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The first part of the assignment is to identify a) what claim Descartes is arguing for in the text below and explain b) how he argues for that claim. The goal is to present what is going on here in such a way that someone who is not in the class and has never read Descartes can follow along.
“Now it is indeed evident by the light of nature that there must be at least as much [reality] in the efficient and total cause as there is in the effect of that same cause. For whence, I ask, could an effect get its reality, if not from its cause? And how could the cause give the reality to the effect, unless it also possessed that reality? Hence it follows that something cannot come into being out of nothing, and also that what is more perfect (that is, what contains in itself more reality) cannot come into being from what is less perfect.”
In the second part of the assignment, we want you to provide some context: how does this little argument fit into the Third Meditation’s argument for the existence of God? What specific move does this little argument enable Descartes to make?
Please write this out in straightforward prose. You do not need to consult a thesaurus or strive for fancy, flowery language. Use words like ‘so,’ ‘because,’ ‘since,’ ‘therefore,’ and ‘thus,’ to show which claims support which. You do not need an introduction or a concluding section: just do what we have asked you to do.
There is no word minimum or maximum, but you should be able to do both parts of the assignment in under 500 words. Don’t overcomplicate things. Cut out unnecessary details, so you can focus on what is essential to the argument.
Both parts of the article are in the first file, and the second file is the teacher’s courseware, which can be used as a reference for the second part.
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