Questions tagged [empiricism]

Empiricism is the view that knowledge comes from sense experience.

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Can empiricists and materialists accept metaphysical modality?

There are some propositions such as 1+1=2 that seem to be true in all possible worlds. That is, there is no possible world in which 1+1=2 is not true. Propositions like this that seem to be true in ...
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If we simulate a universe just like ours, is there any experiment simulated life could do to verify it is being simulated?

Akin to Einstein's principle of equivalence where the observer cannot tell if he or she is either in free fall or being accelerated (in a small enough region of spacetime); I'm wondering the same ...
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What does Hume mean when he relates association of ideas to languages?

In the Enquiry, section 3 Hume says: Among different languages, even where we cannot suspect the least connexion or communication, it is found, that the words, expressive of ideas, the most ...
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What does Hume mean by metaphysics that fall under superstition?

Hey guys I'm reading Hume's 'An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding' and there's something I can't quite understand. Through sections I and II Hume talks about how he is trying to come up with the ...
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Is there "empirical" distance without "mathematical" distance?

Mathematicians since antiquity have been thinking about length and angle, including doing things with straight-edges, rulers, compasses, and protractors. Fast-forward to modern physics, and you'll see ...
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Is Constructivism a solid middle-ground between Empiricism and Rationalism?

Is Constructivism a good compromise between the radicalist views of Empiricism and Rationalism? I'm not sure I understand the tenets of Constructivism to its fullest extent, but it seems like a ...
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As humans, do we require a total understanding of information to fully embody it as knowledge?

As humans, do we require a total understanding of information to fully embody it as knowledge? Is the underlying mechanism of the act of knowledge dependent on a complete understanding of theories, ...
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How can circles be a subclass of ellipses? Popper [closed]

My question comes from: 36 Levels of Universality and Degrees of Precision from The Logic of Scientific Discovery Excerpt from the chapter 36: We have the following natural laws: p: All heavenly ...
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Does Locke's saying "the mind has no other immediate object but its own ideas …." deconstruct his own general theory and agree with Berkeley’s?

Locke says: "Since the mind ... hath no other immediate object but its own ideas, which it alone can contemplate, it is evident that our knowledge is only conversant about them." If we take ...
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Is it possible to refute any form of innate knowledge?

The standard definition of rationalism is that a rationalist believes that humans have innate knowledge(concept) or ability to intuit/deduct. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think according to the ...
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Empiricism and Morality

How would an empiricist develop a moral philosophy without running into the is-ought problem? The Moral Landscape by Sam Harris tries to formulate one but does not effectively resolve the is-ought ...
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References on philosophical aspects of experimental design

I am an engineer working in molecular neuroscience field, hence getting exposure in both solving practical problems (how to image fish brain) and molecular bio questions (do neurons X connect to ...
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What is the difference between 'sense-data' and 'facts'?

There appear to be times when philosophers use these terms 'sense-data' and 'facts' synonymously, and at other times as distinct entities. Is there philosophy that speaks to characterize the ...
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How does Kant substantiate the noumenal world? [duplicate]

This is a new idea for me and I have struggled understanding Kant. How does Kant substantiate the noumenal world? ..Also, is their an online text or online video someone can reference me to that ...
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Truth-value injection in quasi-empirical theoriess

While reading about quasi-empiricism I have encountered the following statement: "Thus the logical channels of theories are not downward transmission of truth but for upward re-transmission of ...
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Why is science treated as if it is entirely separate from philosophy? [duplicate]

A lot of people who I have spoken with in philosophy courses treat science as if it is completely separate from philosophy. Some scientists, like Stephen Hawking when he was still alive, seem to agree ...
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Stupidity and morality, how do they relate? [closed]

I think most people concerned with philosophy would think that morality is at least a type of intelligence, one way of being intelligent. Some forms of "ethical realism" must surely rely on ethical ...
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7 votes
8 answers
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Explaining to my 11 year old why the question "Will robots ever have feelings" is part of philosophy, not science?

My 11 year old is tasked with interpreting a Seneca quote. I started out by trying to explain to him what ethics is by contrasting 'Will robots ever have feelings?' as a question in Philosophy of Mind,...
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Was Hans Reichenbach really a logical empiricist? Did he really think that logic was empirical?

I was reading an article in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy about Hans Reichenbach 1, and I have a specific question about it that I would like to ask. There, it is said that: Reichenbach ...
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Is there any inconsistency in Berkeley's philosophy?

Does Berkeley's empiricist philosophy contain any inconsistencies? What are the inconsistent sides of Locke's or Hume's philosophies? How is Berkeley's world different from a Matrix-like world? The ...
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Did Quine ever respond to the major criticisms of Two Dogmas?

I'm specifically thinking about Grice and Strawson's paper "In Defense of a Dogma" and Putnam's paper "Two Dogmas Revisited". Both raise major issues with the content of Quine's "Two Dogmas of ...
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What does rationalism prove that empiricism can not?

I have always had trouble understanding rationalism. I am very unclear as to what a rationalist can prove that an empiricist cannot. Are their any examples of something or a situation being ...
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Empiricism vs Irrationalism

Empiricists think that we should rely on our senses as a source of information but they also agree that using induction, and therefore reason as well, to make conclusions are reliable, whereas ...
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Hume on infinity

I know Hume argued against dividing finite space into infinitely many regions, but I can't seem to find anything regarding his thoughts on infinity itself. From his Enquiry you sort of get that he ...
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Evidence for Aristotle being an empiricist?

Most secondary sources tell me yes, but can anyone provide me with primary evidence of this. A short quote would be sufficient, this is time sensitive (got an essay due tomorrow) so thank you in ...
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How "repeatable" does empirical evidence need to be?

To start, I am a proponent of empiricism but feel like I stumbled into a flaw. How come we only accept what we can repeat? ..and how often do I need to be able to repeat to the same conclusion for me ...
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How is rationalism still used today?

This was a test question in my class I thought I had the right answer to, but apparently got wrong. How would you answer this? If experimental sciences demonstrate that empiricism has "won the day", ...
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How would Hume reply to Kant saying there are synthetic a priori propositions?

In my intro to philosophy class, our teacher presented us with "Kant's revolutionary thesis": There are synthetic a priori propositions. They must be [necessarily are] true without appealing to ...
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Is it a logical fallacy? A question about majority opinion and samples

Say a community of X number of people is notified of a sudden policy change by higher authorities, and Y number of people from the community express their opinions for or against the policy change. ...
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Is there truly an objective difference between what is and what could be?

"What is" versus "What could be". What role does language as a way of knowing play in determining “what” something is? Is the desire to change the way we view the world in Art connected to or ...
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Are formal sciences rationalistic and natural sciences empiricist?

As the title say, are the formal sciences (mathematics, logic, etc) fundamentally rationalistic while the natural ones (chemistry and physics) fundamentally empiricist? Physics, Chemistry, and ...
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Should we accept non-predictive inductive arguments based on cultural judgments?

Some inductive arguments that are taken seriously are based on observations about society/culture that cannot be objectively confirmed and do not produce any predictions. Does that make them less ...
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Explanation vs. prediction in statistics and in the philosophy of science?

In the realm of statistics and machine learning, a lot of discussion has arisen recently around the difference between explaining and predicting: That the two are not the same, and that the difference ...
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Pragmatic encroachment: how is the basis for X being accurate different from the basis of when it is accurate to say someone knows that X is accurate?

When is it accurate to say that a person (P) knows that X is true/accurate? This question seems to be answered by the idea/concept of 'Pragmatic Encroachment'; The basic idea/concept of 'Pragmatic ...
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Are the Argument From Perspectival Variation and the Argument From Perceptual Relativity one and the same?

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy explains Perspectival Variation as follows: Perspectival variation is the kind of variation in one's sensory experiences that normally attends changes in ...
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Have I contradicted the "law" non-contradiction?

In the 2nd half of the 20th century the American mathematician Haskell Curry and logician William Alvin Howard discovered an analogy between logical proofs and working computer programs. This is known ...
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Do picture proofs of the Pythagorean theorem make it empirical?

As I understand it, the Pythagorean Theorem, which defines the metric for Euclidean space, is said to be strictly mathematical in the sense that it is derived from a set of purely theoretical axioms (...
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Mach and Norton thought experiments in science

Both Mach and Norton hold empiricist views on the notions of the role of thought experiments. Could someone please explain the difference? Have done some reading but it’s not totally clear.
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Thought experiments and empiricism

The debate between Norton and Brown regarding whether thought experiments transcend empiricism is interesting with Norton suggesting that thought experiments do not transcend empiricism. If one had ...
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Innateness - Locke's Criticism - Comprehending a philosophical text

During the discussion of "Innate Knowledge Thesis", there comes a point when some rationalists defend their standing in such a way which shows it as the capacity of mind to knowing several truhts. And,...
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Does philosophy shed any light on how parties can fruitfully debate without an agreed source of truth?

A hallmark of recent political developments is extreme partisanship, where each side has near total distrust of the other. To exacerbate this situation there has been a breakdown in agreement over ...
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Why cannot the following theory be refuted by logic but is rejected because of lack of empirical support?

The following statements are taken from a book: The man in the street, and also the philosopher K. Marbe, believe that after a run of seventeen heads tail becomes more probable. This argument has ...
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Philosophy of Science and the nature of observation: what counts as 'observable'?

In the realist-antirealist debate within philosophy of science, the distinction between the 'observable' and 'unobservable' is made very often though I have seen that this distinction is also ...
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Are Hume's 'impressions' Kant's 'phenomena'?

Why do some philosophers like Carl Stumpf or Immanuel Kant use the word 'Phenomena', whereas British empiricist philosophers, like Locke and Hume, or even Kant, use the word 'Impressions'?
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How does Descartes' "cogito, ergo sum" affect Hume's experienced based epistemology and Kant's transcendental philosophy?

My attempts so far: Descartes, being a rationalist, used "cogito, ergo sum" to lead to the concept of innate ideas. Hume, being a radical empiricist, believed in experience based epistemology. Kant ...
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How does Kant actually resolve the free will / empirical causality contradiction? [duplicate]

I'm reading through the Critique of Pure Reason and I'm stuck on the section Resolution of the cosmological idea of the totality of the derivation of occurrences in the world from their causes and ...
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What's the purpose of philosophical "isms"?

What's the purpose of philosophical "isms"? E.g. neoplatonism? To me it reads that these isms try to "encapsulate" the whole universe or e.g. society to a single encapsulation and then claim ...
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What did the Greeks call the "trial and error" reasoning process?

What did the Greeks call the "trial and error" reasoning process? Bruce Aune's review of Wilson's Peirce's Empiricism: Its Roots and Its Originality claims "The name 'empirici' is in fact traceable ...
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What is common between the rationalists and empiricists?

Philosophy counsels us to begin with the most certain of definitions. In that spirit, returning to a question I've often avoided, what is the common definition of knowledge between the rationalists ...
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Is it (not) possible to know causality from empirical knowledge?

I am reading a critique of a writer on empiricism where the author states that empiricism only tells us sequence of events or informs our mind what the cause and effects are but we can not perceive a ...