Essay about Rationalism and Empiricism

1486 Words 6 Pages
Rationalism and Empiricism

Rationalism and Empiricism are most likely the two most famous and intriguing schools of philosophy. The two schools deal specifically with epistemology, or, the origin of knowledge. Although not completely opposite, they are often considered so, and are seen as the "Jordan vs. Bird" of the philosophy world. The origins of rationalism and empiricism can be traced back to the 17th century, when many important advancements were made in scientific fields such as astronomy and mechanics. These advancements were most likely the basis for a sudden philosophical argument: What do we truly know? People wondered whether science was really giving us knowledge of reality. The quest for the answer to this question
…show more content…
Empiricism says that all real knowledge is based on experience. It claims that people are born with no innate knowledge, and that everything that happens in the mind is a result of our perceptions. Descartes begins his theory of knowledge by assuming that nothing exists. He trusts nothing, not what he has seen or heard, not anything that he has thought. After careful deliberation, he comes to the foundation of his proof: I think, therefore, I am. What he means by this is that he knows that he exists because he thinks. This of course cannot be disproved, because to do so, would require thinking. Descartes believed that in order to obtain knowledge, there must be some rational method for obtaining it, and that the use of senses, or any personal experience was not a reliable source. In his third meditation he says, "I know that even bodies are not…perceived by the senses, or by the faculty of imagination, but by the intellect alone" (Descartes 69). He believed that this was the same for every human, that we all have innate ideas in our soul. This definitely follows the definition of a rationalist. In order to discover these ideas in our soul, we must go about a method of reasoning, which he referred to as methodological doubt. This method resembles the axiomatic geometric system, which probably so because of his expertise and interest in mathematics. Axioms are self-evident principals that are so clear

More about Essay about Rationalism and Empiricism

Open Document