New Breed of Thinkers (02:39)
Radical new philosophers and scientists usher in the Modern Era by reinterpreting natural science, epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics, formerly the exclusive domain of scholars.
Francis Bacon and Rene Descartes (06:01)
Baconian empiricism offers a rational way to organize experience. Descartes seeks a systematic approach to rationalism that still influences the Western tradition.
Discourse on Rational Thought (02:21)
Descartes seeks to bring mathematical clarity to philosophy, laying out four rules for himself by which he reconstructs his views on the world and establishes discourse on rational thought.
Rationalist: Descartes on God (02:06)
Descartes' reality is divided into a material plane and a spiritual plane. The intersection of these points is the soul, which is independent of, but tethered to the body.
Empiricist: Thomas Hobbes (02:55)
Hobbes' political theory flows from his theory of knowledge and a mathematical conception of reality. Hobbes feels he has discovered the key to the study of nature and man's place in it.
Rationalist: Baruch Spinoza (03:25)
Dutch philosopher and mathematician Spinoza authors Monism, the idea that we are identical with our minds and are bound into this world without a transcendent God.
Rationalist: Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (04:08)
Rejecting Descartes and Spinoza, German philosopher and mathematician Leibniz proposes the doctrine of "pre-established harmony," stating God built the mind and body to work in synch.
Empiricist: John Locke (03:03)
Empiricist Locke believes all our knowledge is founded in experience and promotes the notion that we each have the ability to see things as they really are.
Empiricist: George Berkeley (01:35)
Irish philosopher Berkeley's empiricism restricts reality to the confines of our own minds.
Empiricist: David Hume (02:32)
Last of the great British Empiricists, Hume claims that inductive reasoning from experience is not a product of rational argument but a consequence of habit.
Immanuel Kant (02:15)
Kant seeks to close the gap between the Rationalist and Empiricist traditions, holding that we share categories of experience. What matters is we all experience the world in the same way.
Kant on Reason vs. Experience (04:29)
A priori judgments, based on reason, are necessarily true, while "A posteriori" judgments, based on experience, are contingent, forever tied to the circumstances of experience.
Modern Philosophy (01:47)
What distinguishes modern philosophy from Medieval philosophy is the belief in the human capacity to figure things out through cognitive inquiry and practical conduct.
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