Empiricism Vs. Rationalism - Hermione Granger Vs. Luna Lovegood



"Luna has told me all about you, young lady. You are, I gather, not unintelligent, but painfully limited, narrow, close-minded."

- Xenophilius Lovegood (Luna Lovegood's father) to Hermione Granger -



Well, for people who have learned philosophy, you probably know that there is always a never-ending war between two general perspectives of truth: empiricism vs. rationalism.

In short, rationalists believes that something is right if it rationally makes sense, even if you don't have any evidence to prove it. Meanwhile, empiricists believe that something is right if you have a living proof in reality (not only in your mind). In other words, one has its center in your rationale and the other has its center in the five senses (anything you can see, smell, touch, taste, and hear).

In the past, rationalism was popular in France while empiricism was popular in England.

....... No wonder there's always a sense of competition between the two countries.

This has always been problematic. In some cases, rationalism is not always right. For example, in English Grammar: rationally, the correct form is "you weren't sad" instead of "you wasn't sad." But in fact, there's in an evidence that there was a native speaker who said, "You said you wasn't sad to see her go." (That native speaker was Alex Turner from Arctic Monkeys when he sang the song "Bigger Boys & Stolen Sweethearts"). The rational rules made by the native speakers was destroyed by the native speakers themselves.

So in that case, rationalism is proven wrong.

However, there are many cases in which rationalism wins over empiricism. Take Galileo Galilei as an example. He was executed because he rationally initiated the idea that the earth is round, and he even rationally supported Copernicus' idea that the sun is the center of the universe. At that time, he couldn't find a living proof to strengthen his arguments.

Years later, when people have discovered many things, when people could take a picture of the earth and the solar system, Galileo and Copernicus' ideas were proven right. Empiricism was proven really limited due to humans' incapability of sensing something really faraway from them.

So in this case, empiricism lost the battle.

Now, what does it have to do with Hermione Granger and Luna Lovegood?
Well, as you know, both of these smart girls hardly get along in terms of ideology. Ms. Granger called Ms. Lovegood as "Loonie" Lovegood because she believes in some magical creatures that can't be seen by ordinary wizards/witches. Ms. Lovegood, on the other hand, considered Ms. Granger as "narrow minded."

I think Ms. Granger is an example of a conservative empiricist and Ms. Lovegood is an example of an eccentric rationalist.

Well, in the Harry Potter series, Ms. Lovegood was proven right because finally Mr. Potter could see the "invisible" creatures. It only takes some different perspective for Mr. Potter to be able to see them. *well, at least that's what J.K. Rowling tried to say. I think somehow she supports Luna over Hermione.

For me, I used to be the loyal defender of Hermione Granger. The way she studies, the way she resolves problems, the way she answers questions in the class.... they all remind me of myself, when I was in highschool. And when I was a Maba. I always want the evidence first before believing in something (except when it comes to my God and my religion, I prefer to use my faith and my rationale in believing it).

However, lately, after 3.5 years studying Humanities (actually, I'm not sure whether it has anything to do with this), I think there's a "Luna" that was born in me. When I meet some eccentric people from my faculty, with their various different kinds of point of view, I feel like I could think much wilder than I used to. Those people have taught me to see "beyond" what I see. I'm not saying that I don't believe in a living proof. I'm just saying that this "Luna-syndrome" has made me realized that there are things that cannot be proven empirically or even explained rationally. There are things beyond what you see, as Rafiki, the wise monkey from the Lion King once said.

And I can't explain it further in a more ordinary living written words. You know, it's rationalism. Hahaha.

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2 comments:

umu mengatakan...

I think I'm a rationalist XP~~ in fact, from the very first time, u already admitted that u are also a rationalist by saying that sometimes we need to see beyond when it comes to God and religion... Rimaaa,, u're so cooollll~~

midorima mengatakan...

haha... but I have experienced some moments when I'm really into empiricism. It was when I was in highschool and at the early days of my campus life.

I often looked down on people's nonsensical imagination back then. now I'm feeling bad because I realized that I'm much more into rationalism and that I'm one of the biggest dreamers ever.

But I think we still have to consider "real" evidences sometimes, Mu. Because sometimes our mind could trick us in some way... :(

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