Strengths of Empiricism

Topics: Empiricism, Scientific method, John Locke Pages: 2 (675 words) Published: November 30, 2010
Empiricism is the claim that sense experience is the sole source of our knowledge about the world. (Lawhead, 55) According to Empiricists, such as John Locke, all knowledge comes from direct sense experience. Locke’s concept of knowledge comes from his belief that the mind is a “blank slate or tabula rosa” at birth, and our experiences are written upon the slate. Therefore, there are no innate experiences. The three strengths of empiricism that will be explained in this paper are: it proves a theory, gives reasoning, and inspires others to explore probabilities in science as an example.

The first strength of empiricism is it proves a theory. Empiricists believe that only real knowledge is empirical. We learn from experiment and observation, and the direct knowledge we gain from them is empirical. The best way to know something is to have seen it with our own eyes and to be able to prove it with repeatable observations or experiments. In fact a real scientist, or someone interested in gathering knowledge in a scientific mode of thought, will come up with ideas for observations and experiments to prove his hypotheses or to answer his questions. He will always seek empirical evidence first, and trust in it most. An example of this is if a scientist said the earth is round, we could go up in space and look at the earth, take pictures and come back to a conclusion that proves the earth is round. They could even go to the extent and measure the earth mathematically. But in the end, the conclusion would still be that the earth is round.

The second strength of empiricism is it gives experimental reasoning. Experimental reasoning as well as past experiences and observations are the sources of knowledge for empiricism. However, the experimental reasoning, which is based upon cause and effect reasoning, is not absolutely and concretely true. All can be subject to revision, just as all is subject to some doubt when predicting what would happen in an experiment. Hume...
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