Visually Depicting Epistemology (Create a Visual Aid about Epistemology)
Descartes eventually gives up his hyperbolic doubt (his game of feigned and extreme skepticism) and admits that there are real external objects in the world and that other people even exist. But, even though he admits that primary qualities (such as height, weight, length, mass, and anything else that can be measured mathematically) actually exist in the object, he never concedes that secondary qualities (such as color, smell, taste, shape, and anything else that can change or can be misinterpreted by the senses) exist in an object. Instead, he argues that secondary qualities exist in the perceiver, and not in the object. Color is a great example, because two people can be perceiving the same object but each seeing it as a different color, meaning that the “color” is in the perceiver’s mind and not in the object itself; if color were in the object, both people would agree.
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Hume agrees with Descartes that primary qualities are in the object, but he also thinks that secondary qualities are in the object as well (and not just in our minds). If there is any disagreement about a secondary quality, Hume would say that it is because one of the perceivers is wrong. But, when it comes to gaining information that we can usually trust to be true, the bottom line is that Hume trusts the five senses of the body and Descartes does not, since he trusts only the mind’s ability to reason to undoubtable certainty, and that certainty is about primary qualities.
Of course, the differences between Descartes and Hume (and, thus, between the Rationalists and the Empiricists) are more complicated than presented here and need additional explanation to demonstrate just how far apart these two philosophers actually are in their thinking. THAT is your assignment—demonstrating the differences between Descartes and Hume with regard to what each of them believe can be known with certainty and what can be assumed to be reasonably “believed,” but with far less certainty.
Please do not use anything other than your textbook as a source for this assignment. And, definitely include all the major ideas from both philosophers dealing with how we learn, what we can know, and any method we can use to reach certainty about our knowledge.