Posted: December 30th, 2021
Complete 7 pages APA formatted article: Rationalism (Rene Descartes) and Empiricism (David Hume). According to the research findings there are two contrastive schools of thought. while one gives premium to reason, the other gives premium to experience. The first school of thought that gives premium to reason is the rationalist school of thought. The second school of thought is the empiricist school. While the major proponent for rationalism is Rene Descartes, the major proponent of empiricism is David Hume. Lacey states that rationalism is “any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification.” Instead of appealing to emotions and their sensory organs, rationalists appeal to the intellect. Like all things, there are extremes in rationalism. While the opinion of some rationalists tends to fall largely in line with empiricism, meaning that they share many links with empiricism. the opinion of others see no reasons with empiricism at all. The former category of rationalists is not absolute in the beliefs they hold about the power of reason. The latter category of rationalists is of those that may safely be described as extreme rationalist. They are the ones that believe that all things can be resolved through reasoning. Although, empiricism as a philosophy has already been broached in this essay, it is yet important to explain further. Unlike rationalism which states that most truths and ideas can be attained mainly through reason, empiricism states that all ideas, knowledge and truths can be attained through experience and what can be sensed by using human senses. The typical empiricist will ask ‘How do you believe what you’ve not experienced?’ So, for the empiricist, experience is all. It is through experience that one gets evidence to substantiate whatever opinion one clings to. Empiricists believe that there is no just reason to believe a thing or an opinion which one is not able to test. They do not see reasons why anyone would rely solely on abstract reasoning without applying sense-based experiments (Markie 233). To such empiricist who questions why anyone would trust what they have not seen, rationalists would argue that before that which is seen and witnessed (experience and experiments) came to being, there was that which was not seen (reasoning). Asides David Hume, other philosophers that can be categorized as empiricists are Francis Bacon, John Stuart Mill and Thomas Hobbes. Before one assumes any stance in philosophy, one must have premises that back up the point one makes. One must also be sure to know that all those who have held one opinion or the other about any issue have reasons, most times cogent, for sticking to their opinion. Yet, based on arguments that have been advanced overtime, it won’t be wrong to assume that rationalsim carries the day. In putting up a paper like this together, it is important that one lends credence to objectivity. By some yardsticks, one may say that empiricists are right.
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