Innate Knowledge

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Category: Philosophy and Psychology

Date Submitted: 11/12/2012 08:03 PM

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Innate Knowledge:

When a baby is born, the cries of the baby can be heard throughout the corridors of the hospital. Immediately, when a baby gasps for its first breath of air, discomfort rages through the body of the infant. This feeling of discomfort tells the baby to cry out for help. Even though the baby is helpless, it will still use its ability to cry and scream to let all those in a close proximity know that help is needed. Even a baby, who has been alive for just seconds, knows how to cry out for help. This is an example of a human beings innate knowledge at the earliest moment in life. No one has educated the baby on the most effective ways to receive help during infancy. The baby has knowledge from within them that is seen from a very young age. To further explain the idea of innate knowledge, I will first define what innate knowledge is, then I will use arguments from Gottfried Leibniz and John Locke to discuss the idea of innate knowledge.

As this baby begins to mature and grow, Socrates states, in The Republic of Plato, “A young thing can't judge what is hidden sense and what is not; but what he takes into his opinions at that age has a tendency to become hard to eradicate and unchangeable." (378b) Certain aspects of the knowledge of a person is innate, which is what Socrates is trying to tell his readers. An innate idea is one that is inborn or natural. In other words innate knowledge is knowledge that man is born with. Knowledge can be broken down into four levels. Starting from the most foundational level is a human’s capacity. A human’s capacity is the limitations of the mind; the farthest point that the brain can reach. This idea also includes the notion that the mind has concepts, ideas, and capabilities that all humans are born with. An example would be when baby a turns to face a sound immediately after being born, or reaching out to an image or object before them, which show that man is born with innate curiosity. The...