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Empiricism is a theory that states that knowledge comes only or primarily from sensory experience. It is one of several views of epistemology, the study of human knowledge, along with rationalism and skepticism. Empiricism emphasizes the role of empirical evidence in the formation of ideas, over the idea of innate ideas or traditions; empiricists may argue however that traditions (or customs) arise due to relations of previous sense experiences.Empiricism in the philosophy of science emphasizes evidence, especially as discovered in experiments. It is a fundamental part ofthe 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.Empiricism, often used by natural scientists, says that "knowledge is based on experience" and that "knowledge is tentative and probabilistic, subject to continued revision and falsification." One of the epistemological tenets is that sensory experience creates knowledge. Empirical research, including experiments and validated measurement tools, guides the scientific method.Contents [hide] 1Etymology2History
2.1Background2.2Early empiricism2.3Renaissance Italy2.4British empiricism2.5Phenomenalism2.6Logical empiricism2.7Pragmatism3See also4Endnotes5References6External linksEtymologyThe English term empirical derives from the Ancient Greek word ἐμπειρία, empeiria, which is cognate with and translates to the Latin experientia, from which are derived the word experience and the related experiment. The term was used by the Empiric school of ancient Greek medical practitioners, who rejected the three doctrines of the Dogmatic school, preferring to rely on the observation of "phenomena".HistoryBackground
Main article: Empirical methodA central concept in science and the scientific method is that it must be empirically based on the evidence of the senses. Both natural and social sciences use working hypotheses that are testable by observation and experiment. The term semi-empirical is sometimes used to describe theoretical methods that make use of basic axioms, established scientific laws, and previous experimental results in order to engage in reasoned model building and theoretical inquiry.Philosophical empiricists hold no knowledge to be properly inferred or deduced unless it is derived from one's sense-based experience. This view is commonly contrasted with rationalism, which states that knowledge may be derived from reason independently of the senses. For example, John Locke held that some knowledge (e.g. knowledge of God's existence) could be arrived at through intuition and reasoning alone. Similarly Robert Boyle, a prominent advocate of the experimental method, held that we have innate ideas. The main continental rationalists (Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz) were also advocates of the empirical "scientific method".Early empiricism