Empiricism And Capitalism Essay

1021 words - 4 pages

Empiricism is the theory that knowledge evolves from sense experience and internal mental interaction, such as emotions and self reflection. An empiricist obtains their facts based on close observation and experiment, which is ultimately a use of an inductive thought process. For empiricists, facts precede theories. Most empiricists are impartial, as well as objective observers of facts. A main belief in empiricism is that no one person could obtain knowledge of the world unless they were to experience and reason. Within empiricism, there are main philosophers who have contributed to its development and discoveries. Aristotle took experience as the result of sense perception and memory. Since experience is perceived as the main source of knowledge within this school of thought, knowledge is therefore completely dependent on the use of our main senses and what we discover throughout the use of these senses. Sometimes, Aristotle is said to be the founder of empiricist thought, as he believed that there is nothing in the intellect which is not previously in the senses. Other key philosophers throughout empiricism are: the Sophists, Epicurus, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Francis Bacon, John Locke, George Berkeley, David Hume and John Stuart Mill. Each of these philosophers came to the same conclusion that intellect is the created by the basis of an individual’s sense perception. 

Capitalism is a social system based on the principle of individual rights, and can be commonly named ‘economic individualism’. Capitalism’s basic premise is the goal of self-interest and that the right to own private property is morally defensible and legally accurate. Ultimately, capitalism believes that state exists in order to protect individual’s rights. In a capitalist society, individuals are free to decide where to invest, what to produce or sell, and what prices to charge. Many philosophers, such as Adam Smith, proposed that capitalism provides principles for society: individuals are exposed to certain rights in which they have the opportunity to possess; government should not restrain individuals from seeking their own level of happiness; and economic interactions should not be regulated by the government. Capitalism, in congruence with economic individualism, tends to stress ideals such as brotherhood, community and social solidarity. Capitalism is categorized under a posteriori knowledge, as an individual’s connection to society and economic values comes from outside of them self. Philosophers and other theorists that studied and contributed to capitalism are: Karl Marx, Max Weber, Adam Smith, Ayn Rand and Ludwig von Mises. In addition, John Locke, a British empiricist, contributed many ideas about capitalism that were used in the theories of Karl Marx. Each of these philosophers all support that capitalism recognizes the idea that each person is the owner of their own life and they can live in freedom as long as they do not violate the rights of others.


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