Meditations 3 and 4
At this point in the Meditations,
Descartes is in what has been called, "the ego-centric predicament",
i.e., he knows that he exists and even what he is, but he does
not know anything else. Descartes will now proceed to rebuild
his knowledge of the world, step by step, rejecting any aspects
of his previous beliefs that he not sees to be in error.
1. The first step in Descartes' program is to inspect the cogito
in order to see if he can discover some principle of knowledge
that he can follow. What principle does he find? How does it
apply to the cogito?
2. Descartes goes on to prove that he has knowledge of God's
existence. How does he prove God's existence? What principles
does he need to employ in his proof? How does he justify them?
3. Once Descartes has proved that God exists, he confronts the
question of why a beneficent God allows human beings to err.
What is Descartes' answer to this question? (Note: the full answer
to this will only be developed in the Sixth Meditation.)