Philosophy Essay

1784 words - 8 pages

PHI130 Mind, Meaning, and Metaphysics DALILE, Boushra

Rationalism vs. Empiricism: A Deficient Distinction
Epistemology is the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and scope of knowledge. It explores how knowledge can be acquired and considers its limits and validity. Rationalism and empiricism are distinct epistemological schools of thought. Among others, they differ significantly regarding the source of concepts and ideas. Prominent rationalists, including Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz, argue that one must rely on reason as a purely deductive process to attain justified truths about reality (Cottingham 1988). In contrast, empiricists, including Locke, Berkeley and Hume, argue ...view middle of the document...

Arithmetic, geometry and logic notably fall into rational deduction. The knowledge attained in such disciplines is beyond the slightest doubt – it is unchanging, eternal and certain. Empiricists, on the other hand, claim that our knowledge concerning a certain subject matter is a posteriori, that is, dependent on experience (Cottingham 1988). They recognise sense data as necessary to trigger thinking and understanding of the world. Empiricists argue that, to undermine false claims to knowledge, any expectation or belief cannot be classed as knowledge unless tested by experience (Murphy 2012). It follows from this statement

PHI130 Mind, Meaning, and Metaphysics DALILE, Boushra

that empiricism significantly influences the scientific method, in which systematic pursuit of knowledge involves observation, hypothesis formulation, and empirical testing (Hewitt 2008). Physics, chemistry, and biology are notably established on empirical basis. Although empiricists may declare that sense experience cannot give us knowledge for some areas of enquiry, the central claim remains that experience is the only source from which knowledge can be gained, if at all (Markie 2013). As shown, rationalism and empiricism are clearly distinct branches of epistemology. Rationalism indeed contributes to our understanding of the world. René Descartes, a prominent modern philosopher, demonstrated rationalism in his work. In his Second Meditations, Descartes arrived at two influential conclusions through pure intellectual perception. The first, which is widely thought of as the first item of knowledge and famously phrased as "I think therefore I am", implies his conviction of his existence (Descartes 1641/1962). He reached this initial truth by abandoning all of his beliefs that hold the slightest possibility of being false. Descartes then contended that he is a "thinking thing" (Descartes 1641/1962, p. 33); he reasoned that so long as he is consciously thinking – doubting, understanding, willing, and imagining – he cannot doubt his existence (Descartes 1641/1962). This claim refutes his strongest sceptical argument of the evil demon. Descartes concludes that he has to be something if he is conscious about it, and that even if a demon is deceiving him, it follows that he cannot be nothing (Descartes 1641/1962). His knowledge of his existence is certain. His second conclusion further illuminates our innate "light of reason", and how "leading the mind away from the senses" helps us attain truths rather than opinions (Cottingham 1988, p.4). In his wax argument, he explains how a piece is fresh, sweet and odorous with a certain figure and colour, and how, as it melts, its size increases, its smell evaporates and its colour changes. The wax's physical attributes have changed, and the senses alone could have deceived us into assuming that it is a different object we are dealing with. However, our conviction that the final piece of wax is the same as the initial one is a...

Other Papers Like Philosophy

Philosophy Essay

2205 words - 9 pages Philosophy of Education (Example #1) My personal goal for my future classroom is to challenge students and watch them grow to their full potential. I want to take students at different levels and see them develop together for the betterment of each individual. Therefore, group work is the key to having a successful class and is something I value, especially with older students. The impact of group work, when students help fellow

Philosophy Essay

1269 words - 6 pages natural object and man-made artifacts. Here, Paley argued for the existence of God based on an analogy between the universe and a machine. Paley’s proof for the existence of God begins with what we can readily observe in the sensible world of natural phenomena. More specifically, his own version of the teleological argument makes use of an analogy or comparison. In the history of religious philosophy, there is one very distinctive approach to

Philosophy

1643 words - 7 pages PHILMAN PRELIM Lesson 3: Greek Wisdom of Man The Greek Triumvirate The Greek Triumvirate of philosophy is known for having a chain of teacher-student relationship. Socrates was the teacher of Plato; Plato was the teacher of Aristotle; and Aristotle was the teacher of one of history’s greatest conqueror – Alexander, the Great. The Greek Triumvirate & the Three Oriental Sages * Although the teachings of the Three Oriental Sages and

Philosophy - 552 words

552 words - 3 pages a God that knows better than us. The thing is good to the degree that it fulfills its purposes. Because God is the creator of all things, according to His own good nature, He is therefore both the standard and declarer of goodness. Work Cited Rachels, James. The Elements of Moral Philosophy. 4th ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2003. Print.

Philosophy - 719 words

719 words - 3 pages Philosophy: A Modern Age As I look around me at my peers I notice a lack of drive. Many people comment on the degrading of dress, and of behavior, that the new generation is without manner, or class. They attribute this to modern media and a divergent from hard-set traditions. I however disagree; I believe that it is a lack of determination, a lack of goals, and a lack of reward. In the past the American dream has driven people to do great

Philosophy - 731 words

731 words - 3 pages Philosophy of the Human Spring Term 2012 Prof. Meyer Suggested Paper Topics Write a 5-7 page paper double spaced with one inch margins in Times font on one of the following questions, or a topic of your own design. Papers are due by April 30 at midnight for electronic submission. Temple plagiarism policies apply to this assignment. 1. What does Sartre mean by existentialism, and how does an individual's freedom to act in the

Philosophy - 818 words

818 words - 4 pages programs back into balance (Kurtzleben 1). The pending financial problem of Social Security brings into mind the philosophy of John Stuart Mill. Mill clearly endorses the concept of utilitarianism that asserts that duty or right action is to be defined in terms of the promotion of happiness. One of the main principles of Mill centers on the idea of “greatest-happiness” which asserts that an individual must always act in such a way that the action

Philosophy - 1311 words

1311 words - 6 pages Rita Jackson Professor Smythe Philosophy 1000-01 April 4, 2010 The welfare state offers the solution that we can have the best of both worlds (Smythe). It attempts to provide a happy mean between capitalism and socialism by guaranteeing all citizens the resources needed for a decent life (Nathanson). Nathanson believes this is what constitutes the welfare state. First, it maximizes well-being by providing all with sufficient funds

Philosophy - 1181 words

1181 words - 5 pages | | |Is God required as the basis for Ethical Justification | |Philosophy 116

Philosophy - 1199 words

1199 words - 5 pages : McGraw-Hill Companies References Christian, J.L. (2009). Philosophy: An Introduction to the Art of Wondering. Tenth Ed. Retrieved July 14, 2013 from Wadsworth Cengage Learning Milton, L. (2013).  Phil320 Ethics: The Hallmark of Leaders At all Levels. Retrieved July 8, 2013 from http://ctuadobeconnect.careeredonline.com/Live Chat II

Philosophy - 2927 words

2927 words - 12 pages Philosophy Critically assess the claim that all religious language is meaningless. (35) Religious language has been argued about by many philosophers with regards to whether or not the ways in which we speak about religion are meaningful. This issue of religious language is concerned with the methods by which man talks about God in conjunction with theist or atheist ideologies. For some, religious language is meaningful and full of purpose

Related Essays

Philosophy Essay 897 Words

897 words - 4 pages ! Cirillo - Thinking about Philosophy ! The word philosophy refers to both a discipline and a mindset. At its essence, philosophy implies the mindset of critical thinking, a quest to find out the truth and the discipline to have a good argument. Derived from the Greek words Philos - loving and Sophia - meaning wisdom and the the love of wisdom. Philosophy can be broken down into many categories. Included in theses subsets are

Philosophy Essay 556 Words

556 words - 3 pages Everyone seems to have a philosophy on life – what would be the point of living everyday without some absolute, underlying purpose to existence? When there is an unknown in life, man manifests a comfort for the sole purpose of security. This has been true throughout time whether it be philosophies about nature, religion, etc. The fact is that we do not like having unknowns in our life; we don’t like having variables. Man has been engaged in

Philosophy Essay 1487 Words

1487 words - 6 pages an American Philosopher, who focused on philosophy in the field of moral theories. She is a distinguished Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago. Her interests include the ancient Greek, ethics, political philosophy, Roman philosophy, feminism and animal rights. Her works include various books either as an author or an editor. Carl Safina is a philosopher who explored the inner feelings of the animals in his book Beyond Words

Philosophy Essay 1337 Words

1337 words - 6 pages Lexi Fatheree KINE 1311 Doctor Ballard 24 September 2014 Philosophy Paper Introductioin: Who am I? Well I am still trying to figure that out myself. I am only nineteen and there are so many things that I have yet to experience. There are so many people that I have yet to meet. But I am taking things day by day, one at a time. I have thought long and hard as to what my philosophy on life is. And that philosophy is “Never Be Satisfied