Short Paper 2 has been posted. Due November 12th
State of play & biographical matters
a. From reason (Descartes)
b. From experience (Locke)
c. From both (Kant)
Revolutionary thinker in ethics, epistemology, metaphysics, religion, aesthetics
1. Kant's contribution
Reconciliation of rationalism & empiricism:
o "All our knowledge begins with experience, but it does not follow that it all arises out of
2. First distinction:
A priori= knowledge that is independent of sense experience
A posteriori= knowledge that is gained by sense experience
Example of a posteriori knowledge:
There are eight potatoes in this bag.
Today's sunset is orange.
Examples of a priori knowledge
Propositions of mathematics (3+5=8) know to be true without uses senses
Propositions from ordinary understanding: "every change must have a cause"
3. The reconciliation
We can know these a priori propositions to be true without consulting experience.
Admittedly we got the concepts of 3, of 5, or 8, or of change or of cause from experience---but once we
have those concepts we don't need experience to grasp the truth of these propositions.
There are 8 potatoes in this bag.
There are 3 potatoes in this bag and 5 in that bag--so 8 in all
Even if we admit all our concepts come from sense experience.
Some propositions can be known to be true without consulting sense
Others cannot be known to be true without consulting sense
(in fact, thought, some concepts are acquired a priori-- the spatial extension of body, for example: you
cannot think of body without thinking of spatial experience) prof said not very important In essence, we might say, Kant tries to clear up this debate by distinguishing two different things that
might be meant by the "acquisition of knowledge"
i. How we get our concepts
4. Second Distinction
Analytic judgements= those in which the idea of the predicate is already contained