An analysis of john lockes approach to epistemology

His mother was Agnes Keene.

An analysis of john lockes approach to epistemology

The nature of epistemology Epistemology as a discipline Why should there be a discipline such as epistemology? Aristotle — bce provided the answer when he said that philosophy begins in a kind of wonder or puzzlement.

Nearly all human beings wish to comprehend the world they live in, and many of them construct theories of various kinds to help them make sense of it.

Because many aspects of the world defy easy explanationhowever, most people are likely to cease their efforts at some point and to content themselves with whatever degree of understanding they have managed to achieve.

Unlike most people, philosophers are captivated—some would say obsessed—by the idea of understanding the world in the most general terms possible. Accordingly, they attempt to construct theories that are synoptic, descriptively accurate, explanatorily powerful, and in all other respects rationally defensible.

In doing so, they carry the process of inquiry further than other people tend to do, and this is what is meant by saying that they develop a philosophy about such matters. Like most people, epistemologists often begin their speculations with the assumption that they have a great deal of knowledge.

As they reflect upon what they presumably know, however, they discover that it is much less secure than they realized, and indeed they come to think that many of what had been their firmest beliefs are dubious or even false.

Two of those anomalies will be described in detail here in order to illustrate how they call into question common claims to knowledge about the world. Two epistemological problems Knowledge of the external world Most people have noticed that vision can play tricks.

A straight stick submerged in water looks bent, though it is not; railroad tracks seem to converge in the distance, but they do not; and a page of English-language print reflected in a mirror cannot be read from left to right, though in all other circumstances it can.

An analysis of john lockes approach to epistemology

Each of those phenomena is misleading in some way. Anyone who believes that the stick is bent, that the railroad tracks converge, and so on is mistaken about how the world really is.

Although such anomalies may seem simple and unproblematic at first, deeper consideration of them shows that just the opposite is true. How does one know that the stick is not really bent and that the tracks do not really converge?

Suppose one says that one knows that the stick is not really bent because when it is removed from the water, one can see that it is straight. But does seeing a straight stick out of water provide a good reason for thinking that when it is in water, it is not bent?

Suppose one says that the tracks do not really converge because the train passes over them at the point where they seem to converge. But how does one know that the wheels on the train do not converge at that point also? What justifies preferring some of those beliefs to others, especially when all of them are based upon what is seen?

What one sees is that the stick in water is bent and that the stick out of water is straight. Why, then, is the stick declared really to be straight?

Why, in effect, is priority given to one perception over another? One possible answer is to say that vision is not sufficient to give knowledge of how things are. But what justifies the belief that the sense of touch is more reliable than vision?

After all, touch gives rise to misperceptions just as vision does.

An encyclopedia of philosophy articles written by professional philosophers.

For example, if a person chills one hand and warms the other and then puts both in a tub of lukewarm water, the water will feel warm to the cold hand and cold to the warm hand.Chapter 15 John Locke: Theory of knowledge Key Words: Ideas, self-evident knowledge, quality, primary qualities, secondary qualities, modes, archetypes of knowledge according to empiricist epistemology.

The ideas of substances, demanded a coming together of two approaches to knowledge; the mathematical.

John Locke (—) John Locke was among the most famous philosophers and political theorists of the 17 th century.

He is often regarded as the founder of a school of thought known as British Empiricism, and he made foundational contributions to modern theories of limited, liberal government.

Free empiricism papers, essays, and research papers. Empiricism and Capitalism - Empiricism is the theory that knowledge evolves from sense experience and internal mental interaction, such as emotions and self reflection.

John Kenyon, in his study of British political debate from to , has remarked that Locke's theories were "mentioned so rarely in the early stages of the [Glorious] Revolution, up to , and even less thereafter, unless it was to heap abuse on them" and that "no one, including most Whigs, [were] ready for the idea of a notional or .

John Locke FRS (/ l ɒ k /; 29 August – 28 October ) was an English philosopher and physician, widely regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers and commonly known as the "Father of Liberalism".

Considered one of the first of the British empiricists, following the tradition of Sir Francis Bacon, he is equally important to social contract theory. According to Locke, knowledge of the external world is different John Yolton pioneered an approach to the problem of incorporating sensitive knowledge within an argument that sensitive knowledge is incompatible with Locke’s theory of knowledge but the broader point that the epistemology Locke develops in Book IV of the Essay is.

John Locke (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)