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University Degree: Philosophy and Theology
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- Marked by Teachers essays 5
Empiricists use observation, facts and experience to guide them on what can be known. In psychology empiricist believe that all behaviour is explained in terms of learning through experience. Empiricism tend to thrive in England, Ireland and the USA The first modern psychologist, Rene Descartes was also a French scientist and mathematician and had a rationalist approach to human behaviour. His belief was that the human being was made up of two kinds of 'stuff' (this being known as 'Cartesian dualism'), body and mind. Descartes described the body as a machine that has no influence on the mind; he also described it as being a separate entity from the mind.
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For this reason, it can be said to be very effective at securing knowledge of oneself: even if a sceptic were to claim that the malicious demon could influence the mind as well, Descartes could reply that even if he were to doubt that he exists, then he will still be existing, because the act of thinking requires existence. Moreover, as Descartes points out when he begins to contemplate the evil demon hypothesis, for the deceiver to be effective, there would have to be someone to deceive.
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Dualism is believed mainly in religions such as Islam. Dualism states that the world is made up of two elemental categories which are incommensurable. This includes distinctions between mind and body, good and evil and universal and particular. Dualism supports the claim that each mind is an individual package that is attached to a physical being. From this theory our mental states and actions derive from uniqueness of our non physical substance. The great philosopher Rene Descartes (1596-1650), proposed several theories that make an important contribution to the ideas surrounding dualism. Descartes' idea of what is called Cartesian Dualism first proposed the idea of the mind and body relationship.
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Since God is not the source of human error Descartes works on finding an alternative explanation. Descartes says as humans are not supreme beings they are prone to making mistakes. Thus human error is not due to God but due to the fact that they are defects. In other words God has not given me a faculty that makes me go wrong, it is just that my 'faculty of judgement' is finite unlike God's. However it is incomprehensible that a perfect creator does not create something which is perfect. If God has the power to make me error free why does he choose not to?
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