Secara bahasa empirisme berasal dari bahasa Yunani emperia yang berarti pengalaman. Alir an ini muncul di Negara Inggris yang pertama kali dipelopori oleh Francis Bacon pada tahun 1561 sampai 1626., dan kemudian dilanjutkan oleh tokoh-tokoh Pasca Descartes seperti Thomas Hobbes, John Lock, Berkeley, dan yamng tidak kalah pentingnya adalah David Hume.
Pengetahuan yang diperoleh berdasarkan penalaran deduktif ternyata mempunyai kelemahan, maka muncullah pandangan lain yang berdasarkan pengalaman konkret. Mereka yang mengembangkan pengetahuan berdasarkan pengalaman konkret ini disebut penganut empirisme. Paham empirisme menganggap bahwa pengetahuan yang benar adalah pengetahuan yang diperoleh langsung dari pengalaman konkret. Penganut empirisme menyusun pengetahuan dengan menggunakan penalaran induktif. Penalaran induktif adalah cara berpikir dengan menarik kesimpulan umum dari pengamatan atas gejala-gejala yang bersifat khusus.
Pada paham empirisme dinyatakan bahwa tidak ada sesuatu dalam pikiran kita selain didahului oleh pengalaman. Paham ini bertolak belakang dengan paham rasionalisme. Mereka menentang pendapat para penganut rasionalisme yang berdasarkan kepastian-kepastian yang bersifat a priori.
Thomas Hobbes menganggap bahwa pengalaman inderawi sebagai permulaan segala pengenalan. Pengenalan intelektual tidak lain dari semacam perhitungan, yakni penggabungan data-data inderawi yang sama dengan cara yang berlainan. Ajaran Hobbes merupakan system materialistis pertama dalam ejarah filsafat modern.
Menurut John Lock, rasio mula-mula harus dianggap “as a white paper” dan seluruh isinya berasal dari pengalaman. Pengalaman ada dua jenis, yakni pengalaman lahiriyah dan pengalaman batiniyah. Kedua pengalaman ini menghasilkan ide-ide tunggal. John Lock juga mengakui bahwa di dalam dunia luar ada substansi-substansi, tetapi kita hanya mngenal ciri-cirinya saja. Inilah yang kemudian dikenal dengan substansi material, dan ini sekaligus menunjukkan sikapkonsisten pemikiran John Lock.
Berdasarkan prinsip-prinsip empirisme, Berkeley merancang suatu teori yang dinamakan “immaterialisme”. Bioskop dan gambar-gambar film pada layar putih yang dilihat penonton adalah sebagai benda yang real dan hidup. Menurut Berkeley , ide-ide membuat saya melihat dunia materiil. Berkeley juga mengaku adanya Tuhan, sebab Tuhan merupakan asal usul ide yang saya lihat. Jika orang mengatakan Tuhan menciptakan dunia, menurut Berkeley bukan berarti ada dunia diluar kita, melainkan bahwa Tuhan menunjukkan ide-ide kepada kita.
Aliran empirisme ini memuncak pada masa David Hume. Dia menerapkan prinsip empirisme secara radikal dan konsisten. Salah satu karya terbesarnya adalah “ A Treatise of Human Nature” yang di tulis di Prancis ketika usianya masih sangat muda. Melalui karyanya ini Hume ingin memperkenalkan eksperimental sebagai dasar menuju subyek-subyek moral. Di dalam bukunya trersebut terdapat tiga bagian utama yang terpenting yaitu Pertama, mengupas problem-problem epistemology. Kedua, membahas masalah emosi manusia. Ketiga, membicarakan tentang prinsip-prinsip moral.
Filsafat Hume pada intinya merupakan reaksi pada tiga hal yaitu:
a. Melawan rasionalisme, terutama yang berkaitan dengan ajaran tentang innate ideas.
b. Reaksi dalam masalah religi yang mengajarkan adanya aksioma universal.
c. Melawan empirisme Lock dan Berkeley yang masih percaya dengan adanya substansi.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Empiricism is a that asserts that knowledge comes only or primarily via sensory . One of several views of , the study of human knowledge, along with , and , empiricism emphasizes the role of and , especially , in the formation of ideas, over the notion of or .
Empiricism in the emphasizes evidence, especially as discovered in . It is a fundamental part of the that all and must be tested against of the rather than resting solely on , , or .
The English term "empiric" derives from the word ἐμπειρία, which is cognate with and translates to the Latin experientia, from which we derive the word "experience" and the related "experiment". The term was used of the of ancient Greek medical practitioners, who rejected the doctrines of the (), preferring to rely on the observation of phenomena.
A central concept in and the is that it must be empirically based on the evidence of the senses. Both and use working that are by and . The term semi-empirical is sometimes used to describe theoretical methods that make use of basic , established scientific laws, and previous experimental results in order to engage in reasoned model building and theoretical inquiry.
Philosophical empiricists hold no knowledge to be properly inferred or deduced unless it is derived from one's sense-based experience. This view is commonly contrasted with , which asserts that knowledge may be derived from independently of the senses. For example held that some knowledge (e.g. knowledge of God's existence) could be arrived at through and reasoning alone. Similarly , a prominent advocate of the experimental method, held that we have innate ideas. The main continental rationalists (, , and ) were also advocates of the empirical "scientific method".
The notion of ("clean slate" or "blank tablet") connotes a view of mind as an originally blank or empty recorder (Locke used the words "white paper") on which experience leaves marks. This denies that humans have . The image dates back to ;
What the mind () thinks must be in it in the same sense as letters are on a tablet (grammateion) which bears no actual writing (grammenon); this is just what happens in the case of the mind. (Aristotle, , 3.4.430a1).
Aristotle's explanation of how this was possible, was not strictly empiricist in a modern sense, but rather based on his theory of , and experience of sense perceptions still requires the help of the . These notions contrasted with notions of the human mind as an entity that pre-existed somewhere in the heavens, before being sent down to join a body on Earth (see Plato's and Apology, as well as others). Aristotle was considered to give a more important position to sense perception than , and commentators in the middle ages summarized one of his positions as "nihil in intellectu nisi prius fuerit in sensu" (Latin for "nothing in the intellect without first being in the senses").
During the Aristotle's theory of was developed by starting with , developing into an elaborate theory by and demonstrated as a by . For ("Avicenna"]), for example, the a tabula rasa is a pure potentiality that is actualized through , and knowledge is attained through "empirical familiarity with objects in this world from which one abstracts universal concepts" developed through a " method of in which observations lead to propositional statements which when compounded lead to further abstract concepts." The itself develops from a (al-‘aql al-hayulani), which is a "that can acquire knowledge to the (al- al-fa‘il), the state of the human intellect in conjunction with the perfect source of knowledge". So the immaterial "active intellect", separate from any individual person, is still essential for understanding to occur.
In the 12th century CE the Arab philosopher and novelist (known as "Abubacer" or "Ebn Tophail" in the West) included the theory of tabula rasa as a in his , in which he depicted the development of the mind of a "from a tabula rasa to that of an adult, in complete isolation from society" on a , through experience alone. The translation of his , entitled Philosophus Autodidactus, published by the Younger in 1671, had an influence on 's formulation of tabula rasa in .
A similar novel, , was written by the Arab theologian and physician in the 13th century. It also dealt with the theme of empiricism through the story of a feral child on a desert island, but departed from its predecessor by depicting the development of the protagonist's mind through contact with society rather than in isolation from society.
During the 13th century adopted the position that the senses are essential to mind into , making it a dogma of Roman Catholic belief. (1221-1274), one of Aquinas' fiercest intellectual opponents, offered some of the strongest arguments in favour of the Platonic idea of the mind.
In the late renaissance various writers began to question the medieval and classical understanding of knowledge acquisition in a more fundamental way. In political and historical writing and his friend initiated a new realistic style of writing. Machiavelli in particular was scornful of writers on politics who judged everything in comparison to mental ideals and demanded that people should study the "effectual truth" instead.
If you find from your own experience that something is a fact and it contradicts what some authority has written down, then you must abandon the authority and base your reasoning on your own findings.
The decidedly anti-Aristotelian and anti-clerical music theorist (ca. 1520–1591), father of and the inventor of , made use of the method in successfully solving musical problems, firstly, of tuning such as the relationship of pitch to string tension and mass in stringed instruments, and to volume of air in wind instruments; and secondly to composition, by his various suggestions to composers in his Dialogo della musica antica e moderna (Florence, 1581). The Italian word he used for "experiment" was esperienza. It is known that he was the essential pedagogical influence upon the young Galileo, his eldest son (cf. Coelho, ed. Music and Science in the Age of Galileo Galilei), arguably one of the most influential empiricists in history. Vincenzo, through his tuning research, found the underlying truth at the heart of the misunderstood myth of '' (the square of the numbers concerned yielded those musical intervals, not the actual numbers, as believed), and through this and other discoveries that demonstrated the fallibility of traditional authorities, a radically empirical attitude developed, passed on to Galileo, which regarded "experience and demonstration" as the sine qua non of valid rational enquiry.
British empiricism, though it was not a term used at the time, derives from the 17th century period of and . The term became useful in order to describe differences perceived between two of its founders , described as empiricist, and , who is described as a rationalist. and , in the next generation, are often also described as an empiricist and a rationalist respectively. , , and were the primary exponents of empiricism in the 18th century , with Locke being the person who is normally known as the founder of empiricism as such.
In response to the early-to-mid-17th century "" (1632–1704) proposed in (1689) a very influential view wherein the only knowledge humans can have is , i.e., based upon experience. Locke is famously attributed with holding the proposition that the human mind is a , a "blank tablet," in Locke's words "white paper," on which the experiences derived from sense impressions as a person's life proceeds are written. There are two sources of our ideas: sensation and reflection. In both cases, a distinction is made between simple and complex ideas. The former are unanalysable, and are broken down into primary and secondary qualities. Complex ideas combine simple ones, and divide into substances, modes, and relations. According to Locke, our knowledge of things is a perception of ideas that are in accordance or discordance with each other, which is very different from the quest for of .
A generation later, the Irish bishop, (1685–1753), determined that Locke's view immediately opened a door that would lead to eventual . In response to Locke, he put forth in his (1710) an important challenge to empiricism in which things only exist either as a result of their being perceived, or by virtue of the fact that they are an entity doing the perceiving. (For Berkeley, God fills in for humans by doing the perceiving whenever humans are not around to do it). In his text Alciphron, Berkeley maintained that any order humans may see in nature is the language or handwriting of God. Berkeley's approach to empiricism would later come to be called .
The Scottish philosopher (1711–1776) responded to Berkeley's criticisms of Locke, as well other differences between early modern philosophers, and moved empiricism to a new level of . Hume argued in keeping with the empiricist view that all knowledge derives from sense experience, but he accepted that this has implications not normally acceptable to philosophers. He wrote for example, "Mr. Locke divides all arguments into demonstrative and probable. In this view, we must say, that it is only probable all men must die, or that the sun will rise to-morrow." And, "Mr. Locke, in his chapter of power, says that, finding from experience, that there are several new productions in nature, and concluding that there must somewhere be a power capable of producing them, we arrive at last by this reasoning at the idea of power. But no reasoning can ever give us a new, original, simple idea; as this philosopher himself confesses. This, therefore, can never be the origin of that idea."
Hume divided all of human knowledge into two categories: relations of ideas and matters of fact (see also ). Mathematical and logical propositions (e.g. "that the square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the two sides") are examples of the first, while propositions involving some observation of the world (e.g. "the sun rises in the East") are examples of the second. All of people's "ideas", in turn, are derived from their "impressions". For Hume, an "impression" corresponds roughly with what we call a sensation. To remember or to imagine such impressions is to have an "idea". Ideas are therefore the faint copies of sensations.
Via his skeptical arguments he maintained that all knowledge, even the most basic beliefs about the , cannot be conclusively established by reason. Rather, he maintained, our beliefs are more a result of accumulated habits, developed in response to accumulated sense experiences. Among his many arguments Hume also added another important slant to the debate about — that of the . Hume argued that it requires inductive reasoning to arrive at the premises for the principle of inductive reasoning, and therefore the justification for inductive reasoning is a circular argument. Among Hume's conclusions regarding the problem of induction is that there is no certainty that the future will resemble the past. Thus, as a simple instance posed by Hume, we cannot know with certainty by that the sun will continue to rise in the East, but instead come to expect it to do so because it has repeatedly done so in the past.
Hume concluded that such things as belief in an external world and belief in the existence of the self were not rationally justifiable. According to Hume these beliefs were to be accepted nonetheless because of their profound basis in instinct and custom. Hume's lasting legacy, however, was the doubt that his skeptical arguments cast on the legitimacy of inductive reasoning, allowing many skeptics who followed to cast similar doubt.
Most of Hume's followers have disagreed with his conclusion that belief in an external world is rationally unjustifiable, contending that Hume's own principles implicitly contained the rational justification for such a belief, that is, beyond being content to let the issue rest on human instinct, custom and habit. According to an extreme empiricist theory known as , anticipated by the arguments of both Hume and George Berkeley, a physical object is a kind of construction out of our experiences. Phenomenalism is the view that physical objects, properties, events (whatever is physical) are reducible to mental objects, properties, events. Ultimately, only mental objects, properties, events, exist — hence the closely related term . By the phenomenalistic line of thinking, to have a visual experience of a real physical thing is to have an experience of a certain kind of group of experiences. This type of set of experiences possesses a constancy and coherence that is lacking in the set of experiences of which hallucinations, for example, are a part. As put it in the mid-19th century, matter is the "permanent possibility of sensation". Mill's empiricism went a significant step beyond Hume in still another respect: in maintaining that induction is necessary for all meaningful knowledge including mathematics. As summarized by D.W. Hamlin:
[Mill] claimed that mathematical truths were merely very highly confirmed generalizations from experience; mathematical inference, generally conceived as deductive [and a priori] in nature, Mill set down as founded on induction. Thus, in Mill's philosophy there was no real place for knowledge based on relations of ideas. In his view logical and mathematical necessity is psychological; we are merely unable to conceive any other possibilities than those that logical and mathematical propositions assert. This is perhaps the most extreme version of empiricism known, but it has not found many defenders.
Mill's empiricism thus held that knowledge of any kind is not from direct experience but an inductive inference from direct experience. The problems other philosophers have had with Mill's position center around the following issues: Firstly, Mill's formulation encounters difficulty when it describes what direct experience is by differentiating only between actual and possible sensations. This misses some key discussion concerning conditions under which such "groups of permanent possibilities of sensation" might exist in the first place. Berkeley put God in that gap; the phenomenalists, including Mill, essentially left the question unanswered. In the end, lacking an acknowledgement of an aspect of "reality" that goes beyond mere "possibilities of sensation", such a position leads to a version of subjective idealism. Questions of how floor beams continue to support a floor while unobserved, how trees continue to grow while unobserved and untouched by human hands, etc., remain unanswered, and perhaps unanswerable in these terms. Secondly, Mill's formulation leaves open the unsettling possibility that the "gap-filling entities are purely possibilities and not actualities at all". Thirdly, Mill's position, by calling mathematics merely another species of inductive inference, misapprehends mathematics. It fails to fully consider the structure and method of , the products of which are arrived at through an internally consistent set of procedures which do not, either today or at the time Mill wrote, fall under the agreed meaning of .
The phenomenalist phase of post-Humean empiricism ended by the 1940s, for by that time it had become obvious that statements about physical things could not be translated into statements about actual and possible sense data. If a physical object statement is to be translatable into a sense-data statement, the former must be at least deducible from the latter. But it came to be realized that there is no finite set of statements about actual and possible sense-data from which we can deduce even a single physical-object statement. Remember that the translating or paraphrasing statement must be couched in terms of normal observers in normal conditions of observation. There is, however, no finite set of statements that are couched in purely sensory terms and can express the satisfaction of the condition of the presence of a normal observer. According to phenomenalism, to say that a normal observer is present is to make the hypothetical statement that were a doctor to inspect the observer, the observer would appear to the doctor to be normal. But, of course, the doctor himself must be a normal observer. If we are to specify this doctor's normality in sensory terms, we must make reference to a second doctor who, when inspecting the sense organs of the first doctor, would himself have to have the sense data a normal observer has when inspecting the sense organs of a subject who is a normal observer. And if we are to specify in sensory terms that the second doctor is a normal observer, we must refer to a third doctor, and so on (also see the ).
Logical empiricism (aka logical positivism or neopositivism) was an early 20th century attempt to synthesize the essential ideas of British empiricism (e.g. a strong emphasis on sensory experience as the basis for knowledge) with certain insights from that had been developed by and . Some of the key figures in this movement were , and the rest of the , along with , and . The neopositivists subscribed to a notion of philosophy as the conceptual clarification of the methods, insights and discoveries of the sciences. They saw in the logical symbolism elaborated by Frege (d. 1925) and (1872–1970) a powerful instrument that could rationally reconstruct all scientific discourse into an ideal, logically perfect, language that would be free of the ambiguities and deformations of natural language. This gave rise to what they saw as metaphysical pseudoproblems and other conceptual confusions. By combining Frege's thesis that all mathematical truths are logical with the early Wittgenstein's idea that all are mere linguistic , they arrived at a twofold classification of all propositions: the analytic (a priori) and the synthetic (a posteriori). On this basis, they formulated a strong principle of demarcation between sentences that have sense and those that do not: the so-called . Any sentence that is not purely logical, or is unverifiable is devoid of meaning. As a result, most metaphysical, ethical, aesthetic and other traditional philosophical problems came to be considered pseudoproblems.
In the extreme empiricism of the neopositivists—at least before the 1930s—any genuinely synthetic assertion must be reducible to an ultimate assertion (or set of ultimate assertions) that expresses direct observations or perceptions. In later years, Carnap and Neurath abandoned this sort of phenomenalism in favor of a rational reconstruction of knowledge into the language of an objective spatio-temporal physics. That is, instead of translating sentences about physical objects into sense-data, such sentences were to be translated into so-called protocol sentences, for example, "X at location Y and at time T observes such and such." The central theses of logical positivism (verificationism, the analytic-synthetic distinction, reductionism, etc.) came under sharp attack after World War 2 by thinkers such as , , , , and . By the late 1960s, it had become evident to most philosophers that the movement had pretty much run its course, though its influence is still significant among contemporary such as and other .
Integration of empiricism and rationalism: Pragmatism
In the late 19th and early 20th century several forms of arose. The ideas of pragmatism, in its various forms, developed mainly from discussions that took place while and were both at Harvard in the 1870s. James popularized the term "pragmatism", giving Peirce full credit for its patrimony, but Peirce later demurred from the tangents that the movement was taking, and redubbed what he regarded as the original idea with the name of "pragmaticism". Along with its , this perspective integrates the basic insights of empirical (experience-based) and (concept-based) thinking.
Charles Peirce (1839–1914) was highly influential in laying the groundwork for today's empirical . Although Peirce severely criticized many elements of Descartes' peculiar brand of rationalism, he did not reject rationalism outright. Indeed, he concurred with the main ideas of rationalism, most importantly the idea that rational concepts can be meaningful and the idea that rational concepts necessarily go beyond the data given by empirical observation. In later years he even emphasized the concept-driven side of the then ongoing debate between strict empiricism and strict rationalism, in part to counterbalance the excesses to which some of his cohorts had taken pragmatism under the "data-driven" strict-empiricist view. Among Peirce's major contributions was to place and in a complementary rather than competitive mode, the latter of which had been the primary trend among the educated since David Hume wrote a century before. To this, Peirce added the concept of . The combined three forms of reasoning serve as a primary conceptual foundation for the empirically based scientific method today. Peirce's approach "presupposes that (1) the objects of knowledge are real things, (2) the characters (properties) of real things do not depend on our perceptions of them, and (3) everyone who has sufficient experience of real things will agree on the truth about them. According to Peirce's doctrine of , the conclusions of science are always tentative. The rationality of the scientific method does not depend on the certainty of its conclusions, but on its self-corrective character: by continued application of the method science can detect and correct its own mistakes, and thus eventually lead to the discovery of truth".
In his Harvard "Lectures on Pragmatism" (1903), Peirce enumerated what he called the "three cotary propositions of pragmatism" ( cos, cotis whetstone), saying that they "put the edge on the ". First among these he listed the peripatetic-thomist observation mentioned above, but he further observed that this link between sensory perception and intellectual conception is a two-way street. That is, it can be taken to say that whatever we find in the intellect is also incipiently in the senses. Hence, if theories are theory-laden then so are the senses, and perception itself can be seen as a species of , its difference being that it is beyond control and hence beyond critique — in a word, incorrigible. This in no way conflicts with the fallibility and revisability of scientific concepts, since it is only the immediate percept in its unique individuality or "thisness" — what the called its — that stands beyond control and correction. Scientific concepts, on the other hand, are general in nature, and transient sensations do in another sense find correction within them. This notion of perception as abduction has received periodic revivals in and research, most recently for instance with the work of on .
Around the beginning of the 20th century, William James (1842–1910) coined the term "radical empiricism" to describe an offshoot of his form of pragmatism, which he argued could be dealt with separately from his pragmatism - though in fact the two concepts are intertwined in James's published lectures. James maintained that the empirically observed "directly apprehended universe needs ... no extraneous trans-empirical connective support", by which he meant to rule out the perception that there can be any by seeking explanations for . James's "radical empricism" is thus not radical in the context of the term "empiricism", but is instead fairly consistent with the modern use of the term "". (His method of argument in arriving at this view, however, still readily encounters debate within philosophy even today.)
(1859–1952) modified James' pragmatism to form a theory known as . The role of sense experience in Dewey's theory is crucial, in that he saw experience as unified totality of things through which everything else is interrelated. Dewey's basic thought, in accordance with empiricism was that is determined by past experience. Therefore, humans adapt their past experiences of things to perform experiments upon and test the pragmatic values of such experience. The value of such experience is measured by scientific instruments, and the results of such measurements generate ideas that serve as instruments for future experimentation. Thus, ideas in Dewey's system retain their empiricist flavour in that they are only known a posteriori.