Rationalism and Empiricism (not Rationalism versus Empiricism)

The dispute between rationalism and empiricism concerns the extent to which we are dependent upon sense experience in our effort to gain knowledge. Rationalists claim that there are significant ways in which our concepts and knowledge are gained independently of sense experience. Empiricists claim that sense experience is the ultimate source of all our concepts and knowledge.

From Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy.

I agree with Rationalists that concepts and knowledge can be gained independently of sense experience, insofar as there is nothing outside of space-object-time. Some kind of knowledge must exist first of space-object-time before other kinds of concepts and knowledge can come into being independently.

Empiricist are therefore right to claim also that sense experience is the source of all our concepts and knowledge, insofar as rational concepts and knowledge depends on the first source of sense experience.

There are therefore two sources of knowledge – sense experience and reasoning. Rationality must come from the first instance of sense experience, be it a lifetime of one second or one hundred years. Without that “spark” there are no rational concepts and knowledge.

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