David Hume And Renee Descartes 's Theories Of Knowledge And Ideas

1356 WordsMar 1, 20176 Pages
Philosophers David Hume and Renee Descartes have opposing views about the origination of ideas. Hume claims that all ideas are copies of impressions, which come from sensation. Descartes disagrees with this, arguing that in order to obtain knowledge, there must be a rational method for obtaining it, and that the senses are not a reliable source. This essay will present both philosopher’s arguments and compare and contrast each perspective regarding matters of knowledge and ideas. I will then argue how Hume’s philosophy is the more viable theory, and give you my reason’s as to why it is a stronger argument, in comparison to Descartes’ more rational take on the origin of ideas and knowledge. As an Empiricist, David Hume supports the theory…show more content…
Because ideas are mere copies of the real thing, ideas are far more easily mistaken or confused, which is less likely with impressions, being the original experience its self. This would also mean there is no such thing as innate knowledge and babies are born with a blank slate, no one is born with any prior knowledge and knowledge is acquired and developed from sense experience over the years. Renee Descartes, as a Rationalist viewed knowledge as something that we achieve through reason. Descartes begins his theory of knowledge by assuming that nothing exists. By doing this he would have to trust nothing. Not his senses, not anything that he has thought. As a Rationalist he sought to eliminate all doubt and anything else that wasn 't completely credible. Because he found that his senses were not one hundred percent reliable, as he found they sometimes deceived him, he did not trust them. Descartes believed that in order to obtain knowledge, there must be a rational method for obtaining it, and that the use of the senses, or any personal experience was not a reliable source. Finally, in Meditations on First Philosophy he concludes that he is a thinking thing: “I think, therefore I am”. He knows that this is true because he thinks, and to disprove that would require thinking and since he

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