Empiricism Notion and Idea from Very Beginnings to Nowadays


Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.

Download PDF

Empiricism is a theory that links source of knowledge to sensory experience. The theory emphasizes the great role played by experience and evidence, mainly from sensory experience, in the formation of ideas as opposed to the idea that knowledge mainly comes from innate ideas or traditions. However, to some extent, empiricist argues that traditions arise from relatives of previous sensory skills.As used by scientists, empiricism terms knowledge as uncertain and probabilistic and that it is subject to sustained revision and fabrication. Accordingly, experiments and validated measurement tools guide empirical research.

Essay due? We'll write it for you!

Any subject

Min. 3-hour delivery

Pay if satisfied

Get your price

Innatismdefines a philosophical doctrine that holds that the mind is born with ideas or knowledge. Consequently, according to the doctrine, the mind is not blank at the time of birth. According to Locke, there are two innate ideas that philosophers allege. First, there are speculative ones where the law of identity takes center stge. The law of identity statesan object as akin to itself. Secondly, there is the idea of practice that regulates moral behavior. However, Locke poses two arguments meant to discredit the notion of innatism. First, he argues that people do not universally hold innate ideas as proponents of the doctrine argue. For example, children and the mentally challenged people have no conception of laws of thought. He points out that since idiots and children have souls and minds with the impressions of these innate ideas in them, they should be in a position to perceive them. Nevertheless, since they do not perceive them, the mere notion that they do exist is a fad (Sellars, 1956). Locke’s second argument is that there is no sense in that we hold innate ideas within us and then they blossom when we come of age as defenders of innatism propound. In fact, if these ideas are engrained in the minds of children, children should perfectly articulate those ideas and verbally express them. However, as it is not the case with children, then the ideas do not exist at all.

According to Locke’s epistemology, there are only two way in which an animal can gain knowledge. First, animals gain knowledge through learning. Learning involves an animal gaining information about its environments and then proceeds to utilize this information. For instance, if a cow eats something that hurts its tongue and proceeds not to feed from the same another time, then it has learnt. The second way that an animal can gain knowledge is through innate knowledge. This type of knowledge comes from inheritance (Sellars, 1956). For example, when a wildebeest carve is born and immediately walks despite not having prior experience, it exhibits innate knowledge.

Personally, I am an empiricist. When we interact with our environment through seeing and touching, we tend to become knowledgeable. However, with no sensory experience regarding our environment, we will remain oblivious of our surroundings.

According to Mill’s theory on liberty, the society has limit to which it can govern an individual. Mill’s states that the society has control over an individual if their actions may cause harm to others (Mill, 2007). However, individuals retain the mandate to pursue their own interest, including, harming themselves as long as their actions has no negative implications on others. He claims that the government should only punish a person for failing to accomplish a duty to others but not the evil that resulted to the neglect for example, if a person fails to save a drowning child, then he or she should not be punished because the child died. Rather, the punishment should be on the negligence. Mill concludes by saying that the society role is not to ensure that every individual is moral to his or her adulthood. Rather, he proposes that, if the society educates the youth, then it will have the opportunity to make the whole generation moral thereby eliminating the need to have any control over individual’s actions.

The harm principle as stated by Stuart Mill holds that an individual’s actions have no limit unless they may result to harming others. Mill argues that, power should only be exercised over any member of civilized society contrary to his or her will if the application of the force will prevent causing harm to others. According to Stuart, harm may be actions that if perpetuated by an individual will result to the suffering or pain to another. Consequently, in that context, the actions of the individual are subject to state correction. Secondly, failure to meet an obligation constitutes harm. The principle points out that morality generates obligation (Mill, 2007). Consequently, it is possible to exact duty on an individual as one would with debt consequently compelling them to fulfill the duty. Moreover, in his essay, Mill explains harm as function of two sayings. First, an individual is not in any way accountable to the society for their actions as long as their action concerns no one else’s interest apart from theirs. Accordingly, the society can only express displeasure towards an individual action only if their avoidance will lead to good of the society. The second maxim points out that harm constitutes actions that are prejudicial to other people’s interest thereby making an individual subject to social or legal punishment(Mill, 2007).

For example, an individual might decide to kill himself or herself. According to Stuart, such an action will only result to harm to the individual thereby not making the subject to social or legal reprimand. However, if the individual has other dependents like children, then, their action of terminating their life will result to suffering to these dependents (Mill, 2007). As such, in that situation, the action constitutes harm thereby subject to legal or societal litigation.

According to Heidegger, the fundamental question of metaphysics is why there is something instead of nothing. As Heidegger points out, it is true that metaphysics constitute the root of all human knowledge. However, it mesmerizes him from where does the human beings spring from. He therefore points out that, there is need to overcome metaphysics in order to appreciate its basis while studying the ground of beings, as we cannot grasp beings by looking at beings(Heidegger, 2001). Accordingly, he maintains that human beings exist only when being there for themselves. Consequently, the human self-awareness results to an authentic life created out of nothing. Subsequently, he is unable to make of as to why there is something instead of nothing despite human life coming out of nothing. He therefore poses the fundamental question of metaphysics as “why there is something instead of nothing.”

Dasein is word from Germany meaning presence or being there. In English, the word means existence. The word is prolific in existential philosophy. For example, Heidegger uses the phrase to refer to the experience of being unusual to human beings(Heidegger, 2001).

According to Heidegger, Dasein understand itself in the world in two ways. Concern is one of the ways that Dasein understand itself in the world. He asserts that Dasein itself only presents as care for being in the world belongs to Dasein. For example, if human beings had no concept of time, the world would have no implications on them as human beings. Therefore,the consciousness of temporality institutes the relationship between human beings and the world through concern (Warnock, 1970). Secondly, Heidegger points out authenticity as another way in which Dasein expresses itself in the world. He argues that, authentic existence only comes to be only of we are aware of who we are and grasp the idea that human beings are distinctive entity. Consequently, upon realizing they have their own destiny, human beings express concern to with the world. Therefore, they cease to do things because the masses are doing but they perpetuate their actions, as they are aware of themselves and they would like to fulfil their full potential in the world.

Angst is a Dutch worm implying an unfocused feeling of deep anxiety or dread particularly about the human condition or the general state of the world. In existentialist philosophy, Danish Philosopher, Soren Kierkkegaard used the word to describe a profound and deep-seated condition. Such conditions include conflict of personal principles, existential despair, andcultural standards. Personally, I consider the life I live as authentic. Most of my actions derive their inspiration from whether they put a smile on other people’s faces. Accordingly, this constitutes what Heidegger pointed as an authentic life(Heidegger, 2001). As such, one may conclude that the life I live is authentic though not wholly.

writers online
to help you with essay
banner clock
Clock is ticking and inspiration doesn't come?
We`ll do boring work for you. No plagiarism guarantee. Deadline from 3 hours.

We use cookies to offer you the best experience. By continuing, we’ll assume you agree with our Cookies policy.