The empiricism is a philosophical movement, referring to the theory of knowledge, which has its origins in the Aristotelian philosophy. The term empiricism comes from the Greek word empeiria , which means experience. In Modernity , when the possibility of knowledge became central to philosophical production, the empiricist current was driven by philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes , John Locke and David Hume. Empiricism with characteristics and rationalism
These were opposed to rationalists , who argued that knowledge is purely rational and does not depend on experience. The rationalists were, therefore, innate, since they defended the existence of innate knowledge in the human being, that is, that knowledge is already inserted in the human intellect.
Basically, empiricism argues that all knowledge comes from the practical experience we have on a daily basis, that is, that our cognitive structures learn only through the experience and apprehensions of our senses.
Characteristics of empiricism
Empiricism argues that our entire cognitive structure is formed on the basis of practical experience , so that the broader, more intense and richer our experiences, the broader and deeper our knowledge becomes. Aristotle already argued that knowledge comes from experience, contrary to Platonic theses, which were essentially innate. Empiricism with characteristics and rationalism
John Locke , one of the leading empiricists of Modernity, said that the human being is a blank slate . The tablet was a Roman writing instrument, made with wax. People wrote on the wax with a kind of stylus, and when they wanted to erase it, all they had to do was scrape or melt that material.
When the tablet was without inscriptions, it was called the blank tablet. This can be compared to a blank sheet. This means that the human being is born without any knowledge and is filled according to the experiences he acquires. Modern empiricism was defended by philosophers like Thomas Hobbes, Francis Bacon , John Locke and David Hume, which can classify it as, essentially, British .
Hobbes took up the theory of Aristotelian knowledge to enumerate knowledge as the awakening of various degrees , namely: sensation, perception, imagination, memory and experience. Sensation is the first awakening of knowledge, which provides data for perception. Perception, in turn, activates the imagination (we only imagine what we can somehow know in practice). All of this provides data that can activate memory, and the accumulation of memory constitutes the set of knowledge called experience.
Bacon is the first great theorist of the philosophical and scientific method of induction . The inductive method states that rigorous knowledge is obtained through repetition of experiences and can be controlled through methodical observation of the human being.
Locke formulates a kind of critical empiricism . John Locke’s epistemology admits that there is only one innate category in human beings: the ability to understand knowledge based on experience. According to Locke, Cartesian structures have erred, since the beginning, in separating the human being into two distinct categories: body and soul. According to the philosopher, the human being is composed of body and soul simultaneously , without separations. And this causes the soul to propel the body to know, because there is no kind of innate rational knowledge. Empiricism with characteristics and rationalism
For Hume, ideas are not innate , but derive from the sensations and perceptions that human beings acquire. Sensations and perceptions are the result of a set of experiences that we acquire through the senses. What determines the degree and capacity of human knowledge is the level and intensity of the experiences acquired by the senses.
Empiricism and rationalism
The rationalism modern goes back to the ideas of Plato in antiquity . Like this thinker, philosophers like René Descarte s and Baruch de Spinoza defended the existence of a universal rationality , which is innate to the human being as a rational being. For Descartes, reason is the best distributed feature among human beings. What happens is that some people do not use it.
For empiricists, this idea is false. According to rationalist theory, knowledge is made up of ideas that are already embedded in human intellectuality. For empiricists, ideas can only be obtained by obtaining intuitions that come from the senses of the body and from experience. Empiricism with characteristics and rationalism
The theory empiricist admits that there are simple and composite ideas ideas. The ideas simply are formed based on the immediate experience that meets everyday objects of the world as man and horse. Already ideas complex are junctions of two or more simple ideas, making composite elements that do not exist in reality but can be thought of as the centaur, which is an amalgamation of ideas man and horse.
Empiricism and Enlightenment
Empiricist theory continues to be debated during the European Enlightenment . Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz is a German rationalist who influences, above all, the philosophical production of the illuminist Immanuel Kant. This puts an end to the clash between empiricists and rationalists, stating that human knowledge comes, doubly, from practical experiences and rational ideas.
For Kant, the human cognitive structure depends, doubly, on a rational abstract knowledge that comprises pure and universal concepts, called a priori knowledge , together with practical experience, which is called a posteriori knowledge . This double action of knowledge requires a complex structure that only human beings can obtain and classifies our knowledge as the result of a double cognitive structure.
- Thomas Hobbes: for whom knowledge comes from experience, which is constituted by the set of degrees of knowledge, that is: sensation, perception, imagination and memory.
- John Locke: for whom the human being is like a blank slate (blank sheet) and gets knowledge from the moment he lives and, consequently (according to the blank slate metaphor), being scribbled (or marked by these experiences) .
- Francis Bacon: for whom the philosophical and scientific method must start from the inductive method, which arises based on the observation of the repetition of events.
David Hume: for whom the empirical knowledge is the result of the set of practical experiences that we have acquired with the experiences, and these are a kind of goal to determine the way the human being understands the world and what he knows about it. Empiricism with characteristics and rationalism