Arguing from Inner Experience: The Inner Sense from Locke to Reid

The purpose of this research is to study the different roles of inner experience and the inner sense in Empiricism, especially from argumentative and methodological perspectives. The research studies the philosophies of the three classical Empiricists, Locke, Berkeley and Hume, as well as that of Thomas Reid, Hume’s contemporary and the founder of the Scottish School of Common Sense, who embraces the experiential methodology of the Empiricists while criticizing many of their epistemological presumptions. The study shows that Empiricism, supposedly a methodology for studying the external world, paradoxically becomes a discussion focusing on inner experience and states of consciousness. Special attention in this research is given to methodological discussions in Empiricism pertaining to the roles and status of the inner sense, and to actual arguments which rely on inner experience. In this, the research portrays types of relations that exists between epistemology, methodology and argumentation, as different aspects of theory and praxis in philosophy. As a study of philosophical argumentation, the research presents a typology of informal arguments that rely on inner experience. In general, this study is a broad discussion of British Empiricism from the perspective of inner experience as a vital epistemological and methodological consideration. The epistemological discussion focuses on issues such as differentiating between inner and outer experience, the phenomenological classification of experience in general, and the distinction between consciousness and reflection. This study also touches on a number of meta-philosophical questions: the relation between theory and praxis in philosophy; does philosophy produce knowledge; and whether philosophers have special argumentative tools. These questions are discussed throughout the particular chapters, and the aim of this research is to provide partial answers to them
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