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Determinism, empiricism and rationalism

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1. Explain the difference between empiricism and rationalism. Which theory most resonates with your own experiences and ideas about the nature of the self? If you find rationalism compelling, do you prefer the more spiritual approach of St. Augustine, or is the Cartesian quest for certainty through reason more appealing? If you prefer empiricism, does Locke or Hume best capture your belief that knowledge comes from experience?

2. Explain determinism. What is James' critique of determinism? Is it successful? Now consider Grimshaw's account of internal and external constraints that complicate the question of autonomy. Is Grimshaw saying that women and other historically oppressed persons are not free? Explain why or why not.

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This solution discusses determinism, empiricism and rationalism.

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Empiricism is a system of epistemology that states that all our knowledge derives from the experiences of the senses and of the external world. The nature of scientific knowledge derives from an empirical foundation that states that all scientific knowledge must be proven against the external world that we measure and quantify with our experience. Another school called British empiricism derives from Locke's theory in the Essay Concerning Human Understanding that our mind is a blank slate and that knowledge derives from sense experience and reflection. From this sense experience and reflection, the mind builds simple ideas and complex ideas from these experiences. Our soul is created through experience and reflection according to Locke. Hume's idea comes from his Treatise of Human Nature which believes that our sensations especially vivid ones creates beliefs in our minds that connect the sensations together into thoughts or beliefs. The soul or self is just a perception of the connection of ideas or impressions that formulate our self or the I. There is also a school of logical empiricism that states that mathematical propositions are verifiable from experience and observations.

Rationalism is a system of epistemology that states that knowledge can only come from the reasoning process and deductive logic that the mind imposes on knowledge. This means that man's thought processes create knowledge and truths that can be relied on as principles. This would be known as a-priori knowledge. Rene Descartes ...

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