Empirical Knowledge, Mind Mappings and Naturalism

Social Sciences in China (Chinese Edition)

No.5, 2013


Empirical Knowledge, Mind Mappings and Naturalism



Yin Jie and He Hua


Unless we can explain the relationship between the mind and the external world, we will not be able to offer legitimate evidence for the condition whereupon knowledge is established. Hence, there exists a tension between how the mind perceives and how knowledge is constituted. This tension can be traced back to the Cartesian tradition of philosophy, which essentially was to interpret how ideas are linked with the world, and how the relationship between knowledge and the world is ascertained. Analytical philosophy demonstrates, though in an indirect way, the tension between mind and knowledge in the language-world dichotomy. Empiricism advocates that experience is the prerequisite of knowledge, and calls for a reflection on the legitimacy of the various roles of experience in knowledge condition. Philosophers tend to pursue the attributes of the mind from the perspective of transcendental philosophy such as scientism and naturalism, and to provide an explanation for the legitimacy of the experiential basis of knowledge constitution. In the major schools of contemporary empiricism, the issue of experiential knowledge is explicitly extended to that of philosophy of mind, such that there emerges a converging tendency between the theory of knowledge and the philosophy of mind.