Rationalism vs. Empiricism vs. Pragmatism

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed
Place them on a continuum. Use Venn diagrams, Powerpoint slides, bullet-points, and sweet-ass formulas w. greek characters.

Help a brother out!

Remy (x Jeremy), Wednesday, 13 April 2005 06:41 (9 years ago) Permalink

all sides of one very strange coin

Ed (dali), Wednesday, 13 April 2005 06:44 (9 years ago) Permalink

empiricism leads to rational thought which leads to pragmatic action?

Ed (dali), Wednesday, 13 April 2005 06:44 (9 years ago) Permalink

It would be rational to wonder why you're asking.
It would be empirical to form a hypothesis about why you're asking and then test the hypothesis against observable data.
It would be pragmatic to decide that I don't really care.
Pragmatism wins!

gypsy mothra (gypsy mothra), Wednesday, 13 April 2005 06:45 (9 years ago) Permalink

I'm asking for my own edification. My undergraduate philosophy courses never made clear the distinction. As guiding principles or statements of purpose e.g. "I consider myself a [Rationalist / Empiricist / Pragmatist]," I was wondering what was entailed or implicated.

Remy (x Jeremy), Wednesday, 13 April 2005 06:49 (9 years ago) Permalink

Ascii-art Venn diagram:


*********
** **
** **
* Rationalism *
* *
* +++++++++++++++ *
* + + *
* + Empiricism + *
* + + *
* +++++++++++++++ *
* *
* +++++++++++++++ *
* + + *
* + Pragmatism + *
* + + *
* +++++++++++++++ *
* *
** **
** **
*********

caitlin (caitlin), Wednesday, 13 April 2005 06:51 (9 years ago) Permalink

whoa, Dr. Mario to thread!

Remy (x Jeremy), Wednesday, 13 April 2005 06:54 (9 years ago) Permalink

As far as I can remember from my Epistemology textbook, Rationalism considers reason (ie. reflection on concepts) to be a more important source of truth than empiricists do. Empiricists believe that what we can know simply by reasoning is limited, and that direct experience is a more important source of knowledge. However, extreme rationalism and extreme empiricism are at the opposite ends of a broad spectrum, and most philosophers fall somewhere between the two poles.

I don't know much about pragmatism. As far as I know the pragmatist conception of truth is utility, i.e. what pragmatists consider true is what works rather than what reflects some objective, independent reality.

Dialectical Dave, Wednesday, 13 April 2005 10:30 (9 years ago) Permalink

So, there is a continuum between rationalism and empiricism, but pragmatism is an entirely different thing altogether. Actually, I'm not even sure if the terms rationalism and empiricism are used in modern day philosophy. I've only heard them used to refer to Kant (rationalist), Mill (empiricist) and so on.

Dialectical Dave (Dialectical Dave), Wednesday, 13 April 2005 10:33 (9 years ago) Permalink

Of course the important point here is that self-evident truths can be genuinely undoubtable, whereas empirical truths are always provisional and can be disproven by new evidence.

Actually...pragmatism may be a kind of empiricism, come to think of it.

Anyway, I'm a bit sketchy on the details but I think what I've written is broadly accurate.

Dialectical Dave (Dialectical Dave), Wednesday, 13 April 2005 10:51 (9 years ago) Permalink

I think both rationalism and empiricism imply that there is a foundation for Truth, either in In Here (in that humans have a kind of innate type of Gaydar that's good at spotting the True) or Out There (there are Scientific Truths waiting to be discovered). Whereas pragmatism is anti-foundationalist, implying truth is just a property of particular sentences and what particular communities decide to agree on.

Jerry the Nipper (Jerrynipper), Wednesday, 13 April 2005 11:01 (9 years ago) Permalink

Rationalism v. Empricism.

empiricism is often associated with scientific thought but sense-perception doesn't tell you things like you evolved from apes or that the earth revolves around the sun

fcussen (Burger), Wednesday, 13 April 2005 11:05 (9 years ago) Permalink

when people at my work says they're being pragmatic about something it usually just means they can't be bothered to rationalise something to a full extent because it's not that important

ken c (ken c), Wednesday, 13 April 2005 11:17 (9 years ago) Permalink


You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.