em·​pir·​i·​cism | \ im-ˈpir-ə-ˌsi-zəm How to pronounce empiricism (audio) , em- \

Definition of empiricism

1a : a former school of medical practice founded on experience without the aid of science or theory
2a : the practice of relying on observation and experiment especially in the natural sciences
b : a tenet arrived at empirically
3 : a theory that all knowledge originates in experience

Other Words from empiricism

empiricist \ im-​ˈpir-​ə-​sist How to pronounce empiricism (audio) , em-​ \ noun

Examples of empiricism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Read her full interview here: on hard-nosed empiricism and optimizing interventions. Aline Holzwarth, Forbes, 21 June 2022 This view has influenced thinking in Christian and Persian philosophies, British empiricism and Marxist doctrine. György Buzsáki, Scientific American, 14 May 2022 The exhibition begins in 1780, a bit of an arbitrary date, because the Enlightenment attends to religion, a staple of art, but also, and this is new, to nature, science, and empiricism. Brian T. Allen, National Review, 19 Mar. 2022 Other scholars have pointed out that feminist standpoint theory is helpful in understanding white empiricism and who is eligible to be a worthy observer of the human condition and our world. Monica R. Mclemore, Scientific American, 29 Dec. 2021 As Cheyne notes in his essay: The British empiricism of John Locke, David Hume and David Hartley was itself at odds, Coleridge pointed out, with a deeper heritage of British thought. Cameron Hilditch, National Review, 23 Apr. 2021 An alternative conclusion—richer in possibilities, in my opinion—is that scientific thought in recent decades invites us to reject empiricism and to endorse a broader epistemology. WSJ, 3 Oct. 2021 Milton Friedman, whose empiricism led him to embrace free-market public policy, was the most influential economist of the second half of the 20th century. Matthew Continetti, National Review, 8 May 2021 The same empiricism led him to keep urging Virgin Galactic engineers not to be spooked by the past. Anna Russel, The New Yorker, 3 Aug. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'empiricism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of empiricism

1658, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for empiricism

empiric + -ism

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Time Traveler for empiricism

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The first known use of empiricism was in 1658

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Dictionary Entries Near empiricism

empirical truth



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Cite this Entry

“Empiricism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/empiricism. Accessed 7 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for empiricism


em·​pir·​i·​cism | \ im-ˈpir-ə-ˌsiz-əm, em- How to pronounce empiricism (audio) \

Medical Definition of empiricism

1a : a former school of medical practice based on the teachings of the empirics
b : quackery
2 : the practice of relying on observation and experiment especially in the natural sciences

More from Merriam-Webster on empiricism

Britannica English: Translation of empiricism for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about empiricism


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