Essay On Rationalism And Empiricism

One might claim, for example, that we can gain knowledge in a particular area by a form of Divine revelation or insight that is a product of neither reason nor sense experience.In short, when used carelessly, the labels ‘rationalist’ and ‘empiricist,’ as well as the slogan that is the title of this essay, ‘Rationalism vs.Major empiricists (e.g., Hume 1739–40) have rejected the theories as either speculation, beyond what we can learn from experience, or nonsensical attempts to describe aspects of the world beyond the concepts experience can provide.

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Empiricism about a particular subject rejects the corresponding version of the Intuition/Deduction thesis and Innate Knowledge thesis.

Insofar as we have knowledge in the subject, our knowledge is a posteriori, dependent upon sense experience. The Empiricism thesis does not entail that we have empirical knowledge.

It entails that knowledge can only be gained, if at all, by experience.

Empiricists may assert, as some do for some subjects, that the rationalists are correct to claim that experience cannot give us knowledge.

A full-fledged rationalist with regard to our knowledge of the external world holds that some external world truths can and must be known a priori, that some of the ideas required for that knowledge are and must be innate, and that this knowledge is superior to any that experience could ever provide.

Essay On Rationalism And Empiricism Executive Summary Research Paper

The full-fledged empiricist about our knowledge of the external world replies that, when it comes to the nature of the world beyond our own minds, experience is our sole source of information.

Reason might inform us of the relations among our ideas, but those ideas themselves can only be gained, and any truths about the external reality they represent can only be known, on the basis of sense experience.

This debate concerning our knowledge of the external world will generally be our main focus in what follows.

The conclusion they draw from this rationalist lesson is that we do not know at all.

Rationalism and empiricism, so relativized, need not conflict.


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