Reason and Experience
Knowledge...Do we really know it?
Term | What It Means... | Examples |
Concept/Idea | A thought or notion that cannot be true or false | God, Dog, Evil | Proposition | A statement which is either right/wrong | “God is pink” | Knowledge | Expressed in propositions that are formed by joining concepts, state something that is true or false | “The dog is Yellow” | Three Types of Knowledge | - Propositional- “Know that” - Knowledge by Acquaintance - “Know of” - capacity/Ability - “Know how” | | A Priori | Propositional knowledge that we know is right before (sense) experience | “2+2=4 “ | A Posteriori | Propositional knowledge that we know is right only after (sense) experience | “The sky is blue” | Synthetic | Not true by definition – Tells us something substantial about the world | “Snow is white” | Analytic | True by definition | “All Bachelors are unmarried men” | Necessary | Had to be true, true in all possible worlds | Maths – 2+2=4 | Contingent | Could be otherwise | “Obama was elected President” | Induction | Reasoning that draws conclusions from a finite collection of specific observations. | 1).The sun has always risen 2). The sun will always rise | Deduction | Reasoning in which the conclusion must follow the premises | 1). Man is mortal 2). Socrates is man 3). Socrates is mortal | Innate | Knowledge that is present in the mind at birth | Conceptual Schemes - Kant | Intuitive | propositions that we know are right through pure thought | “I think therefore I exist” - Descartes | Empiricism | Argues that you can only have analytic a priori knowledge | “All Widows were once Married” (Analytic a priori) | Rationalism | Argues that you can have analytic and synthetic a priori knowledge (Not Plato) | “God Exists” - Descartes (Synthetic a priori) |
All Ideas Come From Experience: Empiricism
John Locke | David Hume |
The mind is a Tabula Rasa – Blank Slate Sensation + Reflection Simple, complex, and abstract ideas Simple ideas come from sensation Complex + Abstract come from reflection | Sensation creates impressions in our minds Ideas are 'faint impressions' of sensations which are 'vivid and forceful' All thoughts are combinations of ideas e.g. Golden Mountain |
Not all simple ideas come from experience Missing shade of blue - Hume | Complex/Abstract ideas are not from experience general idea is required to form the abstract idea - Curruthers | Some ideas are innate Ideas of God/Infinity – Descartes Veined Marble – Leibniz All knowledge is innate in the soul, just needs to be recalled - Plato |
Knowledge about what exists must be justified by sense experience: John Lock | 2 Fountains of Knowledge – Sensation + Reflection All ideas are from these – So all propositions must be as well | BUT | David Hume | Hume's Fork Relations of Ideas – Analytic a priori knowledge Matters of Fact – Synthetic a posteriori knowledge Anything is 'Empty Metaphysical Speculation” and should be 'cast to the flames' e.g. God | Hume's Fork itself is 'empty metaphysical speculation' – contradicts itself | Alfred Jules Ayer | Verification Principle Analytic or Empirically Verifiable (can be proven by experience) Anything else is meaningless e.g. Infinity | | John Stewart Mill | No a priori knowledge All knowledge is a posteriori and learnt through induction, including logic and mathematics | What about analytic a priori knowledge? “A bachelor is not married” |
Sets clear limits on appropriate objects of knowledge –...
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