* What Can I Know?
* Julia Zitnay
* February 26th, 2013
* The brain has always been a bit of a mystery, and is still the organ we know the least about. The human brain is vastly more complex than other animals on this planet, and has allowed us to reason, think logically, create, and much more. But what is its capacity? Is our brain so complex that we have created our own world through our ideas? How is our mind connected with the rest of our body? Philosophers Thomas Reid and David Hume present two very different arguments regarding what we can know. I will compare and contrast their views to try and shed light onto this question.
* Thomas Reid was a direct realist, who argues that the foundation of philosophy is common sense, and that the two should exist in harmony instead of set in opposition. He states that common sense and the belief of a material world is older and more powerful than the principles of philosophy, and “even reason itself must stoop to its orders.” I believe by this he means that we cannot and must not resist Mother Nature and the natural order of the world. Looking at our past, humans have had to rely on common sense and reasoning to gain knowledge about their external environment, or we would have been the victims of natural selection a while ago.
* In order to join common sense and philosophy, Reid backtracked from the Cartesian line of thinking that senses are deceiving and perception is only ideas. He gets rid of the veil, and believes we stand in direct perceptual contact with objects. Reid does not think his senses are right 100% of the time, but that they operate well and deliver good information for what they were made to do. If they do not, and God is deceiving him, then there is nothing he can do about it. Reid believes he got this reasoning about his senses from his “first principles”. First principles are ideas everyone starts with and deem to be unquestionably true. They are the foundations of our...