Instigator / Con
0
1500
rating
8
debates
37.5%
won
Topic
#4122

Empiricism(Pro) vs rationalism(Con)

Status
Finished

The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.

Winner & statistics
Better arguments
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Better sources
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After not so many votes...

It's a tie!
Parameters
Publication date
Last updated date
Type
Standard
Number of rounds
5
Time for argument
One week
Max argument characters
10,000
Voting period
One month
Point system
Multiple criterions
Voting system
Open
Contender / Pro
0
1306
rating
216
debates
45.37%
won
Description

No information

Round 1
Con
#1
The validity of logic

If I were to throw a rock in the air, no matter who was watching it would always fall down because of the law of gravity. Man did not create the laws of the natural world but with clear logic one can understand it. Rationalists decree that from independent observation of simple principles one can then find complex dogmas within it through logic.

The Impulsiveness of Empiricism 
Logic is not blinded by emotional impulses unlike empiricists whose very base of knowledge is based upon biased conclusions from observations. Who is to say that the same thing that is shown to multiple people will result in the same conclusion. People are different and people will see certain patterns much more easier then others resulting in inconsistencies of conclusions. For example the geocentric model of the world was based upon the observations of early scientists which were wrong. The later model, heliocentrism was true because not only did it gain empirical evidence but laws of other stature was used to get to that conclusion. All modern innovations came from logic as their is a limit to how much man can observe but logic does not have a limit.



Pro
#2
Thank you for this topic.

The topic is: "Empiricism(Pro) vs rationalism(Con)"

I only need to prove that empiricism is what establishes the body of correct knowledge.

Empiricism is the teaching that correct knowledge is only learned from observation and experiments.

It does not exclude using logic.

It says that correct logic is derived from observation and experiments.


f I were to throw a rock in the air, no matter who was watching it would always fall down because of the law of gravity.
Yes, this is correct. However, it is irrelevant to gaining knowledge. If no one ever observed this, no one would ever know it even happened. No one would gain the knowledge of it.


Man did not create the laws of the natural world but with clear logic one can understand it.
This is correct, but "clear logic" is only gained from observation and experiments. So is knowledge of the laws of the natural world.


Rationalists decree that from independent observation of simple principles one can then find complex dogmas within it through logic.
"From independent observation" means that your "complex dogmas" are a result of observation.

Empiricists dont argue that "we shouldnt think". Empiricists argue that the only way to know if your thinking is right is through observation.

Unless your "complex dogmas" are confirmed to be true through experiments and observation, we will have no correct knowledge gained from your "complex dogmas".


Logic is not blinded by emotional impulses unlike empiricists whose very base of knowledge is based upon biased conclusions from observations.
Is an assumption. There is no reason to think that rationalists are any less biased in "relying on their thinking instead of proving their thinking with observable experiments".


Who is to say that the same thing that is shown to multiple people will result in the same conclusion.
Is a misleading argument. "People will disagree" does not lead us to conclusion that "everyone's observation is wrong".
There are some cases where direct observation is impossible, hence we must use the indirect observation to gain knowledge.
Some people have observed more than others, thus reaching better conclusion.
When empiricists disagree, they dont argue with "out of this world logic". They instead use all the collected observations and statistics to reach the best possible conclusion gained from largest range of observations.


People are different and people will see certain patterns much more easier then others resulting in inconsistencies of conclusions.
Is something that applies to rationalism as well. In fact, in rationalism, the people only agree that we should "use logic". They dont tell us what is a correct logic to use. They dont even tell us how logic works. They disagree all the time, which indicates that "everyone has different logic" and "everyone will think differently", creating conclusion that "there is no way to know which logic is true if we dont do observation and experiments to observe if logic is correct".


For example the geocentric model of the world was based upon the observations of early scientists which were wrong. The later model, heliocentrism was true because not only did it gain empirical evidence but laws of other stature was used to get to that conclusion.
Is false. The early observations were not wrong. They were incomplete, making it impossible to know what is right.
Further, just because "observation is done" does not mean "observation was complete". Sometimes people get wrong conclusions due to lack of complete observation.
We only know that later model was true due to observation. The knowledge of natural laws is not gained from "some logic". It is gained from observation of things.
We would never know that gravity exists without observation.


All modern innovations came from logic as their is a limit to how much man can observe but logic does not have a limit
Is a misleading claim. "Logic" is not some magic that makes things happen out of nothing. Proper logic is the result of long and complete observations.


Conclusion:

The logic cannot prove itself right. It can only be proven through observation.

This proves that the topic "Empiricism(Pro) vs rationalism(Con)" results in "empiricism being better than rationalism" and "empiricism being completely right when claiming "We can only gain knowledge through observations and experiments"".

The position of Pro is proven correct.

I await your response and opinion on this.
Round 2
Con
#3
This is correct, but "clear logic" is only gained from observation and experiments. So is knowledge of the laws of the natural world.
The philosophy of nature was the early primitive sciences of physics, biology, and chemistry. This primitive science was based upon observation and empirical studies. But this branch of philosophy is now invalid and separated into distinct fields because of its growing complexity. Rationalists still do believe that observation plays a role, reasoning is what propels it.  Physicists, biologists and chemists in modern day do not use so much so using observations but mostly mathematical formulas or unconscious patterns. These mathematical formulas that modern day scientists use to create our advanced technology is no longer soley based on observation but from complex reasoning. This is the reason why many educational institutions put critical thinking skills as one of the highest rated skills any student can have. 

There are some cases where direct observation is impossible, hence we must use the indirect observation to gain knowledge.
Define "Indirect observation."


Is something that applies to rationalism as well. In fact, in rationalism, the people only agree that we should "use logic". They dont tell us what is a correct logic to use. They dont even tell us how logic works. They disagree all the time, which indicates that "everyone has different logic" and "everyone will think differently", creating conclusion that "there is no way to know which logic is true if we dont do observation and experiments to observe if logic is correct".
This is a fallacy as you are assuming that hard science can be easily manipulated by emotions. Statistics can not change if I view the world differently or I am in a different mood. No matter if I am disheartened, impulsive, and generally have a clouded mind, two plus two will always equal to four.

Definition
Logic: A logic is just a set of rules and techniques for distinguishing good reasoning from bad. A logic must formulate precise standards for evaluating reasoning and develop methods for applying those standards to particular instances.

Is false. The early observations were not wrong. They were incomplete, making it impossible to know what is right.
Further, just because "observation is done" does not mean "observation was complete". Sometimes people get wrong conclusions due to lack of complete observation.
We only know that later model was true due to observation. The knowledge of natural laws is not gained from "some logic". It is gained from observation of things.
We would never know that gravity exists without observation
The incompleteness of observation is an example of the primitiveness of empiricism. The laws of gravity was founded by observation as you mentioned but this observation was then made into a mathematical law which only logic can make. This mathematical law founded heliocentrism, not the other way around.

logic cannot prove itself right. It can only be proven through observation.
Logic can prove itself true and logic is the definition of truth if based upon stable premises. If unstable premises are built then logic, however flawless will end with a bad conclusion. Although the premise that logic is built upon is mainly from empirical observation. Observation does not explain all events and much of the deficiency of empiricism is made up fore through rationalism. Observation can not prove that if X=Y and Y=Z, then X=Z but logic can.


Conclusion

Your argument is full of logical fallacies that have inconsistent logic. In order to have any stable doctrine it must be consistent. Due to the primitiveness of empiricisms, it was expected. 


Sources:

John Gray, Liberalism, 2nd edn. (1989; Buckingham: Open University Press, 1993)Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (various entries):https://plato.stanford.edu/index.html
Ian Shapiro, The Moral Foundations of Politics, Yale Lecture Series (2011): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6MOA...
Jason Wyckoff, 'Rousseau's General Will and the Condorcet Jury Theorem', History of Political Thought, 31:1 (Spring 2011), 49-62: http://www.jstor.org/stable/26225750
João Carlos Espada, 'Edmund Burke and the Anglo-American Tradition of Liberty', Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplements, 58 (May 2006), 213-30: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journa...
Pro
#4
The topic is: "Empiricism vs rationalism".

I win if I prove that empiricism is better than rationalism.


The philosophy of nature was the early primitive sciences of physics, biology, and chemistry. This primitive science was based upon observation and empirical studies. But this branch of philosophy is now invalid and separated into distinct fields because of its growing complexity.
Is an irrelevant claim. Empiricism remains the core of every science, modern or old science.


Rationalists still do believe that observation plays a role, reasoning is what propels it.
Is a false statement. Its the observation that makes reasoning possible. The only way for us to think correctly is to base our reasoning in observation. You cannot "think and produce correct knowledge" without using observation and statistics. The only way for you to "use reasoning" is to have knowledge gained from observation. In fact, to do any reasoning requires having knowledge that was gained from observation. If observation is flawed, reasoning too will be flawed.


Physicists, biologists and chemists in modern day do not use so much so using observations but mostly mathematical formulas or unconscious patterns. These mathematical formulas that modern day scientists use to create our advanced technology is no longer soley based on observation but from complex reasoning. This is the reason why many educational institutions put critical thinking skills as one of the highest rated skills any student can have.
Is a misleading statement. "Complex reasoning" is always based on observation and knowledge gained from observation. We cannot do any proper reasoning if we dont base our reasoning in observation and experiments. Lack of observation means that we wont have knowledge and wont be able to do reasoning. "mathematical formulas" would not exist without observation. Math is made up from knowledge gained from observation. Without observation, there is no math. We cannot calculate anything about our world without observation of the world. We cannot know if math is true without observing its correctness when applied in experiment. Math is derived from observation of its laws in the real world. "unconscious patterns" cannot be derived from "thinking". They are a result of observing the world and not the result of "sitting and thinking with your eyes closed". In fact, "having knowledge" is not possible at all without someone doing an observation at some point. "Critical thinking" depends on having proper knowledge gained from observation. If we have incorrect knowledge due to lack of observation, our critical thinking will be flawed. Further, there is no way for us to know if anything is right without observing it happen. The best way for us to learn correctly is to base our reasoning in observation.


Define "Indirect observation."
Indirect observation is based on observation of similarities of "one completely observed thing" with "one partially observed thing" to reach a conclusion about partially observed thing.
It is usually done with statistics.

Indirect observation is not complete observation, it does not provide us with correct knowledge. It provides us with knowledge that "seems likely to be true" based on things we observed so far.


This is a fallacy as you are assuming that hard science can be easily manipulated by emotions.
Is a false claim. My argument was not about "hard science". Hard science is by definition easily proved correct through observation and experiments.


Statistics can not change if I view the world differently or I am in a different mood. No matter if I am disheartened, impulsive, and generally have a clouded mind, two plus two will always equal to four.
All statistics are gained from observation.
"Two plus two will always equal to four" is something that we only know from observation. There is no way for us to know if it is correct that "2+2=4" happens in the world unless we observe it happen in the world.


Logic: A logic is just a set of rules and techniques for distinguishing good reasoning from bad. A logic must formulate precise standards for evaluating reasoning and develop methods for applying those standards to particular instances.
This definition doesnt tell us anything. There is "some standard", but how do we know the standard is correct unless we observe its correctness?


The incompleteness of observation is an example of the primitiveness of empiricism.
Is a claim that makes no sense. We have already seen that rationalist methods too depend on complete observations to be proved correct.
In fact, every science depends on complete observations to be proven correct.


The laws of gravity was founded by observation as you mentioned but this observation was then made into a mathematical law which only logic can make.
If logic couldnt have done that without observation, then its obvious that observation is something that makes logic possible.


This mathematical law founded heliocentrism, not the other way around.
Mathematical law was created thanks to observations. There is a reason scientists do observations all the time.

Scientists observe the world first. After that they are able to use logic to sort the observations. After sorting, they make a theory. After that, they test the theory with more observation.

So it is first observation, then logic, then theory, then observation again.

We can see that the logical sorting is the result of observation. It is not possible without observation.

I need to point out once again that empiricism is not a belief that logic is useless. Empiricism means that logic and knowledge are derived from observation. If they cannot be proven right through observation, then there is no way to know if they are correct.


Logic can prove itself true and logic is the definition of truth if based upon stable premises.
Logic is only proven true through observations and experiments. Premises are always a result of observation.


If unstable premises are built then logic, however flawless will end with a bad conclusion.
So logic can create a bad conclusion despite being flawless.


Although the premise that logic is built upon is mainly from empirical observation.
Is  a misleading statement. Premises are always based on empirical observations. The complete observation is the only way to have correct premises and correct logic, proving that empiricists are right in saying that knowledge and logic come from observation.


Observation does not explain all events and much of the deficiency of empiricism is made up fore through rationalism.
Is a false statement. We have already explained that logic is derived from premises, and premises are derived from observation.

There is no case in which reason can prove itself correct except through observation.

Empiricism is about proving things. It is not about making up a bunch of theories simply because they sound good.

Empiricists say: Reason needs to prove itself in practice through experiments, observations, statistics, confirmations and results.

Plenty of times people chose "rationalism" over "empiricism" and ended up making a bunch of mistakes as their logic was not consisted of observation.

Today, scientists are completely relying on empiricism. Theories are proven through experiments. Technology is made mainly from experiments of what works and what doesnt. Psychology relies on logic derived mainly from statistics.

Of course, the bias exists everywhere. Incorrect logic/reason can twist the statistics and focus on incomplete observations.

This is not the fault of empiricism, but rather the fault of people who deny the basics of empiricism.


Observation can not prove that if X=Y and Y=Z, then X=Z but logic can.
Let us see what happened here.
We know that "X=Y" because we observed it.
We know that "Y=Z" because we observed it.
Those are premises derived from observation. Logic is then derived from those premises.
In conclusion, logic is derived from observation.
We wouldnt know that "X=Z" if we didnt observe that "X=Y" and "Y=Z".

Empiricism doesnt say "Dont use reasoning". It says "Base your reasoning in observation and prove your reasoning through experiments and observations, or else we dont know if it is true".


Conclusion

Empiricism is right when it says that we need to base our reasoning in observation.
Rationalism is wrong when it says we need to prefer reasoning over observation.

We know that the only way to prove reasoning right is through observations.

If we ignore empirical observation, we cant prove our reasoning right.

If we focus on gaining knowledge from observations, statistics and experiments, then our knowledge and reasoning will improve greatly in their correctness.

The claim "Empiricism is better than rationalism" is proven correct.
Round 3
Con
#5
Indirect observation is based on observation of similarities of "one completely observed thing" with "one partially observed thing" to reach a conclusion about partially observed thing.
It is usually done with statistics.

Indirect observation is not complete observation, it does not provide us with correct knowledge. It provides us with knowledge that "seems likely to be true" based on things we observed so far.
Very well said but you just gave me the definition of deductive logic, which is a tool used by rationalists to analyze data logically. Deductive reasoning is less based on observation then reasoning as clearly it has "reasoning" in its name. When one uses statistics you are using logic to analyze patterns.

direct observation is impossible, hence we must use the indirect observation to gain knowledge.
You even mentioned in your first argument that people must use indirect observation to gain knowledge since direct observation is "impossible." One cannot indirectly look at something or do indirect experimentation. Because as you have noted, indirect observation "seems likely to be true." This shows that if you do claim that indirect observation is considered a empiricist's claim then you are claiming that observation in some cases are imperfect. This is opposite of your statement that states, "We can only gain knowledge through observations and experiments."

Therefore you have proved yourself wrong.

  My argument was not about "hard science". Hard science is by definition easily proved correct through observation and experiments.
You are overestimating the power of just mere observation. If it only took mere observation to figure out the world then humans would not be as intelligent. Animals see the world around them every day and observe the laws of gravity and understands somewhat that if they jump they will fall. But they lack reason which man has. Reason is what gave man the ability to not just understand what is gravity but the theory of how gravity came to be and the mathematical patterns of gravity. This is something mere observation cannot justify.

So logic can create a bad conclusion despite being flawless.
Logic can only create a bad conclusion on a bad premise, the premise is the basic principles that one takes note in observation. Biased and false conclusions that experimentation may make will inevitable result in bad logic. 


The illegitimacy of Experimentation

Data from experiments are not always perfect as many experiments are needed to be completed in order to even create a scientific theory. A scientific theory isn't even fact, it is just a theory that has a good amount of data supporting it. But scientific laws on the other hand are always true since it is proved with a mathematical equation. Math is in essence logic at its purest form.

The illegitimacy of Statistics

One can never trust statistics at the fullest and every time one analyzes statistics they should take it in with a little salt. For example, if I were to ask one million people in the whole world if they like vanilla or chocolate ice cream better and in the end I got 40% of people liked vanilla and 60% of people liked chocolate. It wouldn't mean anything as their is 8 billion people and one million is just 1/1000 of the world's population. This proves that statistics has many fallacies.

Definition
Deductive logic: Using general principles in specific cases to make a conclusion.


Sources
Pro
#6
Thank you for taking time to do this debate.


I would like to repeat my point that correct logic is only gained from correct observation.


Indirect observation is based on observation
Indirect observation is based on observation. It just uses largest amount of observation available, and derives conclusion from it. This conclusion is "most likely to be correct" and not "must be correct".


Very well said but you just gave me the definition of deductive logic, which is a tool used by rationalists to analyze data logically.
Is a very misleading claim. Empiricists use "deductive reasoning" or "indirect observation" when direct observation is impossible. However, empiricists are aware that "deductive reasoning" or "indirect observation" can be wrong.
"Deductive reasoning" is based upon observing first thing completely and observing other thing partially. Since we observed that lots of similarities was an indication of things having even more of similar characteristics, that is what the conclusion is based upon.
Empiricists seek to achieve complete observation as it is the best way to prove something.


Deductive reasoning is less based on observation then reasoning as clearly it has "reasoning" in its name. When one uses statistics you are using logic to analyze patterns.
Is a false claim. Deductive reasoning cannot be done without observation. Statistics cannot be done without observation. Seeking to gain more observation will mean that you are more likely to be correct. The correctness of your logic depends on observation. Patterns are learned about from observation. Without observation, there is no knowledge and no patterns. Placing focus on observation enables us to have more knowledge and as a result we learn more about patterns.


You even mentioned in your first argument that people must use indirect observation to gain knowledge since direct observation is "impossible."
Is a false claim. I clearly stated "in cases where direct observation is impossible". I never said "direct observation is impossible".



One cannot indirectly look at something or do indirect experimentation.
It was already explained that indirect observation is based on observing similarities when it is impossible to observe one thing completely.


Because as you have noted, indirect observation "seems likely to be true." This shows that if you do claim that indirect observation is considered a empiricist's claim then you are claiming that observation in some cases are imperfect.
I already stated that "indirect observation" is "imperfect". This does not lead us to conclusion that "indirect observation is wrong".
If we cannot observe something completely, then we observe it and make conclusions about it based on largest observation possible and not "just some logic".
This is opposed to "just using logic".
Logic and knowledge being derived from observation is the entire point of empiricism.
When complete observation is impossible, we use "largest amount of observation available" to make a conclusion. 
The correctness of logic depends on the amount of observation it is based upon.
Hence, correct logic is derived from observation.


This is opposite of your statement that states, "We can only gain knowledge through observations and experiments."
Is a false statement. Knowledge can only be gained from observations and experiments.
It was already explained that indirect observation still is based on observation. Knowledge is still gained from observation.


Therefore you have proved yourself wrong.
Is a false claim. You need to say where am I wrong.


You are overestimating the power of just mere observation. If it only took mere observation to figure out the world then humans would not be as intelligent.
Is a false claim.
Observing, making a theory and then observing it's correctness in practice is the entire point of empiricism and science.
Further, the claim "we cannot be intelligent without observation" is true. There is no way our logic can be correct without it being based on observation.


Animals see the world around them every day and observe the laws of gravity and understands somewhat that if they jump they will fall. But they lack reason which man has.
Is a misleading claim. Animal's brains are more focused on gaining knowledge for survival. They are in constant danger. They too depend on observation to gain knowledge. 
This does not mean that "our reason is not based on observation". To sort our observations properly, we need to have the largest amount of observations possible.
This proves the claim "correct reason can only be gained from complete observation" to be correct.
The claim "animals have observation" is true.
It does not mean that "you can reason properly without observation".
We are better at observing things and remembering our observations and deriving conclusions from our observations.
More observation means that our reasoning will improve. This proves that reasoning is based on observation.
It is not possible "to reason" without "having knowledge". It is not possible to "have knowledge" without observing. Hence, its not possible to reason without observing.


Reason is what gave man the ability to not just understand what is gravity but the theory of how gravity came to be and the mathematical patterns of gravity. This is something mere observation cannot justify.
Is a false statement.
Empiricists dont deny that reason exists. They say that proper reason is based on complete observation. Empiricists say that reason cannot exist without observation, but observation can exist without reason.
First comes the observation, and then we do reasoning based on that observation. If that observation is incomplete, our reasoning too will be incomplete.
This means that proper reason and knowledge can only be gained from observation.
The knowledge about gravity and mathematical patterns of gravity were derived from proper observation, and not from "mere reason". In fact, reason itself is derived from proper observations.


Logic can only create a bad conclusion on a bad premise, the premise is the basic principles that one takes note in observation.
If you admit that logic can only create a bad conclusion if observation was bad and incomplete, then you admit that logic depends upon observation in order to be correct. That is the point of empiricism.
"More observation = better reasoning" is what empiricism is based upon.


Biased and false conclusions that experimentation may make will inevitable result in bad logic.
Is a misleading statement. The point of experimentation is not "to create biased and false conclusions", but to test if something is correct or likely to be correct.


Data from experiments are not always perfect as many experiments are needed to be completed in order to even create a scientific theory.
Is a misleading claim. The point of experiments is not "to be always perfect", but to enable us more observations so that we can do better reasoning.


A scientific theory isn't even fact, it is just a theory that has a good amount of data supporting it.
Is a claim that is not relevant to the topic. 
"Scientific theories that are more likely to be correct than other theories" does not prove the claim "Empiricism is wrong" to be correct. In fact, if theories based on empiricism are more likely to be correct, it proves empiricism right.


But scientific laws on the other hand are always true since it is proved with a mathematical equation. Math is in essence logic at its purest form.
Is an irrelevant claim. It was already explained that math was created with observation. Scientific laws would never be discovered without proper observation of the world. Math would not be possible without thousands of years of observing things and gaining knowledge. In the end, observation is what math and scientific laws are based on.


One can never trust statistics at the fullest and every time one analyzes statistics they should take it in with a little salt.
Is a misleading statement. Statistics show us "what is most likely to be correct based on current knowledge".
"Most likely to be correct" is better than "not likely to be correct". That is the point of statistics.


For example, if I were to ask one million people in the whole world if they like vanilla or chocolate ice cream better and in the end I got 40% of people liked vanilla and 60% of people liked chocolate. It wouldn't mean anything as their is 8 billion people and one million is just 1/1000 of the world's population. This proves that statistics has many fallacies.
Is a misleading statement. Statistics deal with what is most likely to be correct. So if 60% of people like chocolate in that statistic and we have no indication that people excluded from statistic are different from people included in it, we conclude it is most likely that 60% of people in general like chocolate. This is conclusion by indirect observation. It is not "correct". It is "most likely to be correct".


Conclusion

Rationalism doesnt tell us much. It tells us to "use logic", but it doesnt tell us what is the correct logic. It tells us to use "deductive logic", but that cannot be done without proper observation. 

The entire point of empiricism is that we should do observations to prove our reasoning correct. Since our reasoning is based on knowledge that we have, doing more observations and increasing our knowledge will improve our reasoning. This proves that reasoning is derived from observation.
We can only know that our reasoning is correct if we focus on observations to prove it. This proves that empiricists are right when they place greatest importance on observation.

This proves the claim "Empiricism is better than rationalism" to be correct.
Round 4
Con
#7
Forfeited
Pro
#8
Forfeited
Round 5
Con
#9
Forfeited
Pro
#10
Forfeited