Chapter

The Case Against Empiricism

Fiona Cowie

in What's Within?

Published in print January 2003 | ISBN: 9780195159783
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849529 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195159783.003.0004

Series: Philosophy of Mind Series

The Case Against Empiricism

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Examining impossibility arguments has allowed us to observe certain flaws in the empiricist construal of nativism, since such arguments point out that the empiricist views may entail some degree of self-contradiction and confusion. As the author makes use of Fodor's works such as The Language of Thought as reference, this chapter looks into Fodor's explanation regarding the empiricist view and how this relates to acquiring a concept of hypothesis-testing or learning and to its content or meaning. Since there are concepts, however, that cannot be mentally represented and are “internally unstructured,” these concepts, by the empiricist premise, cannot be learned. This chapter provides a thorough examination about the errors encountered in making use of the empiricist view.

Keywords: impossibility arguments; empiricist view; nativisim; Fodor; Language of Thought; meaning; content; learning; hypothesis-testing

Chapter.  9838 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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