Ren?� Descartes And Immanuel Kant's Theory Of Knowledge

Good Essays
In 18th century Europe, philosophers widely sought after knowledge. More specifically, they sought after the knowledge of how knowledge might be found. Two main philosophies stood in opposition: rationalism and empiricism (Sproul 117). Immanuel Kant, a revolutionary philosopher from East Prussia, endeavored to create a synthesis of the two philosophies (119). This synthesis illustrated a process by which knowledge might be obtained through both ways illustrated in the two philosophies. This synthesis, as well as much of Kant’s work, was widely influential as well as controversial, leaving philosophers throughout history to debate whether or not he was successful in this endeavor. Oxford Dictionaries defines rationalism, in reference to…show more content…
Kant opposed rationalist’s reluctance to adapt their philosophies to incorporate the discoveries made through empirical evidence and empiricist’s skepticism of the possibility of scientific knowledge (Sproul 120). Thus, Kant created his synthesis. Kant’s synthesis included both knowledge through experience (a posteriori knowledge) and knowledge prior to experience (a priori knowledge). Through this synthesis, Kant reasserts some aspects of both philosophies and denies others. Regarding rationalism, Kant reasserts the belief in a priori knowledge, thus denying the empiricists’ denial of such knowledge (Sproul 121). He asserts that knowledge requires both a posteriori knowledge acquired through the senses and a priori knowledge that the mind employs to categorize and make sense of sensations. Through what Kant refers to as pure intuitions of time and space, one may understand how their sensations fit into time and space, which, as Kant asserts, cannot be perceived directly. This he calls apperception. Sproul succinctly explains this saying “It is the mind that provides unity to the diversity of my sensory experience.” (121). However, Kant denies that a priori knowledge might extend past this and reasserts the empiricist belief that the collaborative process knowledge does begin with experience (121-122). As with the vast
    Get Access