innate ideas

  • Created by: Amy
  • Created on: 11-05-15 15:01

Innate Ideas

People who believe in innate ideas disagree with the tabula rasa. They claim some of our concepts and knowldege are discoverable without reference to experience- we are born with them.

Descartes The Meditations  - "I think therefore I am" cannot be doubted because it is so clear and disctinct. To remove the possibility of an evil demon, Descartes must prove God exists. He does this in his Trademark Argument

The Trademark Argument is based on the claim that the idea of God is innate using the casual principle - that the cause of anything must be at least as perfect as the effect. He concludes he cannot be the cause of his idea of God - a perfect being because Descartes himself is an imperfect being. Only a perfect being could have caused this idea, namely God who imprinted this idea on him at birth. 

Is the casual principle true?

Eg. light a bonfire with a match, cause an avalanche with a whisper, evolution - these are all examples of things that have less reality than what they are able to produce. Quantium physics = uncaused. 

Do we really have an idea of an infinite being?

Aquinas thinks not. We do not have the capacity to form the idea of such a being, he is just too great for us to understand. 

The concept of God is incoherent

And therefore imperfect eg. paradox the stone. This means the…


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