Essay on Rationalism vs. Empiricism

797 Words Apr 25th, 2012 4 Pages
In Philosophy, there are two main positions about the source of all knowledge. These positions are called rationalism and empiricism. Rationalists believe that all knowledge is "innate", or is there when one is born, and that learning comes from intuition. On the other hand, empiricists believe that all knowledge comes from direct sense experience. In this essay, I will further explain each position, it's strengths and weaknesses, and how Kant discovered that there is an alternative to these positions. The thesis I defend in this essay is that knowledge can be of both positions.

According to Rationalists (such as Descartes), all knowledge must come from the mind. Rationalism is concerned with absolute truths that are universal (such as
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A posteriori knowledge corresponds to empiricist philosophy, since this knowledge is contingent upon direct experience, which cannot be certain. A posteriori knowledge is associated with synthetic statements (where the predicate adds something to the subject), which give new information, but is not necessary. An example of an a posteriori statement is "the sweater is green." Green is not an innate characteristic of sweaters, so a sweater of a

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