Empiricist Tradition

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  • Although elements of empiricist thinking can be traced to philosophers from the earliest times, empiricism proper is said to have emerged as a formal philosophical position from the 17th to 19th centuries with the work of John Locke, George Berkeley, David Hume, and John Stuart Mill. In the 20th century, empiricism influenced the work of George Russell and G. E. Moore and led to the development of analytic philosophy. Empiricism stands in opposition to the rationalism of continental European philosophy, most notably the philosophy of René Descartes, which asserts the innateness of ideas and their independence from physical experience. Deriving from the Greek word for experience, empiricism asserts that all theories must be justified by observation and experiment. Some propositions, however, seem self-evident and in ...

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