Chapter 5 :Epistemology
Reliance on experience as the source of ideas
and knowledge. More specifically, empiricism is the epistemological theory
that genuine information about the world must be acquired by a
posteriori means, so that nothing can be thought without first being
sensed. Prominent modern empiricists include Bacon,
Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Mill. In the twentieth century,
empiricism principles were extended and applied by the pragmatists and the
READ all sources on empiricism:
: For Locke the mind is a blank slate at birth tabla
rasa and all knowledge results from experiences that enter the mind
from the experiences of the body. Knowledge of ideas is possible because
ideas are representations of things experienced.
But if representations are
copies of our experiences, just how accurate are they?
Locke distinguished the primary and
secondary qualities of an object of an experience and opened a door to a
major problem in determining just how accurate sense knowledge could ever
be. Locke distinguished the
properties that where in or with the object and those that existed within
the mind of the subject of the experience.
The object has a texture but the idea of “smoothness” is in the
subject. The object had a
degree of heat but “hot” and “cold” are ideas in the knower.
Read the overview of Locke in a lecture by Dr. Tom Kerns:
View: Dr. Richard Brown on Locke and Berkeley and Empiricism http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9GuSA9HHgA
George Berkeley: (subjective idealism) Berkeley would treat both the primary and the secondary qualities as being the result of the subject, the knower. There would be no proof of the existence of any thing outside of the mind. All evidence and experiences are within the mind. God would be the MIND that thought of all other minds and thought of them in such a way that they think of themselves as being in a world with others at the same time.
Read the overview of Berkeley in a lecture by Dr. Tom Kerns http://philosophycourse.info/lecsite/lec-berke.html
Hume was a skeptic. He agreed with Locke that we are born
with a blank slate, tabla rasa
and that all our knowledge comes through the senses (empiricism) but he did not think that we could know all that much for
certain.( skepticism). He
held that are perceptions are or make impressions which are our thought,
that we have no ideas without sense impressions, that reasoning (a priori)
does not lead to knowledge, that sense impressions are not proof of an
external independent reality.
Read the overview of Hume in a lecture by Dr. Tom Kerns
VIEW: Dr. Richard Brown on
Hume 1: Empiricism and the A Priori
Hume 2: Induction
The Ism Book ,
Proceed to the next section.
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