Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course


Blank Slate

proposition: knowledge is acquired

syllogism: if our minds are a “blank slate” when we are born

and records information as it received

then knowledge is acquired through experience


the proposition and syllogism above pretty much embodies what empiricists believe.

empiricism: philosophy. the doctrine that all knowledge is derived from sense of experience.

when referring to our minds as blank slates the proper term to use in which an empiricist (those that believe knowledge is acquired, not innate) would call it a tablula rasa.

tabula rasa (Latin): a supposed condition that empiricists attribute to the human mind before ideas have been imprinted on it by the reaction of the senses to the external world of objects

another key point is that We experiences that result in simple ideas which then our minds then connect simple ideas into more complex ideas. for example

philosophers that support the idea of empiricism:

  • John Locke
    • “founder of modern empiricism”
    • considers our minds to blanks slates prior to experiences from our senses
    • simple ideas connect into more complex ideas
    • things experienced have substance. the substance in our  sensations is matter, and the substance with our reflections is the mind. thus believing that the world consisted of two basic substances, mind and matter.
  • David Hume
    • refined Locke’s empiricism to say that sensations are impressions, and believe that these correspond to ideas we have in our minds.
    • argued that no idea we have makes sense unless it works and begins with sense impressions.







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