Philosophy AS Reason and Experience. Basically everything!

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  • Created by: Dannie
  • Created on: 02-05-11 12:17

Key Terms

Empiricism - This is the belief that all knowledge comes from our sense experiences. Nothing is known prior to experience. Therefore there are no innate ideas and our mind is blank at birth.

Rationalism - They Believe that some knowledge comes through experience such as know how knowledge but they think that substantial new knowledge comes from reasoning, prior to experience and is innate.

Sense Data/Impressions/experiences - Data/Information that we pick up from our senses for example : Water is wet because you have felt it with your sense of touch. Sense data can also be representations of an object in our minds.

Propositional knowledge - This knowledge is a statement about the world which can be either true or false, e.g. 'All swans are white' this statement can either be true or false and this is the type of knowledge that philosophers are debating over.This knowledge must be justified.

Acquaintance Knowledge -  This is your knowledge of you knowing a place or person e.g. 'I know Victoria Park'. It is not you knowing any facts about the place or person, just the place or existence of it.

Know - How knowledge - This knowledge is the your capacity/ability for you to be able to engage in an activity. Most know-how knowledge is learned through experience like 'I know how to swim' but for human beings this is learnt through experience but certain animals instinctively know how to swim or are genetically programmed to do so.

A Priori - Knowledge/concepts/ideas that can be known prior to experience or can be justified without experience.

A Posteriori - Knowledge/concepts/ideas that are known after experience or can only be justified by sense experience.

Analytic Propositions - Propositions that are true or false by definition, the truth or falsity is known by the meaning of the words such as 'All sisters are female' we know this to be true because of the meaning of sister and female.

Synthetic Propositions - This is a statement, in which the truth or falsity depends on the factors influencing the statement rather than the meaning. For example 'My husband is called William' this might or might not be true, I might have dementia and forget the name of my husband on a regular basis and his real name is Bob.

Necessary truths - This is a statement that has to be true in all possible worlds. ' A triangle has three sides'  This has to be true in all worlds otherwise it wouldn't be a triangle.

Contingent Truths - This is a statement when in certain circumstances it may be false for example 'A cat has four legs', well what if a cat had an accident and incidentally had to have a leg removed, this would mean that it is still a cat but has only three legs. 

Inductive Arguments - Uses reasoning from experience to come to a conclusion. This may or may not be true. For example

  • Jenny brings home a pair of football


Rebecca Cane

This is fabulous! :D Thanks!!!

abby vella

this is amazing! thank you

laurie montague

jolly goood show governer


Thanks for this resource, it's been so helpful! 5 stars :D

Sammy Davis Jr

Very Helpful, thanks!

Gabby Tracey



You are a life saver thankyou so much

shaneka knight

given me hope i'll pass :)

Ibrahim Khan

Got my AS exam on Monday. This is really useful and explains everything very clearly. Thanks!

Amy Jo Turner

Great, thanks much!


Very impressive! This will save me!


i love you for this (not literally but you get me drift) i thought this was superb and it really helped me with my exam ;D

Thank you.

Amy Fallon

what about innate ideas?

Jade Craig

Amazing will definitely be using this to revise.

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