Thursday, January 9, 2020

Essay on Rationalism vs. Empiricism The Argument for...

There are two main schools of thought, or methods, in regards to the subject of epistemology: rationalism and empiricism. These two, very different, schools of thought attempt to answer the philosophical question of how knowledge is acquired. While rationalists believe that this process occurs solely in our minds, empiricists argue that it is, instead, through sensory experience. After reading and understanding each argument it is clear that empiricism is the most relative explanatory position in epistemology. To begin with the question of rationalism versus empiricism, it is important to understand, first, what it is that rationalists argue. This school of thought infers that all knowledge comes from within, an innate source that†¦show more content†¦Ultimately, Descartes radical doubt challenges how we look at the mind and how it represents us with information and knowledge. He uses his radical doubt theory to explain how the information that we receive through our senses is distorted and can not be utilized as a means of knowledge. Essentially, Descartes is questioning reality and the risk of deception that it poses in the process of acquiring knowledge. Although Descartes makes a valid argument in regards to the nature of reality, there is a huge discrepancy with his theory of radical doubt in regards to epistemology; how can there be a question of reality at all when all knowledge is, according to rationalists, innate? Empiricism, in contrast, argue that the rationalists idea that all knowledge is present at birth, from such an innate source, is invalid . Instead, they argue that knowledge is attained through sensory experience. Empiricists also find problems with the rationalists mathematical and logical model of knowledge. They argue that these claims, as well as their stand-point on absolute truths, do not provide us with any new, viable, information alone. The problem with this is that rationalism can only provide us with information that is already known. Unlike rationalists, empiricists rely on synthetic statements. A synthetic statement

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