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Both Empiricism and Rationalism are flawed views of Episteomology

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/8/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 565 times Debate No: 71335
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)




This is a debate regarding Rationalism and Empiricism, two directly conflicting ways of gaining knowledge and of looking at the world. I will be arguing that though each of these theories have obvious pros to them, there are enough cons that we can confidently say that Empiricism and Rationalism are not the answer. I will not be arguing over what is the answer, just that these two theories are not.
Debate Round No. 1


Hello. I would like to thank my opponent for accepting this argument, I hope to show that the two largest idealogies in episteomology are flawed and that a new way of looking at knowledge is needed. First, I will show the flaw's with Empiricism and to a lesser extent the whole field of scientific thought:

-The first obvious problem with Empiricism has been stated by many(mostly Rationalists) which is that an individual cannot trust their senses, I may be in a dream and think I am in real life, I may be able to feel pain and hear things in my dream but when I wake up I infer that this is not the reality. Because of this, I can confidently say that I must trust more than my senses when making Episteomological observations. This(as well as Hume's Law of Indiction) brings forth a troubling view of science and its evident inaccuracies.
-This shall be a jab at Berkely's empiricism. He takes a Empirical Skeptical approach to Episteomology but his arguments are contradictory to reality. He states that for the individual(and in reality) the only existent events or objects are those which can be observed at any point in time. So when you leave your house it ceases to exist. This must of course be wrong because you can be killed by a bolt of lightning so quick you or nobody else would see it and therefore the lightning bolt would have no place since it would not be satisfying anyone's reference frame.
-This shall be a jab at Locke's empiricism. John Locke stated that the mind is a black slate upon birth but that can be proved wrong with logic because the brain must have at least two innate qualities:
A. Must understand space. One couldn't say I understand space because that object is over there and this one is here because then one would already have a conception of space.
B. Must know how to learn and acquire knowledge because one could never be taught how to learn because that in itself would be learning.

-Empiricism does not allow creativity, it allows us only to combine or break apart old ideas to form new one's and not to make new one's by ourselves. For example, humanity already had the conception of a line and they used this conception to make an octagon, but surely there are things(such as music or writing or any other art) which precedes all creativity.
-Empiricism would allow humanity to be manipulated upon birth. If we were taught that murder was right we could never learn that murder was wrong because we could not use creativity to come to this conclusion.

Some jabs at Rationalism now:
-Knowledge such as mathematics is innate, according to Rationalists but if nobody ever taught you that two plus two is four, would you ever come to that conclusion?
-Basing arguments upon reason alone contradicts science. For example, if I rationally stated that a vacuum was incorrect because it did not make sense, I would be wrong because science has proved it. Rationalism rejects all of science and all evidence that we see. Just as we cannot trust our senses we cannot trust our thoughts either because of course are logic might be extremely primitive, the Ancient Greeks rejected observation for purely logical thinking and were often wrong, since we are not logically perfect we cannot trust our thoughts any more than we can trust our senses.
-Rationalism is by nature challenged by a lack of knowledge which we can attain about the world which this view. This may not be a problem which can bring down the theory but it certainly wrecks the theories practicality. It allows us to know only slivers of knowledge about life, and the logical step after Rationalism must be Skepticism which is almost an anti-Episteomological position.


WillYouMarryMe forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


Philosophy123 forfeited this round.


We've agreed to leave this a tie and redo the debate later.... with a 3 day argument deadline
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by WillYouMarryMe 1 year ago
if you copy/paste your argument into a word document or something, then I think we can get the site moderator to reset the debate
Posted by Philosophy123 1 year ago
Sure, we can do this again.
Posted by WillYouMarryMe 1 year ago
if you would like, we can do this debate again...

because if I were to post in the last round, you wouldn't be able to reply
Posted by WillYouMarryMe 1 year ago

i completely forgot this had a 24 hr time limit

sorry :(
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: FF