The Empirical Theory Of Knowledge
Locke was an empiricist that believed that all ideas come from sensation and reflection. Locke argues that at birth the mind is a blank slate, which we fill with objectives as we live and learn daily. He idealized that through our senses we can experience the world from our perceptions. There are two manners of knowledge, through argument and experience, knowledge could be justified by intuition and demonstration. Human understanding originates either directly or indirectly from encounters distinguished through our concrete awareness. In John Locke\’s \”An Essay Concerning Human Understanding\”, Locke highlights knowledge is not relatively based on conclusions or cause, although it is reached through senses by our experiences. Locke lays out three goals to discover what an idea is, what it means and where it comes from. In this essay, I will be referencing David Hume and George Berkley\’s opinions with Locke\’s theory of knowledge. I then will be touching briefly on rationalist Leibniz and his opinions on rationalism.
John Locke, David Hume, and George Berkley were the founders of empiricism in the 18th century. Philosopher George Berkley opinionated that philosophers make assumptions without proof, although Berkley\’s views were aligned with empiricism, he believed in the idealistic view that we do experience sensations, however, he doesn\’t think the cause of those sensations is in physical matter. He believes we are experiencing a collection of ideas suggesting that all objects such as trees/buildings are just ideas. Berkley holds that there are no such mind-independent things as says in his quote \”To be is to be perceived\”. David Hume, on the other hand, recognized two kinds of perceptions,
impressions, and ideas, impressions are recognized and ideas are thought. According to Hume, the mind is capable of apprehending two kinds of proposition or truth, those expressing ideas, and those expressing fact. Hume attempted to develop Locke\’s theory of empiricism by using a scientific approach to human nature. Pulling back to Locke\’s theory, rationalist Leibniz argues we do have innate ideas, initially starting as unconscious ideas that represent some relation to the world and become fully conscious when we experience the world. Leibniz believes there is a rational order to the universe that can be grasped by human minds. Empiricist believes that sense experience is the ultimate source of all our knowledge, meanwhile, rationalist has a different yet similar approach to where they claim that there are significant ways that our knowledge is gained on sense experience.
Locke argues that if we only have innate ideas through sensory experience then what is known to the human mind cannot be explored further if our knowledge is limited. Although our knowledge is restricted, we can still have an intuitive knowledge of our existence. Our minds can only go so far as to make anything up, but what if everything we knew has already been with us? Going through experiences could be unlocking gates we weren\’t aware could be factual. Locke\’s conclusion stated all ideas come to the induvial through sense experience. Thereupon the matter if Locke succeeds in showing that all knowledge comes from experience simply cannot be authenticated to support this supposition if having no way of providing proof. I can\’t say I agree entirely with everything that is stated because the mind can only think so far, although I do agree that what is taught to us from the outside shapes who we are. I believe that experiences change or have an influential effect on us at times of our lives. When we are infant we have no way of nurturing ourselves without people of the outside world. We may have our senses but we would not survive. No one has ever heard of a baby nurturing itself into adolescence because it is not possible, as for Locke\’s theory of knowledge through the experience it makes sense that we can only live by learning through life, being taught to walk, read, eat. These are the things that shape us into people.
Locke stated that we as humans have the reaction to have thoughts in our minds from reciprocating. Such as the simplicity of words themselves, as simple as the word \”hot\”, Locke thought that us knowing this reaction word came from experience and not through our own thought process, as he thought the mind was vacant at birth. We would have to experience this feeling and we then understand this. Locke explains that experience is when our senses come to par and take in specific sensible objects that then cause perceptions in our minds.
Opposing Locke\’s opinion of empiricism, many philosophers and religions point
that if this were factual, humans would not have a morality which contributes to
behavior and would cause chaotic effects in society. Justification distinguishes
between right and wrong, although with empiricism that would convey that we as
humans cannot differentiate between right and wrong instances.