• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Empiricism vs. Rationalism

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

To what extent is rationalism a more effective way of knowing than empiricism? Rationalism and empiricism could be said to be at either end of a 'way of knowing' spectrum - one relies on the senses whilst the other uses logic and reasoning to determine what is true. One of the main arguments against empiricism is the fact that our senses can be easily deceived. For example, experiments conducted with fruit flavour squash have shown that it was easier for the subjects to identify the correct flavour when the drink had the expected colour. People made errors toward the taste that was expected for a particular colour - an orange-coloured drink that was really cherry-flavoured was often thought to taste like orange; a green coloured cherry drink would taste like lime. ...read more.

Middle

In this situation, using rationalism instead of empiricism would lead us to a more sensible conclusion because we would use what we already know. However, rationalism assumes that what we already know is true. Descartes questioned what could be known by doubting every idea before he could verify it. In the end, the only thing he could conclude as being solid fact was that he doubted in the first place which led him to the idea of "I think, therefore I am." Except there was a problem was this theory - by claiming to think before concluding that he did actually exist, Descartes presumed that a piece of information was true before verifying that it was, simply by saying 'I think'. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, the main question is when does the data we are provided with rationally become information we can be sure of? Is true knowledge raw data, concluded information or a combination of the two? In some circumstances, using the Coherency Theory of Truth can establish whether a new piece of information is trustworthy: if the new information fits with previously established truths then it must be true. Nonetheless, this still leaves us with the issue of how we can determine information as truth - if our senses can be deceived and logic based on inaccurate information then it could be argued that neither are more effective ways of establishing knowledge. Perhaps, it is more a case of understanding when to use which method - rationalism when our senses are compromised and empiricism when we cannot be certain in what we already know. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge essays

  1. Rationalism vs. Empiricism

    For example a person's beauty can only be determined by the eye of the beholder. One could continously talk about another's beauty but until you experience the person's beauty for yourself you cannot say they are truly beautiful. Empirical knowledge commands the mind to be passive but requires one to experience things in order for them to be learnt.

  2. Freewill vs Destiny and Science vs Religion essays

    The only thing that I have wondered since I was able to understand what an abortion is (since the 5th grade)

  1. Supernatural causes vs. Pathogen model of infectious disease

    the container, showing that the organisms reappeared only when the container neck was broken, allowing contaminants to enter. Based on the findings of Spallanzani and Bassi, italian scientists, we came to the conclusion that bacteria were the germs responsible for diseases.

  2. Emotion Vs Reason

    Through this thorough procedure of testing, the scientist is able to cover all variables and aspects within the experiment, where discrepancies or malfunctions are bound to occur. In this scientific manner, reasoning is once again the major factor within the experiment, taking shape through both the aim and the general testing.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work