Quotes Tagged "empiricism"
…let us point out precisely the difficulties of empiricism as a theory of knowledge. First, it begins with two fixed, unchangeable ultimates--mind and matter. Second, it asserts that knowledge is the agreement of ideas with each other, in which case we are not dealing with nature or things at all, and consequently, have left out one of our ultimates. Third, it then asserts (for it is essential that knowledge should somehow or other be connected with things) that knowledge consists in the agreement between an idea and a thing; and in this case we can never tell when the agreement takes place; and furthermore, it is impossible for ideas and things to disagree, for, according to the theory, ideas are copies of things. This means that empiricism can not account for the fact of error. Every theory of knowledge must make a place for error, for, as is evident, error seems to be as industrious as truth. Consequently, if knowledge actually does take place, if there is such an activity, thing, or relation as knowledge, empiricism fails to give an account of it which is free from contradictions. The moral is, as the stories in our school readers say, don't begin with fixed things, for they beguileth one into inconsistencies.
Essentially that which is only matter, and the sciences that can, through verifiable methods, explore that which we know exists, through the means of...you know, touching, tasting, seeing, and so on...as well as using other instrumentation and so on...is very useful. The question winds up being: ultimately one of: 'Is that all there is?' And going and saying there wasn't even an understanding of matter as we understand it today prior to [...] about the time of Descartes...um, I don't know if the historical argument's the best one to make in that case. But one thing I can say is that thinking that all that exists is that which we can perceive with the five senses is in no way provable –and then if we talk about, 'Well, what is the essence of something?', then we run into a whole other mess. But if we're talking in the context of modernism, where people have gone and become wholly materialistic, the answers become incredibly simple. Incredibly simplistic. And ultimately, I'm not convinced of their accuracy; not only am I not convinced of their accuracy, but I'm not convinced that it's good for humankind in general: because ultimately we're going to wind up killing ourselves off, if all we believe in is that which is material.
People often assume that science is only about empirical research - that it's merely about facts and figures, which happens to be nowhere near the truth. Facts are the fundamental building blocks of science, but bringing those facts together to have an insight of a certain phenomenon requires a rational, conscientious and creative mind. It's only through rigorous analysis and observation, as well as, creative contemplation, of the empirical evidence, i.e. facts, discovered through decades of research, that we can understand a certain phenomenon. Science cannot exist without empirical evidence, but evidence alone can't take science ahead and upwards, for that, we need some rather naïve and conscientious minds who can pierce through the evidence in order to have a practical insight of the big picture of a certain phenomenon. In short, there's more to science than facts and figures. Think of facts and figures as bricks and cement, and science or scientific understanding as a building. Without the vision of the architect, it's impossible to construct the building no matter how much bricks and cement you have.