Philosophy | English homework help

Rene Descartes’s

Meditations on First Philosophy

The Preliminary Set Up:

Take a moment to consider the notion of systematic doubt conveyed by Descartes in Meditation I (as discussed specifically in Module 4: Discussion Post 1), specifically as to how it leads:

  1. First, to the recognition of a possible malicious all powerful demon that might be deceiving him in all things…and 
  2. Second, to a recognition that doubting he is participating in the action of doubting is still doubting and thusly one thing is certain: Descartes is a critter that is a thinking-thing==>”I am, I exist”==>”I think, therefore I am”==>Cogito Ergo Sum

At this point, Descartes is then confronted by the threat of solipsism, if his being merely a thinking-thing is truly the one and only thing that he can be certain of. To avoid this, Descartes takes a mental note of his capacities and it seems that he has three kinds of ideas:

  1. Adventitious ideas- coming from outside (e.g., It is cold outside, There is river, That is an otter). 
  2. Factitious ideas- which may be illusory, or invented by the imagination but still composed from ideas coming from outside (e.g., Mermaid, centaur, minotaur, chimera, sphinx, satyr, griffin).
  3. Innate ideas- for Descartes there are 2: 
    1. Perfection
    2. Infinity

The Thrust of the Content:

Descartes uses the two above innate ideas (perfection & infinity) to develop an argument for the existence of God often called the ‘Trademark’ argument. Explain how the ‘Trademark’ argument functions to prove the existence of God and how God’s existence once proven then helps Descartes escape the threat of solipsism.


  1. What is meant by Descartes’s ‘Trademark’ argument for the existence of God and explain how it works in your own words and in complete sentences.
  2. Next, postulate how a now proven existence of God helps Descartes escape the threat of solipsism such that it paves a way to rebuilding the edifice of knowledge that systematic doubt laid bare.


Please post your original response by 7-24 so all replies can be posted by 7-25.


A positive and affirming reply to our classmates is always nice to see but we should also be aiming to push the conversation forward in ways that help us see new angles and insights. Both your original response and subsequent reply to a classmate will of course also continue to be graded on your ability to maintain the proper grammar and spelling befitting a professional, academic setting. 

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