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Locke and Descartes source of knowledge - Essay Example

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Locke and Descartes source of knowledge

For this reason, the theory holds that metaphysics, ethics, and math principles are fundamentally true and that physical evidence and proof are not needed to ascertain knowledge. Due to this belief, the rationalism theory is in direct opposition to empiricism. Empiricism, of which Locke is an integral proponent, contends that knowledge can only be obtained via the experience of sense. It emphasizes that evidence and experience, particularly the experience of sense, plays a more fundamental role in idea formation than traditions and innate ideas (Scheibe & Falkenburg 2011). The theory also contends that these traditions also arise due to prior experience through the senses. The theory emphasizes evidence, contending that all theories and hypotheses need to be tested against natural world observations and not simply relying on intuition or reasoning. The empirical theory is a better theory in discussing the source of knowledge because all that man knows has its basis on experience, while innate knowledge can be corrected with time following observation. Comparison Locke’s notion in the empiricism theory of an idea was borrowed from, the discussions by Descartes. According to Locke, the mind is the immediate object of understanding, thought, or perception by the mind (Scheibe & Falkenburg 2011). This is similar to what Descartes considers an idea to be, contending that it is what the mind can perceive immediately. Locke also discusses external object qualities, differentiating between secondary and primary qualities. Secondary qualities are explained as those, which are absent in the objects, instead being sensed, or perceived, while primary qualities cannot be separated at any time from the object. This is also similar to Descartes’ distinction using the candle. According to him, one can perceive the duration, substance, and shape of the candle but cannot clearly perceive sound and color, corresponding to primary and secondary qualities by Locke respectively (Scheibe & Falkenburg 2011). Both Locke and Descartes contend that man is different from other animals and machines. According to Descartes, this is because machines are unable to use signals or words to declare what they know to other machines (Scheibe & Falkenburg 2011). In addition, animals do not have any reasoning in interpreting knowledge. Locke, similarly, claims that animals cannot abstract or come up with general ideas because they cannot utilize words. In their arguments, it is clear to see that they believe animals have no use for knowledge or ideas. Locke and Descartes also discuss the role of free will in gaining knowledge, considering that man’s will can remain free and be directed, as well as the fact that free will in gathering knowledge, being both free and directed, is consistent with man’s ability to err in his ways (Scheibe & Falkenburg 2011). Descartes contends that when a person is inclined to lean to one side, he possesses more free will. In addition, he also argues that free will is greater than intellect and knowledge. Locke builds on these arguments by contending that the determination of man by his free will does not restrain his liberty, while also arguing that bad judgments from available knowledge leads to bad choices. Contrast Descartes believes that knowledge ...Show more


Locke and Descartes: Source of Knowledge Name: Institution: LOCKE AND DESCARTES SOURCE OF KNOWLEDGE Introduction Locke and Descartes attempt to explain the manner in which the body and mind are linked in deducing knowledge. According to the rationalism theory, of which Descartes was a leading proponent, reason is the fundamental source of knowledge (Scheibe & Falkenburg 2011)…
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