A Critical Analysis of Empiricism


Empiricism is a philosophical theory which argues that human knowledge is derived entirely from sensory experience. As a branch of epistemology, empiricism disregards the concept of instinctive ideas and focuses entirely on experience and evidence as it relates to sensory perception. Empiricism is a philosophical school holding that knowledge can only be (or is primarily) gained from sensory experience. Accordingly, it rejects any (or much) use of a priori reasoning in the gathering and analysis of knowledge. It rivals rationalism according to which reason is the ultimate source of knowledge. The philosophy of empiricism was first put forth in John Locke’s An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Locke argued that the only way by which human acquire knowledge is through experience. Locke firmly argued that humans are incapable of formulating or possessing inherent ideas. The aim of this paper is to explain that the traditional empiricist standpoint in the fields of epistemology and then try to show that it is not adequate for explaining some things relevant to these fields. For that the traditional empiricist methods needs to be supplemented by extra-logical principles that are not strictly empirical.

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Hossain, F. (2014) A Critical Analysis of Empiricism. Open Journal of Philosophy, 4, 225-230. doi: 10.4236/ojpp.2014.43030.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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