John Locke's Theory Of Rationalism

1873 Words 8 Pages
There is a clear distinction between rationalism and empiricism–two theories of epistemology, which focuses on the theory knowledge through a philosophical lens. Rationalism centers around the ability to use knowledge with reasoning and that knowledge comes from innate ideas. Others believe that our senses could actually lead to true knowledge, as opposed to relying on innate ideas and reasoning. Many criticize rationalism and whether innate knowledge exists or is even pertinent. In this paper, I will provide explanations and background on the theory of rationalism, discuss the differing views of rationalism and empiricism from various philosophers, and illustrate their significance. Ultimately, I will defend the notion that rationalism is …show more content…
Unlike rationalism, empiricism revolves around the concept of beginning one’s life with a blank slate–tabula rasa–an empty mind with essentially no existing rules, reasons, or ideas. It is the idea that one’s thoughts, ideas, and knowledge are formed and conceived based from experience. These thoughts arise through a posteriori, which means it is gained after or post experience and involves sensory perception. According to John Locke, an English philosopher, one’s ideas stem from experience and the ability to connect those experiences to a resulting knowledge base. Locke initially believed the mind consists of this blank, empty slate. He also rejected the existence of innate ideas because of its seemingly empty purpose and impracticality. One can see that a distinction and issue arise concerning the senses. In addition, some say that senses are the only way to stay in touch with truth and knowledge, even if they appear to be unreliable. This could be true because there is no other clearly defined way to directly connect the mind with physical world other than through the senses. Therefore, in this thought, senses that derive from experiences can be necessary to grasp knowledge. Just because something is deemed to be not certain does not mean that it lacks the ability to become a source of knowledge. Locke later admits that innate ideas are actually essential in understanding senses, which …show more content…
It is believed that there is no way to prove whether a person was born with certain knowledge or how to determine how it was acquired. Innate ideas consist of the principles of substance, sameness, and self. But, in some respects, it is worth mentioning that God would not intend to give us incorrect innate ideas. We are born with innate ideas, and there must be some reason or purpose as to why we were given this knowledge. Thus, innate ideas must be put to use and applying them to ascertain knowledge will work

Related Documents