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Honors Paper

Satisfactory Essays
There is an unambiguous divide between Christians and pagans in philosophy. In their efforts to answer the philosophical questions of life, both contrive philosophies running the gamut from Biblical to unbiblical, and their teachings are accordingly more or less compatible with a life fully surrendered to Christ. One of the most foundational questions affecting the issue of spiritual surrender revolves around human nature and autonomy,especially pertaining to the relationship of man and reason. Three philosophers of history presented views on the relationship of man to his own reason: Descartes, Locke, and Kant. This paper will examine each in turn, examining their respective merits and failings. Of the three, Kant offers the most decisive grounds for man to confidently assert his own reason.

In a barely unprecedented move, Descartes resurrected the ancient skepticism of the Greeks. However, Descartes did not simply doubt; he used doubt as the basis for knowledge. By dividing knowledge according to its certainty, Descartes attempts to rebuild knowledge out of the things which cannot be doubted. This is know as methodological skepticism. In his efforts as a skeptic, Descartes doubted everything except his own mind. That is where his famous quote, “I think therefore I am,” came from. Essentially, Descartes appeals to innate knowledge in each of us; we have identity, morality exists, there is uniformity of nature, and so on and so forth. Unfortunately, in Descartes’ system, we do not know what we are, or even the mode in which we exist, so we have no frame for other existences; Descartes provides a framework for knowledge incorporation, but no grounds for knowledge outside of ourselves. Simply knowing ourselves d...

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...l imperative on everyday life. Any other deontology is an unwarranted expansion of the semantic field into the nonsemantic.
Overall, Kant demonstrates the best epistemology. In fact, Descartes and Locke hardly present true epistemologies. Whether by oversimplification or assumption, they both fail to provide a source for useful knowledge. On the other hand, Kant, with his categorical assumption, delivers a useful and consistent epistemology which is the basis for modern transcendental analysis. Ethical dissention from his theory has little grounds in his teaching, though it is true that his abstruse writing is to blame. Most importantly, woven throughout all of Kant’s teaching is the need for God, and though Kant never quite connected the dots, his philosophy has been invaluable to modern apologetics. For all these reasons, Kant presents the best epistemology.
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