Philosophy need not ignore "empirical psychology" (whatever that might be) for philosophy merely observes psychology for what it is: study of psyche. For example, epistemological philosophy observes that the conclusions of psychology are only to be agreed or disagreed with, they are matters of opinion not the confirmation of hypothesis. Furthermore, considering the epistemic limitations of first person subjective ontological status and without objective test or measure, the self cannot be rationally assessed - and this whether or not everyone agrees that when someone says "I feel glad" they mean it sincerely. Note that though the term is often used as misnomer for weltanschauung ("a way of looking at things") philosophy is respect for obtaining knowledge and advances verstehen; philosophy is not the reverence of plausible explanation. Note as well that there is a vast epistemic difference between philosophy (heuristic, advancing verstehen) and the opinions (hermeneutic, proffering weltanschauung) of philosophers', psychologists', plumbers', et cetera ad nauseum.
Whether you use psychology to mean the study of psyche or as a term for cognitive "science" the fact remains that psychology is not science - and for that matter neither is most any subject matter with the term "science" in it. For example, "computer science" is engineering, not the investigation and confirmation of what is by means of observation, falsifiable and verifiable hypothesis and peer review. Whereas computer engineering contends with ponderables (but does not advance by means of confirming hypothesis, it merely advances syntactic structures), psychology contends with imponderables (e.g. motivation, akrasia, et cetera) and unknowables. How shall you measure a report of "that feels good"? Seen any advancements lately in "the meaning of life"? How would you verify the statement of a subject who claims, "I feel glad"? Would observation of their behaviour constitute verification of "I feel glad"? No. Would an fMRI of their cranial activity constitute verification of "I feel glad"? No. Of course you would be free to make these observations and claim them as confirmation of a hypotheses correlating what is said with what is, however, (per Cioffi, Frank, 1985, "Psychoanalysis, Pseudo-Science and Testability") in this case the mistake is imagining that you have confirmed hypotheses rather than merely instantiated them. There are, of course, ponderables which psychology studies (e.g. intent) and even palpables (the distinction of psychoses and neuroses, i.e. something you undergo vs. something you undertake) so do not mistake my analysis for disparagement of either the study itself or the subject studied by psychology. There is, however, a vast epistemic difference between the advancement of the hypotheses from neuroscience and the conslusions of a study.
This, for example, is how philosophy contends with psychology:
In the past couple of centuries we have also become convinced that
this common-sense psychology is grounded in the brain, that these
mental states and events are somehow, we are not quite sure how, going
on in the neurophysiological processes of the brain. So this leaves us
with two levels at which we can describe and explain human beings: a
level of common-sense psychology, which seems to work well enough in
practice but which is not scientific; and a level of neurophysiology,
which is certainly scientific but which even the most advanced
specialists know very little about.
But couldn’t there be a third possibility, a science of human beings
that was not introspective common-sense psychology but was not
neurophysiology either? This has been the great dream of the human
sciences in the twentieth century, but so far all of the efforts have
been, in varying degrees, failures. The most spectacular failure was
behaviorism, but in my intellectual lifetime I have lived through
exaggerated hopes placed on and disappointed by games theory,
cybernetics, information theory, generative grammar, structuralism,
and Freudian psychology, among others. Indeed it has become something
of a scandal of twentieth-century intellectual life that we lack a
science of the human mind and human behavior, that the methods of the
natural sciences have produced such meager results when applied to
The latest candidate or family of candidates to fill the gap is called
cognitive science, a collection of related investigations into the
human mind involving psychology, philosophy, linguistics,
anthropology, and artificial intelligence. Cognitive science is really
the name of a family of research projects and not a theory, but many
of its practitioners think that the heart of cognitive science is a
theory of the mind based on artificial intelligence (AI). According to
this theory minds just are computer programs of certain kinds.
From http://www.nybooks.com/articles/1982/04/29/the-myth-of-the-computer/ - please note that much of the article is spent rejecting false arguments, as there are many and so little to advance other than a concise, mundane and verifiable statement of the case.
So what then is psyche? As the term translates from the Greek it means either soul, spirit, self or breath. The former two translations are imponderable non-sense. Of the latter two, the former is epistemically limited and study of the latter is in the domains of biology, particularly physiology. Breath, of course, is interesting in that it is both consciously and intentionalistically manipulated as well as automatically regulated such that we don't suffocate while we sleep. The crux of psychology is the study of self. What can psychology tell us of self except as either observed by self and unverifiable or observed by other(s) and simply a matter of agreement or disagreement? Knowledge of course is empirical verification of what is (else how do you know what is?) If a person states, "I feel glad" they know whether or not they mean it, or even if they are not certain of the adequacy of the expression and utterance to convey their feelings. How would an other verify the sincerity, confusion or deceitful expression? That we can guess and be correct is all well and good, but we have no means to empirically verify the statement and rationally assess a truth value.
And indeed the early psychology seemed very close to armchair philosophy(sic).
Freud's theories are good examples of that
The explanations Freud offered were precisely armchair weltanschauung. And the reason these explanations were not hypothesis is because not only were his explanations incapable of being verified or falsified, anything given in their support was equally imponderable. For example, how could we know that a males desire to have sexual intercourse with his mother and be reborn are manifest and find their satisfaction in the act of defecation? Such a claim cannot be verified because the desires claimed are unconscious and the male cannot attest to them since the male is entirely unaware of them. Such a claim cannot be falsified because any grounds given to falsify the claim that behavior is to the male a fulfillment of an unconscious wish would itself be imponderable. You will note as well the similarity of Freud's false arguments to those of all metaphysicians from Plato extant. In all cases there are claims to knowledge for which no one or no thing can be given to verify or falsify either the claim or the evidence given in its support. To say that there is an idea of a thing to which all like things aspire and partake may give pause for contemplation, but it is not demonstrable by any rational means. Ask yourself: Why is no more known about Forms now than was known upon first utterance, and this despite tedious frequentation over two millennia? Answer: For same reason that no more is known about the unconscious, id and superego than was known upon first utterance 100+ years ago.
I'm still curious that when a widely-accepted theory in philosophy is
challenged by empirical psychology, how did/does philosophers react.
Does it simply ignore it (surely some branches in epistemology don't
view empiricism as the ultimate/best way to gain knowledge)? Does it
see psychology's views as superior and so change in order to be
consistent? Psychology's go-to statistical tests have come under
criticism relatively recently so it also makes sense that philosophy
ignore psychological findings unless we're dealing with results that
have stood the test of time.
Acceptance is entirely beside the point of philosophy. If acceptance were the arbiter of truth value then the earth would be flat and you could sail off of it. You cannot. Consider the difference between philosopher's and philosophy
(as well that the history of philosophy is not philosophy). Philosophy is something you do. It can be said that philosophy is something you have, but to the point, philosophy is performative not contemplative. and here I will leave you with the instrumentalist ethos else philosophy is merely guesswork as to how many angels dance upon the head of a pin.
"If after utterance you cannot be assured of knowing something that you did not know before, or, failing that, that you cannot at least be able to assess whether what was uttered can eventually lead to something you did not know before, simply STFU or if you are not the utterer, reject the false argument(s)."