28 March 2013
Sources of error
All philosophers since philosophy began as had a different philosophy on philosophy; therefore they must have some sort of reasoning behind the differences in philosophy, also known as a source of error within the other philosopher’s philosophy. That being said, in order to fully understand the differences in the different philosopher’s philosophy one must begin by examining each philosopher.
We will begin our diagnosis by considering René Descartes. He was a philosopher around the 1600s; Descartes argued that all things must be first doubted before one can even consider attempting to prove the correctness or truth of anything “Several years have now elapsed since I first became aware that I had accepted, even from my youth, many false opinions for true, and that consequently what I afterward based on such principles was highly doubtful; and from that time I was convinced of the necessity of undertaking once in my life to rid myself of all the opinions I had adopted, and of commencing anew the work of building from the foundation, if I desired to establish a firm and abiding superstructure in the sciences..”(27). With this thought in mind, the only logical place to begin his search was to define what IS and if there is an IS. After long meditation he came to the realization that he is in fact think a though, therefore, there is something (a thought). That lead him do contemplate what is a thought which led him to the conclusion that a thought must be thought, therefore, there must be a thinker. This gave Descartes a base to begin his philosophies on everything. So Descartes concludes that truth cannot be a truth with being first doubted. With this in mind everything any philosopher has ever said is subject to being incorrect, because most philosophers operated on the assumption that, they are, or in the first person “I am”. This being understood Descartes would have a criticism and flaw with all philosophy and philosophers who did not first contemplate the idea of doubting everything.
While Descartes doubted everything, John Locke took a very different approach to his philosophies. Locke operated under the idea that all men are created knowing nothing (tabula rasa)
“All ideas come from sensation or reflection. Let us then suppose the mind to be, as we say, white paper, void of all characters, without any ideas: — How comes it to be furnished? Whence comes it by that vast store which the busy and boundless fancy of man has painted on it with an almost endless variety? Whence has it all the materials of reason and knowledge? To this I answer, in one word, from EXPERIENCE. In that all our knowledge is founded; and from that it ultimately derives itself. Our observation employed either, about external sensible objects, or about the internal operations of our minds perceived and reflected on by ourselves, is that which supplies our understandings with all the materials of thinking. These two are the fountains of knowledge, from whence all the ideas we have, or can naturally have, do spring.”(17).
He believed that all thoughts and beliefs are based on a prior experience, therefore all philosophy will have a bias toward everything and that no one can be absolutely correct about anything, because everyone has different simple ideas. From those simple ideas the mind creates complex ideas and those complex ideas form who you are, the thoughts you think, and determines the actions that you do. This idea was fundamentally contradictory to the philosophies of Thomas Hobbes. Locke’s idea began with the assumption that all men are created equal and with no preconceived or inherent ideas, Hobbes on the other hand believed that all humans were created with a desire to serve themselves “And seeing every man is presumed to do all things in order to his own benefit, no man is a fit arbitrator in his own cause: and if he were never so fit, yet equity allowing to each party equal