Empiricism and Rationalism Essay

Empiricism and Rationalism Essay

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Philosophy uses a term for empirical knowledge, “posteriori”, meaning that knowledge is “dependent upon sense experience”. (Markie, 2008, section 1.2) Yet, philosophical empiricism is defined in such an absolute way; which causes philosophical empiricism to be an inaccurate philosophical position from which to address all aspects of human life. Philosophical empiricism is defined as “the belief that all human knowledge arises from sense experience.” (Nash, 1999, page 254) Yet, medical empiricism is so far to the other extreme as to be insulting, while this empiricism is still said to be based on all sensory experience; only the scientific sensory experience is valued and counted. This form of empiricism excludes the experience of non-scientific persons. This is just one manner in which empiricism has “proved inadequate to explain many important human ideas”. (Nash, 1999, page 254) I believe that human truth is in a combination of empiricism and rationalism. Although, sensory data can inform us of the external world; yet, reason gives humanity access to equally important intangibles.
For an example, I have a twenty two year old son who was diagnosed with autism at four years of age; I would tell the physicians about my son and his behaviors, and they would dismiss the data as non-scientific empirical data. In example, I informed a physician of the type of reactions that my son had to certain foods; and requested an allergy test. After the test results came back, the physician stated that my son did not have an allergy even though he was having a food sensitivity type of reaction. The physician stated that non-scientific empirical data could not be used in treating my son, the criteria for determining allergies must appe...


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...pedia of Philosophy (Fall 2008 Edition), Section 1.2, Edward N. Zalta (ed.), Retrieved February 11, 2011, from http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2008/entries/rationalism-empiricism/

Nash, Ronald H., (1999). Life‘s ultimate questions: an introduction to philosophy, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530.

Nash, Ronald H., (1999). Life‘s ultimate questions: an introduction to philosophy, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530, page 257, note 13 quoting Hume’s Natural History of Religion in The Philosophical Works of David Hume (London, 1874-1875), 4, 309.

Nash, Ronald H., (1999). Life‘s ultimate questions: an introduction to philosophy, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530, page 284, quoting Arthur Holmes, “ The Justification of World View Beliefs”

The Nations Bible Society, (1995), The Holy Bible: God’s Word version, Cleveland, Ohio 44130-0699

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