Rationalist, Empiricist or Skeptic?
(Reflecting to the idea of Theory of Knowledge)
Everyone has its own field of knowledge. Everyone has a talent or various types of talents in unison. How about you? What was your way to gain knowledge? Is it through the freedom of mind to reason alone and be alone independently without senses, the gain of learning from experience, or the act of inquiring for more possible answers? Determining myself which type of theory of knowledge I belong, is it possible to pull out all options like encircling a letter with a statement of “all of the above”? Because, there’ always a part of me on every theory like there’s a part of having an inborn talent, th part of ‘I got stinky, I got dirty but still I learned’ sense and the ‘every time-you -are-curious-with-something’ part—which considered to be skeptic. This determined way of finding the type of knowledge of oneself may yield to which type describes me the most—the best proposition to prefer yet.
There are three kinds of theory of knowledge, namely (1) Rationalism, (2) Empiricism and (3) Skepticism. Rationalism is the knowledge based on reason. It talks about the theory that the mind may apprehend some truths directly without requiring the medium of senses and relies on the idea that reality has a rational structure in that all aspects of it can be grasped through mathematical and logical principles, and not simply through sensory experience. One illustrative example about me of this is what you learn from school especially in Science books that the law of Inertia, Acceleration and the Action and Reaction wherein you know the theories because early scientists examined already about it and already been taught to students who understand that the theories are true and proven. Same in the Geometry subject case, numerous theorems and postulates were found and there are steps to prove it true. I’ve been reading books because of leisure and also a geeky learning process in disguise, and you learn something that you can apply in life later automatically that every learning becomes a theory in life. Rationalists adopt at least one of the three man claims, the following are: (a) Intuition or Deduction, (b) Innate Knowledge and (c) Innate concepts. Some propositions are knowable by us by intuition alone, while others are knowable by being deduced for intuited propositions. When we say intuition and deduction, the former stated to be the ability to understand or now something by using your feelings rather than be carefully considering the facts. There are times we have to be sensitive and to put our heart on our sleeve in a place where we belong. The use of intuition alone can yield to an example that scientist A proved something before that scientist B used his own feelings to determine the truthfulness of the theory and proved scientist A is wrong and scientist B stated the new theorem. The latter (deduction) explains that it is the process of making a judgment about something, based on the information that you have. Going to the innate knowledge, some rationalists claim that we gained innate knowledge in an earlier existence, some that God provided us with it at creation, and others that it is part of nature through natural selection. This best describes people who believe some gained an inborn knowledge or an inborn talent which considers a person to e a child prodigy or a gifted child. A good example is about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart who played piano at the age of three. Everyone has a talent. I was playing piano and someone complimented me “ you had an inborn talent, it’s God’s gift to you”. If you’ll be a rationalist this time, you will consider the miracle of how the Lord supplemented your welcoming to the world with a Gift of Talent. But if you’ll be a non-rationalist, you will damn chuckle to the bones that if it is inborn, you’ve gotta see the new born baby play piano wonderfully and be talkative and tell the baby’s ‘rents “Mama! Papa!”. In this case, rationalism is contrasted with empiricism.
Empiricism is knowledge based on experience. It emphasizes the role of experience and evidence, especially sensory perception, in the formation of ideas and argues that the only knowledge humans can have is a proton (based on experienced). An innate idea is born with ideas or knowledge and is not a “blank slate” at birth. John Locke stated that “Idea is an object of thought” and argued in his “ An Essay Concerning Human Understanding of 1690 that the mind is a tabula rasa on which experience leave their marks and therefore denied that humans have innate ideas or that anything is knowable without reference to experience. Bishop George Berkley stated a very extreme form of Empiricism in which things only exist either as a result of being perceived, or by virtue of the fact that they are an entity doing the perceiving; argued that the continued existence of things results from the perception of God, regardless of whether there are humans around or not, and any order humans may see in nature is effectively just the handwriting of God. The theory of empiricism is a lot genuine in the real world where we use our senses to perceive things and learnings are made through experience. This theory support the overused saying “Experience is the best teacher” and people who support the idea can have the chances to become empiricists. So, playing piano is based on learnings that you apply and, teaching the process little by little. You can’t perceive something you don’t know. No experience, no idea. No idea, no knowledge. Knowledge without experience is only a belief. We only learn when we do it through experience. Through experience, we grow up smarter in our lives and yield us to always do the right thing. From, past, we learn from something we did wrong and in order to put our lives on a right track, we should be better in future.
If you feel like not taking sides, try skepticism. Skeptics are looking for tranquility or peace of mind yet they have the attitude tending to doubt or not to believe what other people tell them. In skepticism, there is no certainty or to now the world as it really is. We could identify who are skeptics any of the following: (1) those who claimed discovered the truth, (2) those who claimed doesn’t know the truth, (3) those who persevere for the search of truth. As a writer before in a school publication and self-confessed blog addict, I’m skeptic in a way that I have the responsibility to know the truth and therefore I’m in search of truth. But in most cases, I couldn’t consider myself as skeptic I a way I’m obsessed to see for more information rather than believing what people are saying. Moreover, the fundamental principle of skepticism is the suspension of judgment principle which tells something that you have to choose something to believe or but you don’t have to choose because you’re not taking sides. You’re neutral.
To be more specific, I would rather declare myself as an empiricist because I believe ideas can be perceived through senses and knowledge is based on experience. Empiricism is nearer in real life.