Descartes vs. Hume

Topics: Mind, Empiricism / Pages: 3 (713 words) / Published: Mar 12th, 2008
Rene Descartes, a rationalist, said that each person contains the criteria for truth and knowledge in them. Finding truth and knowledge comes from the individual themselves, not necessarily from God. Descartes also believed that reason is the same for every single person. Descartes believed that nothing could be true unless we as humans could perceive it. He also believed that you could break down things into smaller simpler parts. Descartes also believed that there was a relationship between the mind and body. He also believed that the idea of being perfect originated from God since God himself was perfect. He also integrates his mathematical concepts into his methodology. Descartes also applied doubt to his ideas before he granted complete certainty to them. Descartes famous quote is "I think therefore I am." David Hume, an empiricist, wanted to explain knowledge on a non-theological basis. Hume believed that a priori ideas did not exist and that our ideas are not innate but derived from experience of perceptions. He believed these perceptions could be divided into impressions and ideas. He believed that humans learned through impressions and if there are no impressions then there is no idea. Unlike Descartes, Hume believed that every persons perceptions were his alone and different from other peoples. Hume believed in cause and effect. Hume also recognized matters of fact, which is reasoning derived from our senses, for example, the sun will rise tomorrow. Hume's beliefs on cause and effect, he believed that causes were not uncertain. Hume was also a skeptical philosopher unlike Descartes. In my opinion I think Hume was more practical in his philosophies that that of Descartes. Hume only accepted things that he perceived through his senses. One can have ideas about what things would be of look like only if they have some idea about them. If we say for example a mountain made out of gold, we most likely have never seen a gold mountain. We

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