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Empirical evidence is the information received by means of the senses, particularly by observation and documentation of patterns and behavior through experimentation.The term comes from the Greek word for experience, ἐμπειρία (empeiría).
After Immanuel Kant, in philosophy, it is common to call knowledge gained by means of empirical evidence a posteriori knowledge (in contrast to a priori knowledge).
Empirical evidence is information that verifies the truth (which accurately corresponds to reality) or falsity (inaccuracy) of a claim. In the empiricist view, one can claim to have knowledge only when based on empirical evidence (although some empiricists believe that there are other ways of gaining knowledge). This stands in contrast to the rationalist view under which reason or reflection alone is considered evidence for the truth or falsity of some propositions.Empirical evidence is information acquired by observation or experimentation and presented in the form of recorded data, which may be the subject of analysis (e.g. by scientists).
In a second sense "empirical" in science may be synonymous with "experimental." In this sense, an empirical result is an experimental observation. In this context, the term semi-empirical is used for qualifying theoretical methods that use, in part, basic axioms or postulated scientific laws and experimental results. Such methods are opposed to theoretical ab initio methods, which are purely deductive and based on first principles. Typical examples of both ab initio and semi-empirical methods can be found in computational chemistry.
In science, empirical evidence is required for a hypothesis to gain acceptance in the scientific community. Normally, this validation is achieved by the scientific method of forming a hypothesis, experimental design, peer review, reproduction of results, conference presentation, and journal publication. This requires rigorous communication of hypothesis (usually expressed in mathematics), experimental constraints and controls (expressed necessarily in terms of standard experimental apparatus), and a common understanding of measurement.
Statements and arguments depending on empirical evidence are often referred to as a posteriori ("following experience") as distinguished from a priori (preceding it). A priori knowledge or justification is independent of experience (for example "All bachelors are unmarried"), whereas a posteriori knowledge or justification is dependent on experience or empirical evidence (for example "Some bachelors are very happy"). The notion that the distinction between a posteriori and a priori is tantamount to the distinction between empirical and non-empirical knowledge comes from Kant's Critique of Pure Reason.
The standard positivist view of empirically acquired information has been that observation, experience, and experiment serve as neutral arbiters between competing theories. However, since the 1960s, a persistent critique most associated with Thomas Kuhn, [ page needed ] has argued that these methods are influenced by prior beliefs and experiences. Consequently, it cannot be expected that two scientists when observing, experiencing, or experimenting on the same event will make the same theory-neutral observations. The role of observation as a theory-neutral arbiter may not be possible. Theory-dependence of observation means that, even if there were agreed methods of inference and interpretation, scientists may still disagree on the nature of empirical data.
Empirical research is research using empirical evidence. It is also a way of gaining knowledge by means of direct and indirect observation or experience. Empiricism values some research more than other kinds. Empirical evidence can be analyzed quantitatively or qualitatively. Quantifying the evidence or making sense of it in qualitative form, a researcher can answer empirical questions, which should be clearly defined and answerable with the evidence collected. Research design varies by field and by the question being investigated. Many researchers combine qualitative and quantitative forms of analysis to better answer questions which cannot be studied in laboratory settings, particularly in the social sciences and in education.
In philosophy, empiricism is a theory that states that knowledge comes only or primarily from sensory experience. It is one of several views of epistemology, along with rationalism and skepticism. Empiricism emphasizes the role of empirical evidence in the formation of ideas, rather than innate ideas or traditions. However, empiricists may argue that traditions arise due to relations of previous sense experiences.
In the philosophy of science, a theory is falsifiable if it is contradicted by possible observations: any observations that can be described in the language of the theory, which must have a conventional empirical interpretation. This latter condition says that the theory must be about concrete scientific evidence. The former says that some possible observations must be negating scientific evidence. For example, the statement "All swans are white" is falsifiable because "Here is a black swan" contradicts it.
Logical positivism, later called logical empiricism, and both of which together are also known as neopositivism, was a movement in Western philosophy whose central thesis was the verification principle. This theory of knowledge asserted that only statements verifiable through direct observation or logical proof are meaningful in terms of conveying truth value, information or factual content. Starting in the late 1920s, groups of philosophers, scientists, and mathematicians formed the Berlin Circle and the Vienna Circle, which, in these two cities, would propound the ideas of logical positivism.
The scientific method is an empirical method of acquiring knowledge that has characterized the development of science since at least the 17th century. It involves careful observation, applying rigorous skepticism about what is observed, given that cognitive assumptions can distort how one interprets the observation. It involves formulating, from the valid deductive understanding of the observations, a hypotheses ; experimental and measurement-based testing of deductions drawn from the hypotheses; and refinement of the hypotheses based on the experimental findings. These are principles of the scientific method, as distinguished from a definitive series of steps applicable to all scientific enterprises.
Scientific evidence is evidence that serves to either support or counter a scientific theory or hypothesis. Such evidence is expected to be empirical evidence and interpretable in accordance with scientific method. Standards for scientific evidence vary according to the field of inquiry, but the strength of scientific evidence is generally based on the results of statistical analysis and the strength of scientific controls.
In philosophy of science and in epistemology, instrumentalism is a methodological view that ideas are useful instruments, and that the worth of an idea is based on how effective it is in explaining and predicting phenomena.
Critique of Pure Reason is a book by the German philosopher Immanuel Kant, in which the author seeks to determine the limits and scope of metaphysics. Also referred to as Kant's "First Critique", it was followed by his Critique of Practical Reason (1788) and Critique of Judgment (1790). In the preface to the first edition, Kant explains that by a "critique of pure reason" he means a critique "of the faculty of reason in general, in respect of all knowledge after which it may strive independently of all experience" and that he aims to reach a decision about "the possibility or impossibility of metaphysics."
Hume's fork, in epistemology, is a tenet elaborating upon British empiricist philosopher David Hume's emphatic, 1730s division between "relations of ideas" versus "matters of fact." As phrased in Immanuel Kant's 1780s characterization of Hume's thesis, and furthered in the 1930s by the logical empiricists, Hume's fork asserts that all statements are exclusively either "analytic a priori" or "synthetic a posteriori," which, respectively, are universally true by mere definition or, however apparently probable, are unknowable without exact experience.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to scientific method:
Commensurability is a concept in the philosophy of science whereby scientific theories are commensurable if scientists can discuss them using a shared nomenclature that allows direct comparison of theories to determine which theory is more valid or useful. On the other hand, theories are incommensurable if they are embedded in starkly contrasting conceptual frameworks whose languages do not overlap sufficiently to permit scientists to directly compare the theories or to cite empirical evidence favoring one theory over the other. Discussed by Ludwik Fleck in the 1930s, and popularized by Thomas Kuhn in the 1960s, the problem of incommensurability results in scientists talking past each other, as it were, while comparison of theories is muddled by confusions about terms, contexts and consequences.
Postpositivism or postempiricism is a metatheoretical stance that critiques and amends positivism and has impacted theories and practices across philosophy, social sciences, and various models of scientific inquiry. While positivists emphasize independence between the researcher and the researched person, postpositivists argue that theories, hypotheses, background knowledge and values of the researcher can influence what is observed. Postpositivists pursue objectivity by recognizing the possible effects of biases. While positivists emphasize quantitative methods, postpositivists consider both quantitative and qualitative methods to be valid approaches.
Laurence BonJour is an American philosopher and Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Washington.
The analytic–synthetic distinction is a semantic distinction, used primarily in philosophy to distinguish between propositions that are of two types: analytic propositions and synthetic propositions. Analytic propositions are true or not true solely by virtue of their meaning, whereas synthetic propositions' truth, if any, derives from how their meaning relates to the world.
A priori and a posteriori are Latin phrases used in philosophy to distinguish types of knowledge, justification, or argument by their reliance on empirical evidence or experience. A priori knowledge is that which is independent from experience. Examples include mathematics, tautologies, and deduction from pure reason. A posteriori knowledge is that which depends on empirical evidence. Examples include most fields of science and aspects of personal knowledge.
Inductivism is the traditional, still commonplace view of scientific method to develop scientific theories. It aims to be a systematic research approach involving inductive reasoning that, applied diligently, enables scientists to objectively discover the sole naturally true theory in each domain.
Schopenhauer's criticism of Kant's schemata is part of Schopenhauer's criticism of the Kantian philosophy which was published in 1819. In the appendix to the first volume of his main work, The World as Will and Representation, Arthur Schopenhauer attempted to assign the psychological cause of Kant's doctrines of the categories and their schemata. Schopenhauer's analysis holds that Kant misused argument by analogy to connect abstract reasoning to empirical perception; Schopenhauer argues that this comparison is baseless, and that its conclusions are thus invalid.
Epistemology or theory of knowledge is the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and scope (limitations) of knowledge. It addresses the questions "What is knowledge?", "How is knowledge acquired?", "What do people know?", "How do we know what we know?", and "Why do we know what we know?". Much of the debate in this field has focused on analyzing the nature of knowledge and how it relates to similar notions such as truth, belief, and justification. It also deals with the means of production of knowledge, as well as skepticism about different knowledge claims.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to knowledge:
A posteriori necessity is a thesis in metaphysics and the philosophy of language, that some statements of which we must acquire knowledge a posteriori are also necessarily true. It challenges previously widespread belief that only a priori knowledge can be necessary. It draws on a number of philosophical concepts such as necessity, the causal theory of reference, rigidity, and the a priori a posteriori distinction.