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.

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • risk assessment

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

  • PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard)

    The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a widely accepted set of policies and procedures intended to ...

  • risk management

    Risk management is the process of identifying, assessing and controlling threats to an organization's capital and earnings.

SearchSecurity

SearchHealthIT

  • telemedicine (telehealth)

    Telemedicine is the remote delivery of healthcare services, such as health assessments or consultations, over the ...

  • Project Nightingale

    Project Nightingale is a controversial partnership between Google and Ascension, the second largest health system in the United ...

  • medical practice management (MPM) software

    Medical practice management (MPM) software is a collection of computerized services used by healthcare professionals and ...

SearchDisasterRecovery

SearchStorage

  • hot plugging

    Hot plugging is the addition of a component to a running computer system without significant interruption to the operation of the...

  • M.2 SSD

    An M.2 SSD is a solid-state drive (SSD) that conforms to a computer industry specification and is used in internally mounted ...

  • kilobyte (KB or Kbyte)

    A kilobyte (KB or Kbyte) is a unit of measurement for computer memory or data storage used by mathematics and computer science ...

Close