Hobbes and Arnaud’s Replies to Descartes’ Meditations


Rene Descartes was a thinker who was best known for his contribution in the field of philosophy. In Meditations, Descartes focuses on epistemic and metaphysical matters (Moriarty 13). Through this, he shed more light on the existence, mind, and answers about God. In the article, Descartes asserts that as a child, he had conformed to false beliefs. As he grew up, he had to eliminate all the false beliefs for him to be knowledgeable. In Meditations, Descartes questions the existence of God as a supreme being. The article asserts that after Descartes tried to eliminate his thoughts and feelings, he wondered whether God was deceiving him (Moriarty 15). He argues that though his questions were unanswered, he still had no reason to doubt the existence of God. According to him, God was a perfect being; hence he would not deceive him. Therefore, he accredited the realities of perfection to God. As such, he believed that our innate ideas of perfectionism were attributed to God. In this article, the objections from Hobbes and Arnaud to Descartes’ meditation are analyzed to determine the most effective response. Similarly, the paper seeks to confirm that Descartes provided adequate replies to the objections.

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Arnaud’s objections

Unlike Hobbes, Arnaud shares the same opinion with Descartes that God was not brought into being by anyone but by himself (Ariew & Donald 116). However, he disagrees with Descartes’ belief that God exists in a similar affiliation to himself as a competent source. He argues that some humans perceive God as a created deity simply because they commit mistakes of categorizing him with the same things he made. In his reply, Descartes maintains that Arnaud’s arguments were in agreement with his theories. As such, Descartes asserts that the phrase Cause of himself should not be perceived as a perfect cause. Instead, he believes that the phrase should be perceived as a subject of the infinite authority of God as the source of the reason why he needs no source. In his reply, Descartes argues that his remarks on why God is his own competent source should be taken loosely. He maintains that the origin of God should not be traced back to God himself. However, he warns that the above statement does not imply that God is the creator himself. The above illustrations indicate that Descartes’s reply to the objection was adequate and based on logic.

In the continuation of his objections, Arnaud questions whether Descartes gave a wrong circle when he postulated that humans have no reason to question what they obviously and definitely recognize as accurate then that God is real (Ariew & Donald 123). He believes that humans are sure that God is natural since they obviously and definitely recognize this fact. Based on this, he challenges humans to be convinced that what they perceive is valid before they are sure that God is real. In his reply, Descartes asserts that humans perceive God as accurate because they evidently remember God having produced a confirmation in their pasts. Through this, he argues that the consistency of human recollections is made possible by God’s existence. I believe that this reply is adequate to the above objection as it addresses the issue questioned by Arnaud. Similarly, the above answer was based on logical and rational arguments.

Hobbes’ objections

Based on my analysis, I found out that Hobbes’s objections were more appealing than Arnaud’s protests. Unlike Arnaud, Hobbes was more comprehensive in his point of view and argued based on logical and logical grounds. In his objection to Meditation IV, Hobbes argues that things do not change possess essence, which we can realize through the intelligence or our senses. He asserts that the world is made up of objects that should be categorized as natural. He believes that humans have the power to classify objects in their settings. Through this, it is apparent that Hobbes’ position was founded on nominalism. Based on this concept, meaning does not identify itself with the essence of the things associated with a word. Instead, a definition illustrates a suitable means of categorizing objects. In this argument, Hobbes asserts that reports should be founded on the manner in that we opt to apply our words and not on the fundamental nature of objects.

In his reply to the above objection, Descartes maintained that definitions should always be related to the essence of objects they describe. He believes that if the above could not hold, two individuals from different languages could find it challenging to communicate with one another. For instance, he asserts that the fact that two individuals from other languages can refer to an object using different words does not imply that the two persons perceive the properties of the object differently. As such, this reply is adequate for the above objection because it disapproves of Hobbes’ claims using real life examples.

In the fifth objection, Hobbes argues that humans cannot provide evidence of the existence of God based on their understanding of him (Ariew & Donald 113). Contrary to Descartes’ view, Hobbes believes that God is unimaginable to humans. He supposes that humans believe that God exists by way of thinking based on their historical experiences. To him, each result has a source that is the result of some additional sources. Thus, he believes that there exists an endless initial conception, which initiated the casual series into existence. He believes that this source is what humans refer to as God. In the sixth objection, Hobbes focuses on the soul. Through this, he challenges a dissimilar case of rationalist hypotheses on the source of thoughts and validation of attitudes. He asserts that humans do possess an inherent reflection of themselves, and that is the reason they should be labeled as thinking objects. As such, humans hypothesize the being of a self to clarify the fact that they believe to be factual based on their historical experiences. In his response to this objection, Descartes confesses that he does not envisage God as an existing deity but rather understands him through his personality. He maintains that based on his understanding, God is everlasting, kind, omniscient, and supreme. Just in the previous reply, this reply was adequately addressed because our contemporary thoughts about God are not pictured but are based on our understanding of him. As Descartes replied, I believe that if humans had no concept and knowledge about God, they would not be able to come up with realistic claims about his character and existence.

Objection IX asserts that humans do not have an inherent notion of substance because they cannot have an intrinsic idea of God and soul (Ariew & Donald 115). In his arguments, he questions what it implies to assert that an entity or concept has more authenticity than others do. In general, the challenges Descartes’ notion and alleges that an entity can be either valid or not. Descartes replies to the above objection using the concept of substance. He asserts that structures rely on the matter of which they have formed and not vice versa. For instance, the form of a small table will never come into existence in the deficiency of value used in creating it. However, the matter can subsist without being molded in the form of a small table. Through this, he implied that the existence of God, soul, and man could not be doubted as stated by Hobbes. I believe that this reply is adequate to the above objection as it addresses the issue questioned by Hobbes.

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Based on the above analysis, it is apparent that Hobbes’ objections were more appealing than Arnaud’s protest. Unlike Arnaud’s complaints, Hobbes’s objections were more comprehensive and were argued based on logical grounds. Although Hobbes’ objections were aimed at disapproving Descartes’ thoughts, it should be noted that they were argued out rationally. Thus, it leaves no doubt in the reader’s mind that Hobbes understood the subject he was objecting to. On the other hand, Arnaud’s objections seemed to be confirming Descartes’ arguments rather than disapproving them. In this regard, I consider Hobbes’ objections as more appealing than Arnaud’s protests.

As indicated in the article, Descartes’ replies to the objections were adequate. As such, they addressed the subject in question. Through this, Descartes manages to convince the readers that his arguments were right. Similarly, his replies were based on logical and rational arguments.

Works Cited

Ariew, Roger, and Donald A. Cress. Meditations, objections, and replies. Indianapolis, IN Hackett Pub., 2006. Print.

Moriarty, Mike. Meditations on first philosophy with selections from the Objections and replies. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008. Print.

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1. StudyCorgi. "Hobbes and Arnaud’s Replies to Descartes’ Meditations." March 16, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/hobbes-and-arnauds-replies-to-descartes-meditations/.


StudyCorgi. "Hobbes and Arnaud’s Replies to Descartes’ Meditations." March 16, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/hobbes-and-arnauds-replies-to-descartes-meditations/.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Hobbes and Arnaud’s Replies to Descartes’ Meditations." March 16, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/hobbes-and-arnauds-replies-to-descartes-meditations/.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Hobbes and Arnaud’s Replies to Descartes’ Meditations'. 16 March.

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