Becoming Human
Becoming Human
Jun 27, 2021
20. Two Basic Ways to Know Things - [Rationalism, Empiricism, and the Fragility of Perspective]
Play • 57 min

How Do We Know Stuff?

Humans have always wondered about how we're able to know stuff. Though we have consciousness, can we have certainty? This episode explores the problem with perspective through rationalism and empiricism; reason and logic versus experience and sensory observation. Certainty is elusive and if we are gonna know anything, rationalism and empiricism might want to work together.


  • The story of Hiroo Onoda.
  • Plato's "Cave Analogy" and the Theory of Forms
  • Rationalism - the mind can know things independently of physical reality.
  • Empiricism - knowledge is gained from sensory experience.
  • Various philosopher's takes on the debate (including pre-Socratics, Plato, Aristotle, Skepticism, Stoicism, Al Kindi, Al Ghazali, Montaigne, Descartes, Hume, Kant, & Thomas Aquinas).
  • Why you need both and that certainty is elusive - because your perspective is limited, finite, and fragile.

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