Archivo por días: 9 julio, 2008

The Empiricism in Great Britain

Jornada Interdisciplinar del Barroco
Colegio El Romeral (Attendis)
Málaga, 14 de mayo de 2008

Rahul Rachwani

Good afternoon, now we are going to talk about empiricism. I’m going to talk as clear as possible so everybody can follow my speech.


The word empiricism has a dual etimology: a greek background, and a latin background (exprentia) from which we derive experience.

Normally when we use the word empiric we refer to practical experience and opposed to instruction in theory.

     Thomas Hobbes   John Locke   David Hume


Once understood the etimology of empiricism, we can expose its definition:

Philosophical point of view:

In philosophy generally, empiricism is an epistemological concept, or a theory of knowledge, emphasizing the role of experience and evidence, especially sensory perception, in the formation of ideas, while discounting the notion of innate ideas.

Scientific point of view:

Empiricism is a theory of knowledge which emphasizes those aspects of scientific knowledge that are closely related to evidence, especially as formed through deliberate experimental arrangements. It is a fundamental requirement of scientific method that all hypotheses and theories must be tested against observations of the natural world, rather than resting solely on a priori reasoning, intuition, or revelation. Hence, science is considered to be methodologically empirical in nature.

Philosophical usage

The doctrine of empiricism was first explicitly formulated by John Locke in the 17th century. Locke argued that the mind is a tabula rasa (white paper) on which experience leaves its marks.

Aristotle took experience as the as yet unorganized product of sense perception and memory. This appears to be a common philosophical conception of the term. Memory is required so that what is perceived may be retained in the mind or remembered. When we say that we have learned something from experience we mean that we have come to know of it by the use of our senses. We have experience when we are sufficiently aware of what we have discovered in this way. Another connected sense of the term is the perception of feelings, sensations, and etc. as sense experiences. Awareness of these experiences is something that happens to us and it is in this sense passive. The statement that experience is the source of knowledge means that knowledge depends ultimately on the use of the senses and on what is discovered through them.

It seems an interesting parallel to note that just as the term «experience» is ultimately derived from the term «empiricism,» empiricists maintain that all knowledge is ultimately derived from experience-sense experience.

Such empiricism denies that humans have innate ideas or that anything is knowable without reference to experience, ergo for any knowledge to be properly inferred or deduced, it is to be gained ultimately from one’s sense-based experience. Sigue leyendo