The Cartesian evil demon and the impossibility of the monstrous lie




In this paper, I address the issue of whether the evil demon could have caused the idea of God. In order to determine the capabilities of the evil demon, I perform a thought experiment in which I reaffirm the conclusion that an imperfect being could have never caused an idea of perfection and infinitude, i.e., the idea of God. The article is divided into five sections and a conclusion. While the first section is introductory, the second looks at the problem of God and knowledge certainty. Elucidating how reality is gradual according to Descartes, in the third section I address the distinction between objective, formal and eminent reality. In turn, in the fourth section, I argue that if the objective reality of God exists, that is, an idea of perfection, the imperfect evil demon could have never caused it. The last section examines the reverse argument of the fourth section, viz, whether God could have caused the existence of evil and imperfection.

Keywords: God, evil demon, imperfection.

Author Biography

Rodrigo Alfonso González, Universidad de Chile, Chile

Professor Assistant at Faculty of Philosophy and Humanities of the Universidad de Chile