Thomas Reid's Theory of Knowledge Comparison Essay by Huge

Thomas Reid's Theory of Knowledge
A discussion of the 18th-century Scottish philosopher Thomas Reid's approach to the theory of knowledge.
# 114544 | 934 words | 1 source | MLA | 2009 | US
Published on Jun 15, 2009 in Philosophy (Epistemology) , Philosophy (History - 18th Century)

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This paper discusses Thomas Reid's philosophical outlook on the theory of knowledge, an outlook based on the idea of realism, or the direct perception of external objects by the senses. The writer explains Reid's ideas and discusses some of the counter-arguments that were presented against them by philosophers like Rene Descartes. A comparison is also made between Reid's ideas and those of the 20th century British philosopher A.C. Ewing who, like Reid, rejected skepticism and tried to find self-evident claims that can be a foundation for knowledge. However, Ewing goes one step further than Reid in that he denies such knowledge to stem from sense experience alone.

From the Paper:

"Reid's practical and relatively modern ideas allow for many strong criticisms by other philosophers and many ideas that contradict his claims. The conclusions reached by Rene Descartes are a strong example of this. Descartes' Meditations I and II investigate the existence of absolute knowledge and fundamental claims that allow for true knowledge to exist. His initial claims strongly dispute the idea of Reid's self-evident and foundational perceptions and are a strong basis for his search for a necessary truth. Descartes argues against Reid's perceptions with four skeptical scenarios, including the fantastic idea of an all-powerful deceiver. He argues that these perceptions can often be deceptive and cannot be considered true beyond all conceivable doubt."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • BonJour, Laurence, and Ann Baker. Philosophical Problems: An Annotated Anthology. 2nd ed. NYC: Longman Group, 2004.

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