Date of Degree

6-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Program

Liberal Studies

Advisor

Douglas Lackey

Subject Categories

Medieval History | Philosophy | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion

Keywords

divine omnipotence, eternal laws, eternal truths, God's power, laws of nature, modes

Abstract

The present thesis explores various aspects of Rene Descartes' doctrine of divine omnipotence within the context of his overall philosophy and with reference to his medieval heritage. This thesis shows that, contrary to his multiple and explicit statements that God's power cannot be limited in any way, Descartes took a more nuanced position on divine omnipotence that incorporated aspects of the widely accepted medieval position that God's goodness is a constraint on his power. Furthermore, Descartes used the medieval concept of universals as he experimented with the use of modes to explain how a thing's actual existence is possible by virtue of its ability to be clearly conceived.

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