Philosophy Epistemology

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Courtney D’Andrea
Philosophy 1100
Professor Magrini
Final Paper
Epistemology
Epistemology is one of the very important branches of philosophy. It is also known as the knowledge theory. The knowledge theory consists of three questions; “What is the origin of knowledge? What is the reliability of knowledge? & What is the criteria of knowledge?” Rene Descartes and John Locke really looked into epistemology and both had different theories to approach it. John Locke looked at empiricism and Rene Descartes looked at rationalism.

John Locke was an English philosopher and formed his opinion around empiricism. Empiricism is an approach to doing philosophy stressing experience as the in road to all knowledge. The human being is a blank slate to him. Locke was a moderate skeptic, who doubted until valid proof was given to substantiate truth claims of a demonstrative and sensitive nature. The foundations of knowledge functioned in the following manner according to Locke. The human being takes in the external world through sensation (the five senses) and gives form to the experiential data through the processes of reflection. To Locke, intuitive knowledge is the most trustworthy because we automatically recognize the agreement or disagreement of ideas without the intervention of a “proof”. His criterion of knowledge depended on the force and intensity with which someone perceives either agreement or disagreement between ideas. So for example, we know that 2+3=5. We also know that 2+3 does not equal 7. Locke, unlike Descartes, argues against innate ideas. However, Locke believes that we are all born with the ability to acquire knowledge through the organization of sensate data by the cognitive capacities and capabilities we possess at birth, which are innate to the human.

Descartes had a different view of epistemology. He argued for rationalism. Rationalism is an approach to philosophy that employs “pure reason” to acquire instances of fundamental truth....
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