Running head: CONCEPTIONS
Thispaper answers questions 3 and 4 from the provided list of essayquestions.
Descartesis a rationalist since he argues that there are cases where humanknowledge outruns the knowledge that experience provides (Palmer,2013). He questions everything to find the truth. Descartes defendedhis reasoning, insisting that a doubtful thinker like him must exist.He also accepts the notion of God and body and utilizes rock-solidinformation regarding his mental existence as solid proof that Godexists. He uses the existence of God to explain the existence of bodyand the world. Although he proves the existence of self, Descartesrefuses to accept the doubting self as an assurance of its existence.The self needs a creator, who is a conserver because existing beingsneed existing power (Palmer, 2013).
Accordingto Descartes, the notion of an infinite perfect being is independent(Palmer, 2013). According to him, having a notion of infinity withoutseeing such things means that God exists (Palmer, 2013). Since thefinite self cannot produce the thought of an infinite being, the ideacomes from the Infinite Being. Descartes describes God as atrustworthy warrant over man’s ideas concerning the body and theworld. The ideas of man are made perfect because God is perfect. Godcannot let humans down when they try their best. Descartes says thatGod is the only solution for the challenge of interaction between thebody and mind (Palmer, 2013).
Healso says that God made materials with geometric components, hencethe Cartesian doctrine, which proves the existence of three separatebeings (mind, body, and God) (Palmer, 2013). For the body to existthere must be an Infinite Being. It is only God that can remove thepossibility of evil demons or sensory imaginations.
Berkeleyon the other hand is an empiricist who prefers a complimentary lineof reasoning. He tries to avoid doubt, and he wants to be sure ofwhat he supports. He adopts Descartes’ “cogito” and argues thatsensible properties come from the mind and not objects. Berkeley doesnot agree that there are two notions of properties (Palmer, 2013). Heinstead argues that all information is secondary in nature andresults from the mind. He disputes the existence of primaryproperties and the physical world[ CITATION Dow13 l 1033 ].According to Berkeley, ideas are attributed to the mindthat develops from a personal encounter (Palmer, 2013). He suggestsmore sensible things instead of matter and is adamant that there areno mind-independent objects. Berkeley is, however, forced to changethe idea on no mind-independence notion since he needs God forsensible and orderly ideas. He agrees that matter being an emptyword, cannot develop ideas and by removing matter from the equation,he distances himself from the Cartesian doctrine.
BothBerkeley and Descartes say that God is the source of ideas althoughtheir arguments differ. Descartes argues that God is the onlyreasonable cause for the notion of God and matter causes other ideas.He further says that God only safeguards against deception (Palmer,2013). Berkeley, on the contrary, argues that God is the source ofall ideas and no idea is attributed to matter (Palmer, 2013). Hestates that the supernatural being is to be understood, but he doesnot say that sensible things disappear when they are not understood.He insists that perceiving sensible things is because of God’smind. God has the right information concerning sensible things, andto him, God possesses a divine mind that provides ideas and sensiblethings. Berkeley used Descartes’s ideas to formulate his own ideas.
Descartes’sargument is more convincing because he explains the relationshipbetween body, mind, and God in a clearer and more comprehensivemanner.
Lockeis an empiricist who argues that knowledge is obtained fromexperience. Ideas are the mental representation of things (Palmer,2013). He defines an idea as a term that stands for objects ofunderstanding when it is used to explain whatever is meant by speciesor anything that the mind thinks (Palmer, 2013). Locke believes ingood sense and not pushing things to the extreme. His examination ofthe human knowledge started by getting basic materials from whichknowledge is derived. He disputed the notion that ideas are innate.Locke asserted that neither the speculative notions of logic nor thepractical guidelines of morality are put in human minds at birth.Such notions do not have the universal approval of everyone becausechildren and the mentally ill cannot agree with them (Palmer, 2013).Even if everybody were to accept the guidelines, they would stillrequire experience, which is the presumption of innate origin. Lockeargues that those who resort to innate explanations are lazyphilosophers. He also says that none of the ideas in the human mindis innate (Palmer, 2013). Locke opted for the principle ofempiricism, which is essentially an empty room that is furnished withideas. The ideas are sensational (exist in the outside world), andare reflections (ideas from mental operations). Locke started hisideas about mental components with sensational ideas of colors,tastes, sounds, shapes, and smells. Though simple, sensational ideasoffer room for thinking, one decides what to make of them.
Platois a rationalist because he believes that ideas are innate. He wasamong the first philosophers to give a detailed analogy of ideas. Heengaged in discussions like Symposium and Phadeo, which areindependent of any ideas. Ideas separate opinions from facts and areunchangeable. Plato says that material things are the objects ofviews (Palmer, 2013). Factual information can only be unchangeableideas. Moreover, he thinks that ideas are universal (Palmer, 2013).Unlike Locke, Plato believes that all ideas are innate and there isno other source of ideas. He is of the opinion that non-physicalideas are the actual reality and speaks of them through characters.People have a peculiar power of reaching for things that they lookfor at once. An individual can get ideas on what to buy, but he orshe always knows what he or she wants. Plato argues that there is noexternal motivator of ideas, but every individual is born with ideas(Palmer, 2013).
Platobelieved that human existence is composed of two realms, forms, andsenses. Senses are learnt from personal experiences while forms aredistinct from experiences and are not connected to encounters(Palmer, 2013). From experiences, one has got ideas of what willhappen or what they should do. Through experiences, an individual canrelate to things and know how to react if they happen again. Platoargues that senses and forms constitute ideas (Palmer, 2013).
BothPlato and Locke agree that experience influences ideas. Ideas takesome time to develop. The two philosophers however disagree on thenature of ideas. Locke believes that ideas take time to develop andare influenced by human experiences (Palmer, 2013). He disagrees withthe notion that ideas are innate and that someone is born with them. He says that even if this was the case, senses and experiences areneeded to make it work. Plato on the other hand, says that ideas areinnate and are propagated by senses and forms.
Locke’sargument is more plausible than Plato’s because ideas do not justexist, but are influenced by factors like personal experience, andsenses.
Lisa,D. (2013). Philosophy.California: Stanford University.
Donald,P. (2013).Does The Center Hold:An Introduction To Western Philosophy. 6thEdition.
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