Idea - Innate and Adventitious Ideas

Innate and Adventitious Ideas

One view on the nature of ideas is that there exist some ideas (called innate ideas) which are so general and abstract, that they could not have arisen as a representation of any object of our perception, but rather were, in some sense, always in the mind before we could learn them. These are distinguished from adventitious ideas which are images or concepts which are accompanied by the judgment that they are caused by some object outside of the mind.

Another view holds that we only discover ideas in the same way that we discover the real world, from personal experiences. The view that humans acquire all or almost all their behavioral traits from nurture (life experiences) is known as tabula rasa ("blank slate"). Most of the confusions in the way of ideas arise at least in part from the use of the term "idea" to cover both the representation percept and the object of conceptual thought. This can be illustrated in terms of the doctrines of innate ideas, "concrete ideas versus abstract ideas", as well as "simple ideas versus complex ideas".

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