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Empiricism

 

Explanations > Social Research > Philosophies of Social Research > Empiricism

Principle | Discussion | See also

Principle

Truth comes only from direct experience.

Discussion

Words can only be understood if they are connected by their recipient to actual experiences.

To believe something, we need justification and hence evidence. Thus if I hear that you are generous, I will seek evidence of that generosity through what I see you giving to others.

Empiricists oppose intuition, rationality, authority or other concepts. They particularly reject Rationalism, arguing that thought is not enough and empirical evidence is necessary to prove truth.

The word 'empirical' comes from the Greek word empeiria, meaning 'experience', and its history goes back to Plato and the Sophists (which has the same root as 'sophisticated'). 

See also

Rationalism, Positivism, Phenomenology

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