Empiricism vs. RationalismPaper Rating: Word Count: 571 Approx Pages: 2
When and where is it that knowledge becomes part of the brain? Knowledge can be there since birth, or it can be learned through experience. Empiricism, which is supported by Locke, explains that human knowledge is collected through experience only. Descartes, on the other hand, supports rationalism and argues that ideas are already in the mind as principles that must be true and real. Locke explains human knowledge can be received through sensation, reflection, qualities, and the relation of the ideas a person possess.
The two sources of ideas that come from experience are sensation and reflection. The senses provide us with a perception that can supply future knowledge of external objects. The reflection is the process of using previous ideas that are provided by the senses (S.S. 250). Locke also explains the human mind is like a smooth wax tablet on which sensory impressions are transcribed ( I.P. 72). He viewed the mind as a container that receives and stored sensations (I.P. 72). Descartes believes that knowledge is already in the brain, therefore experience can be illusionary. Locke can prove this rationalist theory false by using any object such as a rock. A person sees the rock, learns it's color, smell and the feel of it, so they learn that it is a rock. During this experience you have gained knowledge for a future situation with a rock.
Locke expands the learning experience by reflecting an object's qualities. If you have an object and learn its qualities it can be produced into ideas in someone's mind (S.S. 251). This is the broken down into primary and secondary qualities. These can distinguish between appearance and reality. "Primary qualities refer to solidity, extension, figure, motion or rest and numbers or qualities which belong to the object (S.S. 251). "Secondary qualities such as colors, sounds, taste, and odors, do not belong to or constitute bodies except