Document: Chris Gousmett, “Descartes’ Theory of Contingency”, ANAKAINOSIS, Vol. 6, No. 2 (1983).
Excerpt: “In 1630, Descartes wrote a letter to Mersenne in which he stated a doctrine which was to shock his contemporaries… It was so unorthodox and so contrary to the prevailing theological opinion that Descartes was reluctant to make it public. The doctrine is that God is the creator of eternal truths.” This doctrine of Descartes not only horrified his contemporaries, it continues to bring shudders to modern writers, including the author of the quote above. It has been passed over it seems by many commentaries on Descartes, but it is an interesting problem for which Descartes had a clear and consistent solution. His theory of eternal truths as dependent on the nature of God, and the nature of the world which was created by God, shows that eternal truths are dependent on God for their nature and existence, and that they are not purely arbitrary but consistent and immutable.
Download the Document:
Anakainosis – Vol. 6,_No. 2_- Descartes Theory of Contingency – C. Gousmett.pdf