Browse Definitions:
Definition

empiricism

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

Empiricism is the theory that human knowledge comes predominantly from experiences gathered through the five senses. In empiricism, concepts are spoken of as a posteriori or “from the latter” meaning from the experiences.

As philosophical theory, empiricism attempts to explain how humans acquire knowledge and conceptual understanding. In science, empiricism heavily emphasizes the use of experiments to collect evidence so that theories are applied to real world observations and recorded as empirical data. Empiricism is an important concept in IT as well. In areas including software development, data analytics and project management, empiricism is an evidence-based approach that relies on real-world data, metrics and results rather than theories and concepts.

Agile software development and agile project management, for example, are considered empirical approaches: Both are conducted in small sections called iterations; at the end of each iteration, the results are reviewed and critiqued by the project team. The decision as to what the next step should be is based on the experience of the iteration, in the form of the review. In the agile retrospective, each team member answers the questions, “What worked well for us?” and “What did not work well?” The answers to those questions guide another: “What actions can we take to improve our process going forward?”

The term empiricism comes from the Greek word for experience: empeiria. Empiricism contrasts with rationalism, according to which knowledge is said to also be largely developed through exploration of concepts, deduction,  intuition and revelation. In rationalism, deductions based on intuition can create knowledge that is gained without prerequisite sensory experience, making them prior to experience (a priori). Empiricists, however, sometimes argue that all these mental processes also come from primary experiences initially.

This was last updated in July 2016

Continue Reading About empiricism

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

Dateiendungen und Dateiformate

Gesponsert von:

SearchCompliance

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...

  • risk assessment

    Risk assessment is the identification of hazards that could negatively impact an organization's ability to conduct business.

SearchSecurity

  • biometrics

    Biometrics is the measurement and statistical analysis of people's unique physical and behavioral characteristics.

  • principle of least privilege (POLP)

    The principle of least privilege (POLP), an important concept in computer security, is the practice of limiting access rights for...

  • identity management (ID management)

    Identity management (ID management) is the organizational process for identifying, authenticating and authorizing individuals or ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)

    Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are closely related practices that describe an organization's preparation for ...

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

SearchStorage

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.

Close