This article covers the Empiricism philosophy in detail. There are different types and degrees of Empiricism that you will be able to understand by this article. You will also get to know about Logical Empiricism and its importance in life.

Empiricism is the philosophical belief that all conceptions are based on personal experience, all ideas are about or apply to objects that can be experienced and all rationally acceptable views or propositions can only be justified or known by personal experience. The term originates from the ancient Greek word ‘Empeiria’, which means “experience,” supporting this broad interpretation.

Meaning of Empiricism 

The idea of empiricism is that all knowledge arises from sense perception. It emphasises the importance of experience and evidence, particularly sensory perception. In the creation of concepts, you can only have a posteriori knowledge (i.e. based on experience). The majority of empiricists likewise dismiss the idea of innate conceptions or innatism. 

Induction or inductive reasoning (creating generalisations based on particular examples) must be utilised to develop a more complicated body of knowledge from these direct observations. In the scientific and social sciences, the term “empirical” (rather than “empiricism”) refers to the process of observation and experimentation. The scientific method requires that all hypotheses and ideas be assessed against observations of the natural world, rather than depending solely on a priori reasoning, intuition or revelation. 

Types of Empiricism 

Empiricism is divided into three categories: classical, radical, and moderate.

  • Classical empiricism is founded on the idea that knowledge is neither intrinsic nor in-born. John Locke, one of the most prominent empiricists, believed that the mind is a tabula rasa (blank slate) from birth. According to Locke, our world experience provides us with knowledge.
  • Radical empiricism is founded on the notion that our understanding of the universe is completely dependent on our senses. Radical empiricists believe that if something cannot be experienced via our senses, it does not exist. Radical empiricists reject religious concepts because they cannot be tested using sensory evidence.
  • Modern empiricism’s philosophical premise that all knowledge is acquired from experience is investigated by moderate empiricism.

Degree of Empiricism  

Empiricism can be held with varied degrees of strength, depending on whether it is concerned with conceptions or knowledge. Absolute, substantive and partial empiricisms can be separated on this basis.

  • Absolute Empiricism (Empiricism in its purest form) 

There are no a priori notions, either formal or categorical and no a priori beliefs or propositions, according to absolute empiricists. However, absolute empiricism regarding the former is more prevalent than absolute scepticism about the latter. Although virtually all Western philosophers acknowledge that evident tautologies (e.g., “all green objects are green”) and definitional truisms (e.g., “all circles have no sides”) are a priori, many of them would add that these are the extreme cases.

  • Substantive Empiricism (Empiricism with substance)

The substantive empiricists are a more moderate form of empiricism, who are unconvinced by empirical attempts to interpret formal concepts and thus concede that formal concepts are a priori, though they deny this status to categorial concepts and theoretical physics concepts, which they believe are a posteriori. According to this viewpoint, a priori categorical and theoretical conceptions are either flawed, they can be reduced to empirical conceptions, or are merely useful “fictions” for forecasting and organising experience.

  • Partial Empiricism (Empiricism in parts)

Partial empiricism is the least complete sort of empiricism thus identified, ranking third in degree. According to this viewpoint, a priori domain contains certain non-formal notions as well as statements that are significantly instructive about the world. Partial empiricists have viewed Immanuel Kant’s (1720–1804) transcendental idealism theses, general scientific conservation laws, basic principles of morality and religion and natural causal laws to be both “synthetic” (substantially informative) and a priori.

Logical Empiricism and its importance 

Logical Empiricism is distinguished from previous, more psychologically focused versions of Empiricism, Positivism, and Pragmatism by its methodical investigation of the issue of meaning through a logical examination of language. In the past several decades, scientists and logicians have been struck by the urgent need for a logic of language.Similarly to how certain 19th-century philosophies sprang from a scientific breakthrough (Darwin’s theory of evolution), 20th-century Logical Empiricism was developed essentially as a result of three major discoveries in modern mathematics and empirical science.

As a result, Logical Positivists nearly always reject Metaphysics (to a considerable degree, Ethics) because that it is unverifiable. However, it had a significant impact on 20th-century epistemology and the philosophy of science. They were supporters of various varieties of Materialism, Naturalism and Empiricism, as well as the verifiability criterion of meaning (Verificationism), which holds that a statement is only cognitively meaningful if it can be finally and conclusively proved to be true or untrue.


Logical Positivism (later known as Logical Empiricism) is an epistemological and logical philosophy that sprang from Positivism and the early Analytic Philosophy movement and advocated for a systematic reduction of all human knowledge to logical and scientific grounds. As a result, a proposition is only significant if it is either fully formal (basically, mathematics and logic) or empirically verifiable. The majority of early Logical Positivists claimed that all knowledge is based on logical inference from basic “protocol statements” based on observable facts.


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What do you mean by Empiricism?

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Name the three types of Empiricism?

Ans : Empiricism is divided into three categories: classical, radical and moderate.

Explain Absolute and Substantive Empiricism in brief?

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What is the importance of Logical Empiricism?

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