Mind as a Tabula Rasa

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Created by yasmyncharles over 7 years ago


The strengths and weaknesses of the view that all ideas are derived from sense experience and of the view that claims about what exists must be ultimately grounded in and justified by sense experience.

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The Mind as a Tabula Rasa - The mind as a blank sheet (Strengths)-Trace causal origins of ideas-World constructed from building blocks provided by the sense i.e sight, sound, smell, touch, taste-Ideas constructed from sensation - reach further beyond consciousness -Locke and Hume (Empiricists) -Locke - mind is a tabula rasa furnished by experience-Hume - develops - ideas are copies of sense impressions i.e Ideas of white and cold are faded copies of sensing white and cold - connotations associated with the experience i.e. experience of snow - forceful and vivid "impressed upon me like a stamp, a copy of itself"HUME'S ARGUMENT - IDEAS DEPENDENT ON SENSE IMPRESSIONS-Defect or deficiency of a sensory organ - little susceptibility of corresponding ideas \"blind man no notion of colours; a deaf man of sounds"\If they were to be restored, an inlet for sensation would be opened- also open inlet for ideas & finds no difficulty making those ideas. = Gives the view that you will only be able to have an idea about something if and only if you have experienced it Hume's response to "but you can have ideas about something you haven't experience, for example, a golden mountain"is that of complex ideas, that you can combine the idea of gold and a mountain for you've experienced both. Hume - "Imagination confined to no more than the brains ability to augment, compound, transpose and diminish materials afforded to us by the sense and experiences"**to actually experience a gold mountain would give us a better idea of it in the same way that a police profile would only give us a vague, confused idea that only sense impressions could confirm and clarify = as sensations are strong and vividLOCKE'S ARGUMENT - WORDS WITHOUT EXPERIENCE SIGNIFY NO IDEA-Unless an idea can be tied to experience then it is meaningless for it signifyie no idea \In the way a painting that resembles no object may be dismissed as a meaningless abstraction. Locke - "Words in their primary or immediate signification, stand for nothing but the ideas in the mind of him that uses them"**without the required corresponding idea, words would just be meaningless noises, marks on paper or patterns on a screen. 

The Mind as a Tabula Rasa - The Mind as a Blank Sheet (Weaknesses/Criticisms) Powerful criticisms of Locke and Hume on ideas which lead to the conclusion that empiricism fails for sense impressions cannot be the basis of our understanding of the world. THE EXTERNAL WORLD - rejects any notion of a world beyond out reality through sense impressions and if there was one we would be ignorant of it. COMMUNICATION - Sense data/ideas regarded as the immediate object of perception - so difficulty in explaining the possibility of sharing ideas for if ideas/words are tracked back to their original, exclusive sense impressions then when we are communicating we can never mean the same thing for a person cannot have another's sense impressions. \ SOLIPSISMSOLIPSISM - Ludwig Richter (german illustrator) - 1820s art students. Tivoli - decided to do opposite of the french artists applying paint to the canvas with big course brushes - German opposite approach- render to the finest detail - however, all subtly different - the drawing, copy or idea of Tivoli is something different for each artist"world seen through a temperament" SOLIPSISM = EXTERNAL WORLD MIGHT NOT EXIST AND EVEN IF IT DID, IT IS UNKNOWABLE.                   = I CAN NEVER SHARE IDEAS WITH OTHERS, NEITHER CAN THEY SHARE WITH ME, I APPEAR TO BE COMPLETELY SELF CONTAINED **This means that as the world and it's content are unknowable and you are unable to share the ideas that you conceive, this means that empiricism is preposterous as you would then not be able to derive reality from your sense impressions as they would be thoughts of the self not the external world.  

The Mind as a Tabula Rasa - Sense impressions are not necessary for ideas If we take the view that ideas are copies of sense impressions - that leads to the conclusion that we never share ideas Strong reason for not accepting ideas are copies of sense impressions= Exclusive sense impressions can play no part in the exchange of ideasWITTGENSTEIN - BEETLE IN A BOXSensation language of empiricism is false as we cannot rely on introspection as a means of communicating the external world especially if the thing in the box has as use in language. WITTGENSTEIN - GREY PATCH TEST Like Wittgeinstein's box, the intermediate sense impression plays no role in our shared idea of grey.Might as well not be there/no purpose if we don't have a share idea about it. 

The Mind As A Tabula Rasa - Sense Impressions Are Not Sufficient For Ideas -Learning requires more than just having experiences-Requires teachers - bring attention to, pose questions, make distinctions, demonstrate etc-Wittgenstein - We may derive from experience the ability to judge the 'correct' way, however experience does not direct us to derive anything from experience. -Example - "This is tove" holding up a pencil-Sense impressions not sufficient enough - This is tove could mean that this is pencil, this is round, this is wood, this is one, this is hard.-Nothing about experience itself teaches us about how we should judge it -Correct interpretations not just compelled by the image itself -So ideas are not merely acquired by opening an inlet for ideas - we learn from others that we see as thinkers like ourselves -Descartes - "sole power of judgement that resides in my head" can deduce that beneath the hats and cloaks he sees beneath his window, there are people. 





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