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Questions tagged [empiricism]

Empiricism is the view that knowledge comes from sense experience.

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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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Has there been any philosophical guidance regarding when to use logic vs empirical testing?

One obvious disadvantage of testing a given claim with scientific constraints is that one may never know the number of possible constraints to try, in which combinations, and in which order to modify ...
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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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429 views

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 ...
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How does Hume justify his account of the origin of causation to a general sense?

Hume's account of causation explains why we think specific things have causes and explains them in terms of their constant connection in our minds such that we associate them by "habit". Hume brings ...
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Does Hume's skepticism about induction extend to his treatise?

Can we extend Hume's skeptical conclusions to the treatise itself? How far reaching is Hume's skepticism, and if it is all-encompassing, then what is (as he sees) the purpose of his work?
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How is experience different for Locke and Hume?

Am I right to say that both Locke and Hume are empiricists? Their ideas are pretty similar but they seem to use human's experience as part as their argument differently but I can't seem to point out ...
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Is science really the best solution we have for our world view and analysis?

I've been fighting throughout my philosophical reading with the question of the necessity of science as the only permitted view we (since the late 19th century) have on the world. My question can be ...
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Is it possible to have a non-empirical realistic view?

Pretty straight forward question - there are two movements throughout modern philosophy that quite often come together - realism and empiricism. I'm wondering if being realistic must assume being ...
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Is it philosophically tenable to refuse a universal moral system?

Recently, I advocated utilitarianism based on consciousness on Change my View subreddit and I was quite suprised by the opposition against the bare idea of a universal moral system. From my limited ...
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What are the philosophical consequences of employing computers to do science and mathematics?

In recent years the steadily increasing computing capacity of computers has led to a lot of new areas in science. In most cases the computer is used to process huge sets of data which cannot possibly ...
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According to Russell, are sense data NOT the only things immediately known, or are they not purely mental?

In Russell's Problems of Philosophy, in refutal Berkeley's argument for idealism -in Russel's words "whatever can be immediately known must be in a mind"- he states: Berkeley was right in ...
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Empiricism out the door

I remember having read something like No matter how long we debate about the existence of the external world, at the end of the evening we all exit the room through the door Or something like ...
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Is Empiricism “False”?

Recently, in a discussion with a fairly dogmatic professor, I mentioned in passing that "I am a bit of an empiricist," and his response was "Well, I hope you aren't since empiricism is false!" Beyond ...
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What is the difference between a scientific theory and a model?

What is the difference between a scientific theory and a model? Can someone explain the ideas with the help of a theory in physics and a model of physics?
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The meaning of empirical evidence?

I'm a maths student currently studying a philosophy of mathematics course and I'm struggling to get to grips with some terminology. I've been told that Empiricism is the theory that knowledge is ...
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Measurement devices and empiricism

In the first physics lecture I ever visited, the professor shortly demonstrated the fallibility of our senses with a spinning disc optical illusion to justify the use of measurement devices. He didn't ...
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How could Wittgenstein not rule out that there was a rhinoceros in the living room?

I read a graphic novel called "Logicomix" years ago and have wondered this ever since.
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Can there be information without a “knower”?

I am trying to wrap my head around the principle of conservation of information as formulated by Leonard Susskind and others, which seems to me at first glance to be incompatible with the 2nd law of ...
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How did philosophy react to empirical psychology when there have been disagreements?

The very first laboratory in psychology was developed by Wundt, a professor of philosophy, in late 1800s. And indeed the early psychology seemed very close to armchair philosophy. Freud's theories ...
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Does Hume's skepticism about causality depend on his belief that all ideas are derived from sense impressions?

I'm aware of Hume's argument and definitions of cause (though I'm very much open to any kind of discussion around the topic). But I'm most interested in how important his assertion that all ideas are ...
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What is the contrast between Hume's and Locke's philosophies of science?

I'm writing an essay on Hume and was hoping to contrast his empiricism to Locke's in it. I have come across a commentary, which doesn't go into great depth; could someone explain it in a little ...
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Modern Mathematical Objects and Empiricism

I don't have any formal knowledge in Philosophy. I am reading a book named 'Thinking About Mathematics' by S. Shapiro. In this book I have learnt about platonism and empiricism. Well, I think we, ...
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Does existentialism presuppose the supernatural?

When it comes to debates about the existence of an "all powerful all knowing god" believers and non-believers alike often times both agree that the existence of that god can't be scientifically or ...
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How do empiricists explain zeno's paradox(es)?

If Zeno seemed to prove our perceptions cannot be trusted, how, then, can/does an Empiricist justify faith in their perceptions? I'm looking for various solutions (or justifications in the face of the ...
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Hypothetically observable

Question: When is it appropriate to assign the property "hypothetically observable" to a thing? The set up is that someone is discussing an object that they claim has some sort of existence. Maybe ...
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Understanding Sellars' The Myth of the Given rigorously

I understand the general view presented by Sellars in "Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind". Yet, I can't get rigorously convinced. The main point is shown in part XIII, specifically in section 35. ...
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Is there a loophole in Kitcher's argument for the inadequacy of the law of association?

In Kant's Transcendental Psychology (hereafter, KTP), Patricia Kitcher gives an insightful argument for the inadequacy of the law of association, which she asserts was Hume's primary explanation for ...
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Philosophy of Science: Empricism, Sense Data and Scientific Practice

How does sense-data pose a challenge to an empiricist account of scientific practice? And so how might one remedy this?
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Quine - two dogmas of empiricism

I'm trying to understand this paper. Seems to me like it all stems from a rejection of "meaning"... ie: Quine is saying statements don't mean anything. And this is what leads to the rejection of the ...
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How Can the Unobservable be Verified?

Empirical evaluations and judgments concerning the observable world (e.g. whether or not I'm eating a watermelon right now) are evidently verifiable; you can confirm that I am indeed eating a ...
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Is it possible to argue that ideas don't exist, only facts exist?

I was thinking that even Hume, or the Logical Positivists, despite being the standard bearers of empiricism, still hold on to a lingering rationalism, since they believe the independent existence of ...
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Can a rationalist ever be a materialist?

Note that I am using rationalist in its strict philosophical sense, as in rationalist like Descartes or Leibniz, not rationalist as it might be understood colloquially. from the Encyclopedia ...
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Why do old theories take priority over new ones?

Given two scientific theories that both agree with experiment, it seems that unless the new one is much simpler, the older one is accepted. Why is this so? Examples: Special Relativity wasn't ...
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Did Gödel oppose or agree with the Logical Positivists?

Gödel was a member of the Vienna Circle, whose philosophical position as a group was Logical Positivism, or Logical Empiricism. The SEP article on him states that among his philosophical views were ...
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What is a straight line?

I am not a philosopher; I am an engineer with a reasonable grasp of mathematics. This question has been bothering me for a long time, and I have asked a variation of it to a mathematical community. ...
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Is Rand's Objectivism consequentialist/consequentially motivated?

Background (not looking to get into the weeds on this; just clarifying my viewpoint): It seems to me that the concept of a moral force or law is not really empirically supported. That is, statements ...
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Is geometry mathematical or empirical?

Is Euclidean geometry a mathematical theory, or is it a theory of empirical science? If taking it to be a mathematical theory would it be due to having alternative geometries? If so, is it in some ...