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Rationalism vs. Empiricism

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Katie Albertucci September 28, 2005 Rationalism vs. Empiricism The disagreement between rationalism and empiricism is the way in which we gain knowledge. Rationalism is a theory that reason is the basis of all certainty of knowledge whereas empiricism is based on the principles that all knowledge comes from experience especially that from our senses and that the knowledge we acquire is the basis of our understanding. Each theory, however, has a problem of knowledge because you can never solely have empirical or rational knowledge. Rational knowledge occurs in any situation where we are taught something. Impersonal or propositional knowledge are examples of rational knowledge for the reason that through both logic is used to acquire knowledge. ...read more.


Subconscious knowledge does not come naturally to some people especially children. For example in chemistry we know now, as young adults, that when you are boiling water the burner is hot, however as a child, one might have to feel it for themselves to actually say that the burner is hot. Also another example is being in love, no one can tell you what its like to be in love you must experience it for yourself to truly know what its like. Empiricism, on the other hand, denies that humans have innate ideas or that anything is knowable prior to any experience. Personal knowledge is an example of emprical knowledge, because throught personal experiences you are able to acquire knowledge. ...read more.


In conclusion, one is never fully able to understand or achieve knowledge within any area of knowledge without both empiricism and rationalism due to the dependecny both have on each other. One must both be taught how to do things but they must also be able to experience things on their own. It can be agrued that there is no possible way to have purely rational or purely empirical knowledge. For example even in mathematics once you are taught through the logic how to solve a problem you must try it for yourself in order to fully understand it, thus you must experience it. ...read more.

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