The Sole Source of Our Knowledge
Two schools of philosophy have very different opinions when it comes to explaining the sources of our knowledge. The Rationalists believe that it comes from innate ideas, and Empiricists believe it comes from our experiences. Many philosophers choose to defend one school, but it is evident that the Empiricists have the right point of view. The sources of our knowledge are derived from experience, rather than innate knowledge.
When it comes to explaining the source of our knowledge two schools have very different opinions. The rationalists claim we have innate knowledge that allows us to know the future reality without experience. This means that we get the truth from intellection, not our senses. We have an idea what our future will hold, without experiencing something that would provoke this idea. For example, my friend who is 18 years old believes she will get married one day. Even though she is not in a relationship, and has not had an experience for her to think about marriage such as discussion with a significant other about marriage or a proposal she still believes that she will. This is because my friend doesn’t know any differently, since the day she was born she has believe she will get married, because it’s a humans natural instinct. The rationalists claim that knowledge is only based on certain principals that are not learned through experience. We instead turn to reasoning itself as the source of our knowledge. Contrasting the rationalists view is the empiricist’s school of knowledge believing that all of our knowledge comes from our experiences alone. They do not believe that we have innate knowledge like the rationalists; instead the empiricist’s believe the formulation of thoughts and ideas comes from our life’s experiences. Experience is the vital starting point for our information. Our senses give us information about the world, and without this information, we would have no knowledge at all. A strong point that empiricists hold is that it’s impossible to think of a single idea or belief that hasn’t been created through experience. Therefore, our experiences are the sole source for our knowledge. For example, if my friend were to be engaged to be married, she would know that she was getting married based off of causation. Her experience of getting engaged would lead to her knowledge of marriage in the future. When comparing the two schools, it is evident that the Empiricist’s are correct and that our knowledge is formed from experiences. Empiricists deny the suggestion of the Innate Concept Thesis, which states that we have some knowledge we previously know in a specific subject area as part of our rational nature. If you look at language for example, babies do not talk initially and it takes time for them to learn based off of conditioning from their parents. When looking at the concept of mathematics, we do not know understand a simple problem such as 2+2=4. We must learn from others. When we are born, we hold no knowledge. Every ounce of knowledge we have in our present lives has been derived from our experiences. This is because sense experience is the only foundation of our knowledge. There are objects in this world that exists, but without experiences they hold no meaning. Rationalists would say that we have innate ideas to know what these objects are, or a priori, but this claim is false. For example an individual was walking around town and saw a building with the word “Bank” on it. A Rationalist would just ignore it, because we are not born with the understanding of what a bank is. On the other-hand an Empiricist would say one would understand the concept of a bank because of are previous experiences with it. The individual would understand that it is a place that holds money, because that is the behavior displayed at a bank that we understand through our senses. Another example would be of a