The Enlightenment: Rationalism, Empiricism and God .
Metaphysics is an area of philosophical study which concerns itself with the existence of things. With the question of existence comes the idea of deity, for if one is to determine how one exists, it must be determined how one came into existence. The 18th century, better known as the Enlightenment, initiated a paradigm shift in metaphysical thought. Empiricism and Rationalism are contrasting schools of philosophy which portray the attitudes of the Enlightenment, these philosophies radically changed the contemporary thought of religion, and human existence, but most importantly empiricism, academically questioned the existence of God. Descartes, a chief exponent to rationalism, argued the Empirical premises and maintained that God necessarily exists. Descartes" argumentation is flawed and does not adequately prove the existence of God. The disparity in thought brought about scepticism and created social, political, and economic change. To analyse both philosophical schools of thought one must discuss how they respectively argue the realities of existence.
To further understand the reasoning of both philosophies, one must analyse their chief premises. Rationalism pertains that reason alone, arrives at fundemental truth regarding the world. Associated with rationalism is the doctrine of innate ideas and the method of logically deducing truths about the world from "self-evident" premises. Descartes, a famous rationalist thinker, insisted that God does exist, and utilized rationalistic premise to deduce his proof for God's existence. .
To an empiricist, the occurrence of consciousness is instilled by experience. They argue that all human knowledge is absorbed from experience and observation alone. Humans are born as an empty slate; it is through sense perception that ones knowledge begins to form and shape ones mind. Empiricism denounces the idea of a priori thought (knowledge that is independent of all experience).