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Clear and Distinct Perceptions - Essay Example

Date:  2021-05-27 16:01:24
8 pages  (1963 words)
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Religion and Perception are two topics that have controversial arguments, however, in some ways they are capable of merging and allowing individuals to form opinions based on their beliefs. Some people also hold the belief that religion allows us to perceive things in a better manner or to make better judgments. Sarah Patterson is one of the individuals who believes that perception and religion are fused in significant ways and hence makes sense of the fact that religion openly guides major judgments. Sarah Patterson baseline on religion and clear perceptions has allowed other scholars to form a basis for their arguments and the arguments of Sarah Patterson also extend to her prior work on a similar topic. This essay defines clear and distinct perspectives from the views of Patterson and other scholars and also presents an opinion of what clear and distinct perceptions mean.

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Patterson acclaims that clear and distinct perceptions allow individuals to formulate decisions and judgment that are not only right but are also made from an alert mind. She quotes on other definitions that suggest that clear decisions are made when an individual is certain they are right about their view. Besides, she highlights that distinct perceptions are definite in that they are not fused or linked with other thoughts that could add doubt to the picture that is being presented. The intellect is suggested to be salient in the formulation of clear and distinct perceptions as it is the part of an individual that allows the formation of clear and distinct perceptions. The definition of an idea according to Patterson is the primary foundation for which clear and distinct ideas and configuration are explained. This means that a scholar who is not able to present a precise definition to the term idea will introduce different explanation towards distinct and clear perceptions.

Meditation stands out as a means to which individuals can separate fused perceptions and create a clear and distinct perception that is not only definite but also centered on the primary objective that the individual intends to achieve. The assessment as to whether something that a person considers to be distinct and clear is able to be false counters the definitions that Patterson has presented. In this argument, it is transparent that the idea introduces the doubts on clear and distinct perceptions being incredibly true that there exist external influences that are capable of influencing an individual to perceive things in the way they do. The external forces introduce God who is capable of allowing an individual to be deceived in things that can be seen to be distinct and clear. These doubts go deeper as they seek to explore whether God actually exists or if He did, whether he would be considered to be a false God notwithstanding the definition that He is perfect and His work is perfect.

Meditation, reveals that even if individuals are capable of formulating ideas that emerge from false items or ideas made up of fictional articles, they do not hinder the consideration that the thoughts of the individual in desiring these items are definite and genuine. Nature has influenced perceptions to allow people to picture what it feels like to experience a certain sensation or what an individual object looks like. Nature has hence allowed people to form the judgment of what actually exists or what is false if only they can explain the origin of these things, however, it is possible for an object to exist beyond that an individual has witnessed or being exposed to. Third Meditation argues that the impulses that direct the ideas of individuals should not only be coordinated by the external influences of an individual as they are capable of going against the will of the individual. There then exist ideas that are not defined by the will of an individual and at the same time they are not defined by the external influences that impact that particular person.

Ideas sometimes ought not to be like the actual descriptions that nature has offered us or the impulses that have been affected to us by the knowledge we possess, and they sometimes seem right in our imagination based on what we perceive. The main argument of meditation and the existence of a God directs that imperfection or false ideas can only emerge from imperfect sources, however, true perceptions can only be depicted if they arise from a perfect source. One aspect to take not of is that because an idea is not real, then that does not mean it is false but it is a factor of imagination inspired by the perfect reality of that idea. This means that for an idea to be regarded as true, then it must reflect its reality from the excellent source to which the idea emerges (p.28). This argument seems to suggest that an idea cannot emerge from anything and in as much as ideas emerge from each other, an individual must eventually choose a stopping point to where the idea will rest. Some ideas are simply suggested to arise from an individual however the deficiency of greatness in a person presents the idea of the existence of a more superior being that is capable of possessing the reality to which the ideas emerge from.

The inference that God actually exists is made based on the idea that any perceptions formulated by an individual are finite and hence ideas that are infinite can only emerge from an infinite source. Ideas of entities like darkness and also entities like cold and heat are used in explaining this phenomenon such that heat can be explained to emerge when cold does not exist, and cold can also be explained to arise when heat is not present. One of these aspects must be finite and hence the other is derived from a negation of finite objects which proves the existence of infinite entities. This is a right justification to the fact that infinite entities only emerge from endless sources and the perception of a God who is ever-present, all-powerful and omnipotent are already a perception of an infinite being. God is not limited by small measures of length, size and movement and hence ideas that are not constrained by these aspects can only emerge from him.

What pushes one to conclude that individuals actually make judgments that are infinite? The fact that a person is viewed as a being who is not only increasing in knowledge but also one with limitless potential infers that people are incapable of achieving perfection. On the other end, it is salient to make the recognition that nothing can be added to God to make Him attain perfection. This means that any ideas that are distinct and that are clearly perceived despite the fact that they may not be real or any external influences may not inspire them then they must have been instilled by an infinite being such as God. The idea that an imperfect being could be capable of deriving perfect ideas seeks to suggest that the reality of existence of a human being is then derived from the universe or from a fellow human being. One may choose to argue that the perfect ideas can be a combination of parallel ideas that come together to form a whole perception. However, it is important to observe the clear and united nature to which the perfections attributed to God exist.

Distinctness in meditation is backed up by the idea that God has actually allowed us to perceive Him as well as see the image to which we are formed as a sign that we are His creation and hence possess the ability to recognize His perfect work. This infinite being allows individuals to be able to perceive ideas that are out of reach but the ideas are actually perfect and hence they must be from an excellent source. This also contradicts the thought that God can actually allow deception as the perfection in Him cannot accommodate any defects of deception. The idea that we can attain this form of perfection is an encouragement that the thoughts and ideas we perceive are actually real just that we do not possess the ability to either grasp these ideas or comprehend how the ideas actually came into existence.

It is transparent that the explanations depicted in meditation- to prove the existence of God have been strongly backed up and hence have managed to eliminate all the shortcoming and bias that may counter the argument that distinct and clear perceptions are accurate. Patterson notes that the inconsistencies that exist in making clear decisions are the source to which an idea is either defined as clear or inconsistent. This means that a decision that is deficient of inconsistencies can be ascertained to be clear and distinct despite the perception that it is not actually perceived as true. The infinite nature of God being appended to the argument on clear and distinct decisions allows individuals to focus on anything and derive any form of reality attached to the idea on a perfect being who is God. The second meditation seems to suggest that the existence of doubts is a confirmation that imaginations or ideas formed can be correct based on the fact that doubts allow us to filter what we believe. There would not exist any doubt if we did not imagine that something presented in doubt actually exists and hence this is a justification of the existence of these things. For instance, the doubt that light actually exists is presented by the idea that a contradicting phenomenon, darkness or absence of light actually exists.

Clear and distinct perceptions are not perceptions that actually exhibit reality but are perception whose basis can be explained on direct observation without extensive research into the idea. Comprehension on the nature of clear perception allows individuals to understand that for an idea to exist, then it must be derived from the perfect form of that idea. This does not infer that the idea should be homogenous from its fundamental or absolute way, but it should actually contain distinct elements of the original perfect form. One of the main ideas that emerge from an understanding of distinct and clear perceptions is that the influences that push the idea into existence should be robust enough even to go against our will or actually to be streamlined to what we would like to ascertain.

Distinct perceptions can then be defined as ideas that in their nature are complete and authentic based on the justifications appended to them. This means that whatever explanation is presented to support an idea makes it true and hence distinct so long as it is free from contradiction and also free from any inconsistencies. The argument that no such ideas exist can be defended by the fact that there are thoughts on perfect realities that are perceived by individuals despite the imperfect nature of individuals and the evolving character of the knowledge they possess. In order for a person to comprehend the explanation son distinct and clear perceptions, they must be able to focus their thoughts on the existence of an infinite God who is capable of extending their imagination beyond the finite existence. Clear and distinct perceptions cannot emerge from nature and impulsive will possessed by humans alone based on the evolving knowledge of nature, and the inability of individuals to claim their existence is from themselves. Clear and distinct perceptions can also be attributed to having no basis of the formation so long as they are able to be perceived by the individual despite other individuals understanding a similar idea in a different manner.


Patterson, S. (2016). Clear and Distinct Perception, Chapter 13.

The Philosophical Writings of Descartes: Third Meditation: The Existence of God. (2016), (Volume II).

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