What do the philosophers René Descartes and John Locke teach about living a life of wisdom?

René Descartes and John Locke teach that wisdom is related to rationalism and empiricism, respectively. While Descartes thought that one could gain knowledge through rational thought alone, Locke believed that experience could also be a factor in contributing to wisdom.

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John Locke and René Descartes had very different ideas on how wisdom is obtained. John Locke's idea of empiricism was based on the belief that knowledge could be obtained by experience, while René Descartes's concept of rationalism derived from the thought that knowledge could be earned by rational thinking alone.

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John Locke and René Descartes had very different ideas on how wisdom is obtained. John Locke's idea of empiricism was based on the belief that knowledge could be obtained by experience, while René Descartes's concept of rationalism derived from the thought that knowledge could be earned by rational thinking alone.

Even though John Locke's ideas and René Descartes's ideas were pretty dissimilar, both of them believed in scientific exploration. Descartes believed that the mind was full of the world's knowledge. He felt that by deep reflection, a person could bring that knowledge out of his mind without real experience of the subject. In contrast to that idea, John Locke felt that no matter what was in your mind, the only way to gain true knowledge of a matter was through experience.

Another way to consider the uses of rationalism and empiricism is how the idea would be implemented in a subject in which you are trying to gain knowledge. For example, one area that rationalism works best in is history, since it is impossible for someone to go back and gain life experience in something like a Civil War battle. By using Descartes's idea of rationalism, the knowledge of that subject could be gained by rational reflection of that area. An area such as math or science is where Locke's idea of empiricism would come into play, since no matter how much you look at a math problem or talk about it, you will truly not know how to deal with it until you have experience working one out.

Although the teachings of the two men are very different, they can both be utilized to live a life of wisdom, as obtaining knowledge in different ways for different areas, tasks, and subjects means that theoretically unlimited knowledge could be gained.

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