Monday, November 17, 2014
My project is going to be over the 3 most famous British Empiricists. They would be George Berkeley, David Hume, and John Locke. In the later 3 posts, I will go into detail about each of the three Brits, but this post will be general information.
Empiricism is basically the philosophical doctrine that all knowledge is derived from a sense of experience.
Basically, in order to know something you have to experience it.
This would be against the previous belief that Spinoza, Leibniz, and Descartes had. They were rationalists. They believed that having reason and logic is knowledge, and that knowledge had nothing to do with reason.
I bet their discussions would be as fun as arguing politics at thanksgiving dinner!
This video explains rationalism and empiricism pretty well and simply.
Either way, Berkeley Hume, and Locke thought that they were right in their definition of knowledge. All of these men differed slightly on their individual views. They played off of each other. John Locke came first. He was the start of Empiricism. He refers to the mind as a clean slate in an essay of his. Experiences leave mark on our slates. He stated that anything that was not experienced or perceived cannot be counted as actual knowledge. The only knowledge that could be arrived on intuition was God’s existence, and he said that is true only sometimes.
George Berkeley came next. He feared Locke’s view would lead to eventual Atheism. His take was that EVERYTHING exists only because it was perceived or that it is doing the perceiving. He said that things continue to exist because God perceives them.
David Hume had a slightly different take. He felt as if all knowledge comes in two categories; relations of ideas (things observed in the world that happens all the time “the sun rises in the east”) and matters of fact (things based on math and logic). The only knowledge that does not come from fact is those that we experience.
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