method or practice.
Philosophy. the doctrine that all knowledge is derived from sense experience.
Compare (def 2).
undue reliance upon experience, as in medicine; quackery.
an conclusion.
Contemporary Examples

Roosevelt, the Emperor of empiricism, never learned the lesson Keynes tried to teach.
Stop Trying to Balance Budgets! Harold Evans June 27, 2010

If President-elect Obama truly does forecast a new Age of empiricism, then Larry is the best choice for Treasury.
Larry Summers for Treasury Peter Hopkins November 12, 2008

Historical Examples

Some say that the medical sect called empiricism is 236 the same as Scepticism.
Sextus Empiricus and Greek Scepticism Mary Mills Patrick

Animal magnetism or mesmerism had been involved in mystery and empiricism.
Buchanan’s Journal of Man, September 1887 Various

That we all of us have feelings, empiricism feels quite sure.
Essays in Radical Empiricism William James

Immediate data are the counters of experience, but they are the money of empiricism.
Soliloquies in England George Santayana

Natural philosophy is empiricism extended until it becomes absolute.
A History of Philosophy in Epitome Albert Schwegler

Is it not the real door of separation between empiricism and Rationalism?
Essays in Radical Empiricism William James

Observation is the fundamental logical principle of empiricism.
The Approach to Philosophy Ralph Barton Perry

What, then, according to him and in the system of empiricism, is the notion of substance?
Lectures on the true, the beautiful and the good Victor Cousin

(philosophy) the doctrine that all knowledge of matters of fact derives from experience and that the mind is not furnished with a set of concepts in advance of experience Compare intuitionism, rationalism
the use of empirical methods
medical quackery; charlatanism

1650s, in the medical sense, from empiric + -ism. General sense is from 1796.

Were I obliged to give a short name to the attitude in question, I should call it that of radical empiricism, in spite of the fact that such brief nicknames are nowhere more misleading than in philosophy. I say ’empiricism’ because it is contented to regard its most assured conclusions concerning matters of fact as hypotheses liable to modification in the course of future experience; and I say ‘radical,’ because it treats the doctrine of monism itself as an hypothesis, and, unlike so much of the half way empiricism that is current under the name of positivism or agnosticism or scientific naturalism, it does not dogmatically affirm monism as something with which all experience has got to square. The difference between monism and pluralism is perhaps the most pregnant of all the differences in philosophy. [William James, preface to “The Sentiment of Rationality” in “The Will to Believe and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy,” 1897]

empiricism em·pir·i·cism (ěm-pēr’ĭ-sĭz’əm)

Employment of empirical methods, as in science.

The practice of medicine that disregards scientific theory and relies solely on practical experience.

em·pir’i·cist n.


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