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Essay on John Locke and Rene Descartes Theory of Knowledge

Date:  2021-05-26 06:05:04
3 pages  (557 words)
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John Locke and Rene Descartes were philosophers in the early seventeenth century who delved into understanding the different scopes of knowledge. Both were skeptics about the probability of certain knowledge. Rene Descartes, a French rationalist, believed that knowledge is amassed out of activities of the mind, cognition and thinking and is based on ideas and concepts acquired from human reason, innate and deduction. According to him, there are only two ways of establishing the truth which is through experience and deduction. On the contrary, John Locke, English empiricist, believed that the genesis of knowledge is out of experience. To him, knowledge is obtained from experience and not reason alone. Moreover, he believed that innate ideas are not able to do anything for knowledge and according to him, there are no innate ideas.

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Despite both advanced several theoretical constructions about knowledge, their philosophies were quite different especially on the origin of knowledge, innate ideas as well as the self-worth. To me, both of them deviate from the ancient traditions and revolutionalise the thought of knowledge and skepticism. I hold the notion that it is not entirely accurate to conclude that their philosophies are different and leave it at that. I find the philosophy of Descartes more convincing than the idea of Locke simply because everything that is and happens in the world will be ultimately reducible to terms of mind and matter. I deeply believe in the fact that everything on earth occurs by the power of God who is the supreme creator. I would agree with Descartes on the idea that it is through Gods will and providence that things happen and this is beyond human knowledge. Most of the arguments advanced by Locke are drawn from Descartes theory of knowledge.

Explain Emmanuel Kants categoric imperative, do you agree or disagree with him?

The categorical imperative was introduced in 1785 by German philosopher and founder of critical philosophy, Immanuel Kant (1724 1804). The whole idea of the categorical imperative is that for a claim to be valid, moral law has to be applied. It thus outlines the manner of evaluating motivations for action. According to Kant, categorical imperative (CI) is a standard of rationality and a supreme principle of morality. Imperative in this case refers to any proposition that renders a particular action or inaction as indispensable. Apart from the objectivity of CI, it is also rationally essential and unconditional principle which ought to be adhered to despite any natural or external desires. This goes without saying that all immoral actions are irrational since they violate the categorical imperative.

I tend to agree with Kants categoric imperative due to the fact that ones actions are morally justifiable given the correct motivation behind performing actions. I believer that every action has a good, bad or neutral consequence and one is more or less accountable for every action. Accountability and responsibility are quite different in that responsibility results from ones intention which can either be good or bad and are heavily influenced by ones character. This brings about the difference between morals according to duty and those done from duty. In both, action is the same. The difference is the motivation behind the actions. In other words, the willingness to act. When acting from duty, one performs actions because he is obliged to perform the duty whether one has interest or not.

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