True Knowledge from A Priori Theory by Thorsten Polleit
How do we know about the outer world — or reality, for that matter? Where does our knowledge about it come from? The attempt to answer these questions leads to epistemology, the branch of philosophy dealing with the origin, scope, and validity of human knowledge.
In the epistemological debate, there are two archetypal and actually diametrically opposed concepts: empiricism and rationalism. Empiricism claims that sensory experience (observation) is man’s main (or even sole) source of knowledge, while rationalism claims that his knowledge stems from human reason.
Hardly anyone would deny that there is knowledge that comes to us from sensory experience. Take, for instance, the knowledge that water freezes at zero degrees Celsius. It actually takes observation(s) to acquire such knowledge.
However, in the field of science, which formulates knowledge that applies universally, irrespective of time and place, rationalism holds that empirical knowledge gained through sensory experience doesn’t have the same validity as knowledge deduced from reasoning.
Take, for instance, the following two observations… read more.
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