First published Thu Aug 19, 2004; substantive revision Thu Mar 21, 2013
The dispute between rationalism and empiricism concerns the extent to which we are dependent upon sense experience in our effort to gain knowledge. Rationalists claim that there are significant ways in which our concepts and knowledge are gained independently of sense experience. Empiricists claim that sense experience is the ultimate source of all our concepts and knowledge.
Rationalists generally develop their view in two ways.
First, they argue that there are cases where the content of our concepts or knowledge outstrips the information that sense experience can provide.
Second, they construct accounts of how reason in some form or other provides that additional information about the world. Empiricists present complementary lines of thought.
First, they develop accounts of how experience provides the information that rationalists cite, insofar as we have it in the first place. (Empiricists will at times opt for skepticism as an alternative to rationalism: if experience cannot provide the concepts or knowledge the rationalists cite, then we don't have them.)
Second, empiricists attack the rationalists' accounts of how reason is a source of concepts or knowledge.
The theory that all knowledge is based on experience derived from the senses. 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.
Tip: The C-Suite Mentors whose favorite term is "Wholistically" or for some "Experiential Methods".
Full Definition of empiricism (Merriam Webster)
1a : a former school of medical practice founded on experience without the aid of science or theory 1. b : quackery, charlatanry
2a : the practice of relying on observation and experiment especially in the natural sciencesb : a tenet arrived atempirically 3: a theory that all knowledge originates in experience
Human Resource Specialists in C-Suite will tell you: empiricism =The view that knowledge proceeds from experience which may be only partially true.
1. the doctrine that all ideas and categories are derived from sense experience and that knowledge cannot extend beyond experience, including observation, experiment, and induction. 2. an empirical method or practice. — empiricist,n. — empirical,adj. See also:Philosophya system of acquiring knowledge that rejects all o priori knowledge and relies solely upon observation, experimentation, and induction. Also empirism. — empiricist, n., adj.— empiric, empirical, adj. See also: Knowledge-Ologies & -Isms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.