Empiricism, Rationalism, And Pragmatism Essay, Research Paper

Empiricism, Rationalism, and Pragmatism, as theories of cognition, effort to turn out the nature of world and what can be considered true or existent. All three of these doctrines, nevertheless, encounter jobs when trying to turn out the nature of world. How these different doctrines overcome obstructions in their effort to turn out the nature of world is a factor in know aparting between the three. In the terminal, nevertheless, in all three, a spring of religion must be taken in order to wholly accept all that these several doctrines teach.

David Hume, considered the laminitis of Empiricism, began by sorting all perceptual experiences into natural feelings which is said to be informations and information received through the senses, and thoughts which are complexs or? packages? of feelings which lead to or trip ideas. These feelings trigger thoughts that can be either simple or complex. Hume attempts to descriminate between the two by supplying an illustration of a complex thought, in this instance a aureate mountain. Hume explains that in thought of a aureate mountain, two thoughts of which we had been once aquainted with become linked. ? Golden? becomes joined with mountain, and one is capable of understanding that the idea of object is both? aureate? and? mountain? . One is capable of groking this due to past experiences direct or otherwise, with both the thought of? aureate? and the thought of? mountain? .

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Because of this dependance upon past experiences, a priori logical thinking can merely be used to associate thoughts, such as geometry, arithmetic, or algebra, in which the avowal of propositions are intuitively certain. However, a priori can non be used to explicate or demo worldly phenomena. In order to derive an apprehension of the universe that one lives in, it is necessary to trust upon past experiences and experimental illation, which harmonizing to Hume, is based upon a linkage of two events: a cause and an consequence. He states that? By agencies of a disclosure entirely we can travel beyond the grounds of our memory and senses. ? ( page 49, Rationalism, Empiricism, and Pragmatism ) Experimental logical thinking can be used to analyze the distant yesteryear with which 1 has had no experience and predict distant hereafter happenings which one is unable to detect.

Experimental logical thinking every bit good as past experiences and observations are the beginnings of cognition for Empiricism. However, the experimental logical thinking, which is based upon cause and consequence logical thinking, is non perfectly and concretely true. All can be capable to alteration, merely as all is capable to some uncertainty when foretelling what would go on in an experiment. Hume provinces? That the Sun will non lift tomorrow is no less apprehensible a proposition, and implies no more contradiction, than the avowal that it will lift tomorrow? ( page 43 Rationalism, Empiricism, and Pragmatism ) for the yesteryear is non needfully a direct causing of a future event. Because of this, scientific discipline, an empirical tool used by world to research the universe around himself and to larn more about himself, is simply work in chance. It is safe, based upon a posteriori cognition, that the Sun will lift tomorrow, for it has for millenary upon millenary, and at that place has been no event to demo that it might non lift tomorrow. Without this experimental logical thinking nevertheless, Empiricism is reduced to past experiences, and yet with it, one is able to do statements such as? The Sun will lift tomorrow? with a great grade of certainty.

Where Empiricism bases its theory of cognition upon a posteriori cognition, Rationalism, founded by Rene Descartes, bases its rules upon the theory of a priori cognition.

Descartes, when trying to turn out his ain being, stated, ? I think hence I am. ? He explains this by stating that he might be a mere figment of the imaginativeness of an almighty God. Mere credence of fact, hence can non turn out his being for this could hold been implanted in his head by the a bow mentioned God. However, in doubting propositions placed before him, he himself is believing, non the God that he states might be in being. Therefore, in his uncertainty, lies the certainty that he exists.

By turn outing he exists, he so goes on to explicate what can be considered existent. He disregards any information which he has received through the senses for the senses frequently have frequently deceived him, and he states that it would be foolhardy to put certainty on any module that had one time deceived him in the yesteryear. Therefore, a posteriori, is therefore excluded from what he determines to be existent. He believed that intuition was the footing of all certain cognition which could so be supported by tax write-off.

In this lies one of the great differences between rationalism and empiricist philosophy. In empiricist philosophy, an a priori statement is considered analytic ; that is, a statement that is incontrovertible. However, these statements barely reveal much, for? the predicate is contained in its topic? ( page 46 ) . What one learns in the predicate, was alr

eady known in the topic, and hence, the thought presented is barely a disclosure of any sort. In saying? barking Canis familiariss bark? as in Rationalism Empiricism, and Pragmatism, nil is learned or gained from it. This is in blunt contrast to Descartes and his theories as to the footing of true cognition.

In Pragmatism, the pragmatist argues that both the Rationalist? s and the Empiricist? s stance upon the theory of a priori cognition is the same. The positivist states that the merely was to true cognition by agencies of intuition. He believes that if anything is to be known it must be able to be known without statement. If this is so, the positivist claims that the truth will be apparent to any clear thought and rational grownup. However, merely because the empiricist does non utilize the word? intuition? or the thought of a priori cognition, is non plenty, for the pragmatist, to justify a great differentiation between rationalism and empiricist philosophy, for both the empiricist and the positivist claim that something can be stated to be true or cognition if it is unable to be refuted. Simply because the positivist arrives at truth through a priori logical thinking and the empiricist arrives at truth through a posteriori is simply a affair of the enunciation used. The pragmatist refutes both the empiricist? s stance on truth because if something is incontrovertible, it does non automatically intend that that which is incontrovertible is true. For illustration, absurd statements such as? bluish + 6 =fish? can be sid to be incontrovertible, nevertheless, one could barely see it to be true.

Truth, for the pragmatist, is chiefly arrived at by consensus as to what is an apprehensible statement and as to what is non. This is shown in the account of the pragmatist? s point that for every object? Q? there is another object that? q? is equal to, that is? Q? = ? Q? . The pragmatist states that it is up to the talker to intend what they province. In using this statement, the pragmatist is so able to except statements that are deemed unacceptable from consideration as to the truth or falseness of the statement. Therefore, statements such as? bluish + 6 = fish? are excluded before they even enter a logical appraisal as to the truth of it. The determination as to what is capable to the Torahs of logic to find if it is true and what is non capable to the Torahs of logic is merely practical in nature, and in the Pragmatist? s point of position so, truth is non dependent upon the intuition of the Rationalist nor the experiences of the Empiricist, instead, truth is based simply based upon the Torahs of logic and what is determined acceptable.

With all this so, what do I see the nature of world? To state the truth, I have non, in the yesteryear, truly of all time thought about it. I suppose, nevertheless, that of these three doctrines, the 1 that I hold most true to myself, most likely is Rationalism. I believe that simply bing can be transformed into life by activity of the head and by idea and analysis of one? s milieus. I believe that one may be even if one has no originality in their ideas. However, in my experience, I have gained a heightened consciousness and understanding from oppugning what I have been taught, as Descartes. It is about as if life were lived on a series of planes, and that in utilizing one? s head raises the degree that one antecedently lived at. Possibly one of my premier illustrations of this is an illustration of my religion and how it has grown. My female parent taught me from really early on, the religion that she had accepted. However, her credence of that religion, was non a ground for my credence. In standing back and analyzing why I believe in my religion, I realise I can non turn out it, to finish certainty, logically, and I will be the first to acknowledge that. However, my intuition to the truth or falseness of it is the footing as to my logic cogent evidence of my beliefs and together, my intuition and cogent evidence, take me to take that spring of religion in order to believe. However, I will admit, that merely because I may non believe in something, that does non intend that it is non true. Most likely there are many things that I do non believe in and yet are true. However, I base my belief on my intuition, merely as Descartes, who stated that the lone footing of cognition can be intuition. Though my intuition may be strong in its persuasion as to the world of state of affairs? x? , nevertheless, I can non, possibly due to my exposure to both pragmatism and empiricist philosophy, simply accept? ten? upon that mere intuition. In order for myself to accept? x? , I must besides hold some concrete cogent evidence through my past experiences or through other logical agencies.


Aune, Bruce. Rationalism, Empiricism, and Pragmatism: An Introduction. University of Massachusetts at Amherst: Random House, New York, 1970.

Durant, Will. The Story of Philosophy: The Lifes and Opinions of the Greater Philosophers. Simon and Schuster, New York, 1953.

Dr. King, Peter. hypertext transfer protocol: //users.ox.ac.uk/~worc0337/phil_index.html. Oxford, 1997.

Alta, Edward N. hypertext transfer protocol: //plato.stanford.edu. Stanford, 1997.


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