What is Innatism?
The theory that everybody has an innate set of knowledge possessed from birth.
Why does Locke attack the theory of innate ideas?
The theory of Innatism is a potential objection to his position. If he is to deconstruct this counter-argument he can strengthen himself before he even deploys his argument which makes him appear stronger.
What does Locke claim that Innate ideas must be?
Universally believed and consciously known.
Outline the logical formulation of Locke’s attack.
P1- Innate ideas must be universally known and consciously recalled.
P2- Children and Ideots aren’t always aware of innate ideas.
P3- Innate knowledge isn’t universally known.
C1- Therefore Innate Knowledge doesn’t exist.
How does Plato believe that Innate Knowledge exists?
Plato claimed that innate knowledge is retained by having a soul. We bring our ideas and theories learnt in previous lives to the next within our soul and he uses an example to demonstrate.
How does Plato demonstrate knowledge retention and what example does he use?
Plato uses Meno’s slave boy who has never been taught anything regarding mathematics.
He outlines a geometric problem in the sand and the boy is able to utilise logic and reasoning to solve the problem successfully despite having never being taught geometry.
This leads Plato to claim that we retain knowledge within the soul that transfers to our next lives and the boy is an example of this happening.
What other examples demonstrate problems with Innatism?
Some people are exceptions to the rule as they may have impaired cognitive functioning which prevents them from learning certain things or understanding theories.
To claim that everyone can comprehend ideas is evidently false as some people clearly can’t and the assertion they’re universally known is untrue.
What may be some other problems with Plato’s slave boy example?
Meno and Plato could’ve lied that the boy was taught mathematics to prove their point.
Inherent logic and reasoning to solve problems may’ve been applied rather than mathematical understanding to solve the puzzle. They don’t account for this and have no evidence of it not occuring during the example.