Progressivism Isn’t Progress, IX

One of the greatest philosophers to develop and refine epistemology, along with other philosophical concepts, is Immanuel Kant. With careful examination, thought and concern, he developed a unique philosophy, that of transcendental philosophy, to extend both the worlds of rationalism and empiricism. By looking carefully at the former philosophers of notable importance, namely Descartes and Hume, Kant was able to a very modern philosophy that lays basis to much thought and looks upon thought today. Examination of the two mentioned philosophers will only show their importance in contribution to Kant’s humehand  foundation and therefore the foundation that bonded empiricism and rationalism.

Let us look at Descartes first. Descartes is a rationalist. He believes that there is some knowledge attained other than through or by the senses. For example, the saying “I think therefore I am” is an important aspect of this concept. This is knowledge developed on thought alone. More importantly, it is heavily weighted on the knowledge of God. This is to say that the idea of God, and God itself, is outside of the realm of the senses and so therefore exists through thought alone. Descartes shows through his meditations that by using our mind and thought that we can make judgments of the world around us. He believes that there are only two substances in the metaphysical. The first is thought and the second is matter. He believes, contrary to ancient philosophy, that there is matter without form. He also holds that certain ideas, specifically that of the mind and God, are innate and independent of the senses. This is contrary to many other philosophers and their beliefs.

The problem with Descartes is that a lot of his work is heavily based on the existence of God. This is to say that it requires God to help prove the concept of certain innate ideas outside of the sensible world. It is a very easy example to use and requires little to no back up support. This is because since one can not truly deny or prove the existence of God, one can merely say that he exists because they believe he does and can twist this to put as an innate thought. If one has a faith in God, then you can not deny this faith. Descartes uses this faith to support his idea of innate ideas. It is easy to say that God exists and use that as evidence to a philosophical concept of innate ideas because this requires no other basis. The very concept of God can be compared to Gaunilo’s Perfect Island theory. This theory clearly states that there is no need to find empirical evidence of God’s existence and therefore completely supports the innate idea concepts. The Perfect Island theory says that “if one thinks of the most perfect island in their mind, then it must exist for no other greater island can exist.” The very definition of God is that which is most perfect, and since nothing can be more perfect than God it is only proper to confirm God’s existence. Though debatably flawed, the theory does show the simple strength that faith holds to Descartes’ philosophy.

On the other hand there is David Hume. autoexportluzern  Hume is an empiricist. Key to point out, as its opposite is a strong support basis for Descartes, is that Hume is a non-believer in God. Right there we can understand that we are dealing on a more sensory account of the world and philosophy. We can rules out thoughts existing simple because there is no greater thought to conceive or that we have merely thought of them. He also believes in the Copy Principle. This is to say that ideas are acquired ideas. Hume states that there are two principal ways to organize beliefs. One is relations of ideas which requires logical relations between the beliefs while the other is matters of fact which is the relation of a belief with the world itself. Furthermore, he denies that these matters of fact can be known a priori, only promoting his empiricist views. Hume had a philosophy that was seen by many as being strongly based in Skepticism. We can understand this by his belief in all knowledge coming by the senses. It is because of this that we can only trust these perceptions and therefore the knowledge that derives from them.


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