The Quest for Knowledge and Certainty

The Quest for Knowledge and Certainty - The Quest for...

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Click to edit Master subtitle style 9/8/10 The Quest for Knowledge and Certainty Discourse on Epistemology
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9/8/10 Descartes Descartes began his philosophy by sweeping away all the “errors of the past” by forming a radical form of skepticism about what we take for granted as knowledge and certainty. Instead of fighting doubt, he would use it to find certainty. “He would use doubt as an acid to pour over every “truth” that could not be doubted.
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9/8/10 Descartes After subjecting all his knowledge to the acid of doubt, he concluded that there was one thing he could not doubt: that he was doubting. The one fact the acid of doubt could not dissolve was doubt itself. This meant there had to be an “I” who was doing the doubting.
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9/8/10 Descartes Even if he were deceived about everything else, he had to exist in order to be deceived. This led Descartes to his famous statement, Cogito ergo sum , meaning “I think, therefore I am” (In more accurate translations, this statement actually amounts to saying that “I am a thinking thing” or “this thinking
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9/8/10 Descartes In subsequent Meditations, Descartes relies on the innate ideas with which he claims the mind is furnished. A priori: A belief, proposition, or argument is said to be a priori if its truth or falsity can be established independently of observation. Definitions, the propositions of arithmetic, and the principles of logic
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9/8/10 Rationalism The epistemological view that true knowledge is derived primarily from reason (or exclusively from reason in the purer strains of rationalism). Reason is conceived as the working of the mind on material provided by the mind itself. In most versions, this material take the form of innate ideas . Therefore, for the rationalists, a priori
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9/8/10 The Senses as the Basis of Knowledge: John Locke, John Locke launched a massive broadside against the doctrine of innateness, arguing instead that the senses are the primary source of all knowledge. He compares the mind to a tabula rasa, a blank slate or ‘white paper devoid of all characters’, and then asks ‘whence has it all the materials
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9/8/10 John Locke (29 August
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9/8/10 Human Understanding “It is an established opinion amongst some men, that there are in the understanding certain innate principles; some primary notions … characters, as it were stamped upon the mind of man, which the soul receives in its very first being; and bring into the world with it.” Locke, Pp. 26.
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9/8/10 Human Understanding
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The Quest for Knowledge and Certainty - The Quest for...

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