Hi, need to submit a 500 words paper on the topic Compare and contrast the rationalist and empiricist strategies( Descartes vs. Locke). Rationalism vs. Empiricism Two of the major schools of philosophical thought are those of rationalism and empiricism. Generally speaking these philosophies divide between the perspective that knowledge is gained through thinking, as in rationalism, and that knowledge is gained through experience, as in empiricism. This essay contrasts these two perspectives, ultimately embracing the empiricist perspective for a variety of reasons that are articulated. A philosophical perspective advanced by Descartes, rationalism considers reason as the primary factor when attempting to justify knowledge. Even as this school of thought was popularized through Cartesian philosophy it has an extended lineage within philosophical schools of thought, dating from Greek antiquity to the modernist school exemplified by Immanuel Kant. It is not surprise then that there are a variety of competing perspectives on the issue, each of which can be situated along this philosophical continuum as they necessitate differing types of emphasis on the primacy of rational thought in the acquisition of knowledge. In terms of the Cartesian’ perspective, it was emphasized that only foundational truths could be understood through pure reason. different realities could only be grasped through scientific knowledge. The main crux of Descartes’ thought in the matter was that the physical world cannot completely be trusted to provide the thinker with a pure and unobstructed view of reality. In these regards, there is presented the famous deliberation on reality centered around dreams, as how is it possible for the individual to understand their existence is real as they could possibly be dreaming. For Descartes, thought and rational insight then becomes the basis for all reality. From the converse perspective, empirical knowledge constitutes the school of philosophical thought that argues the only knowledge that can be obtained is through experience. Similar to rationalism, this line of thinking dates to Greek antiquity through contemporary thought, such that it spans a variety of extremes along its continuum. In terms of John Locke’s perspective, he advanced the seminal notion that the human mind is a blank slate, or ‘tabula rasa’ to which experience presents the written content or knowledge. Knowledge then emerges in the form of sense and reflection, which then yield simple and complex ideas. In terms of my own perspective, I embrace empiricism as I find it more thoroughly rooted in the real world and a more empowering perspective. While Descartes contends that knowledge can be gained through rational investigation, many times throughout history it has been demonstrated that rational thought has failed and completely disintegrated. In terms of the empiricist perspective, I believe it is more effective as there is less emphasis placed on the intellectual development of ideas and more emphasis on the instinctual elements of knowledge acquisition. I believe from experience that this mode of understanding is more pure and accurate as it by-passes dimensions of thought that are intertwined with intellectual constructions, in lieu of an approach more directly contingent on passion and emotion. In conclusion, it’s clear that empiricism and rationalism constitute different philosophical schools of thought. Empiricism represents a belief that knowledge is gained through experience, whereas rationalism emphasizes the acquisition of knowledge through experience. Ultimately, this essay has embraced the empirical school of thought as it offers a more direct and instinctual approach to understanding. References Audi, Robert. (ed., 1999), The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 1995. 2nd edition, 1999. Blackburn, Simon (1996), The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, Oxford University Press, UK, 1994. Paperback edition with new Chronology, 1996.
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