Definition of empiricism in US English:



  • The theory that all knowledge is derived from sense-experience. Stimulated by the rise of experimental science, it developed in the 17th and 18th centuries, expounded in particular by John Locke, George Berkeley, and David Hume.

    Compare with phenomenalism
    • ‘Empiricism certainly has a role to play, but it cannot be the empiricism of ivory tower academics, and it cannot be an exclusive role.’
    • ‘He is however thoroughly within the tradition of British empiricism in philosophy.’
    • ‘Ryle's attitude to dispositions is part of the heritage of logical empiricism.’
    • ‘The temporal delimitation suggests an arbitrary empiricism reluctant to address either the agony of contemporaneity, or the pathological prehistory of modernity.’
    • ‘Yet habit is the linchpin for the philosophical way of thinking that James called radical empiricism, and later pragmatism.’
    • ‘Fernow played up a widely accepted historical dichotomy between European theory and British empiricism in science.’
    • ‘Emerging in the eighteenth century, political economy drew on the individualism of Hobbes and Locke, the pragmatism of Machiavelli, and the empiricism of Bacon.’
    • ‘There were errors of interpretation in feminists' critiques, for example, concerning the extent to which analytic philosophy incorporated empiricism.’
    • ‘The central problematics of feminist empiricism can be captured in two apparent paradoxes.’
    • ‘In this way his practice is closest to Aristotelian critical empiricism that requires careful observation and a comprehensive theory that will make those observations meaningful.’