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Questions tagged [empiricism]

Empiricism is the view that knowledge comes from sense experience.

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What did David Hume mean when he said that “reason is a slave to the passions”?

I don't understand the meaning of this oft-quoted quotation of Hume's in On Reason, namely his saying that "reason is a slave to the passions." What exactly does he mean by that ? Is it simply that ...
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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 Hume's Fork self-refuting?

David Hume wrote: If we take in our hand any volume; of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance; let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No. Does it ...
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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 ...
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Was Aristotle an Empiricist?

When I was taught about Aristotle and Plato, the picture I got was very much like this image from a Raphael fresco: Usually Plato is said to be pointing to the heavens, which represent abstract Forms,...
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How is Bonjour's coherence theory of justification not just a version of foundationalism?

In presenting his coherence theory of justification BonJour appeals to what he calls the “Observation Requirement.” Bonjour’s observation requirement is the notion that there are some kinds of ...
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Does philosophy belong to empirical science or formal science?

According to Wikipedia, science can be divided into empirical science (such as natural science and social science) and formal science (such as mathematics, logic, statistics). I was wondering if ...
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6answers
755 views

Is it possible that I see color differently?

Is it possible that I see color differently; for example what I call 'red' is 'blue' in your vision. Edited.. As we know the science of color, nothing is colored. Red is not "in" an apple. The ...
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3answers
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Who said they were hiding in the woods?

In my undergraduate days, I remember reading someone occupying roughly a mental and historical space as David Hume (originally my thought was between Hume and Kuhn), and have a vaguely recalled ...
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What did Wittgenstein mean by saying that the belief in the causal nexus is a superstition?

In the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, Wittenstein says: 5.1361 The events of the future cannot be inferred from those of the present. Superstition is the belief in the causal nexus. I'm ...
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How empiricism and positivism is distinguished? What's their differences?

According to Wikipedia, Empiricism is a theory that states that knowledge comes only or primarily from sensory experience. One of several views of epistemology, the study of human knowledge, along ...
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What is Quine's rebuttal to Grice and Strawson's In Defense of Dogma?

In response to Quine's rejection of the analytic-synthetic distinction, Strawson and Grice appear to reduce Quine's rejection (or skepticism) of synonymy to a rejection of meaning. What is/would be ...
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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 are the most basic assumptions one has to make in order to conduct science?

I often wondered: What are the most basic assumptions I have to make before I can even start thinking about life, universe and the rest? So far I have boiled them down to three: There is a world, a ...
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7answers
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Does science provide the most accurate depiction of reality for analyzing and describing an accurate worldview?

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 might ...
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1answer
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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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2answers
665 views

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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4answers
553 views

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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3answers
354 views

Does idealism allow for thought without any sensory input?

As I understand, idealism is the view that the mind is fundamental and the body as well as the world we perceive are just derivatives of the mind. Is this right? If so, if we had a hypothetical being,...
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2answers
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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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3answers
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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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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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2answers
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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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How are empirical concepts acquired according to Kant?

In Critique of Pure Reason Kant describes in detail what aspects of our knowledge are a priori, and how they function, but on the empirical aspects he is sketchy and cryptic. Very briefly, our ...
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1answer
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Is there a contradiction between belief in causality and belief in the continued existence of matter?

In A Treatise of Human Nature, section 1.4.7 (the conclusion of part 1), Hume states that there are some circumstances in which belief in the continued existence of matter and the belief in cause and ...
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4answers
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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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Empiricism in Eastern Philosophy?

Some definitions: Empiricism: Sensory/Empirical data is the only or best source of knowledge. Eastern philosophy: Philosophical traditions that grew independently of the Greco-Roman philosophical ...
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4answers
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Kant's refutation of empiricism

I have been told from numerous sources that Kant's arguments against empiricism basically "refuted" it, specifically the ones found in his "Critique of Pure Reason". Unfortunately, for me, reading ...
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2answers
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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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1answer
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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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2answers
186 views

How would Hume classify computer generated mathematical proofs?

Hume's fork divides knowledge of the world into: Analytic a priori: relations of ideas. Synthetic a posteriori: matters of fact, empirical statements about the world. How would Hume classify ...
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1answer
262 views

Are there any responses to Penelope Maddy's “Second Philosophy”?

I am finishing up reading Penelopy Maddy's [2007] "Second Philosophy". I really enjoy her flavor of naturalism. Like Quine, she justifies parts of mathematics because of its application. Unlike Quine, ...
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2answers
186 views

In regards to Hume, do geometry, algebra and arithmetic form ideas that do not come from sense perceptions?

"The less forcible and lively are commonly denominated Thoughts or Ideas. The other species want a name in our language, and in most others; I suppose, because it was not requisite for any, but ...
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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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2answers
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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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4answers
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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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247 views

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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1answer
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What is the difference between Aristotle and Locke's empiricism?

Both Aristotle and Locke are commonly viewed as empiricists. Indeed, both state roughly that "there is nothing in the intellect that is not first in the senses" and that "the mind is a blank slate". ...
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1answer
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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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1answer
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How does the modern notion of 'empiricism' stack up against the Platonist and Neoplatonist concept of mind and understanding above sense and opinion? [closed]

That is to say, the interpretation of visual-auditory-tactile-kinesthetic (VATK) perception (the empiric)--usually translated, in modern gestalt theory, as form or shape--should take a more holistic ...
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2answers
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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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3answers
336 views

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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1answer
166 views

What is a mathematical or logical name for the process of proving a statement by exhausting the domain?

I am trying to understand logic and I came across a set of actions that I describe below that I can't get my head around. Suppose you have a bag of multiple colored balls. Situation 1. Argument: ...
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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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1answer
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What did Hume and Russell have to say about atheists and morality?

I have heard Christian apologists argue that, since atheists view humans the same as other animals, they can therefore have no more of a moral compass than do animals. E.g., Greg Bahnsen argues this ...
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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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1answer
228 views

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 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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2answers
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Hobbes on imagination: mental images or ideas?

Hobbes, in his book Leviathan, second chapter, says: So that imagination and memory are but one thing, which for diverse considerations hath diverse names. Much memory, or memory of many things, is ...
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1answer
308 views

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 ...