B) Foundational debates in epistemology 

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  • Foundational debates in epistemology
    • Rationalism
      • The view that all knowledge starts with the mind and is derived from reason not the senses.
      • All knowledge starts with the mind.
      • Truth = intellectual not sensory.
      • Descartes
        • Represents the starting point of modern philosophy.
        • 'Of what can I be certain?'
        • 1. Method of systematic doubt- couldn't doubt his own senses.
        • 2. Senses can be deceived and you can't always trust your own logic.
        • 3. If he doubted, he was there to doubt; therefore he must exist.
          • 'Cogito ergo sum'
          • Couldn't doubt even his own body, but while doubting, he could not deny himself as a thinking being.
      • All knowledge is a priori, prior to sense experience and innate.
        • We know innately that events have causes, that we exit in time etc...
      • Spinoza
        • A  radical Jewish thinker who argued that God was the only absolute substance.
        • For Spinoza the reality of the world, as known to reason, is very different from the appearance of the world.
      • Leibniz
        • Opposite to Spinoza,
        • Takes a view about particulars and wholes.
        • The world is divided between mental things and physical or material things according to Leibniz.
          • The difference between them is that physical things can be divided into its constituent parts, and these can be subdivided again and again.
    • Empiricism
      • All knowledge starts with the senses.
      • The view that all knowledge starts with the senses- the mind is initially 'tabula rasa'.
      • All knowledge is a posteriori.
      • Knowledge comes inductively, through linked sense-perceptions.
        • We experience the effect of something and then reason out the cause.
      • Bacon
      • Locke
      • Berkely
      • Hume
      • Aristotle
    • Epistemology
      • The Theory of Knowledge.
      • Within epistemology, there is a fundamental issue about whether our knowledge originates in, and is therefore dependent upon, the data we receive through our senses or...
        • …whether the only true certainties are those that come from our own minds-from the way in which we think and organise our experience, from the principles of reason and logic.


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