Descartes And Hume. Essay

4272 words - 17 pages

Descartes y Hume representan los extremos racionalista y empirista, respectivamente,
de la epistemología moderna. Sus únicos puntos de coincidencia son precisamente las
características comunes a toda la epistemología moderna, y que diferencian esta de las
epistemologías antigua y medieval, ambas predominantemente realistas. Estas características
son el idealismo epistemológico, la definición de las ideas como entidades exclusivamente
mentales, y la centralidad del sujeto en la reflexión filosófica. Aun así, existen matices en el
modo en que ambos autores desarrollan estas características.
El idealismo epistemológico es la postura típica de la epistemología moderna, y
consiste en no suponer que conocemos directamente la realidad (que era lo que defendía el
realismo epistemológico), afirmando por el contrario que todo conocimiento está mediado por
el sujeto que conoce, y que lo que este conoce directamente son las ideas que están en su
mente, y no los objetos de la realidad. Esto implica que es preciso analizar cómo conoce el
sujeto antes de poder determinar qué puede y qué no puede ser conocido. Como hemos
dicho, Descartes y Hume coinciden en estos planteamientos, pero los emplean de diferente
manera. El idealismo epistemológico implica que lo que conoce el sujeto son fenómenos,
apariencias para ese sujeto, y no realidades en si (lo que posteriormente Kant denominará
"noúmeno"). En este sentido, tanto Descartes como Hume son fenomenistas, pero Hume lo es
de una manera mucho más amplia y radical que Descartes. Descartes consideraba como
fenómenos tan sólo las cualidades secundarias, que ya habían sido señaladas como tales por
Galileo, es decir, aquellas cualidades de los cuerpos que solo pueden ser entendidas como
reacciones del sujeto a las características del objeto, y no como características en si del objeto,
tales como colores, sonidos, sabores u olores. Sin embargo, Descartes creía que existían
también cualidades primarias de la materia, es decir, cualidades que si pertenecían al objeto,
en concreto la forma, el tamaño y el movimiento, es decir, las cualidades directamente
asociadas a la extensión, que según Descartes era el atributo definitorio de la materia (o res
extensa). Hume, por el contrario, amplía la consideración de cualidad secundaria a todas
Descartes Vs Hume

nuestras impresiones externas, ya que, según Hume, las formas, tamaños y movimientos no se
perciben directamente, sino a través de las cualidades secundarias: no vemos las formas
separadas de los colores, sino manchas de color, de tal manera que si unas tienen que ser
consideradas como apariencias fenoménicas, también deben...

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