Empirical


Empirical

A central concept in science and the scientific method is that all evidence must be empirical, or empirically based, that is, dependent on evidence or consequences that are observable by the senses. Empirical data are data that are produced by experiment or observation. [ [http://www.bartleby.com/61/71/E0117100.html "The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition"] . Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by the Houghton Mifflin Company.] It is usually differentiated from the philosophic usage of empiricism by the use of the adjective "empirical" or the adverb "empirically." "Empirical" as an adjective or adverb is used in conjunction with both the natural and social sciences, and refers to the use of working hypotheses that are testable using observation or experiment. In this sense of the word, scientific statements are subject to and derived from our experiences or observations.

Variations

In a second sense "empirical" in science may be synonymous with "experimental." In this sense, an empirical result is an experimental observation. In this context, the term "semi-empirical" is used for qualifying theoretical methods which use in part basic axioms or postulated scientific laws and experimental results. Such methods are opposed to theoretical "ab initio" methods which are purely deductive and based on first principles.

In statistics, "empirical" quantities are those computed from observed values, as opposed to those derived from theoretical considerations.

In economics, "empirical" generally refers to statistical or econometric analysis of numeric data. Other forms of observation-based hypothesis testing are not considered to be "empirics."

The use of the adjective empirical, especially in scientific studies using statistics, may also indicate that a particular correlation between two parameters has been found, but that so far, no theory for the mechanism of the connection is known.

In Chemistry the term empirical is used to refer to a molecular formula in its lowest common terms found in terms of element proportions and molar masses.y

Notes

ee also

*Empiricism (Philosophic usage and history)
*Empirical research (More on the scientific usage)
*Empirical formula
*Theoretical


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  • empirical — UK US /ɪmˈpɪrɪkəl/ adjective ► based on what is experienced or seen rather than on theory: empirical analysis/research/study »The diagnosis of a business problem should be based both on empirical analysis and on theoretical analysis. »empirical… …   Financial and business terms

  • empirical — [em pir′i kəl] adj. [ EMPIRIC + AL] 1. relying or based solely on experiment and observation rather than theory [the empirical method] 2. relying or based on practical experience without reference to scientific principles [an empirical remedy]… …   English World dictionary

  • empirical — I adjective analytical, based on evidence of the senses, based on observation, derived from experience, diagnostic, guided by experiment, provisional II index probative Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • empirical — 1560s, from EMPIRIC (Cf. empiric) + AL (Cf. al) (1) …   Etymology dictionary

  • empirical — / empiric [adj] practical; based on experience experient, experiential, experimental, factual, observational, observed, pragmatic, provisional, concepts 548,582 Ant. hypothetical, impractical, speculative, theoretical, unobserved …   New thesaurus

  • empirical — (also empiric) ► ADJECTIVE ▪ based on observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic. DERIVATIVES empirically adverb. ORIGIN Greek empeirikos, from empeiria experience …   English terms dictionary

  • empirical — 01. A wealth of [empirical] evidence has been found to support his hypothesis. 02. There is little [empirical] evidence at this point to support his theories. 03. They have based their hypothesis on [empirically] based research done at Cambridge… …   Grammatical examples in English

  • empirical — In a wide sense, an empirical belief is one capable of being confirmed or disconfirmed by sense experience. More narrowly, the term may be restricted so that the confirmation must avoid the use of intermediate theory, in which case the belief… …   Philosophy dictionary

  • Empirical — Empiric Em*pir ic, Empirical Em*pir ic*al, a. 1. Pertaining to, or founded upon, experiment or experience; depending upon the observation of phenomena; versed in experiments. [1913 Webster] In philosophical language, the term empirical means… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • empirical — also empiric adjective Date: 1569 1. originating in or based on observation or experience < empirical data > 2. relying on experience or observation alone often without due regard for system and theory < an empirical basis for the theory > 3.… …   New Collegiate Dictionary


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