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Critically Discuss Whether Humans Possess Innate Knowledge Essay

  • Submitted by: patricknt
  • on March 2, 2014
  • Category: Miscellaneous
  • Length: 1,081 words

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Below is an essay on "Critically Discuss Whether Humans Possess Innate Knowledge" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Innate knowledge is a view (that rationalists share) that claims that humans are born with information about the world which isn’t learned through sense experience, we gain this knowledge a priori.   Empiricists (like John Locke) say that innate knowledge and ideas do not exist, when we are born the mind is a tabula rasa (blank slate) and we gain knowledge and Ideas through sense experience and if we have no experience of the world therefore it is impossible for us to possess any knowledge.
Kant argues that we need innate knowledge and sense experience. Kant was a transcendental idealist. He was an idealist in the sense that we are aware of the real world and a transcendent because he thought that ultimate reality goes beyond our sense experience. He believed that there are certain things that we couldn’t gain from sense experience alone e.g. a sense of time and space. Kant thought everything was bound by time and space. If we didn’t have intuitions of space and time there would be no experience at all so we must possess some innate knowledge in order for us to live within it. Kant says that we have a conceptual scheme because senses alone are not enough to make sense of the phenomenal world. He believes that a conceptual scheme is made up of 12 innate concepts (which he called categories) e.g. causality, unity and substance. He argued that they were part of the structure of the mind and that we would have no experience without them. He says that sight, smell, touch etc. are all meaningless to us unless they are brought under these innate concepts. Kant believes in a world beyond our conceptual scheme called the noumenal world which he says we can know nothing about and it is impossible to discuss. People have criticized this view by say that how can Kant know that the Noumenal world exists if there is no evidence of it. And there could be undiscovered species with alternate conceptual scheme. Hume also argues that some of Kant’s categories aren’t innate such as...

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