Philosophy Reason and Experience Mock

Topics: Tabula rasa, Rationalism, René Descartes Pages: 1 (275 words) Published: May 6, 2013
‘At birth the mind is a tabula rasa’ Discuss. (30marks)
A tabula rasa is an expression supported by Empiricists, it means that at birth our minds are a blank piece slate, a blank piece of paper in which our sense experience is the scribe. It supports the idea that there are no innate idea’s/concepts or knowledge. John Locke is an Empiricist and a firm believer, he disagrees that we have any a priori/innate ideas or knowledge. Rene Descartes , a Rationalist philosopher disagrees with this view and believes that we have some innate knowledge, the knowledge that God exists. Descartes believes that the idea of God is innate and it present knowledge at birth. He says that only a being as perfect as God could of put the idea of God in his head. However, Locke argues against this as he says innate knowledge would have to be universal and not everybody, especially different cultures don’t even know who God is and do not have the concept of him. Locke believes there are is no innate knowledge therefore meaning there cannot be any innate ideas Plato is also a Rationalist and believes we have innate knowledge. He uses ‘evidence’ of Meno, where Socrates and a slave boy who was completely un-educated worked through the math Pythagoras theorem and the boy was able to complete this. However, there are problems with this argument such as the fact the boy was able to complete this through logical reasoning, the knowledge was ‘forced’ out of the boy by leading questions from Socrates. The boy used his personal characteristic of reasoning to complete the mathematical questions
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