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Compare and contrast the idea of Descartes and Kant on epistemology

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Comparing and contrasting the ideas of Descrates and Kant on epistemology unit Supervisor April 28, Comparing and contrasting the ideas of Descrates and Kant on epistemologyAristotle’s idea on epistemology focused on the role of meaning in knowledge development. Later theorists, however, developed contrary ideas on epistemology because of such limitations of Aristotle’s theory as the role of experience, mechanical processes that are not consistent with or supersede definitions, and mathematical incorporations in development of meaning. Descrates and Kant are some of the theorists that held contrary opinions to Aristotle’s but even in the revolt, their theories also held conflicting ideas. Descrates on epistemologyDescrates, as one of the revolutionaries against Aristotle’s theory on epistemology, argues that certainty and cognition defines knowledge. Descrates’ definition of knowledge is, however, specific to scientific knowledge and certainty is defined, in the theorist’s perspective, as absence of doubt. With cognition as the fundamental to scientific knowledge, two levels of certainty on cognition are identified to define knowledge. With absolute level of certainty, no single doubt exists that an alternative idea or subject can be found while moral level of certainty involves conviction on a subject even with the knowledge that the subject could be false. Moral certainty however identifies possible doubt and according to Descrates, does not therefore define knowledge.1 Kant on epistemologyKant’s idea on epistemology is based on three factors that further identify opinion and faith. People’s affirmative decisions exist in three levels that distinguish between knowledge, faith, and opinion. There is a subjective basis to affirmation and an objective cause. Affirmation that is devoid of conviction, when conviction is not sufficient, is based on opinion. however, subjective factors to affirmation may be sufficient but a person lacks objective basis. Under the circumstance, affirmation is based on faith and not on opinion. Sufficiency of both subjective and objective factors into affirmation defines existence of knowledge. Opinion and faith are therefore, and according to Kant, elements of knowledge in which sufficient objectivity defines opinion while sufficient subjectivity defines faith and existence of both opinion and faith defines knowledge.2 Discussion Theories of Kant and Descrates identify both similarities and differences. The two ideas converge to existence of knowledge beyond definitions because experiences and observations inform certainty. In addition, Kant discusses sufficiency of subjectivity and objectivity as essentials of knowledge and such sufficiency are consistent with Descrates’ ideas of levels of certainty that can either be subjective or objective. Each of the theorists also identifies existence two factors to be considered in defining knowledge.3 Significance of the factors that each of the theorists consider in defining knowledge, however, offers the first difference. While Kant considers significance of objective and subjective reasons to the definition, Descrates considers certainty and cognition. Descrates’ definition of certainty also transverse both subjective and objective causes to identify inconsistency in the two factors. Similarly, cognition can be subjective or objective. Another difference between the ideas is the relationships between the factors to knowledge. Kant’s idea identifies two independent factors, subjectivity and objectivity, whose occurrence defines knowledge while Descrates identifies two factors, certainty, and cognition, in which cognition depends on level of certainty to define knowledge. Kant also considers general knowledge while Descrates considers scientific knowledge.4 Ideas of Kant and Descrates define knowledge through two factors, different in each definition, and the factors exist in different contexts. Descrates is also specific to scientific knowledge, unlike Kant. Reference listModern Epistemology. UC Davies University of California. Last modified October 26, 2005, http://hume.ucdavis.edu/mattey/phi102/modern1.html