Meaning of empiricism in English:


Pronunciation /ɛmˈpɪrɪsɪz(ə)m/

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mass nounPhilosophy
  • The theory that all knowledge is based on experience derived from the senses. Stimulated by the rise of experimental science, it developed in the 17th and 18th centuries, expounded in particular by John Locke, George Berkeley, and David Hume.

    Compare with phenomenalism

    ‘Fernow played up a widely accepted historical dichotomy between European theory and British empiricism in science.’
    • ‘There were errors of interpretation in feminists' critiques, for example, concerning the extent to which analytic philosophy incorporated empiricism.’
    • ‘Yet habit is the linchpin for the philosophical way of thinking that James called radical empiricism, and later pragmatism.’
    • ‘Ryle's attitude to dispositions is part of the heritage of logical empiricism.’
    • ‘He is however thoroughly within the tradition of British empiricism in philosophy.’
    • ‘The central problematics of feminist empiricism can be captured in two apparent paradoxes.’
    • ‘In this way his practice is closest to Aristotelian critical empiricism that requires careful observation and a comprehensive theory that will make those observations meaningful.’
    • ‘The temporal delimitation suggests an arbitrary empiricism reluctant to address either the agony of contemporaneity, or the pathological prehistory of modernity.’
    • ‘Emerging in the eighteenth century, political economy drew on the individualism of Hobbes and Locke, the pragmatism of Machiavelli, and the empiricism of Bacon.’
    • ‘Empiricism certainly has a role to play, but it cannot be the empiricism of ivory tower academics, and it cannot be an exclusive role.’