Empiricism - What is Empiricism?

Empiricism - What is Empiricism?

Empiricism is the idea that knowledge is based on experience. Empiricism come from the word experientia, which is the Latin equivalent of the Greek word empeiria. The opposite of empiricism is rationalism, which holds that knowledge is based on thoughts and reason.

Experience on the other hand has at least two meanings. First of all it can be conscious awareness. It is to be in a certain mental state. Sense experience is an example of this sort of experience. On the other hand experience can refer to a series of events that you have gone through from which you have perhaps learned something. An example of this would be a job experience or a spiritual experience.

No one thinks our beliefs all comes from direct experience. How do we know that gravity keeps us on the earth's surface, that electricity gives us light, or that the earth revolves around the sun? Empiricists claim that our beliefs are hierarchical, kind of like the trunk of a tree that supports the branches. Our most basic beliefs come from experiencing things for ourselves, while those basic beliefs forms the basis for other, more general and abstract beliefs, including the huge amount of things you believe just because someone told you so.

The philosophical problems with empiricism all comes down to the identifying which are the truly basic, fundamental beliefs, and how to derive all other beliefs from them. A problem arises with belief that doesn't seem to have any basis in experience at all. For example, is my belief that 1+1=2 based in experience? If I see someone add two piles of sand or two drops of water together, and thereby experiencing them as one, does that mean that my belief is false? Obviously not. There are other puzzling scenarios like these where belief pertains to experience but isn't based on it. To illustrate, it is my belief is that objects or even people stay identical over time as their properties change. Or a piece of plastic melts and changes color, shape and texture. I believe it's still the same piece of plastic, but not because my experience tells me so.

To sum up - Empiricism is the claim that knowledge is based on experience. Rationalism is the claim that knowledge is based on reason.


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munirahmadmughal 6 years ago from Lahore, Pakistan.

What is Empiricism? is a useful and beautiful hub.

It is not true that whatever we see with our naked eyes is the only truth. Sometimes our naked eyes fall into fallacy. A tunnel is equal from start to end and our naked eyes see it bigger in the beginning and narrow in the end. Our naked eyes can't see in darkness. Our naked eyes cannot see in dazzling light. Our naked eyes can't see behind the wall. Our naked eyes can't see what has been mixed and solved in the water. Thus there are many many factors in knowing the truth and it is a constant struggle to find it. The Creator has so created this whole universe that He has bestowed knowledge and also blessed mankind with faculties to receive and transmit it further. This is controlled by the system. Reason or rationality is also an instrumentality, a light to show us the right way. Main thing is to man ourselves as the vicegerents on this earth in a manner that welfare of mankind prevails in a dignified manner. All the faculties with which human beings are blessed are therefore a favour of the Creator and those must be used gracefully.

May God bless all.

connor 5 years ago

can i see you naked

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