Empiricism

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  • Created by: Amy
  • Created on: 12-05-12 17:28

Basics

  • Empiricists see the world through the experiences of our senses, with an emphasis on experimentation
  • A posteriori knowledge - after experience
  • John Locke - tabula rasa, we experience the world we acquire ideas, which we may then reflect upon
  • Hume - once we have experienced simple ideas, we can combine them with other ideas to make complex ideas.  in this way we can know of things that we have not directly experienced (unicorns, Golden Mountain)
  • Hume - deductive reasoning it the route to all knowledge (BUT actually very limited - see other cards )
  • Rationalism is find when considering maths, logic and geomerty, but knowledge of the world requires a different form of reasoning
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Hume believed that you must experience a particular impression before you can have the corresponsing idea. "every idea.. is copied from a similar impression".

e.g. Indexicals - you have gone snowboarding, therefore you know what it's going to be like next time

Simple + complex ideas:

Snakes + woman = Medusa

horn + horse = Unicorn

" A blind man can form no notion of colours; a deaf man of sounds"

"Golden Mountain" - all imagination consists of in is the manipulation of ideas which are themselves ulitimately derived from sense impressions.

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Criticism - Leibniz

In response to Locke's 'blank slate' theory, Leibniz claimed it was more like a slab of marble. Marble has faint veins running through it, which when rubbed becomes more pronounced. 

He relates this to the mind, we do not have innate knowledge as we perceive the world, but we are merely rubbing away at information which already exists in our mind and just needs nurturing

This fits in with recent developments concerning language - Chomsky's view that we are born with innate basic rules for linguistic structure.

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