision on the part of the will should always-be preceded by a perception on the part of the intellect. The privation in which the essence of error consists lies in this wrong iise of free choice. The privation, that is, lies in the operation itself, in so far it derives from me, but not in the faculty given to me by God, or in the operation in so far as that depends on him.* I Nor do I have any grounds for complaining that God has not given me a more powerful intellectual capacity, or a greater natural light, than he actually has, since it is of the essence of a finite intellect that it is unable to understand many things, and to be finite is of the essence of a created intellect. Rather, I should be grateful to him, who has never owed me anything, for what he has bestowed on me. But I have no cause to think that I have been deprived by him of those things he has not given me, or that he has robbed me of them. I have no more reason to complain at his giving me a Will that is more wide—ranging than my understanding; for since ‘Wlll consists purely in a single property that is, so to speak, indivmble, its very nature seems to make it impossible that anything should be taken away from it. Indeed, the more extenSive it is, the more grateful I should be to him who has given it to me. ‘ And finally, I have no right to complain that God cooperates With me in the production of those acts of the will, or those judgements, in which I am deceived; for these acts are altogether true and good, in so far as they depend on God, and it is in some ways a greater per— fection in me to be able to perform them than not. For the privation in which alone the essence of falsity and guilt consists requires-no Cooperation on God’s part, since it is not a thing, not a privation 60 61 62 44 Fourth M editatian related to him as to its cause: it should be classed, purely and simply, as a negation.* For it is certainly no imperfection on God’s part that he has given me the freedom to assent or not to assent to some things of which he has implanted no clear and distinct perception in my intellect; but it is undoubtedly an imperfection on my part not to use this freedom properly, and to pass judgement on things I do not rightly understand. I see, however, that God could have easily brought it about that, while remaining free and endowed only with finite knowledge, I should never err: for instance, if he had implanted in my intellect a clear and distinct perception of everything upon which I would ever have to make up my mind; or if he had simply engraved on my memory, so deeply that I could never forget it, the resolution never to pass judgement about anything I do not clearly and distinctly understand. And I can easily grasp that, in so far as I consider myself as a totality, I would have been more perfect than I am now, if I had been so created by God. But, for all that, I cannot deny that in a way the universe as a whole is more perfect as a result of the fact that some of its parts are not immune from error, while others are, than it would have been if all its parts were emirer similar. And I have no right to complain that the part God has given me to play in the world is not the most prominent and perfect of all. Besides, even though I cannot refrain from error in the first of the ways just mentioned, which would involve my having an evident perception of everything about which I would ever need to make up my mind, I can in the second way, which simply involves my remembering that, whenever the truth of a matter is not clear, I should abstain from passing judgement. For although I find by experience that there is a weakness in my nature that means that ‘ I cannot always concentrate attentively on one and the same piece of knowledge [cagnitt'om], I can nonetheless, by careful and fre— quently repeated meditation, ensure that I remember this maxim whenever I need to, and thus I can acquire a certain habit of not making mistakes. And since the greatest and most distinctive perfection of a human being consists in this, I think I have derived no little profit from today’s meditation, since I have tracked down the cause of error and falsity. And indeed, this cause can be no other than I have explained. For whenever in passing judgement I so keep my will under control that it confines itself to items clearly and distinctly represented to it Fifi}: Meditation 45 by the intellect, it certainly cannot come about that I should make a mistake; since every clear and distinct perception is something, and therefore cannot come from nothing, but necessarily derives from God—God, the supremely perfect being, whose nature is incompat- iblc with deception. It is therefore undoubtedly true. And I have learned today not only what I should avoid in order not to be deceived, ' but at the same time what I must do in order to attain truth; for I cer~ tainly shall attain it, provided I pay sufficient attention to everything I perfectly understand, and keep it quite separate from everything else that I apprehend more confiisedly and obscurcly. And I shall take particular care to do this in future. FIFTH MEDITATION 63 OF THE ESSENCE OF MATERIAL THINGS; AND AGAIN OF GOD, THAT HE EXISTS There remain many attributes of God, and many aspects of the nature of myself, or my mind, for me to investigate. But perhaps I shall return to these another time, and for the moment nothing appears more urgent (now that I have realized what to avoid and What to do in order to attain truth) than to attempt to extricate myself fi'om the doubts I have fallen into during these past days, and to see whether any certainty is possible with respect to material things. And indeed, before investigating whether any such things exist outside me, I should first consider the ideas of them, in so far as these ideas exist in my thought, and see which of them are distinct, and which confused. I can certainly distinctly imagine the quantity that philosophers Commonly call ‘conlinuous’: that is, the extension of this quantity (or rather, of the thing to which the quantity is attributed) in length, breadth, and depth. I can count various parts within it. To each of these parts I ascribe various magnitudes, shapes, positions, and local motions, and to the motions I ascribe various durations. Not only are these things, considered in these general terms, Clearly known and grasped by me: I also, if I pay close attention, per— Oeive innumerable particular facts involving shape, number, motion, 311d suchlike—facts so plainly true, and so much in conformity with 64 46 Fifi}: Meditation my nature, that when I first discdver them I do not seem to be learn— ing anything new, but rather to be remembering something I knew before, or to be noticing for the first time something that was in me already, although I had not previously turned the gaze of my mind in its direction. And what I think particularly needs to be considered here is this: that I find in myself innumerable ideas of certain things, that, even ‘ if, perhaps, they do not exist anywhere outside me, cannot yet be said to be nothing. And although, in a sense, whether I think of them or not is up to me, yet they are not inventions of my own mind, but they have true and immutable natures of their own. For instance, when I imagine a triangle, even if perhaps such a figure does not exist, and has never existed, anywhere at all outside my thought, it nonetheless certainly has a determinate nature, or essence, or form, that is immutable and eternal, which was not invented by me, and does not depend on my mind. This is clear from the fact that it , is possible to demonstrate various properties of the triangle (for I instance, that its three angles are equal to two right angles, and that the hypotenuse subtends the greatest angle, and so forth) which, whether I like it or not, I now clearly recognize to hold good, even if - up to now I have never thought of them in any way when imagining a triangle. And therefore these properties were not invented by me. It would make no difierence if I were to say that perhaps this idea of a triangle has come to me from things outside myself via the sense—organs, because, that is, I have occasionally seen bodies of a triangular shape. For I can think up innumerable other shapes that it is impossible to suspect ever reached me via the senses; and yet I can demonstrate several of their properties, just as I can with the triangle. And all of these properties are certainly true, since they are clearly known [cognosmntar] by me, and therefore they are some— thing, and not a pure nothing. For it is clear that everything that is true, is something; and I have already abundantly demonstrated that everything I clearly know [cognates], is true. And even if I had not demonstrated this, the nature of my mind is such that I cannot in any case help assenting to the things I clearly perceive, at least, for as long as I clearly* perceive them; and I remember that even in past times, when I was as closely attached to the objects of the senses as it is possible to be, I always considered that truths of this kind that I clearly recognized, concerning shapes, or numbers, or other matters Fifi}: Meditation 47 belonging to arithmetic or geometry or, in general, pure and abstract mathematics, were the most certain of all. But now, if, from the fact alone that I can produce the idea of a given thing from my thought, it follows that everything I clearly and distinctly perceive to belong to the thing does in fact belong to it, cannot I also find here a further proof of the existence of God? Certainly, I find the idea of him, that is, of a supremely perfect being, in myself, just as much as I find the idea of any shape or number. And I clearly and distinctly understand that eternal existence belongs to his nature—just as clearly and distinctly as I understand that the properties I can demonstrate of some shape or number belong in fact to the nature of that shape or number. So that, even if not all the con— clusions I have come to in my meditations over the past few days were true, I would still have to ascribe the same degree of certainty to the existence of God that I up to now have ascribed to mathematical truths. To be sure, this is not altogether evident at first sight: it appears to be something of a sophism. For since I am accustomed in all other things to distinguish existence from essence, I can easily convince myself that existence can be separated from the essence of God, and thus that God can be thought of as not existing. But if one considers the matter more closely, it becomes plain that existence can no more be separated from the essence of God than we can separate from the ‘ essence of a triangle that the sum of its three angles adds up to two right angles, or than we can separate the idea of a mountain from the idea of a valley.* So true is this that the thought of a God (that is, a supremely perfect being) who lacks existence (that is, who lacks a Certain perfection) is no less contradictory than the thought of a mountain without a valley. However, even if I can no more think of God without existence than I can think of a mountain without a valley, yet certainly, it does not follow from my thinking of a mountain as having a valley that any mountain exists in the world; similarly, from my thinking of God as misting, it does not seem to follow that God exists. For my thought i“moses no necessity on things; and just as I am free to imagine a Wiflgw horse, even if no horse actually does have wings, so perhaps lean imagine the existence of a God, even though no God in fact exists. No: this is where the sophism is lurking here. The point is not that, from my inability to think of a mountain except with a valley, it 66 48 F iii}; Meditation Fifi]: Meditation 49 depends on my own thinking, but the image of a true and immutable nature: first, because no other thing can be conceived by me to the .essence of which existence belongs, besides God himself; secondly, because I cannot conceive of two or more such Gods, and because, ted that one exists now, I plainly see that it is necessary both that brings his exrstence about, or that it imposes any neceSSit)’ on any- hc should have existed for all eternity up to now, and that he W111 thing, but, on the contrary, that the necessity of the thing itself, name] , mnfinue to exist for an eternity in the future; and finally, because the existence of God, determines me to think it. Nor am I free ‘ I perceive many other properties in God of thh “one can he think of God without existence (that is, to think of the supremely" subtracted or altered by me. I perfect being without the supreme perfection), in the way I am fre If But indeed, whatever kind of proof I use, the lssue always comes to imagine a horse with or without wings. down to this: that nothing convinces me fully but what clearly and Nor can it be maintained that, although it is necessary to admit distinctly perceive, It is true that, of the things I so percelve, alth0ugh that God exists, once I have supposed him to possess all perfections, there are several that are obvious to anyone, there are Others that can since existence is one of these perfections, the original supposition be discovered only by those who look into the matter more closely was not itself necessary* (just as it is not necessary for me to think and examine it carefully. Once, however, these latter have been dis- that all quadrilateral shapes can be inscribed in a circle, but, suppose covered, they are counted as no less certain than the former. Just as, ing I do think this, I must admit that a rhombus can be inscribed ifwe are dealing with a right—angled triangle: it does nor so readily in a circle, which, however, is patently impossible). For although it appeal- that that the square of the base is equal to the square of the is not necessary that I should ever find myself thinking of God, sides as it does that the base is subtended by Its greatest angle, none— nonetheless, whenever I choose to think about the first and supreme meless, once the first proposition has been grasped, It Is as .firmly being, and bring forth the idea of him, so to speak, from the treasury believed as the second But as far as God is concerned, Certainly, 1f of my mind, I must necessarily credit him with all perfections, even [were not overwhelmed by prejudices and if the images of Senslble if at the time I neither list them all nor consider them individualiy. things were not pressing in on my thoughts from all dlrectlons, And this necessity is quite suflicient for me subsequmtly, when I should recognize nothing sooner and more readily than hlm- F01" I recognize that existence is a perfection, to conclude, quite rightly, . what is more obvious in itself than that the supreme being emstshtha: that the first and supreme being exists. In the same way, it is not is to say, that God, to whose essence alone emstence belongs, crusts. necessary that I should ever imagine any triangle: but whenever I want And although careful consideration was requued before I was to consider a straight—sided shape having only three angles, I must capable of perceiving this truth, now, however, not only am I equally 68 necessarily credit it with properties from which it can be correctly certain ofit as I am of anything else that seems completely certain, inferred that the sum of its three angles does not exceed that of tWO but, moreover, I also observe that the certitude of all_these Other right angles, even if I do not at the time realize this. On the other - things depends on it so completely that without 1t nothmg can ever hand, when I am examining what shapes can be inscribed in a circle, be perfectly known [rain]. . there is absolutely no necessity for me to think that all quadrilaterals : For although my nature is such that, as long 3-8 I PCI‘C‘?“:3 fall into this category: indeed, I cannot even imagine this to be true, something very clearly and distinctly, I canIIOt n0t belleVe that ‘t 15 as long as I am intending to accept only what I clearly and distinctly true, nonetheless, because my nature is also such that I CflnflOt 60n- understand. Hence there is a great difference between false supposie tinuously fix the gaze of the min 011 the same thmg m order_t° Rer— tions, such as this one, and true ideas innate within me, the first and Oeive it clearly, and what often happens is that I remember Judging most important of which is the idea of God. For indeed, I under- something to be true, then, when I am no longer concentrating on the stand in many ways that this idea is not something fictitious that reasons for which I made that judgement, other reasons can he follows that a mountain and a valley exist somewhere, but only th 67 the mountain and the valley, whether they exist or not, cannot separated from each other. Whereas from the fact that I cannot think of God except as existing, it fOIIOWS that existence is inseparable fro 50 Fifi}: Meditation I Sith Meditation 51 adduced that would easily (were I ignorant of God) shake me out of ‘ mic God alone: so much so, that before I had dlfscoveéfitrll giltan- my opinion. And thus I should never have true and certain know. ledge, I could have “0 Perfect knowmige [fig] 0 £313 oneghand God ledge [srimtia] of anything, but only vague and shifting opinions, But HOWil'lm-lmeral’le mulls, “Olfcemmg 0 £1?“ th:r the Whale of Thus, for example, when I am considering the nature of a triangle, it himself and other intellectual things ancfl‘, on e themlflcs * can he certainly appears utterly evident to me (being, as I am, well versed in this bOdiIY nature Whl‘fh ls thePb’m 0 pure ma 3 the principles of geometry) that its three angles are equal to two right plainly known to me With cemmty' 70 angles; and I cannot not believe this is true, as long as I am concen— trating on the proof; but, as soon as I have turned the eye of the mind in a different direction, then however well I remember that I grasped SIXTH MEDITATION the roof ver clearly, I can still easily find myself doubtin its truth, if I :iin ignoraiit of God. For I can persuade myself thatI wags so made ‘ OF THE EXISTENCE or MATERIAL THINSSLASEDiHE by nature that I am sometimes deceived in matters which I think REAL DISTINCTION BETWEEN MIND I erceive entire] clear] es ecially sinceI remember countin man _ . . - thIings as true aan certain dilt later, when guided by other risen: It remains for me to examme whether mafterial dthtng:ee$:t;) I judged to be false. . indeed, I now know [me] at least that, in so ar eg a dead and But once I have perceived that God exists, then because I grasped OfPI-ll'e mathemat'cs’ Fhey can eXISt’ smce I Pfircewegleefl rodicing ‘ f at the same time that everything else depends on him, and that he is distinctly. For there IS no doubt. that 90$}5 cap? d I live never -' no deceiver, and from this deduced that everything I clearly and everything 1 31“ Cflpable of Percelvmg "111.13 wag“ azxce t when in distinctly perceive is necessarily true, then, even if I am no longer indge‘l that “Yams “ills {mllosmble for 1m to - 0; a cofimdictiion. concentrating on the reasons why I judged this to be true, provided attempting to Perm“re 1" d‘sun‘idyv I ran Pp agamsf the imaginative I remember that I did see it clearly and distinctly, no contrary reason BesidCS, it seems to fon‘fw from the enstZEFe 0 hen dealing can be adduced that can induce me to doubt it; and thus I have true faculty, 0f Whi0h_ I “lumen”: myself m Fingfiecrnsider more and certain knowledge [scientist] of it. And not only of it, but of all the with these material thlflgss that it“? “in”; f" 1 ars to be noth_ 72 other propositions I remember demonstrating at some stage, such as closely What liin 0f Ehmg the "Pawnauonkif’ It. apgzcult to a body the truths of geometry and others of the same kind. For what objec— ing other than 3 06113111 application of the f‘owing tin y tions can now be raised against me? That I am so constituted as often intimately Pres‘fm to Phat faculty’ and there .0“: 3:15 difference that to be deceived? But I know now [trio] that in matters I clearly under— To make this plain, I shall first erfimutle 3;: exam 16 when stand, I cannot be deceived. That I once counted many things as true exists between imagination and pure inte ectlon.d (it to bcP a, Shape and certain that I later realized to be false? But I had perceived none I imagine a mangle! “m only do I “nail-Stan -th the e e of the of these clearly and distinctly, but, unaWare as I was of this criterion enclosed by three lines, bl“ at_ the same “me’ “3 this is wiat I can of truth, perhaps I believed them for other reasons, which I later dis— - mind: I contemPIate the three hnes as we???“ of a chiliogon covered to be less sound than I had thought. So what further obiec- imagining Bl“ If! on the Omer_h5lnd’ I WIS to . :1. of a thousand tion can be raised? Perhaps (an objection I put to myself not long ago) I do indeed understand that this is a shat: cathnSlStr_ng 18 consists of I am sleeping, or all the things I am now thinking are no more true Sides: “0 1355 Clearly than I “demand t .2; -e flimsime way that than the thoughts that occur to one who is asleep. But this makes no three: but I do not Imagine the thousand :1 eshmt tie time begause 7: difference. For certainly, even if I were sleeping, if something is evi— is. COfltemplatc them as Diligent: And aka:qu :1 ever I 3:“, think- dent to my understanding, then it is altogether true. I 31“ accusmmecl always to Imagine Ionic mg W enfi re to myself And so I Plainly See that the certitude and truth of all ing 0f bOdflY thmgsi I may Perhaps mature some gu . . . . - h‘ ' not a chiliog‘on, knowledge [meeting] depends on the knowledge [mgm'tione] of the m a confused faShmn, 1‘ 15 ‘lmte Clear that t 15 ls 52 Sixth Meditation Sixth M editatian 53 because it is not at all difl'erent from the picture I would also fo a, in my mind if I were thinking about a myriogon,* or some 0th ' many—sided figure. Nor is it of any assistance in recognizing 1h _ properties by which the chiliogon diflem from other polygons. But I am dealing with a pentagon, I can certainly understand its shape-5 like that of the chiliogon, without the help of the imagination: but I can also imagine it, that is, by applying the eye of the mind to its five sides, and at the same time to the area contained within them; and here I observe very plainly that I need to make a particulars 73 mental effort in order to imagine, that I do not make when undera. standing. This further effort of the mind clearly indicates ; diHerence between imagination and pure intellection. At this point, I consider that this power of imagining I possess, in so far as it differs from the power of understanding, is not integral ts my essence, that is, to the essence of my mind; for even if I lacked it, I I should nonetheless certainly remain the same person as I now am. From this it seems to follow that the imagination depends on some— thing distinct from me.* And I can easily understand that if some, body exists to which the mind is so closely joined that it may, when- ever it chooses, apply itself, so to speak, to looking into it, it could be the case that this is exactly how I imagine corporeal things. So that this mode of thinking would differ from pure intellection in the following respect alone: that the mind, while it understands, turns itself in some way towards itself, and gazes on one of the ideas that are contained within itself; but, while it imagines, it turns itself towards the body, and considers something in it that corresponds either to an idea it understands itself * or to an idea perceived by the senses. I can readily understand, I say, how the imagination may function in this way, provided, that is, the body exists. And because no other equally convenient way of explaining it occurs to me, I therefore conclude with great probability that the body exists. I But this is only a probability, and although I am investigating the 7 whole matter with great care, I do not yet see that, from this distinct idea of bodily nature that I find in my imagination, any argument can be derived that will lead necessarily to the conclusion that some body ' exists. 3 74 But I am accustomed to imagining many other things, besides this ' bodily nature that is the object of pure mathematics,* such as colours, sounds, pain, and suchlike: but none of these with equal distinctness- 35nd because I perceive these things better by the senses, from which may seem to have made their way, With the help of mommy, to din: imagination, in order to examine them more conveniently, I shou mine sensation at the same time, and see whether, from those filings that are perceived by the form of thinking I call sensation , I can derive some decisive argument in favour of the eXistence of ' thin s. fits? of all, I will here go over in my memory what those filings were that I previously thought were true, because they were perceived by the senses, and the reasons I had for thinking this. Then '1 shall weigh the reasons for which I later called these things into question. Finally, I shall consider what View should now take. First of all, then, I had the sensation of havmg a head, hands, feet, .and all the other parts comprising this body I used to consrder as part of myself, or perhaps even as the whole of myself. Then I had the sen— sation of this body as situated among many other bodles by which it could be infected—harmed or benefited: and I measured the benefits by a certain feeling of pleasure and the harm by a feeling of pain. {ind besides pain and pleasure, I also had the sensation of hunger, thirst, and other such appetites in myself, not to mention varlous bodily propensities, to joy, to sadness, to anger, and other such passions. Outside myself, besides the extension, shapes, motions of bodies, 75 Ihad sensations of hardness, heat, and other tactile qualities in them; light, as well, and colours, and smells, and tastes, and sounds, the Variety of which enabled me to distinguish the sky, the earth, the sea, and other bodies one from another. And surely it was not Without reason that, on account of the ideas of all these qualities that presented themselves to my thought, and of which alone I had personal and ilnmediate sensations, I believed I was sensing certain thmgs guite distinct from my thought, that is to say, bodies from which these ideas Preceeded. For I experienced these ideas as coming to me Without any Consent of mine: so much so, that neither could I have a sensation of any obiect, however much I wanted to, unless-the object itself were Present to a sense—organ, nor could I help havmg the sensation of it When it was present. And since the ideas perceived by the senses were much more vivid and emphatic,* and in their own way more distinct, than any of the ideas that I deliberately and knowmgly formed by myselfin my meditations, or that I found engraved upon my :nemory, it seemed impossible that they should proceed from myself. And so 54 Sixth Meditation that I had nothing at all in the intellect, that I had not previously . a in the senses.* Nor was it without reason that I judged that the a . =; 76 ticular body I seemed specially entitled to call my own belonged to . closely to me than any other body. For I could not ever be separat bodies; I felt all my appetites . sf from it, as I could from the other concerning the objects of the senses, nature. For I had persuaded myself that this was the way things were: before I had considered any reasons by which this could be proved. things I judgedi I thought I had also learned from. S 1'th Meditation 55 - u very general reasons for doubting. The first was that everything ve ever believed I was having a sensation of while awake, Iican crimes think I am having a sensation of while asleep; and Since 0 not believe that what I seem to see when asleep comes from any- g existing outside me, I could not see any reason why I should ieve this of the sensations I seem to have when awake. The second on was that, since I was still ignorant of the author of my extst— ce (or at least was pretending to be so),* I could see no reason why could not be so constituted by nature as to be deceived, even in wings that appeared to me entirely true. And as for the reasons by which I had previously convinced myself of the truth of sensible things, I could answer them without difficulty. For since I saw that I was impelled by nature to many things from. which reason d13— suaded me, I thought I should not place much faith in the teachings «of nature. And although senseuperceptions do not depend on. my ‘will, I thought thatI should not therefore conclude that they derived .iftom things distinct from myself, because perhaps there nught be some faculty within me, although yet unknown to me, that produces them. Now, however, that I begin to know myself and the author of my existence rather better, although I do not think that all that the senses seem to teach me is to be rashly accepted, I do not think that it 78 should all be called in doubt. ‘ ‘ First, since I know that whatever I clearly and d1stinctly under— stand can be produced by God such as I understand it to be, then if I can clearly and distinctly understand one thing without another, this is sufficient for me to be certain that the one is distinct from the But afterwards many experiences gradually undermined all the faith I had placed in the senses. For sometimes towers that from a distance had seemed round appeared from close up as square;* and giant statues perched on the top of those towers did not look particu— larly large to one gazing up from below; and by innumerable other - such experiences I came to realize that in matters of the external senses our judgements are at fault. Not only the internal senses, 77 moreover; the internal ones as well. For what can be more intimate than pain? Yet I had often heard from people whose arm or leg had been amputated, that they still occasionally seemed to feel pain in the part of the body they were missing; and therefore even in myself it did not seem to be wholly certain that one of my limbs was hurting, even though I was feeling pain in it. To these points I recently added Other, since they can at least be produced separately by God. By what power this separation comes about makes no difference to the judge— ‘ ment that the things are distinct. Next, from the very fact that I know [Sciatic] I exist, and that for the moment I am aware of nothing else at all as belonging to my nature or essence, apart from the Single fact that I am a thinking thing, I rightly conclude that my essence con— sists in this alone, that I am a thinking thing. And although perhaps (01' rather certainly, as I shall shortly claim) I have a body, which is Very closely conjoined to me, yet because, on the one hand, I haVe a Clear and distinct idea of myself, in so far as I am a thinking and not an extended thing, and, on the other, a distinct idea'of the-body, in 30 fat as it is only an extended and not a thinking thing,'it is certain that I am really distinct from my body,* and can eitist Without it. 56 Sixth Meditation S ixth Meditation 57 Moroov I ' ' ' ' ' ' ' - i l - waYShnagfél fig: 1;, mly-SelffaFulhgs of: thmkmg m vmous spe . .,, _. {Y apprehensmn 15 very obscure and confused in many respects. ' y, acu ties of imagination and sensation—wiring t at least all those properties are in them that I clearly and dis. understand: that is, all those, generally considered, that are uded in the object of pure mathematics.* . , T As to the remaining properties that are either purely particular CePt)-* Hence I perceive t -- J r instance, the sun’s being of a certain magnitude or shape) or less s, that cannot be underst " _ am God is no deceiver, and that therefore it cannot be the case that my falsity should be found in my opinions, unless there is also some Hod—given faculty in me for correcting it, offers me a firm hope of discovering the truth with respect to them as well. And certainly, ’ _ ’ an intelligent one; for u there is no doubt that everything I am taught by nature contains Selig:- 3:311:32??? Inflludiis some measure of exten—t' some element of truth: for by nature, in a general sense, I now mean me a certain passive faculty of mm .ecnon' Moreover, there is ini nothing other than either God himself, or the system of created i“ ‘ knowing [mgmsmzdfl ideas of swim”: that 15, 0f receivmg and things established by God; and by my own nature In particular, ; 3 Use ofit mall ifther dld semi _e things. But ‘I could make no I mean nothing other than the combination of all the properties I some active f; It t; 1 not-eXISt, either in me or 1n another being, bestowed on me by God. :. ' faculty mnétfierggngogfigni or 36111;:at1ng these ideas. Now this Now there is nothing I am more emphatically taught by this inteuection at’au and gmuse gyseé because 1‘ Presupposes no 7 nature of mine than that I have a body, With which there IS some- Without my coopdration but often ese 1 are pmiiuced not only thing wrong when I feel pm, which needs food or drink, when _ even against my Will.* It therefore I experience hunger or thirst, and so on and so forth. Hence I cannot . t In some substance distinct from me, which doubt that there is some truth in all this. that exists objectively in‘ Eiieformagy 0r eminently, all the reality , Nature likewise teaches the, through these very feelings of pain, already pointed 0m ab * pro need by the faculty (as I have ‘ hunger, thirst, and so forth, that I am not present in my body only as - ove)‘ ‘5 SUbSth? 15 611116 a pilot is present in a ship,* but that I am very closely conjoined to it and, so to speak, fused with it, so as to form a single entity with it. For otherwise, when the body is injured, I, who am nothing other than a thinking thing, would not feel pain as a result, but would per- ceive the injury purely intellectually, as the pilot perceives by sight any damage occurring to his ship; and when the body lacks food or drink, I would understand this explicitly, instead of having confused feelings of hunger and thirst. For certainly, these feelings of thirst, hunger, pain, and so forth are nothing other than certain confused modes of thinking, arising from the union and, so to speak, fusion of the mind with the body. Besides, I am further taught by nature that various other bodies exist around mine: of these, some are to be pursued by me, others avoided. And certainly, from the fact that I perceive very different in the ideas; or else it has than a body, in which this I I is contained eminentl . But b is no deceiver, it is altoge y cause Gad ther plain that he does not transmit these 58 S 1'th M editation colours, sounds, smells, tastes, degrees of heat, of hardness, and su like, I can validly c'onclude that in the bodies from which these v sensory perceptions arise there are variatith that correspond them, even if, perhaps, they do not resemble them. And from the that some of these perceptions are pleasing to me, others displeas' it IS quite certain that my body, or rather myself as a whole, in so as I am composed of a body and a mind, can be benefited or h by the surrounding bodies. 82 But there are many other beliefs that, although I seem to be tau ' these can easily turn out to be false. For instance, that every space which nothing at all is happening that has an impact on my senses a vacuum;* or that in a body that is hot, say, there is something n” gether Similar to the idea of heat in me; that in a white or green body» matter sufficiently clearly if I do not first define more precisely what exactly I mean when I say that I am taught something by nature. ‘ . ‘ . . Here I am taking nature’ in a more restricted sense than when I nae the term to denote the combination of all the properties bestowed on I me by God. For in this combination there are many things that belong to the mind alone, such as my perception that what has hap— pened cannot not have happened, and all the other things that I know by the natural light. These are not my concern here. There are also many that relate to the body alone, as that it has a tendency to fall downwards,* and suchlike. But I am not here concerned with these either, only with those things bestowed by God on me as a compos— ite of mind and body. Now nature in this sense teachbs us to avoid those things that cause a sensation of pain, and pursue those that pro- duce a sensation of pleasure, and so forth. But it does not appear that nature teaches us anything else that would enable us to reach any conclusmn, on the basis of these sensory perceptions about things enstlng outside ourselves, without a prior examinatioii by the intel— lect; because it seems that a true knowledge [rt-ire] of these belongs to the mind alone, but not to the composite entity. Thus, although a S ixth Meditation 59 afi'ects my eye no more than the gleam of a small torch, there is real or positive inclination here to believe that the star is no bigger the torch:* but I formed this belief in childhood without any on to support it. And although when I come close to the fire I feel t, and in fact I feel pain when I come too close to it, there is cer— y no reason that should persuade me that there is something in fire like the heat, any more than there is something in it like the —-only that there is something in the fire, whatever in fact it is, produces these feelings of heat or pain. Again, although in a 'ven space there may be nothing that affects the senses, it does not erefore follow that there is no body in it. But I see that in these, and :.. very many other things, I have grown accustomed to perverting fthe order of nature, because I use sensory perceptions, which were ‘mcifimlly given by nature for signifying to the mind* what things late beneficial or harmful to the composite of which the mind is ‘part—for which purpose they are sufficiently clear and distinct—as if they were reliable criteria for immediately discerning the essence of bodies existing outside us. Of this, however, they signify nothing, except in very obscure and confused fashion. But I have already sufficiently examined how it can come to pass that, notwithstanding the goodness of God, my judgements are false. A further difliculty, however, arises here concerning these very things that are represented to me by nature as to be pursued or avoided, and concerning also the internal senses in which I seem to have discovered errors: as when someone, tricked by the pleasant taste of some food, absorbs a poison concealed in it. But in this case he is prompted by nature to desire only the source of the pleasant taste, not the poison of which he knows nothing. And nothing more is to be inferred from this than that this nature is not omniscient; which is not surprising, since, man being a limited creature, the only nature he can be endowed with is one of limited perfection. But yet we do quite frequently go astray even in things to which we are impelled by nature: as when sick people desire drink or food that Will shortly do them harm. Someone might say here that they are led aStray only because their nature has been corrupted:* but this does not remove the difficulty, because in truth, a sick human being is just as much a creature of God as a healthy one. And so it seems just as Contrary to the goodness of God that his nature should be deceptive. Now a clock, an assembly of wheels and weights, obeys all the laws of 60 Sixth Meditation nature just as strictly when it has been badly manufactured and does not tell the time accurately as when it fulfils the clockmaker’s wishes in every respect. And I can likewise consider the body of a human being as a kind of machine made up of bones, nerves, muscles, veins, , blood, and skin so fitted together that, even if there were no mind within it, it would still have all the movements it currently has that do not result from the command of the will (and hence the mind). I can easily see that it would be natural, if, for example, the body were suffering from dropsy, for it to experience the dryness of the throat that usually communicates the sensation of thirst to the mind, so that, as a result, its nerves and other parts would be so disposed that it would have something to drink, thus making the disease worse; iust ' as natural as it would be for a perfectly healthy body to be prompted bya similar dryness in the throat to take a drink that would do it good. And although, if we take into account the intended function of the clock, we can say that, when it fails to indicate the time correctly, it has fallen away from its nature; and likewise, if we consider the machine of the human body as designed so as to enable the move- ments that usually take p1ac:. in it, I may think that it has gone astray , from its own nature if its throat is dry at a time when drink will not conduce to its preservation, yet I can see perfectly clearly that this latter meaning of ‘nature’ is quite difierent from the former. For the latter meaning is nothing more than a denomination“ dependent on ‘ my thinking, when I compare a sick human being and a badly made ' clock with my idea of a healthy human being and a well—made clock, and it tells us nothing about the actual things in question; whereas by the former I mean something that is actually found in the thing? themselves, and therefore contains a degree of truth. But certainly, even though, when considering the body suffering from dropsy, to speak of its nature being corrupted, on the grounds that its throat is dry and yet it does not need to drink, is merely all. extrinsic denomination; yet if we consider the composite entity, that is, the mind as united to a body in this state (thirsty when drink: would be harmful to it), this is not a pure denomination, but a gem?" ine error of nature.* And so the question refuses to go away, how it is that the goodness of God does not prevent nature in this precifie1 sense from being deceptive. Now, first of all, I observe here that there is a great differcn -' between the mind and the body, in this respect, that the body of i I. Sixth Meditation 61 nature is endlessly divisible, but the mind completely indivisible: for 86 certainly, when I consider the mind, or myself in so far as I am purely a thinking thing, I can distinguish no parts in myself but understand myself to be a thing that is entirely one and complete. And although the whole mind appears to be united with the whole body, if the foot is cut off, or the arm, or any other part of the body, I know [cagnosw] that nothing is therefore subtracted from the mind. Nor can the fac- ulties of Willing, perceiving by the senses, understanding, and so forth be said to be parts of the mind, since it is one and the same mind that wills, that senses, and that understands. On the other hand, however, no bodily or extended thing can be thought by me that I cannot mentally divide into parts, without any difficulty; and I therefore understand it is divisible. This point alone would suflice to show me that the mind is altogether distinct from the body, if I did not yet sufficiently know [scirem] this for other reasons. Next, I observe that the mind is not infected immediately by all the parts of the body, but only by the brain, or perhaps only by one very small part of the brain, namely that in which the ‘common sense’ is said to reside.* Whenever this part is affected in the same way, it rep— resents the same thing to the mind, even if the other parts of the body happen to be differently afi'ected at the same time. This is proved by innumerable observations“ [experiments] that there is no need to go into here. Moreover, I observe that it is of the nature of a body that none of its parts can be moved by another part somewhat distant from it, without its being able to be moved in the same way by any of the parts that lie between them, even when the more distant part is not involved in the movement. For instance, take a piece of string, with Points A, B, C, and D. If the last part, D, is pulled, the first part, A, 87 will be moved in exactly the same way as it would be moved if one of the intermediate points, B or C, were pulled, while the final point, D, _ re“mined immobile. By the same token, when I feel a pain in the foot, PhySics" teaches me that this sensation is produced by means of the ‘lmes dispersed through the foot, which, since they extend upwards like strings as far as the brain, when plucked in the foot also pluck the mnlost parts of the brain in which they terminate, thus stimulating a Mcuhr motion in these parts of the brain, which is so ordained by nMute that it affects the mind with a feeling of pain apparently ted in the foot. But because these nerves have to pass up the leg, Sixth Meditation 63 9;, on their way from the foot to the brain, or indeed in the brain I- , stimulates the very same motion as is usually stimulated by - injury to the foot, a pain will be felt as if in the foot, and our ,, e will be naturally deceived. This is because, since one and the " .a. e movement in the brain can only produce one and the same sen— " 'on in the mind, and since it is much more usually produced by e cause injuring the foot than by any other cause located some— ere else, it is in accordance with reason that it should always 89 _ resent to the mind a pain in the foot rather than in any other part. d if sometimes a dryness in the throat arises, not from its usual _: se, which is that the body’s health would be benefited by drink- _. but from some other, contrary cause, as happens with those fiering from dropsy, it is better that it should deceive us in this tter case, than that, on the contrary, it should always deceive us when the body is healthy. And the same applies elsewhere. And this consideration will assist me greatly, not only to be aware S Immense - . thin the nerves in the fooijgi'zeloillgnglowness- Thus, for instant ~' of all the errors to which my nature is liable, but also to correct or their movement, transmitted throu h t: and-unusually Sfimula - ‘ avoid them easily. For certainly, since I know [sciam] that all our Parts of the brain there gives a sig'flalgto the slime“ cord to the in sensations indicate the truth far more frequently than the contrary, tam sensation namely a pain experienced aesmu'1d t9 Ema-lance a t as far as the well—being of the body is concerned, and since in exam— ining a particular case I can almost always draw on several of them, as well as on my memory, which connects present with past, and on have been so established by God that thi ’ the “an”? Ofman Will my understanding, which has already discovered all the causes of could have represented something diff 8 same mono? in the error, I need no longer fear that the things the senses represent to me have represented itself in so far as it were? to. the mInd: it could in ordinary life are false: on the contrary, the hyperbolic doubts of far as it takes place in the foot or in 88' p ace In the brain, 01‘ in SO these past days can be dismissed as ridiculous. Especially the ulti— it could have represented somethi an); of the Places in between, or . mate doubts concerning sleeping, which I could not distinguish from else would have been so conducrve Egg: 8: amigetherit hm nothing- Waking; for now I realize that there is a massive difference between same way, when we need to drink a e Olly S preservation In the ' them, inasmuch as dreams are never combined by my memory with The throat, Setting in motion the ncrifes tin-tam dryness (frigith in - the rest of the actions of my life, as happens with my waking experi— mner parts of the brain; and this motion ere’ and by their means the ences. For certainly if, while I was awake, someone suddenly appeared sation of thirst, because in this situat-j lifters-me amid With the 5311‘ before me, and then immediately disappeared, as happens in dreams, on ere ‘5 nothmg more useful in such a way, I mean, that I could not see where he was coming from or where he was going, I would not unreasonably judge it to 90 _ _ be an apparition or a delusion produced by my brain, rather than a b man as ; Emmthfgmndmg- God’s real person. But when things happen to me in such a way that I am 0d)” Cannot but be liable to error ' 0111p 031:6 0f mmd and I distinctly aware of whence, where, and when they have come, and I I connect the perception of them to the rest of my life, without any gaps, then I am well and truly certain that they are happening not in 64 Sith Meditation THE OBJECTIONS AND REPLIES ...
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Descartes Meditations 3-6 - 33 34 24. Second Meditation...

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