Philosophy – Empiricism Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 15 November 2016

Philosophy – Empiricism

Immanuel Kant set about to show that the skepticism of the empiricists was unfounded and that science was possible. How does he do this and is his solution viable (that is, did he actually rescue science from the skeptics)? Through his theory of knowledge, Immanuel Kant provided a philosophical answer to Hume’s skepticism. Kant agreed that knowledge did have a source the humean element of sensory impressions, however he claim that there was an additional element in knowledge, which was not derived from sensory experience.

The second element that Kant spoke of was derived from the mind itself. Kant felt that the human mind, outfitted with its own pure concepts was nothing like the human mind of empiricists Locke and Hume, whom claimed the mind was as a blank tablet or empty cupboard. Opposing Hume, Kant proposed that the mind was furnished with twelve pure concepts of understanding broken down into four categories. Additionally, Kant argued that the mind was not passive at all, as Hume and the other empiricists had claimed.

Quantity Quality Relation Modality unity affirmation substance-accidents possibility plurality negation cause-effect actuality totality limitation causal reciprocity necessity The mind for Kant, was indeed active, it actively interprets the world rather than simply receiving and recording into memory, what it gathers from the external world through the senses. Through the above-mentioned categories, the mind organizes the sensory flux and gives it meaning as substances.

Kant considered that the categories were “logically prior to experience, presupposed by all experience; and that they are independent of experience;” thus experience could never alter them. Kant deemed the categories were responsible for one’s experiences and knowledge, and ultimately were one’s source of understanding. The categories or priori furnished the necessary component for which Hume believed knowledge lacked. Kant denied Hume’s theory of knowledge, which reduced one’s experience and knowledge to nothing but sense impressions.

Kant reduces Hume’s theory to nothing at all, as it did not account for the fact that human posses scientific knowledge outside of animal faith. Kant believed that Hume avoided the key questions of “How is experience of objects possible”, and “How is science possible. ” For this reason, Kant felt that Hume’s theory failed to distinguish that knowledge consisted of both the empirical element and the categories. Kant’s solution in my opinion is viable, as the categories show that there is a necessary connection between the causes and effects.

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