Reason and Experience

A Summary of the terms/definitions that you need to know for Unit 1 Philosophy AQA Specification for the Reason and Experience Section.

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  • Created by: Sarah
  • Created on: 12-05-12 17:14

Rationalism/Innate Ideas

The following terms typically, although not always (as Kant's synthetic apriori conceptual schemes show), refer to Rationalism and/or Innate Ideas

A priori truths are known through reason and are justified independently of experience; they are known "sitting in your armchair". E.g. the cogito and "an object cannot be both green and red all over at the same time"

Analytic truths are known by analysing the terms involved, they are true by definition and are true in virture of the meaning of the terms employed. E.g. "All Bachelors are unmarried men"

Neccessary truths are where a denial of them will involve a self contradiction as they are possible in all worlds, the opposite of them is impossible. E.g. "It will snow or it will not snow"

Deductive Arguments are where the content of the conclusion is contained in the predicates of the argument. E.g. "Timmy is a cat. Cats are mammals. Therefore, Timmy is a mammal"

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Empiricism/Tabula Rasa

A posteriori truths are known by and are justified by experience via the senses, by "getting up and out of your armchair" E.g. "I know that snow is white because I have seen it"

Synthetic truths reveal something new, and substantive about the world, they are not known simply by analysing the terms involved. E.g. "Some bachelors are bald"

Contingent truths are where the opposite is possible, where the truth can be negated without a self contradiction E.g. "Bachelors are less healthy than unmarried men"

Inductive Arguments are where the content of the conclusion is not contained in true predicates of the argument, the general conclusion is formed through inference from particular instances E.g. "Night followed day yesterday so night will follow day today"

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hope this is helpful!



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