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The Power of Ideas: Philosophical Theories

Rene Descartes argument for knowledge

Rene Descartes’ ideology of knowledge complements the renaissance theory of critical thinking, which establishes that no knowledge is perfect. From this point of view, knowledge, whether from a religious or mathematical perspective, warrants questioning. Descartes invented the Cartesian theory of mathematics, and he was a staunch Catholic believer. To Descartes, nothing is an absolute truth, and it is important to understand the reason why natural things occur (Moore & Bruder, 2013). Even the authority of the church cannot ascertain such truths. He was not a skeptic, but he recognized its significance in determining truth (arbiter of truth). Skepticism was an avenue of determining the strengths and weaknesses of a subject before giving it a particular status in the society instead of concluding it as an absolute truth. Further, Descartes used his knowledge in mathematics, analytical geometry, optics, physiology, and psychology to question the criterion through which natural things existed. Without his standpoints, knowledge in any field would remain unopposed and an absolute truth largely supported by subjective thinkers. Physics and mathematical objects, to him, obviously had shapes that one could not dispute. To Descartes, sometimes a deceitful and all-powerful intelligence involuntarily created him to think of certainty in different proportions (Moore & Bruder, 2013).

Hobbes and materialism

Philosophical thoughts stand a chance of criticism because each person has a different mental model that describes the world to him/her in a particular way. Hobbes viewed object contrary to Descartes’ rationalism and empiricism perspective. In response to Descartes’ work, Thomas Hobbes authored the Leviathan, which described a world without control as perishable. As a prominent mathematician largely compared to Galileo, Hobbes viewed everything as a material or object that remains bound to change with motion. From a metaphysical perspective, Hobbes described everything as bodies in motion. Since motion remains a continuous process, the body changes over time. Thoughts, feelings, and ideas are equally objects because they exist in physical and political bodies bound to natural and civil rules. Since human body is made of particles, it accommodates the thoughts, ideas, and feelings, which automatically qualify the abstract variables as objects (Moore & Bruder, 2013).

John Locke’s Theory of Representative Realism

The model of representative realism borrows much from the ideologies of Aristotle’s philosophy of the human mind as tabula rasa at birth, Locke mentioned that the human mind is hollow after birth, and experiences determine how people think. Nature and environmental experiences affect human senses, forcing people to think in a particular way, which is different from an impression they make on other people (Moore & Bruder, 2013). Locke was a subjective thinker, and never believed in the policy of “more than meets the eye.” To him, the reality is comparing both the primary and secondary qualities of objects and the realization that they are equal. The theory of representative reality establishes that people have an accurate representation of objects inside the mind based on what they experience from the outside view.

Benedictus de Spinoza and the notion of free will

Spinoza’s relationship with God was assumed to be a rational approach since he came up with at least 8 axioms that largely directed his audience that he was an atheist. He came from a family of the Jews part, which emigrated from Portugal. According to Benedictus, contemplation and extension to carry out an activity were outcomes of one substance. He established that everything in the world existed independently or as something else. Assuming the cause and effect principle of Hume, Benedictus mentioned that cause and effect follow each other. In comparison to a renaissance theory, Benedictus used the deontological and consequentialism approaches in predicting human behavior. He established that humans are free agents with knowledge of their actions and their effects (Moore & Bruder, 2013).

Anne Conway’s monism

Conway, a metaphysics expert, came up with a monadology, which explains the existence of two substances. One remains irreducible while the other undergoes reduction. Her connection with God saw Conway establish a link between material things and the spiritual world. In essence, even humans live as mortal beings, but later become invisible and immortal in the spiritual form. According to Conway, God is perfect, immortal, nonmaterial, and intangible. He makes decisions on how to create each substance and determines the longevity of each in the universe. The creatures of God are physical, mortal, and mental, but they get an opportunity to embrace a new life in spirit form – posthumous (Moore & Bruder, 2013). Conway’s reasoning can easily apply in the concept of resurrection in the Bible, or reincarnation in science. God’s perfection cannot allow him change his mind about spirituality or existence in physical form. However, as the ultimate irreducible substance, he creates other objects to subject to his commands.

George Berkeley’s idealism law

George Berkeley took an objective approach to viewing the primary and secondary objects in the world. To him, “there is more than meets the eye” because people cannot view things superficially and prove that they occurred in the same way in which they describe. Like mental models, people see the world differently depending on the images they form in the brains before explaining how they perceive the world. For that reason, objects and the world are consequences of perception and not experience only. Berkeley argues that worldview constitutes perceptions and ideas that nobody can qualify as reality. To him, human knowledge develops from one stage to another, and it begins from conveyance of information to the mind (Moore & Bruder, 2013). The mind perceives the information not necessarily as others see it because in the end everyone remains entitled to his/her opinion. Largely, his ideology opposed Locke’s theory of representative realism.

David Hume’s arguments

David Hume supported a deductive approach to reasoning. Like George Berkeley, the principle of uniformity of nature does not apply because each object remains subject to critical perception and interpretation. When matters of cause and effect arise, Hume establishes that deductive reasoning must apply. In essence, an argument arises from an existing law that people have to critique. The existence of nature is worth questioning as Descartes established even though Hume was obviously skeptical about many things (Moore & Bruder, 2013). Locke argued against cause and effect, especially when people refuse to believe what they see. David Hume came up with four platforms through which different people could establish the truth and falsity in judgment. Hume’s standpoint was that the occurrence of one thing does not necessarily link to the existence of another as established by the cause and effect ideology.

Immanuel Kant’s notion of the noumenal and the phenomenal

Kant opposed David Hume’s ideology of skepticism. To some extent, he supported the philosopher’s argument that idealizes the existence of certain knowledge. Partially, he supports Descartes’ ideology of the existence of God as well as Berkeley’s ideology of primary and secondary objects and their perception. Kant’s phenomenal and noumenal argument was in response to the reasoning of Hume in reference to knowledge and experience. One thing though is that phenomenon limits the prevalence of knowledge. To Kant, noumenal or objects that exist outside experience such as space and time might not provide an excellent explanation for the existence of knowledge. As a result, Hume cannot talk about cause and effect when discussing noumenal objects (Moore & Bruder, 2013).

Schopenhauer’s pessimism

Schopenhauer opposed Hegel’s idea of an ideal universe governed by rules and rational principles. Like Hobbes, Schopenhauer displayed concerns for the existence of a leviathan versus a bureaucracy. To the philosopher, it is difficult to find an orderly universe governed by law and existent of disciplined and rational beings. Schopenhauer mentioned that human intelligence is good for governance, but people cannot create the assistance that they will maintain social order in a leviathan (Moore & Bruder, 2013).

Philosopher with the reasonable view of epistemology

The philosopher with the most plausible epistemological argument in the entire submission is Immanuel Kant. He presents arguments that critique the sentiments of all the identified philosophers except Anne Conway. However, Conway, as Moore and Bruder (2013) note, opposed other scholars in her study, meaning that Kant equally addressed her viewpoint about God and the universe, especially when dealing with Hobbes and Descartes. Schopenhauer also discusses Hume’s phenomenal and noumenal approach since Kant attracted the attention of different philosophers when he presented his argument.


Moore, B.N. & Bruder, K. (2013). Philosophy the power of ideas. New York: McGraw-Hill.

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