Reason and Experience - EmpiricismWatch
What are the strengths and weaknesses of the view that all ideas are derived from sense experience?
Sense experience isn't always nessecary to understand certain things and it can also be misleading at times, for example if you closed your eyes and I put your hand under some cold running water, then into a bowl of lukewarm water, you would say that the water in the bowl is quite warm or even hot, but any other person would say that the water in the bowl is just lukewarm.
- It's impossible to think of a completely original idea. (The Golden Mountain)
Leibniz, though a rationalist and a believer in innate ideas, allows that experience is necessary but not sufficient to produce understanding.
- Strong arguments for innate ideas; logic, infants ability to learn (language)...
- Descartes' 'Chiliagon'. We can think in ways that empiricism cannot. We can imagine a 1000 sided shape, and a 1001 sided shape, and although the image we imagine is imprecise and no different from the 1000 sided shape, our ideas of the two polygons are clear and distinct. They are not images, our concept of the two shapes outstrip anything you could have experienced.
- Hume accepts that he can think of a 'Missing Shade of Blue' without ever experiencing it
- Descartes' Wax: when wax melts it completely changes empirically, but out mind observes that it still remains the same substance.
- Hume's problem. "A bundle of sensations" - The Problem of Intentionality. And Daniel Dennet's sentence "My uncle fired his lawyer yesterday" holds no empirical value to it, but we still understand it.