Trademark argument

Trademark argument

The trademark argument is an a priori argument for the existence of God developed by French philosopher and mathematician, René Descartes. The argument, though similar to the ontological argument, differs in some respects, since it seeks to prove the existence of God through the causal adequacy principle (CAP) as opposed to analysing the definition of the word God.

:cquote| [S] ince I am a thinking thing, and have in me an idea of God, whatever finally the cause may be to which my nature is attributed, it must necessarily be admitted that the cause must equally be a thinking thing, and possess within it the idea of all the perfections that I attribute to the divine nature.|15px|15px|René Descartes|Meditations on First PhilosophyThe trademark argument can be analysed as composed of two parts as follows:

Part 1:

*P1. I have an idea of God.

*P2. All ideas are either innate, sensory, or artificial.

*P3. The idea of God is not sensory.

*P4. The idea of God is not artificial.

*C. The idea of God is innate.

Part 2:

*P1. I have an innate idea of God.

*P2. Whatever exists has an adequate cause.

*P3. The only possible cause for my idea of God is God.

*C. God exists.

Criticisms of the Trademark Argument

*The CAP compares the cause of ideas to the cause of objects, but, whereas objects often have straightforward causes, ideas do not.
* The CAP suggests a strong link between the cause of an object and its effect, but
**The ingredients of a strong bridge do not themselves contain strength.
**Sponge cake has many properties not present in the ingredients (e.g. sponginess)
*David Hume – The idea of God could be arrived at by considering qualities within oneself (wisdom, strength, goodness..) and magnifying them.
*Knowledge of God is not innate – it is taught to us. Descartes is wrong to compare it to knowledge of self. David Hume – All ideas come from impressions.
*If God is an innate idea, it is not clear why not everyone has one.

ee also

*Conflict thesis
*Cartesian Circle
*Age of Enlightenment
*Faith and rationality


* René Descartes - "Meditations and Other Metaphysical Writings"
* Hamilton - "Understanding Philosophy"
* []
* [ Barton University]
* []

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