Fourth meditation

Descartes’ Fourth Meditation

Truth and falsity

If God is not a deceiver, why does the error exist?


  1. God is not a deceiver
  2. My faculty of judgment is a good instrument
  3. I err because I’m limited
  4. The universe must be considered as a whole [[+++ Agostino ]]
  5. Intellect is good in itself
  6. My will is infinite

According to some scholars, the last meditation Descartes wrote.

According to Descartes, since God is both good and supremely powerful, God provided me with all the good instruments to understand without being fooled.

the fact that I’m limited causes error. Nevertheless, being limited is not a problem; it’s a limitation, I’m deprived of something I’m supposed to have. Hence, error is the lack of something; it’s not something which depends on God, or it would mean that God didn’t give me something to reason correctly

+++ intellect is good in itself

Will is good in itself, too. Furthermore, my will is infinite

30th November 2020

God’s will and human will have the same extension, they are both infinite.

The source of mistakes is the difference between the capabilities of the will and what man can actually conceive.

An error is to ascribe a property which isn’t a real property, which is a subjective interpretation, to an object.

Intellect is good in itself, it has nothing wrong if not that it’s limited. Intellect receives and perceives ideas and successively we judge it.

If I can’t perceive something I can think of, my intellect isn’t missing anything, I simply miss them.

although countless things may exist without there being any corresponding ideas in me, it should not, strictly speaking, be said that I am deprived of these ideas, but merely that I lack them, in a negative sense

Will, furthermore, is not limited, it has no error and it can’t be restricted. Will is the only element of infinity we have within us.

God’s will is purely good, while man’s will can be selfish or evil. Strictly speaking, though, God’s will is not more perfect than mine. Both my will and God’s will are infinite; considered in themselves, the’re both perfect.

Error lies in when I judge a property which does not strictly belong to my real understanding.

Speaking of freedom, in Descartes we speak about free will.

Two different definitions of will (where the f is this passage? +++):

  • the ability to do or not to do something, freedom of indifference
  • not being influenced by any external force, I am the principle of my actions; freedom of spontaneity

The more I’m inclined in one direction,


Fifth Meditation



edit this page

The following is a graph containing all the notes and every topic in the website