EMPIRICISM & LOCKE (mod. 2)
Terms in this set (14)
A focus on the importance of having experience in acquiring knowledge.
>knowledge is based on experience
Empiricism Vs. Rationalism
(Rationalism-the belief that reason and logic are the primary sources of knowledge and truth and should be relied on in searching for and testing the truth of things)
> A solid rationalist truth = two parallel lines never cross
-the truth of this statement is in the meaning of the words
>Empiricist truth = the cat is on the mat
-evidence is available to everybody
*you can know what mat and cat means but you need to use observation to know if the sentence is true (have to see cat on the mat)
John Locke (1632-1704)
-wants to influence scientific thought
A. Life facts: -father of British empiricism
B. Father of American political theory- we can use our brains to figure out a better society
>Influences Jefferson, Adams and Madison on the notion of the government's role in protecting the rights of citizens (influences Declaration of Independence)
An Essay Concerning Human Understanding:
wanted to define knowledge as it is limited by experience
A "tabula rasa"
Empiricists' model of the mind:
>A "tabula rasa": the model of the mind as a blank slate with nothing written on it
How does the mind gain content?
1. Sensation (direct experience)
2. Reflection upon the mind's own operations (combine sensations, organize sensations)
>experience and thinking
Locke classifies ideas
1. Simple ideas
-Colors, sounds, tastes, pleasure and pain (mix of sensation and reflection) etc
-You have to have these - they cannot be put into worlds
2. Complex ideas
-Composites of simple ideas
- Apples, 'larger than,' emotional states such as reverence
>For the moderns after Descartes, the mind has ideas
Three criterion for ideas
>self evidence: prove the ball is blue (what is the evidence) it is self evident that the ball is blue
>givingness: it is given to you in experience, you do not choose to see the ball is blue, it just is blue
>immediacy: need to be able to experience, cannot put into words what blue is in a book for a blind person to understand the nature of blue
>psychology modeled after physics...mechanistic
>a search for the rules whereby simple ideas are combined into complex ideas and complex ideas are combined to create the mind.
>This sets up an empiricist paradigm: understanding how ideas are combined
Ex: law of contiguity or similarity
Locke and representationalism.
(the copy theory of knowledge)
>there are ideas standing between the mind and the exterior world
>The mind has direct access to ideas. Ideas represent objects out there in the world.
Note: the subject-object split of Descartes
>How can you know that your ideas are a correct representation of the world as it really is: empiricists say you can never know for sure if they are (important root of skepticism)
Theory of perception
>Is your shirt really red, white and blue? If you say yes, you are a naive realist.
>Is your shirt red white and blue for your dog?
He also has a theory of perception called the Causal Theory of Perception
-aspects of objects that produce ideas
-quality that produces in us an idea that is equal to reality
-Examples: solidity, motion, shape, extension, mass (physical reality)
-divide a grain of wheat, divide it again. No matter how many times it is divided, you will always have a mass, shape etc.
*Note: this is what physicist study (the physical nature of the world)
-Produce ideas but the ideas exist in us as much as they do in objects, have a psychological and physical reality
-Examples: color, sound, temperature and taste
-The paradox of the basins: is the temperature in the basin or is the temperature in you?
-red white and blue shirt: color is secondary because vision is a manifestation of the mind (idea in the mind)
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