Empiricist vs. Rationalist

902 words 4 pages
Empiricist philosophers such as John Locke believe that knowledge must come from experience. Others philosophers such as Descartes believe that knowledge is innate; this way of thinking is used by rationalist. In this paper I will discuss the difference between Descartes rationalism in his essays "The Meditations" and Locke's empiricism in his essays "An Essay Concerning Human Understanding". I will then lend my understanding as to what I believe as the ultimate source of knowledge.

Locke discards the suggestion of innate ideas. Locke believes that if we always had innate ideas, it would be impossible for us not to perceive or be aware of them. He believes that if there were innate ideas then they would be universal ideas present
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He believes, and comes to the conclusion that having consciousness and awareness and the ability to think prove he exists (Descartes 81). The cogito shows that there is a boundary to doubt, and in order to doubt we must exist (Descartes 83). Descartes also concludes that even if God deceives us, we still must exist, and that we cannot be deceived about our existence. I believe that the ultimate source of knowledge comes from both rationalists and empiricists', meaning that knowledge does not come from experience alone but also from the senses. The German philosopher Immanuel Kant also believed that knowledge came from both the mind (reason) and our senses. We are always confronted with smells, colours and other sensations. Our senses perceive but there needs to be a mind with reason to assign the sensations to an object. The question of knowledge and where it comes from has been on the mind of many philosophers throughout the ages and is still on the mind of many today. Descartes believes that knowledge came from the mind alone making him a rationalist; Locke believed that knowledge came from experience alone making him an empiricist. I believe that knowledge comes from both the mind and experience. Our mind receives feelings and sensations from our senses and rearranges and reorganizes them into the objects that we see. Without the input of the senses,


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