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Transcript of Empiricism
collection of different perceptions. -David Hume All knowledge comes entirely from experience Opposed the notion of innate ideas Knowledge derives from sensory input was well as emotional responses and self-generated thought -relying solely on observation and experiment Only minds and the ideas they generate are real God is responsible for the introduction an dissemination of perceptions into the human brain Things we perceive do not exist outside the human mind People are minds that create their surroundings No matter how you look at it, it's all in your mind Direct Perception: sensory input of things
Indirect Perception: how they are interpreted by the mind We all exist in our own subjective realities with language being the only thing that can bridge the gap between isolated realities Language is the one common thing people share: aside from that, every person sees things differently and we are alone in that viewpoint God is the exception The Troika (1685-1753) (1711-1776) Scottish Philosopher Expanded on Locke and Hume Denied existence of the material substances of Locke and also denied Hume's world of ideas Rejected the existence of the individual self: You do not exist. Certainty is impossible "Reason can never show us the connexion of one object with another, tho' aided by experience, and the observation of their conjunction in all past instances. When the mind, therefore, passes from the idea or impression of one object to the idea or belief of another, it is not determined by reason, but by certain principles, which associate together the ideas of these objects and unite them in the imagination." Since he thought he didn't exist, but he felt obliged to pretend that he did, Hume wrote extensively on economics for the rest of his life. (1773-1843) German Philosopher Only what is sense-perceived can be known Principles of reason are immediately known in consciousness Human beings cannot know the supersensible (things-in-themselves) Humans are objects of faith that satisfy the demands of the heart Studied the actual processes by which one perceives, remembers and thinks Mental processes are never known except through their effects 'Tabula rasa' is Latin for "blank slate". The theory is that a baby is born with a void for a brain, and information is imprinted on the empty mind as the child is exposed to all manner of sensory experiences. The precursor of the debate: Empedocles and Anaxagoras
Empedocles: reality is the product of ever-recurring cycles of Love and Strife
The mind is made for the world
Shares the view of Nativistic Rationalist
Anaxagoras: "perception is by opposites"
The world has to impress itself upon us
Shares the view of British Empiricists Plato
Puts forth the doctrine if 'anamnesis' which holds that all learning is recollection
Everything we will ever learn is in us before we are taught; perception and inquiry remind us of what is innate in us
Argues that the notion of equality involved in perceiving a pair of sticks as equal could not have its source in experience
Plato argues that we have an innate grasp of equality Plato is 'Nativist', Aristotle is 'Empiricist' Aristotle
Our grasp of nature is based on perception, the process by which the form of things is conveyed to the mind Descartes
We not only see the world, but we also make sense of it
Exposes the gap between what the senses receive and what the mind knows and understands
We all have an abstract, non-sensory idea of a physical object, and our senses "fill-in" the object as we have experiences
The concept of innateness a background for most of Descartes work Leibniz
Defender of innateness
picture the mind as a block of marble, rather than a blank slate, whose veins are already marked out
Our experiences are always particulars, but our knowledge can be general
Rationality must rely on innate ideas and principles that allow us to grasp how things happen and also why they must happen that way
All thought an experience is innate Epistemology: the branch of philosophy devoted to studying the nature, sources, and limits of knowledge. Ask:
What is the nature of propositional knowledge, knowledge that a particular proposition about the world is true?
How can we gain knowledge?
What are the limits of our knowledge? Rationalism
Intuition/Deduction Thesis: some propositions are knowable to us by intuition alone and others are knowable by being deduced from intuited propositions
Innate Knowledge Thesis: some of our concepts are not gained from experience; a particular instance of knowledge can only be innate if the concepts that are contained in the known proposition are also innate
Indispensability of Reason Thesis: experience cannot provide what we gain from reason
Superiority of Reason Thesis: reason is superior to experience as a source of knowledge a priori: knowledge is gained independently of sense experience
a posteriori: knowledge is dependent on sense experience Empiricism
Empiricist Thesis: we have no source of knowledge other than sense experience
Reason alone cannot give us any knowledge at all
Rejects the Intuition/Deduction Thesis and the Innate Knowledge Thesis 'Essay Concerning Human Understanding' is the first major presentation of the empirical theory of knowledge that was to play an important role in British philosophy He first began to formulate his theory of knowledge in terms of considerations arising from medical research of the day Hoped to discover where our ideas and knowledge come from, what we are capable of knowing, and how certain knowledge actually is By knowing the "restrictions of the human mind," we could then restrict ourselves to dealing with only those things that we are actually capable of handling and become blissfully ignorant of the things beyond our capabilities We should find our abilities and operate within them The mind is a blank slate and all knowledge is from experience
Support: children need to acquire knowledge through the learning process We do have ideas! (An idea being defines as whatever is the object of the understanding when a man thinks) Experience comprises two sources of ideas: sensation and reflection
Sensation: provides us with ideas of qualities such as yellow, heat
Reflection: provides us with ideas such as thinking, willing, doubting
These two sources give us all the ideas that we possess As a child receives more ideas from sensation, and reflect on them, his knowledge gradually increases Ideas are either simple of complex
Simple: uncompounded (ex: the smell of a rose)
Complex: compounded, composed of two or more simple ideas (ex: yellow and fragrant idea)
The mind has the power to repeat, compare, and unite simple ideas to create complex ideas
The mind cannot invent simple ideas
Many are conveyed by one sense The quality of objects are divided into: primary and secondary
Primary: those that are inseparable from bodies no matter what state the object may be in
Secondary: the powers to produce various sensations in us by their primary qualities
Objects possess primary qualities and they possess secondary ones, which are actually the powers of the primary qualities to cause such features, which are not "in" the objects themselves
This distinction led Locke to argue that some ideas give us genuine information about reality, while others do not The Complex Idea of Substance
Originates from the fact that in our experiences, a great many simple ideas constantly occur together When we ask ourselves what idea we actually have of a substance, we find that our idea is only something which the constantly conjoined ideas belong to. When we try to find out what this something is, we discover that we do not know, except that we suppose it must be a something which can support or contain the qualities which can produce the collection of simple ideas in us. If we attempt to find out something more definite about the nature of the substance, we discover that we cannot. What do color and weight belong to? If we answer, to the extended solid parts, then to what do these belong? It is like that case of the Indian philosopher who said that the world is supported by a great elephant. When asked with supported the elephant, he replied that it rested on a great tortoise. And, when asked what the tortoise rested on, he conceded and said "I don't know." We possess no clear idea of substance, either in the case of physical things or of spiritual things Our ideas are real when they have a foundation in nature and when they conform to the real character of things
All simple ideas are real since they are the result of experiences and events
Not all ideas are adequate representations of what does exist
Primary qualities: real, adequate
Secondary qualities: real, partially represent the world
Substances: very inadequate Though we will learn things from experience, we will never know why they possess such characteristics Ideas may agree or disagree in four ways:
Identical or diverse
Related in some respects
Agree in coexisting in the same subject or substance
Having a real existence outside the mind All certain knowledge depends upon intuition and demonstration as a source of guarantees
Intuition as a source of knowledge: the direct and immediate perception of the agreement or disagreement of any two ideas We can never know enough to develop a genuine, certain science of bodies or of spirits, since our information about their existence and their natures is so extremely limited However! Since we can obtain sufficient knowledge and probable information to satisfy our needs in this world, we should not despair or become skeptical just because investigation has revealed how limited our knowledge actually is and how uncertain it is in many areas Locke provided the basic pattern of future empirical theory Works Cited
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Jerry, Samet. "The Historical Controversies Surrounding Innateness." (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). Standford University, n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2012.
Magill, Frank N. "An Essay Concerning Human Understanding." Masterpieces of World Philosophy in Summary Form. New York: Harper, 1961. 428-35. Print.
Mannion, James. "British Empiricism." Essentials of Philosophy: The Basic Concepts of the World's Greatest Thinkers. New York: Barnes & Noble, 2006. 81-86. Print.
Markie, Peter. "Rationalism vs. Empiricism." (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). Stanford University, n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2012.
Scott, Hughes. John Locke. Digital image. Online Philosophy Club. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Dec. 2012. In essence, Empiricism rejects the belief of innate ideas and states that all of our knowledge is from experience.