John Locke and Empiricism (Empiricism, Empiricism)June 29, 2021
The founder of empiricism, Locke, says that the source of knowledge is experience.
According to him, the human mind comes into the world as a blank slate (tabula rasa). The source of all our knowledge is experience and habits. According to him, if our knowledge were innate, people we see as ignorant or stupid should also have knowledge about the principles of reason, mathematical concepts and God. As a matter of fact, there are societies today that have no idea about God or even words to describe him.
According to Locke, knowledge has two sources. The first is the external experience (sensation), which allows us to recognize the external world with the senses, and the second is the internal experience (reflection) that informs us of the various processes of our mind. According to him, all our knowledge and thoughts are obtained from these two sources. This kind of knowledge, whose source is experience, is called a posteriori knowledge in philosophy. In it all kinds of information are posterior.
According to Locke, the following abilities are needed for knowledge to occur:
1. Perception, which provides the necessary designs to our minds,
2. The memory that stores the designs that come to our minds,
3. The ability to distinguish between designs or ideas,
4. The ability to compare designs and ideas with each other,
5. The ability to combine many designs and ideas, and
6. The ability of abstraction to find and extract the common element in similar thoughts and designs.
According to Locke, there are three ways of acquiring knowledge:
a. Intuitive knowledge: Through this knowledge acquisition, people acquire knowledge of their own existence. Such information is accurate and sound information.
b. Sensory information: By acquiring this information, people have the knowledge of the beings in the outside world. Such information is not accurate and solid information.
c. Introductory information: Declaration is the process of establishing a causal relationship between propositions that do not have common terms, as in the process of attributing the expansion of metals to heat, and of linking the fall of objects to gravity. By acquiring this kind of knowledge, man proves the existence of God.
As it is seen, Locker was a philosopher who opposed the views of rationalists, saw the assumption that we have some knowledge that did not come from experience as a dream, a delusion, and tried to show that all our knowledge came from experience.
Compiled by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Atatürk University Department of Sociology Lecture Notes for Year 1 “Introduction to Philosophy” and Year 3 “History of Contemporary Philosophy” (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook