Reason and Experience

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  • Created by: Eleanor
  • Created on: 20-05-10 14:27

Reason and Experience

Empiricism - Ideas

  • We are born with our minds as a tabula rasa, or blank slate.
  • Knowledge is gained through experience
  • Our ideas are copies of sense impressions. Eg. we have ideas of white and cold which are from experience of snow.
  • We can have complex ideas, for example, gold mountain, which are from experience of two simple ideas; gold and mountain.


  • A priori knowledge - intuitive knowledge that we to, it is certain so we cannot imagine the contrary. It is necessary and analytic truth. For example, all bachelors are unmarried, this is true by definition and not about evidence.
  • A posteriori knowledge - known through experience and sense impressions. It can be doubted so we can imagine the opposite since it is a question of evidence. For example, there are 10 cars in the college car park; it is possible there are only 5 so we won't know for definite until we have experience of them


  • Not all of our ideas and knowledge can be


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