Descartes as a Nativist and Rationalist September 5, 2018 – Posted in: Uncategorized

Descartes as a Nativist and Rationalist

Rational translates to the thinking process that involves logical, objective and systematic methods in solving a problem. Rene Descartes is regarded as the father of modern philosophy and considered a very rational person. Descartes’ believed that the world is essentially rational and comprehensible. His work to change philosophical perspectives concentrated on the programme of radical intellectual reforms. He introduced the concept of ‘natural lights’ of reason (Hergenhahn, 2009). He argued that there points at which reason manifest the validity of an argument. (Descartes as a Nativist and Rationalist)

Descartes proved that the method of radical doubt brought about the absolute scepticism. His study took note of the question on nature and limits of prior knowledge. He demonstrated that anything understood properly was the truth as the basic operation of the natural light. The act of perceiving an idea distinctively is when one comprehends it intellectually without any assistance from the sense outside innate reasoning powers. Descartes holds that clear perception is a guarantee of truth (Hergenhahn, 2009).

On the other hand, Descartes was considered as a prominent nativist. Nativism draws on the innate idea that existed earlier than concrete experiences. Descartes believes that there exists in-built knowledge to the human psyche. While other philosophers believe that the mind as been completely blank, Descartes argues that human soul has innate knowledge necessary for its own definition (Margolis & Laurence, 2012). He was not into the belief that all the knowledge was derived from experience. He continues to argue that humans develop thought and ideas over the course of their lives from pre-installed ideas.

Nativism requires that the soul be embodied with knowledge and experience before the association with the body. Descartes notes them as innate ideas; these are ideas that the mind has certain capacities to use that cannot be explained by experiences. He notes that sense experience cannot tell the essential nature of physical objects (Margolis & Laurence, 2012). He demonstrates of how a baby could think about God but have no concept of reality. These shows it’s an idea that we must use the intellect to analyse.

References

Hergenhahn, B. R. (2009). An introduction to the history of psychology. Australia: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Margolis E.,.Laurence S. (2012). In Defence of Nativism. Springer Science and Business Media. Pdf

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