Abstract: In the Meditations on First Philosophy, published in 1641, René Descartes considers two arguments for the existence of God. In the second argument Descartes posits that the certainty of the existence of God should have “at least the same level of certainty” as the truths of mathematics. Understood from the view of the Principle of Contradiction the quoted phrase could be interpreted to mean “as certain as” , while the “at least” seems to imply “perhaps more certain than.” The purpose of this paper is to determine in which sense it is to be understood. I will argue that in both arguments Descartes concludes that the existence of God is more certain than that of mathematics, on ontological rather than logical grounds, thus that the phrase should be understood as “more certain than.” I will also argue that both the first and second arguments collapse, as Descartes begs the question of the existence of God in the proof of the existence of God.

Download Descartes and the Certainty of God