‘Without a pre-determined conceptual scheme our sense impressions would be unintelligible

Topics: Immanuel Kant, Empiricism, Rationalism Pages: 3 (994 words) Published: December 5, 2013
‘Without a pre-determined conceptual scheme our sense impressions would be unintelligible.’ Assess the implications this has for empiricism. Rationalist philosophers believe that our knowledge derives from reason and the opposing philosophers; empiricists believe that all our knowledge comes from sense experience. Saying that our sense impressions would be unintelligible without the conceptual scheme is problematic for empiricists because if this were true, all their ideas would be incorrect. Philosopher Immanuel Kant who is in between the two theories has a different take on as to where our knowledge comes from. Kant believed we were born with categories in our mind such as unity, substance and causality, these make up the conceptual scheme. Kant says the conceptual scheme is used to turn sense data into experience, he argues that without the conceptual scheme the world would be a ‘blooming, buzzing confusion.’ Empiricists believe that our minds can be compared to a tabula rasa, in other words we were born with a mind with a blank slate. From this perspective we are born knowing nothing and we have no innate knowledge or ideas. This theory is disregarded when we realise that with the conceptual scheme there are innate ideas. Kant doesn’t say that we are born with innate knowledge but we that we are born with innate concepts that require experience to become knowledge. Kant talks about two worlds; ‘the noumenal world’ and ‘the phenomenal world’. The noumenal world is the world outside of us, the real world; we can never perceive this world. Instead we perceive an altered version; the phenomenal world which is a world we perceive for ourselves it is more a mental image of the world rather than physical. This leads to Kant’s Copernican Revolution, this theory revolves around polish astronomer Copernicus. Copernicus argued that the earth revolves round the sun rejecting the earth-centred view of the universe. This changed our view of the universe, it also...
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