I'll be really glad when this quarter of philosophy is over. We are reading 17th century philosophers, and I'm really not appreciating the anti-atheist sentiment coming from so many of them. Berkeley was pretty bad, and consistently attacked atheists in the middle of his argument (whenever, it seemed to me, that his argument was most lacking). But Descartes does the same. Not in the texts themselves so much, but in the preface, and responses, rather than addressing the criticisms of atheists, he just lumps them into a group he describes as not sufficiently intelligent to warrant his attention, and moves on to the god-botherers (as PZ calls them) and their criticism. It seems to me that he isn't serious in proving the existence of god, but rather simply reasserting an assumption he already holds, and cloaking it in some kind of veneer of reason to make it seem sophisticated. Despite the fact that in the text, he actually argues that since we can't comprehend god, he must be real. He wants to claim he has a clear and distinct idea of god, and yet, he admits that he can't comprehend god. Oh, so let us assume for a moment that god himself can't violate the law of noncontradiction, but it's okay for Descartes to do so. *eye rolls* Leibniz (in my 18th century philosophy class) was crazy, and thoroughly depended on god for his argument, but at least he didn't bash the atheists quite so directly, quite so often.
Our exam is next week. I just gotta hold it together until then. Then we'll do Locke for a while and then back into the den of atheist haters.