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Lecture 15: Certainty. In Today’s Lecture we will: Review Hume’s radical empiricism and its consequences Outline and investigate Kant’s theory of knowledge: Transcendental Idealism Discuss whether Kant’s theory overcomes Hume’s radical empiricism - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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  • LECTURE 15: CERTAINTY

  • TODAYS LECTUREIn Todays Lecture we will:

    Review Humes radical empiricism and its consequences

    Outline and investigate Kants theory of knowledge: Transcendental Idealism

    Discuss whether Kants theory overcomes Humes radical empiricism

    Conclude our investigation into the theory of knowledge

  • RECAP: DAVID HUME

  • DAVID HUMEDavid Humes Phenomenalism

    All knowledge is derived from and limited to appearances

    Appearances are presented to us in our perceptions

    Perceptions can be divided between

    ImpressionsLively, Vivid Sensations

    IdeasPale impressions / copies

    All ideas are derived from impressions

    All the mind possesses is a collection of perceptions

  • DAVID HUMEDavid Humes Phenomenalism

    There are two types of knowledge:

    Relations of IdeasIdeas that are intuitively or demonstratively certain

    E.g. Geometry, Arithmatic, Logic, Algebra etc.

    Matters of FactIdeas that pertain to the world

    E.g. The sun will rise tomorrow, This chair is red, etc.

  • DAVID HUMEDavid Humes attack against abstract knowledge

    Empirical (all) knowledge can only be either:

    Necessarily true but not informativeOrInformative but not certain

    All ideas are derived from appearances

    Any idea we have that is NOT derived from appearances should be abandoned

  • DAVID HUMEAccording to Hume we must abandon the following abstract concepts:

    The concept of causationWe never perceive a necessary cause; only succession and contiguity

    The selfWhen we reflect we never find a thinking thing; only many different perceptions

    The concept of substanceWe never perceive substance

    Furthermore:

    All scientific knowledge is informative but not certain

    We must recognize how limited our perceptions are and limit our knowledge accordingly

  • KANT

  • IMMANUEL KANTOutline:

    Lived 1724-1804

    Represents an important turning point in epistemology

    Wrote the Critique of Pure Reason in response to Humes radical empiricism

  • IMMANUEL KANTPrelude to Kants theory of knowledge:

    Kant was heavily influenced by Humes radical empiricism

    I openly confess my recollection of David Hume was the very thing which many years ago first interrupted my dogmatic slumber and gave my investigations in the field of speculative philosophy a quite new direction

    (Textbook, p.232)

  • IMMANUEL KANTKant maintains the following:

    Kant rejects the empiricist claim that the mind is a blank-slate

    He also rejects the rationalist claim that we possess innate ideas

    Unlike Hume Kant claims we can be certain that:

    Every event must have a cause

    Substance exists

    The self exists

  • KANTS THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE

  • A Priori

    Independent of senses

    Universal

    CertainA Posteriori

    Derived from sense experience

    Specific

    Not certainKANTS THEORY OF KNOWLEDGEA Priori

    Independent of senses

    A Posteriori

    Derived from sense experience

    Analytic

    True by definition

    No relevance to realitySynthetic

    Not logically certainKants understanding of knowledge

  • KANTS THEORY OF KNOWLEDGEActivity: List any knowledge that corresponds to the following categories:

    Synthetic a posteriori KnowledgeThe room is redThe moon is 2159 miles in diameter

    Analytic a priori knowledgeAll bachelors are unmarried menA triangle is a three sided closed shape

    Analytic a posteriori Knowledge

  • KANTS THEORY OF KNOWLEDGEThe search for synthetic a priori knowledge

    Kant wants knowledge which is certain, not derived from experience, and still informative

    It must be both Synthetic and a priori

    Informative, not just true by definitionNecessary & UniversalThe big question is whether such knowledge exists!

  • KANTS THEORY OF KNOWLEDGETraditional theories of knowledge

  • KANTS THEORY OF KNOWLEDGEKants Copernican Revolution

  • KANTS THEORY OF KNOWLEDGEKants theory of knowledge

    Synthetic a priori (SAP) knowledge is not derived from experience

    SAP is the basis for experience

    SAP defines how we experience

    Our minds possess innate structures called categories of the understanding

    UnityPluralityTotalityRelations of substance and characteristics of substanceRelations of cause and effectRelations of reciprocity

  • KANTS THEORY OF KNOWLEDGESpace and Time

    Space and Time are both a priori conditions for all experience

    ALL objects must be in space and time to be experienced

    Kant maintains that space and time are contributed by our minds

    We can have no knowledge of an object which is not in space or time

  • KANTS THEORY OF KNOWLEDGEKants disagreement with Hume:

    Hume maintained that belief in the following is irrational:

    CausalityThe selfSubstance

    For Kant these concepts are not only certainly true; They must be true!

    They are universal and necessary for experience

    If they were not true then we would not be able to have experience

  • KANTS THEORY OF KNOWLEDGESummary:

    Unlike Hume Kant maintains that we can have knowledge which is both informative and certain: Synthetic a priori knowledge

    Such knowledge is universal and necessary

    Without it experience would not be possible

    Kants Copernican revolution makes humans, not the world, the central focus of epistemology

    Our minds create the conditions necessary to experience the world

    Space and TimeCategories of the Understanding

  • CONCLUSION TO TOPIC

  • TOPIC CONCLUSION

    RationalistsPlatoDescartesChomsky

    EmpiricistsAristotleAquinasLockeHume