Continental rationalism

Description

Question 1
Continental rationalism is a retrospective category used to group together certain philosophers working in continental Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries, in particular, Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz, especially as they can be regarded in contrast with representatives of “British empiricism,” most notably, Locke, Berkeley, and Hume (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy).

Let’s start with rationalism. You should be able to compare and contrast Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz respectively. First of all, why are they called rationalists in the first place? HINT: It started with Descartes’ famous thought experiment. Next, describe how Spinoza and Leibniz problematize Descartes’ metaphysical conclusions and what they offer as alternatives. Finally, how are Spinoza and Leibniz’s metaphysics different? Specifically, describe how each treats the notion of “substance” in their own unique way.
Question2
Continental rationalism is a retrospective category used to group together certain philosophers working in continental Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries, in particular, Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz, especially as they can be regarded in contrast with representatives of “British empiricism,” most notably, Locke, Berkeley, and Hume (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy).

Next, let’s look at empiricism. You should be able to compare and contrast Locke, Berkeley, and Hume respectively. First of all, like the last question, why are they called empiricists in the first place? Next, compare and contrast Locke and Berkeley’s epistemological and metaphysical conclusions. Then, describe how Hume differs from both of them. Finally, explain how Hume problematizes both causality and morality.
Question 3
Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) is one of the most influential philosophers in the history of Western philosophy. His contributions to metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and aesthetics have had a profound impact on almost every philosophical movement that followed him. (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy).

Now we come to Kant. You should be able to explain how Kant reconciles rationalism and empiricism. First, how does Kant answer Hume’s epistemological skepticism? What does he add to Hume’s “matters of fact” and “relations of ideas” that enables us to have a priori notions of things like causality? Finally, describe how Kant grounds his moral theory in reason.

Sample Solution

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