Epistemology essay: Hume, Plato, and Descartes

Published under category: Sample Essays | 2015-02-06 11:43:30 UTC

Context: Philosophy, ethics and epistemology

In our assignment writing platform, we offer many philosophy essays. In these papers, there those philosophers who are associated with fundamental philosophical realms who will often be featured. Hume, Descartes, and Plato are just some of the outspoken figures in philosophy. Most college assignments, high school essays, and university research papers will feature some of the prominent philosophers. You can order a paper on one or a number of these philosophers from this assignment writing service. The following is a comparison of views of different philosophers on epistemology. Epistemology, the process of acquiring knowledge, has been debated about, reflected upon, as well as explored and written extensively by many philosophical giants in the realm of thought, since humanity started pondering about knowledge. For instance, it is part of the standard interpretation of Plato’s allegory of the cave to see in it a mythological representation of Plato’s epistemology, more specifically, his theory of the forms. In this theory, Plato asserts that, it is the general form or idea of a thing that makes intelligible the particular versions of the thing that we experience and see in the world. There are essences or ideas of things that stand behind or above the worldly, existential expressions of individual things that make it possible for human beings to know and refer to them as things of this or that sort. Plato’s theory of forms postulates that there is the realm of being where, the forms exist and the realm of becoming where particular expressions of these forms dwell. Rene Descartes’ argument regarding acquiring knowledge is rooted in his hyperbolic doubt. Conversely, Plato and Descartes are both influential philosophers who are critical of empiricism as a method of acquiring knowledge. David Hume on the other hand, is an empiricist, having thought that observation should be the chief determinant of theory and knowledge can only be acquired through sensory experience. In assessment of Hume’s empirical thoughts, Hume is a methodological, conceptual, ontological, explanatory, and reductive empiricist. Hume could reply to Descartes that senses are the foundation of knowledge. Sensation precedes thought, and impresses the mind more vividly. Therefore, knowledge is based on sensory experience and extended by association and analogy. According to Hume, the Cartesian doubt concerning the evidence of the senses is unreal and unhelpful. Hyperbolic doubt is doubt taken to the limit, doubt in excess of everyday uncertainty and anxiety about what to believe. In my opinion, Hume contributed immensely in discovering how people acquire knowledge, and moved from the skeptic line of Descartes. I hold that there is both aposteriori and apriori forms of knowledge, but in observation of Plato and Descartes, they were far from articulating the nature of aposteriori knowledge. For Descartes the challenge here is skepticism, if there is any possibility of doubt about so called knowledge being true, and then it cannot be genuine knowledge. The first reason for supporting Hume in contrast to Descartes is that, Descartes’ inquiry tries to ascertain just what facts about the external world are beyond skepticism. Epistemology defines knowledge as an essentially personal item that concerns facts about the world. This is factual knowledge that can be evaluated for truth or falsehood. In the physical world and as we experience reality every day, the state of hyperbolic doubt to me is pervasive, and total skepticism. Total skepticism is not a method of productive of knowledge. Descartes should also doubt that there is any validity in nonmaterial cause of thoughts. When Descartes asserts that ‘I think therefore, I exist’, he presupposes on the one hand that, he is indeed thinking, or humanity is a thinking being. On the other hand, Descartes also presupposes from the premise that, he exists. To infer that he exists comes from his assessment of the nature of thinking in the entirety of his experience. Therefore, negating the physical entity as the source of his knowledge is purely nonsensical. Hume could also reply to Plato that the notion of an independent and separate world of forms beyond space and time is contrary to common sense. To comprehend reality, one should not escape into another world, the skeptic world. Hume could actually feel that Plato might have suffered from too much mystery, mysticism, and poetic fancy of the time. This is what made him to undervalue the world of facts and objects revealed through our sight, hearing, and touch. In Plato’s mind, knowledge must be absolutely and demonstrably true for all times and all places and as such indicated that, there are alternatives to empiricism: nativism and rationalism. This is because rationalism locates the truth of knowledge claims in logic, since for instance, when one works through the proof of the Pythagorean Theorem; one arrives at a truth that cannot be doubted because it has been formally proved. Therefore, according to Plato, such proofs such as mathematical proofs actually derive their authority from reason, not experience, and Plato wished to extend a similar level of provable certainty to all knowledge claims. Hume will respond to Plato and say that knowledge builds upon and contains nothing other than that which is given in sense experience. According to Hume, the evident objectivity of experience, the existence of an external and independent world of substance, is one of the taken-for-granted assumptions of Platonism. Hume pondered whether “by what argument can it be proved, that perceptions of the mind must be caused by external objects, entirely different from them, though resembling them and could not arise either from the energy of the mind itself or from suggestion of some invisible and unknown spirit. In implication, Hume knows that there is no rational necessity in supposing that objects exist when we do not perceive them. Actually, the mind presents the world to us through our perceptions. It is gross delusion and fantasy, according to Hume, to suppose that we can have a perception of both the impressions of an object and the object itself. We can never know the independent objects themselves, since they are always the product of rational inferences from the initial impressions. In my opinion, both Plato and Descartes’ strategies of articulating to knowledge are rooted in the apriori while neglecting sense knowledge. Descartes for example relied essentially on the hyperbolic doubt to get us to acknowledge some sort of distinction between perceptions as states of the self and the external objects that we take ourselves to perceive whereas Plato presupposed the world of forms to be the only intelligible. However, Hume tends to come closer to sense knowledge as the basis of all knowing. Ask for a paper from this assignment writing website ORDER PLAGIARISM FREE PAPER


Post a comment

You can order a custom written paper

We accept all kinds of custom papers and we do not turn our customers away. Academic papers urgently needed are welcome

Support reviews all essays and academic papers to make sure general requirements such as grammar and format are followed

Students ranging from highschool to Doctoral level can have their essays and custom academic papers done here