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Empiricism as a word was derived from a Greek word empiric, which literally means practical skills. Philosophers have farther defined empiricism as a theory that states that the origin of knowledge is based on the sense encounters or what has been observed and experienced by the sense. Most of the philosophers tend to believe that empiricism is a method of observation by one’s eyes and image transmitted to the mind.
Philosophers believes that for any exchange of knowledge from one source to another, that knowledge must be gain by ether party for it to make sense. So to say, empiricism is actually the knowledge gotten or attained by seeing of observation of one item or the other. The difference being the perception of the individual involved. Meaning can differ from one person to another on one item based on the individual interpretation. Many times an argument arise from what can be seen as lack of understanding of one involved party but it is not always true. Each involved party in a discussion bass his or her argument on what he have seen and interpreted. This creates a belief on one self that he or she is correct on the subject matter base on his or her observation.
In the same field we have another important theory known as sense data theory of perception. In this theory much is emphasized on perception which one has. Philosophers have defined this theory in many ways one being that, it is a mind-reliant object that we are directly conscious of in our perception. They have physical properties that appear to us. For instance when viewing an object in a normal conditions one always form an image in the mind. The image normally represents the actual or object but our perception is not in the shape and color of the object in question e.g. when viewing a banana under normal circumstances its color is always yellowish when ripe and oval in shape.
Our perception is not represented by the color or the shape of the objects perceived i.e. the perception can not be yellowish and oval as the banana. All philosophers in the perception have unanimously agreed that sense data makes us conscious of things around us. Sense data has properties that appear to us, each person being unique from each other. The qualities of an object depend on the eyes of the beholder. That is, item value, shape, color and textures differ from one person to the other. This is so because each person has his or her own perception that gets recorded in the mind once he or she sees a certain object.
According to Hume, external world dose not exist. This is so because according to perspectival variation one’s senses experience different shapes and size of objects depending on where you are. Normally, changes in one's mind or other bodily affiliation to the actual objects one is observing occur. While you are viewing a cup and you move closer to or farther from the cup, the images developed in your mind consequently changes. If you move toward the cup, your sensory experience will change in another manner. Keeping this notion in mind, Hume has tried to show that what we are normally conscious of can not be real as compared to the actual external objects, but are rather images planted in our simple minds. The cup we see will tend to fade as we move away from it, but the actual cup does not change. The images in our mind changes as we either moves toward or away from the actual object.
In the double vision theory Hume illustrates to us how one can stimulate a case of double vision by only pushing on one eye with one's finger. The possibility of double vision clearly shows that the immediate objects of awareness in perception are not the real, physical objects but rather images in our mind set up. One object can appear twice in ones mind but actually in the real sense it is one object. It would be far-fetched to say that one of the two objects is a sense datum while the other one is the actual object. The two objects are more similar and hence hard to differentiate between them. Therefore, Hume concluded that both what appears externally to us might be a visionary object but not the real object.
Sense data theory of perception was criticized by Mitchell S. Greene on the platform of inability of the senses to interpret the right picture for the mind. The sense data theory of perception explains how a message is reflected to our mind immediately we see or spot an object. This theory elaborates on how information is transferred from the object to the mind of the viewer. That information is later transformed to an image which creates an impression in the mind. The primary idea of this theory was challenged by Greene on the grounds of questionable ability of our minds to rightly interpret things.
Mitchell, using the theory of adaptive consciousness argues that our lives do not control themselves but rather are auto controlled without their consciousness. To conclude we can not trust our perception a hundred percent, reasons being that what is perceived right from one person may not be relevant to the other person. Our minds have a natural limitation which differs from one person to another. Examples of these limitations include, some people are short sighted, long sighted, being color blind and varying distance from the object being perceived.