This chapter investigates how Descartes' decision to submit the Church's dogma to the judgment of his own mind was not contingent but absolutely central. His argument for God's existence was not simply one example from a list of things he could prove rationally, but rather was the wellspring of all argument, the fundamental theorem that allowed him to establish secure knowledge in other fields. The whole ground of judgment, for Descartes, was the mind's capacity to discover a truth external to itself; only after independently proving that God exists could he believe anything else. Moreover, for Descartes, complex acts of ratiocination must necessarily precede belief, and the individual reasoning person must believe for themselves if belief is to have any meaning.
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