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Former good article Empiricism was one of the Philosophy and religion good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
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what about immanuel kant?[edit]

sorry i've not got time to do this myself - i'd like to make the suggestion though as i've read on the kant page that he attempted to reconcile rationalism and empiricism (talk) 01:47, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

And what is "Empticism" ? Does it have something common with "Empiricism" ? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:47, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

Dubious: What is this?[edit]

The first para of the intro contains the following frog (quack, quack):

(except in so far as these might be inferred from empirical reasoning, as in the case of genetic predisposition).

This is an anachronism, and an apologetic scrawl from some modern adherent not accepting the illogic of the original version of empiricism. John Locke, 29 August 1632–28 October 1704 had no genetical knowledge at all. I'll mark it as [dubious - discuss]. The scrawl should be fixed by either pinpoint some modern fixups (citet), or failing that, be removed. Rursus dixit. (mbork3!) 18:50, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

merge from Empirical[edit]

I don't see why Empirical has a dedicated (and rather poor) article. Such an adjective should be redirected here, with content being merged. As a stand alone, "empirical" seems good for wiktionary, but not wikipedia. Thoughts? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 20:15, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

The problem is that empiricism fall under the studies of philosophy and empirical is a science. To me the "As a stand alone" argument means an article needs expansion, possibly from an expert, and relevant tags. I looked at some references of the two and I would have to do a lot of digging to even assist with such an undertaking. Given the purported difference in the two meanings (from the fields that use them) I would suggest an expert tag, to hopefully attract attention, plus whatever other avenues afforded to accomplish this end. I would have to research more but at this time I feel that the differences in the fields that use the two words brings questions of how they could be successfully merged? Since there is no emergency or acute time frame limits my suggestions, unless the author of the merge request has applicable knowledge and a plan, would include removing the merge requests (after the placement of the tags) and revisiting the issue at some later date. I might have some time in the near future to explore references. Otr500 (talk) 00:12, 9 March 2011 (UTC)
I think Empirical, Empirical method, Empirical research should be merged into one article, while Empirical and Empiricism don't have to. The said three articles contain too much unnecessary overlapping contents. I think they should be merged into Empirical method.Kuphrer (talk) 17:34, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
Terrible idea. "Empirical" and "empiricism" are not related in the sense that, say, "epistemological" and "epistemology" are, and combining the two articles would give readers the extremely mistaken idea that they are. "Empirical" most commonly refers to evidentiary procedures used by scientists, not the ideas of Hume and such--which is what "empiricism" is. I vote for a swift removal of the merge banners.--Atlantictire (talk) 07:46, 2 May 2011 (UTC)
Thank you for weighing in. Almost two months ago I addressed the issue as not being compatible for a merge. The time has expired and consensus is not to merge. Removing the banners is one way but I believe there is a proper way to close such a request and enclose it in a box. This will be evidence that the issue was resolved per policy. I am not yet familiar with properly closing such a discussion so would someone please close the "merge request" as per consensus not to merge. Otr500 (talk) 12:49, 2 May 2011 (UTC)
Atlantictire above states that the term "empirical," ". . .most commonly refers to evidentiary procedures used by scientists, not the ideas of Hume and such--which is what "empiricism" is." This is a clear double standard as far as the suffix "-al" is concerned. The evidentiary procedures used by scientists are part of the philosophy of science itself (Popper in particular), and can be directly traced all the way back to David Hume. We cannot pretend to be ignorant of this relationship. To assert otherwise is a deliberate obfuscation of the history of philosophy of science. Obiwanjacoby (talk) 22:40, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

Help! Can i be the only one who believes this?! I mean its proof ....Right?[edit]


Empiricism IS[edit]

The first line of the article is "In philosophy, empiricism is a theory of knowledge which opposes other theories of knowledge..."

I think it's a good idea to define things by what they ARE, not what they are NOT. Empiricism is much more than a theory to oppose other theory. You can say that against almost anything. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:26, 9 June 2011 (UTC)

There are serious issues with the following statement: "Empiricism should not be mixed up with empirical research because different epistemologies should be considered competing views on how best to do studies, and there is near consensus among researchers that studies should be empirical." This fails to make a case for why empirical research is (somehow) not influenced by empiricism, apart from its own question-begging statement. Why "should" it? Why "shouldn't" it? If "different epistemologies should be considered competing views on how best to do studies," then why are they limited to an empiricism-only mandate by mere "consensus" immediately thereafter in the same statement??? Also, "near consensus among researchers" is not only an argument from authority, but a deliberately vague one at that per NPOV standards. Thus, I have placed a weasel tag around it to garner notice prior to full deletion. Thank you. Obiwanjacoby (talk) 05:35, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

Under the further heading "Scientific Usage" is another bizarre statement: "A central concept in science and the scientific method is that all evidence must be empirical, or empirically based, that is, dependent on evidence that is observable by the senses. It is differentiated from the philosophic usage of empiricism by the use of the adjective "empirical" or the adverb "empirically"." This is a dodgy semantics argument in that the adjective form or adverb form of empiricism does NOT necessarily change the inherent meaning of empiricism itself. The scientific method itself falls under philosophy of science (Popper), and thus IS directly influenced by the philosophy of empiricism. Therefore, this statement also violates a precedent in the history of philosophy itself. Obiwanjacoby (talk) 05:55, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

Counter Arguments?[edit]

Why isn't there any counter arguments offered in the article? I know that they are out there. It would be most helpful to those desiring to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the subject matter. Quintessential1 (talk) 15:30, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

I guess someone needs to work on it one day. If you have time...?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 20:38, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

analythic-synthetic distinction[edit]

Under logical empiricism it says that analytic statements are equal to a priori statements and synthetic to a posteriori. But these are different concepts. On the analytic-synthetic page it is explained that the combination of the two results in four different cases. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:26, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

Misuse of sources[edit]

This article has been edited by a user who is known to have misused sources to unduly promote certain views (see WP:Jagged 85 cleanup). Examination of the sources used by this editor often reveals that the sources have been selectively interpreted or blatantly misrepresented, going beyond any reasonable interpretation of the authors' intent.

Please help by viewing the entry for this article shown at the page, and check the edits to ensure that any claims are valid, and that any references do in fact verify what is claimed.

I searched the page history, and found 25 edits by Jagged 85 (for example, see this edits). Tobby72 (talk) 00:36, 26 January 2012 (UTC)


In the opening definition of empiricism it is said, "knowledge comes only or primarily from sensory experience."

Should not that be changed to "perception"? Is it not that for pure empiricism, there is no assumption about the validity of sense, only of perception. For example, would not Berkley have said that while you could not be sure that you sensed a rock when you kicked it, you could be sure of your perception? For Berkley only ideas exist. In other words, there could be a little room with a little man in it wearing a virtual reality head set. The head set is connected by wireless to TV cameras in what we think of as the real world. This little man could be sure that he has certain perceptions, but not that they came from sense organs or were "sensations." Isn't perception a better word to use in this definition than "sensation" or "sensory experience"? ( (talk) 01:31, 19 June 2012 (UTC))

William James quote interpretation[edit]

In Wikipedia: by which he meant to rule out the perception that there can be any value added by seeking supernatural explanations for natural phenomena

I propose the word "supernatural" be replaced with the word "rationalist". My argument: the context.

In William James: I understand the question and I will give my answer. I am interested in another doctrine in philosophy to which I give the name of radical empiricism, and it seems to me that the establishment of the pragmatist theory of truth is a step of first-rate importance in making radical empiricism prevail. Radical empiricism consists first of a postulate, next of a statement of fact, and finally of a generalized conclusion.

The postulate is that the only things that shall be debatable among philosophers shall be things definable in terms drawn from experience. [Things of an unexperienceable nature may exist ad libitum, but they form no part of the material for philosophic debate.]

The statement of fact is that the relations between things, conjunctive as well as disjunctive, are just as much matters of direct particular experience, neither more so nor less so, than the things themselves.

The generalized conclusion is that therefore the parts of experience hold together from next to next by relations that are themselves parts of experience. The directly apprehended universe needs, in short, no extraneous trans-empirical connective support, but possesses in its own right a concatenated or continuous structure.

The great obstacle to radical empiricism in the contemporary mind is the rooted rationalist belief that experience as immediately given is all disjunction and no conjunction, and that to make one world out of this separateness, a higher unifying agency must be there. In the prevalent idealism this agency is represented as the absolute all-witness which 'relates' things together by throwing 'categories' over them like a net. The most peculiar and unique, perhaps, of all these categories is supposed to be the truth- relation, which connects parts of reality in pairs, making of one of them a knower, and of the other a thing known, yet which is itself contentless experientially, neither describable, explicable, nor reduceable to lower terms, and denotable only by uttering the name 'truth.'

Furthermore, the one thing William James repeats again and again, not only in other works but even in the paragraphs preceding those which I have quoted, is that under his philosophy supernatural explanations can very possibly add value. This is actually how his radical empiricism differs from empiricism: it does not deny the objective truth of workable ideas whose workability is empirically known but whose objective truth is not (known empirically). He is criticizing rationalism, specifically the rationalism still held to by empiricists who do not hold to his radical empiricism (i.e. those empiricists who would argue that mathematics is true even though it is not empirically known). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:39, 5 February 2013 (UTC)

Hume: matters of fact[edit]

"The sun rises in the East" does not seem to be a good example of Hume's "matters of fact" as I understood them. It can be regarded as a mere tautology, in the rhetorical sense, since "East" is usually defined to be the direction in which the sun rises. I am no scholar of philosophy; did Hume really intended tautologies as "matters of fact"?

Is the "East" example in fact from Hume, or is it from some other philosphical text, or did the writer invent it? If not the first choice, someone who has more philosophical experience than I have should insert something else. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:12, 28 March 2013 (UTC)

Is it a Tautology? I don't think it is. East is defined by its relation to magnetic North/South and not by the direction the sun rises. (talk) 13:36, 9 April 2013 (UTC)

Split Article: British Empiricism[edit]

I think that it makes sense to put British Empiricism as it's own page à la British Idealism, since while it is obviously part of Empiricism as a whole it is it's own subject as well. Content then would be easily added. If someone who is more experienced with wikipedia could do it, providing it is justified of course I think it would be for the better. Unillogical (talk) 21:14, 7 April 2013 (UTC)

Sextus; Stoics[edit]

Against the professors was written by Sextus Empiricus, not Sextus of Gonorrhea or whatever, and Empiricus certainly wasn't a stoic. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:36, 30 December 2014 (UTC)