Firstly, one of the two reasons in his response to this question is, the intellect itself cannot be deceived, but when affirming and denying the intellect, it may be deceived. To further explain this idea, he made an analogy between sensation and intellect to prove that falsity in the intellect will occur when our cognitive faculty fails in the recognition of the things that come accidentally to the form we are aiming at. For example, when we see a white sugar cube, it is to be sure that we can see it is white. At the same time, maybe we can also know that the sugar is cubical and sweet by simply using our sight to see it. However, the concept of “cubical” and “sweet” are not supposed to be known by our site, which is supposed to be known by our touch and taste. Similarly, when people judge the intellect subjectively, such as affirming or denying it, our intellect would sometimes report some information that is not supposed to include. But, the intellect itself is not deceived.
Secondly, his second reason in his response was that the sense is not “deceived in its proper object”, but “may be deceived with regard to common sensible objects” (Medieval Philosophy, 122). For example, we would judge the sun be only a foot in diameter, but in reality, it is even large than the Earth. In this situation, we are not deceived by what we saw, but we are deceived by our sense, which, in a sense, is not the fault of our understanding or intellect.
Explain how Descartes view of evil works as a response to “The Problem of Evil”. Is Descartes responding to an internal critique or an external critique? What makes it that kind of critique instead of the other?
Descartes response to the problem of evil by making assumptions, evaluating the assumption by facts, dismiss or prove his assumption until he reached a final valid conclusion. At the very beginning, he first assumed that the God, which is considered the supreme good, made all things good and creates all things good to constitute the universe. However, the fact that it is evil in the world dismissed the previous assumption and led to his new conclusion that the God is just being Himself supremely good, and the God could not bring good out of evil.
Later, he built a model that all beings are all good at firstly, but they will be diminished gradually, which will finally lead to the absence of good and the evil. Specifically, he indicated that God made all things in all beings, all good at the beginning, but the beings he made are not able to stay unchangeable as God, so they will be corrupted and diminished. As they diminished, they are losing parts of their beings, and so their good. Thus, the privation of good will eventually lead to evil.
However, since privation of things is equal to the privation of good, while privation of things means nothing and privation of good means evil, we can thus conclude that evil means nothing. If evil means nothing, evil doesn’t exist. Therefore, it seems that from Descartes response, there is no necessity to discuss whether God creating of letting there be evil in the world.
When looking at Descartes’s whole response, his response to this problem of evil is an external critique. In his response in this question, he is evaluating his statement by using the other fact that outside of his original statement. For example, the fact that evil exists dismissed the statement that God created all goods is an external critique since he is not judging the logic within the sentence that God created all good, but used another fact to defeat it.