chapter  3
37 Pages

Empiricism, Its Legacies and Limitations

ByBrian D. Cox

This chapter is concerned with the roots of epistemological empiricism. There are and can be only two ways of searching into and discovering truth. The one flies from the senses and particulars to the most general axioms and from these principles, the truth of which it takes for settled and immovable, proceeds to judgment and to the discovery of middle axioms. The other derives axioms from the senses and particulars, rising by a gradual and unbroken ascent, so that it arrives at the most general axioms last of all. In Locke’s empiricism, ideas always come before the word, so the word and the ideas may not match. Associationism adds utilitarianism to classic empiricism. John Locke had suggested that simple ideas form complex ideas, and David Hume had suggested the principles of resemblance, contiguity, priority and constant conjunction are what make us believe in the reality of causes.