is a theory of knowledge that asserts that knowledge arises from evidence gathered via sense experience. Empiricism is one of several competing views that predominate in the study of human knowledge, known as epistemology. Empiricism emphasizes the role of experience and evidence, especially sensory perception, in the formation of ideas, over the notion of innate ideas or tradition in contrast to, for example, rationalism which relies upon reason and can incorporate innate knowledge.
Empiricism then, in the philosophy of science, emphasizes those aspects of scientific knowledge that are closely related to evidence, especially as discovered in experiments. It is a fundamental part of the scientific method that all hypotheses and theories must be tested against observations of the natural world, rather than resting solely on a priori reasoning, intuition, or revelation. Hence, science is considered to be methodologically empirical in nature.
The term "empiricism" has a dual etymology. It comes from the Greek word ἐμπειρία, which translates to the Latin experientia, from which we derive the word experience. It also derives from a more specific classical Greek and Roman usage of empiric, referring to a physician whose skill derives from practical experience as opposed to instruction in theory.
According to the empiricist view, for any knowledge to be properly inferred or deduced, it is to be gained ultimately from one's sense-based experience. As a historical matter, philosophical empiricism is commonly contrasted with the philosophical school of thought known as "rationalism" which, in very broad terms, asserts that much knowledge is attributable to reason independently of the senses. However, this contrast is today considered to be an oversimplification of the issues involved, because the main continental rationalists (Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz) were also advocates of the empirical "scientific method" of their day. Furthermore, Locke, held that some knowledge (e.g. knowledge of God's existence) could be arrived at through intuition and reasoning alone. Similarly, Robert Boyle, a prominent advocate of the experimental method, held that we have innate ideas.
Some important philosophers commonly associated with empiricism include Aristotle, Alhazen, Avicenna, Ibn Tufail, Robert Grosseteste, William of Ockham, Francis Bacon, Thomas Hobbes, Robert Boyle, John Locke, George Berkeley, David Hume, John Stuart Mill, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari.
Lecture notes prepared by Biju P R,Assistant Professor in Political Science,Govt Brennen College Thalassery