Concept Empiricism


Concept Empiricism

1. The mind at birth is a tabula rasa (a blank slate)

2. This means that there are no innate ideas

3. All ideas/concepts are traceable back to experience

4. Any idea that cannot be traced to an experience can be dismissed and are meaningless (e.g. God and the self)

5. Experience takes the form of simple (red, round, simple, squishy, shiny) and complex (tomato) impressions

6. These, in turn, give us simple and complex ideas

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  • You cannot imagine a new colour
  • Cannot imagine a blue donkey unless previously experiencing the colour blue and the idea of a donkey
  • Gold mountains
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Difference betwen an impression and an idea

  • An impression is an experience
  • An idea is a concept
  • Experience therefore gives us simple impressions: pale, pink, squishy, soft, velvety
    And complex impressions: a marshmallow
  • Simple ideas: paleness, pinkness, squishyness, softness, velvetyness
    Complex ideas: concept of a marshmallow 
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