Descartes Vs Locke Essay

1011 Words 5 Pages
Arwa Alnasser
G00038951
PHI201

Descartes Vs. Locke

René Descartes and John Locke are two philosophers who study metaphysics and epistemology. They try to answer the questions related to that field of philosophy asking: What is knowledge? what can we know? and what is the difference between opinion and knowledge? The answers to those questions for Descartes are radically different than those of Locke. The former comes from a rationalist’s point of view while the later comes from an empiricist point of view. There is a historical debate between Descartes and Lock regarding innate ideas. Innate ideas in Descartes point of view are engraved in the mind since birth. On the other hand, Lock goes against that idea but gives incomplete answers
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For Lock the existence of innate ideas only happen if they are universally agreed upon in condition that they are known to the mind without the need for enlighten or activation. He also believes that even the most basic logical statement “ Whatever is, is” and “ It is impossible for the same thing to be and not to be” are not considered innate as he gives the example of children and idiots where he wrote that these logical statement are , With that Lock shows that the logical statement is not completely universal making them not innate ideas. Moreover, Lock opposes the idea of God, identity and infinity as innate ideas. In the case of identity he argues that the idea is not universally known to be an innate idea. The concept of God also to Lock is not innate because God differs between people from different cultures and social backgrounds. Infinity to Lock also is not innate, he claims that the mind can understand the finite dimension through observation and construct through imagination a more complex idea which is infinity. With that the idea of an infinite being doesn’t need one to be perceived to understand it. With that his major claim is that the mind with all its ideas and knowledge are not innate and that they all come from sensory

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