Philosophy Questions Essay

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Empiricism is fundamentally the belief that all knowledge is eventually resultant from the senses and experience, and that all conceptions can be linked back to data from the senses. John Locke, George Berkeley, and David Hume are considered to be three of the most persuasive empiricists in philosophy. The key aspects that the philosophies of these three empiricists have are that knowledge develops from sensory experience. However, it is imperative to note that each of these three empiricists have their own views (Meyers, 2014).

To begin with, Locke repudiated the prospect of intrinsic ideas and that when an individual is born, his or her mind is blank. Therefore, Locke makes the argument that all notions come from experience and that devoid of such experience, reason does not have a benchmark for differentiating the truth from fallacy. In turn, Locke asserted that the foundation of all ideas stem from sensation and reflection. Moreover, Locke posited that human beings are able to think about things solely subsequent to having experienced them. As a result, all ideas are devised from sense data. To illustrate this, Locke explains that if an individual is born blind, he or she can never have the idea of color. Therefore, if both a blind and seeing individual are handed shapes that have color, then the seeing individual would be able to identify both whereas the blind individual would only ascertain the shape but not the color. This is due to lack of experience (Solomon and Higgins, 2013).

Berkeley, on the other hand, makes the argument that there is no existence of a material world. He posits that merely ideas exist, and ideas are mental states, not material objects. Basically, Berkeley asserts that it is not possible to know what an inexperienced presence would be made up of. All humans can know are ideas. In accordance to Berkeley, any qualities that are allocated to material objects are in relation to the one perceiving them. For instance, food can be considered hot, warm or cold depending on an individual's perception. As a result, Berkeley makes the argument that individuals solely know perceptions and not materials or things, but rather aspects as they are perceived (Solomon and Higgins, 2013).

Lastly, Hume makes a gripping argument against materialism, the conceivability of a spiritual or supernatural reality and also the immortality of the soul. In essence, Hume posited that neither matter nor mind exists. He makes a distinction between antedating a perception from the mind and perceiving it in reality. Hume goes on to state that it is imperative to differentiate ideas, which are abstract in nature, from impression, which are mental replications, from human senses. Therefore, Hume insists that all ideas can be linked back to impressions and consequently, they originate from experience (Meyers, 2014).

In general, Locke, Berkeley and Hume promoted experience as the source of knowledge, not pure reason. Locke proposed innate ideas, primary and secondary qualities, simple and complex ideas, along with revolution and natural rights. Berkeley, on the other hand, believed in idealism of not using materials as objects, God and Evil, and arguments against material objects. Hume believed in miracles, emotion vs. reason morality, idea origins and associations, personal causality and identity, and natural belief and radical skepticism. Clearly, these ideas work towards a common goal known as empiricism (Meyers, 2014).

Moreover, matter is what's important and all unique and true knowledge about the spiritual world depends on its correct answer. Spirit is a substance with a form. Substances can either be spiritual or material, and totally different from each other. Although matter and spirit are real substances, they're not related to each other. This point is important and contrary to common opinion. Any existence, being or entity is formed from a substance. A material thing is made from a material substance. For instance, ice is made from water substance. Similarly, spirit or the soul is a substance made from a spiritual substance. Humans are partly a spirit and that part is made from spiritual substances.

Although a spiritual world is different from a material world and made from spiritual substances, we can't tell what spiritual substances are made from. Similarly, we can't tell what material substances are made from (Meyers, 2014).

For instance, can you tell what wood or clay is made of? Of course, not. Therefore, our knowledge of things is limited by their impact on us and relationship to us. We can neither define spirit nor matter. There are different spiritual substances we cannot define. All the facts we can know regarding a substance, spiritual or material, are the inherent qualities of the subject and important existence conditions, only from our relationship to the subjects. A blind man can't know much about light as they don't have a relationship. He can only believe what he's told because he has no organism affected by light. Therefore, we can't have knowledge of material and spiritual substances lying beyond the senses if we base all knowledge of matters of fact upon immediate sense experience and regard the mind as passive in sense perception (Meyers, 2014).

Of the three aforementioned philosophers, the one who is most consistent in following empiricist principles is Hume. Hume is deemed to have taken as a beginning point of the empiricism meaning that's was outlined by Locke and came up with its complete fundamental inferences (Bennett, 1971). Skepticism is the perspective of lacking knowledge. The three empiricists had plenty of skepticism regarding a great deal of the things we normally take for granted. From my perspective, this skepticism was justified. This is because, for instance, the skeptical inferences made by Hume emanate from the application of the theory of meaning. If the customary notions of causality and personal identity are to hold meaning, it is imperative to have the ability to mark out such ideas to some impression. In particular, Hume does not entirely repudiate the notion of essential connection and causality. However, Hume does repudiate the customary notion of it being something like a main quality within objects themselves. As an alternative, he recommends that essential connection is similar to a minor quality that we onlookers carry out onto A-B categorizations when humans often perceive A and B. adjoined. Hume asserts that it is merely a habit of the human mind and not a reality in the objects themselves (Fieser and Lillegard, 2012).

Question 2

Causal inference is a reasoning process of what's known from experience to what's claimed as the 'cause' of a particular 'effect' without directly experiencing it. For instance, if we see smoke on the horizons, we conclude or infer that fire must be the cause of the smoke. Therefore, such inference utilizes a 'causal principle' premis. A causal principle is a formal statement 'E is the effect of C', 'C is the cause of E' or 'C causes E'. According to Hume, 'C' and 'E' are the 'cause' and 'effect' 'events' or 'objects'. They signify the causal relation between E. and C. For instance, freezing temperatures convert water to ice is a good example of the 'causal principle'. Hume, according to his empiricism, holds that ideas can be analyzed into their basic components, showcasing the simple impression that every part of each simple idea emulates. E and C. are connected and when C. happens, E must follow; if E. occurs, it means C. had already occurred. Only a necessary connection between C. and E. follows the causal principle. This kind of reasoning is known as causal inference. It assumes that a particular causal principle holds true or there's a necessarily connected relation between 'C' and 'E' as a cause and effect, respectively. Since causal inferences are sound, they're usually true as long as we know that the applicable causal principle is true (Hutchings, 1998).

Causality was deemed to be a central maxim of reality and presumed to be an undisputable, general, and essential law of reality. Nonetheless, Hume postulates that causation is not based on any sensible, a priori argument and that it is completely baseless. Hume makes the argument that there is no foundation in occurrence of one event succeeding essentially upon another and therefore causation….....

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Honderich, T. (2005). On determinism and freedom. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Hutchings, K. (1998). The Cambridge Companion to Kant. Edited by Paul Guyer. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

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Solomon, R. C., & Higgins, K. M. (2013). The big questions: A short introduction to philosophy. Cengage Learning.

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