1. Where does knowledge come from?
2. What is the nature of thought?
3. Are there uniquely human aspects of cognition?
Lecture 1 Innate
• Rationalist: Knowledge comes partly from reason, some aspects of which may be innate
o Boole, Frege
• Empiricist: Neither principles nor ideas are innate. Knowledge comes from experience.
• Plato (Rationalist) teacher of Aristotle (Empiricist)
• Aristotle (Empiricist)
o Blank Slate/ Tabula Rasa • Plato (rationalist)
o Innate knowledge
o We know things we could not have learned. SO the soul must have “understood them for
all time.” (MenoPlay we read for hw with the squares)
o Like the stingray we have made him numb
o Learning is remembering
o Plato’s Problem: Poverty of stimulus= limited experience
How comes it that human beings whose contacts with the world are brief and
personal and limited, are able to know as much as they know?
• The only way we could know is if we knew it already
• We don’t learn about the world… we remember facts from before our
• Objects in our world are mere shadows of their ideal forms, but similar
enough to remind us of those ideal forms, but similar enough to remind