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Unit IV Lecture IV – March 8.docx

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Philosophy 2006
Sean Coughlin

Unit IV Lecture IV – March 8, 2012 Francis Bacon Empiricism Vs. Rationalism  Empiricism  Knowledge comes to us primarily through sense experience o We test our knowledge not by thinking a priori whether it is consistent with our other concepts, but by testing a hypothesis against the world [we look for confirming and falsifying instances]  Rationalism  All our knowledge and justification comes from reason alone o We treat sense experience only insofar as it corresponds to our reason o The sources of knowledge are 1) intuition, or 2) innate ideas o Motivation for rationalism is that it gives us a way out of skepticism How Is It Meant To Work?  Example of what heat is:  [Aristotelian] – Go out into the world, see that fire is hot, and it is hot because it has the power to make other things hot. So, fire is hot because it has the power to heat things. The nature of fire is heat. All other things heat because they have some fire in them.  [Bacon] – Start by coming up with a “natural history.” (A catalogue of all of the various correspondences between things) o List must include things that everyone knows, and all those things which people do not (things that are impossible) o Next – come up with list of experiments that would be most useful Bacon’s Empiricism 
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