What is Empiricism? The Philosophy of Locke, Berkeley and Hume

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3m Jun 27, 2021

In philosophy, Empiricism vs. Rationalism was a major debate that began with Descartes’s cogito ergo sum of and ended with Immanuel Kant. The Empiricism of John Locke, George Berkeley and David Hume — known as the British Empiricists — developed in the 17th and 18th centuries and was a very influential movement. In contrast to the Rationalists (who believed that knowledge was only possible through reason and the mind), the Empiricists maintained that experience was the only origin of knowledge. Their challenge was to show why it was not unreliable in light of Descartes’s investigations in Discourse on the Method.

📚 Sources:
Berkeley, G., 1881. A treatise concerning the principles of human knowledge. JB Lippincott & Company.
Berkeley, G., 2012. Three dialogues between Hylas and Philonous. Broadview Press.
Hume, D., 2016. An enquiry concerning human understanding (pp. 191-284). Routledge.
Locke, J., 1847. An essay concerning human understanding. Kay & Troutman.

Downing, Lisa, "George Berkeley", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2020 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2020/entries/berkeley/
Markie, Peter, "Rationalism vs. Empiricism", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2017 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2017/entries/rationalism-empiricism/
Morris, William Edward and Charlotte R. Brown, "David Hume", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2021 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2021/entries/hume/
Turbayne, C.M., 1985. Hume's Influence on Berkeley. Revue Internationale de Philosophie, pp.259-269.
Uzgalis, William, "John Locke", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2020 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2020/entries/locke/

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Table of Contents

Timecode Title
0:00 Empiricism vs. Rationalism
2:17 John Locke’s Empiricism
5:34 George Berkeley’s Subjective Idealism
8:42 Hume’s Sceptical Empiricism

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