To understand truth we must be completely sure of it, this requires a rational method of inquiry based on doubt. Methodical doubt involved deliberately doubting everything possible in the least degree whatever remains will be known with absolute certainty. For empiricism we have the belief that all knowledge is of the senses. We are a tabula rasa, a blank slate, that all ideas start with sensation and reflection, we can only think about something after we have experienced them. Although both the empiricists and rationalist both came to the same problem how could we ever know anything outside of our own perceptions.
If we didn’t have intuitions of space and time there would be no experience at all so we must possess some innate knowledge in order for us to live within it. Kant says that we have a conceptual scheme because senses alone are not enough to make sense of the phenomenal world. He believes that a conceptual scheme is made up of 12 innate concepts (which he called categories) e.g. causality, unity and substance. He argued that they were part of the structure of the mind and that we would have no experience without them.
Rational knowledge is often derived from syllogisms. Unless both the major and minor premises of syllogisms are sound, the logical conclusions drawn from the rational thoughts are unsound. Scientists cannot rely on rational knowledge alone because rational knowledge involved only form and not content (Jackson, 2009). Empirical knowledge is gained through objective observations and a person’s experience in relation to his or her senses (Jackson, 2009). A person who relies on empirical knowledge only believes what can be detected by his/her senses (sight, sound, taste, etc.).
Something important to consider when looking at the theory of relativism is that it is just a theory. I personally believe it to be a good theory in general, but it should not be interpreted as a foundation for a belief structure. Nor should it be applied to every set of circumstances encountered throughout life. It is purely illogical to assume that one single theory will provide us with the proper guidance required to successfully negotiate every “right or wrong” decision. Relativism allows people to understand that individuals develop belief structures
Rachels discusses Descarte’s thoughts on the dreaming state, and how if we can be made to believe that our senses are correct there, than they cannot be trusted. The author discusses Philosophical thoughts on Idealism, in which it is considered that our perceptions of physical objects are not “real”, they are only mental ideas as recorded by our senses and imagined by our brains. Rachels discusses the attempts by Descartes to find a foundation for knowledge by identifying absolute truths, and concludes that the task may too difficult, or impossible. Quotes: I found it intriguing where the author wrote, “The mind does not simply record what passes before it; instead, the mind actively interprets experience according to certain built-in principles. Therefore, what we think of as “simple”
Moore’s “Proof of an External World” I believe that philosopher G.E. Moore’s “Proof of an External World” was somewhat successful in explaining there being an external world, however I have reason to believe that his proof cannot be taken for granted by using logic and physics. While there are flaws to his argument, he responds to those flaws with a rebuttal, and makes the person think if they can be certain about anything in existence. Moore’s argument can be simply put that; P1) he has a right hand and he has a left hand, P2) both of the hands are external objects in the world, C) An external world exists. Moore believes this is a legitimate argument based on his criteria for a proof.
This explanation seems satisfying at first glance, then again a dilemma surfaces; as what was raised by Garver and Lee on chapter 2. If false propositions are false because there are no existing reality that correlates to them, why is it that we are still able to understand the meaning behind them (Garver & Lee, 1994:16)? If there is no John in the classroom, why is it that we are still able to come up with a corresponding meaning, such as the informant lying or is ignorant of the fact that there is no John in the classroom? From what I understand from the challenge of false proposition is it brings about the necessity to come up with criteria of truth and meaning because the challenge seems to imply that false proposition could also elicit the characteristic of having meaning. 1 What I mean by this is the material world as opposed to the intellectual world.
Descartes believed that in order to have this idea of a being that is truly infinite; something must have put that idea in our mind. He believes that it could not have been ourselves because we are not infinite beings; however we have this idea of what a perfect being is and therefore something outside of us must have put that idea there. In order to prove that a perfect being was the outside force that would have put that idea in our minds, Descartes follows his central argument. The main pillar of Descartes’ argument is the causal adequacy principle. This causal principle revolves on the idea of existential dependency.
This undoubtly is the quitessential what the Natural Sciences is based upon. The knowledge is passed down not through belief in something because we have an emotional connection, but more as sense perception. Because of this debate, the claim is born that faith can sometimes be a poor basis of knowledge therefore alot gaps in that area is unreliable due to the connection. However if this is true, why do human beings have to rely on imperical evidence and proof in order to believe something is real? In the Natural Sciences, a strong and accepted theory must contain solid evidence and background information to support the theory, meaning that a strong concept can be falsified.
As such it useless by itself because it reasoning only can make decisions based on what the mind considers as practical and sound, (Stewart 433). However if there is no past experiences to draw from, or present perceptions to take in, reasoning what is good or bad cannot be determined. It is the purpose of this essay to highlight the positive and negative aspects of using reasoning as a way of knowing. Reasoning is a good way to make a logical decision as it can be conclusive. Deductive reasoning can be a great example of this conclusiveness.