Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Rationalism and Empiricism

Reading:
Osborne: 66-86
Kenny: 201-265
Penguin: as appropriate
Robinson: 54-70
Terms:
Descartes (1596-1650)
Spinoza (1632-1677 )
Leibniz ( 1646-1716)
Locke (1632-1677)
Berkeley (1685-1753)
Hume (1711-1776)
Reid (1710-1796) 
Notes:
Rene Descartes (1596-1650)
a) Invented co-ordinate geometry
b) Rationalist: True knowledge comes from human reason alone. (Compare to Bacon).
c) Discourse on Method (1637)
d) Meditations (1642)
i) Four rules:
1) Never accept anything except clear and distinct ideas.
2) Divide each problem into as many parts as are needed to solve it.
3) Order your thoughts from the simple to the complex.
4) Always check thoroughly for oversights.
ii) "Cartesian Doubt"
1) Since the senses deceive us, I must suppose that nothing is as it appears. (How do I know I am sitting here in class?)
2) I could be dreaming or hallucinating (a wicked demon might be tricking me.)
3) The only thing I can not doubt is that I am thinking something, even if it is thinking I am being tricked.
iv) COGITO ERGO SUM: I think, therefore I am. I am a thing that thinks.
v) All knowledge of external things is in the mind.
vi) Proof of God's existence: Only God can guarantee that:
1) Our clear and distinct ideas are true;
2) We are not being tricked by a wicked demon.
3) Cartesian Dualism: the mind is separate from the body.

THE “ENGLIGHTENMENT” (1688-1788)
Although "Enlightenment" is conventionally used to describe this period, the term is artificial and reductive, particularly as it is employed in the polemical writings of postmodernists and continental philosophers.
JOHN LOCKE (1632-1704)
1. Epistemology: Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690 ).
a) Disagreed with Plato's theory of universals
b) Denied any innate ideas: "The mind is furnished with ideas by experience
alone."
c) Newborn child is a "tablarasa"--a blank slate, or blank sheet of paper.
d) Simple Ideas:Ideas are acquired from experience, and are of two kinds:
1) Ideas of SENSATION (input of the senses).
2) Ideas of REFLECTION (thinking, believing--the different operations of the mind.
e). Complex Ideas: From simple ideas the mind forms complete ideas by combining,
comparing, or abstracting from simple ideas. Even imaginary ideas are formed from simple ideas coming from sense experience: unicorn, centaur, sphinx.
f) The primary and secondary qualities of objects: Relationship between the idea and the object itself: Objects have qualities which produce an idea in the mind. These qualities are of two kinds:
1) Primary: Primary qualities really do exist in the objects themselves: hardness, weight, sound.
2) Secondary: Secondary qualities produce ideas in the mind that aren't in the object: color, language. 

Sense
Sensibility
Jonathan Swift
A Tale of a Tub (1704)
Alexander Pope
Essay on Criticism (1711) 

Jonathan Swift
Gulliver's Travels (1726) 

Alexander Pope
The Dunciad (1728-43) 

Alexander Pope
Essay on Man (1733-34) 

Voltaire
Philosophic Letters on the English (1733, 34)
Candide (1759) 

Henry Fielding
Tom Jones (1749) 

Samuel Johnson
The Vanity of Human Wishes(1749)
Rasselas (1759) 

LawrenceSterne
TristramShandy (1760-67) 

Tobias Smollett
Humphrey Clinker (1771) 

William Blake
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)
Mary Wollstonecraft
A Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792) 

Mary Shelley
Frankenstein (1818) 

Thomas Love Peacock
Nightmare Abbey (1818) 

Jane Austen
Northanger Abbey (1818) 

Lord Byron
Don Juan (1818-21)
The Vision of Judgment (1822) 

Thomas Reid(Common Sense Philosophy)
Enquiry into the Human Mind on the Principles of Common Sense (1764) "The senses give us immediate contact with a mind-independent reality."
John Locke (Although Locke properly belongs on the "Sense" side of this issue, he is placed here because he is nevertheless the origin of the "sensibility" argument).
Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690)
Two Treatises of Government (1690)
"All knowledge comes from experience and through our senses. We know nothing but matter. Matter must be the material of mind."
Bishop George Berkeley
An Essay towards a New Theory of Vision (1709)
"Matter does not exist except as a form of mind.Matter is not the object of perceptions.Matter is a bundle of perceptions.We don't know matter, we know only sensations.Thus matter is a mental condition.The only reality we have direct knowledge of is mind.Matter is a form of the mind."
David Hume
Treatise on Human Nature (1739-40)
An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748)
"There is no such thing as 'mind'; we never perceive any such entity as the 'mind'; rather what we perceive is merely separate ideas, memories, feelings, smells, etc.There is no such thing as mind." Natural laws and cause and effect: "We don't observe cause and effect, but only sequence." (W. would say the same thing (early phase).)
Skepticism and empiricism lead to Idealism:
"Ideas--mind-dependent entities--are the immediate objects of our perception, memory, and thought."Hence Kant and German Idealism, and romanticism.
William Godwin
Enquiry Concerning Political Justice (1793)
"All types of society and government are corrupt because of vested interests and prejudices of nationality and class."In place of government Godwin proposed Anarchism founded on strict determinist and utilitarian principles.
Wordsworth: Preface to Lyrical Ballads (1800) 1) "Poetry should ground itself in the primary and simple feelings of the common man." 2) Poetry should portray "Emotions recollected in tranquility."
Late 18th C. Intellectual mythology: Romanticism, transcendentalism, pantheism, scientism, nature worship; Rousseau and the idea of the noble savage; scientific/romantic notions of mind-body dualism, dialectical materialism, the nobility of the common man, the nature of the state.

Sources:
Penguin Dictionary of Philosophy

Richard Osborne. Philosophy for Beginners 
Carter Kaplan. Critical Synoptics

No comments:

Post a Comment