What is empirical evidence?

How does science work? And what's all this about quantum mechanics?

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Speakpigeon
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What is empirical evidence?

Post by Speakpigeon » Mon Jan 21, 2019 10:44 am

What is empirical evidence?

Maybe it would help if we give concrete examples of empirical proofs and non-empirical proofs.

First example, dictionary definitions. Dictionary definitions are empirical evidence of how words are used and of what they mean.

So, to know what the word “empirical” means, we can look at the empirical evidence provided by a dictionary definition of what the word “empirical” means:
empirical
adj.
1.
a. Relying on or derived from observation or experiment: empirical results that supported the hypothesis.
b. Verifiable or provable by means of observation or experiment: empirical laws.
2. Guided by practical experience and not theory, especially in medicine.
Second example of empirical evidence. Absence of evidence is evidence of absence. If you look into your bathroom and there is no evidence of any man-eating dragon, you take this as evidence there is no man-eating dragon. The few people who don’t are usually regarded as being insane, suggesting this is something most of us do and do even without thinking about it. It’s obvious, although again you’ll find people who don’t understand the idea.

Third example of empirical evidence. My own subjective experience is empirical evidence. If I feel pain, I will infer there’s something wrong somewhere in my body. And again, I assume that’s something nearly all of us do. We all take the feeling of pain as evidence there’s a real something. And science helps us understand why. The feeling of pain is scientifically accepted as being in normal conditions the result of the perception of some actual state or condition present in your own body, so we can talk of pain as the feeling resulting from the perception of harm or injury, which is called “nociception” (and not “perception of pain” as some dictionaries put it).

Fourth example of empirical evidence. I can use my own logical intuitions as empirical evidence to work out a method of logical calculus. I could do it, but it seems clear, although I accept this is debatable, that most methods of logic ever published have been developed on the basis of the logical intuitions people have had, starting with Aristotle and the few philosophers who, prior to Aristotle, discussed specific logical relations (without necessarily calling them as such). An apparent counterexample would be the definition of material implication, at least to the extent that you take material implication as a logical relation (I don’t), by mathematicians at the beginning the 20th century (essentially Frege and Russell initially).

And we have empirical evidence that people routinely use their own logical intuitions as empirical evidence, for example in the descriptions mathematicians make of the way they rely on their own intuitions to prove mathematical conjectures true. As I understand it, every proof, by mathematician or by theorem prover, is ultimately based on the intuition of the specialists, even when they are ostensibly based on a set of logical truths, since logical truths have accepted as such since the Antiquity on the basis of the intuitions the specialists had and on that reported by other people. Such intuitions include for example the logical truth “If it is true that it rains and it is true that I am hungry, then it is true that it rains”. Tell me if you think this isn’t obviously true.

And then, non-empirical evidence. Here, I’ll give just two examples.

One, that you don’t see a dragon is empirical evidence, but it is not empirical evidence that there is an invisible dragon. And it may well be evident to you that there is an invisible dragon. So, this in itself would be empirical evidence. But, that you don’t see a dragon is not evidence that there is an invisible dragon.

Second, that there are people who believe in God is empirical evidence but not empirical evidence that God exists.
EB

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bahman
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Re: What is empirical evidence?

Post by bahman » Mon Jan 21, 2019 5:46 pm

Common experience.

Logik
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Re: What is empirical evidence?

Post by Logik » Mon Jan 21, 2019 10:26 pm

Any experience which coincides with predicted expectations.

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bahman
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Re: What is empirical evidence?

Post by bahman » Mon Jan 21, 2019 10:37 pm

Logik wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 10:26 pm
Any experience which coincides with predicted expectations.
Isn't that the definition experiment?

Logik
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Re: What is empirical evidence?

Post by Logik » Mon Jan 21, 2019 11:10 pm

bahman wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 10:37 pm
Isn't that the definition experiment?
Are you not running experiments (predicting/inferring/anticipating) all the time?

Impenitent
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Re: What is empirical evidence?

Post by Impenitent » Mon Jan 21, 2019 11:23 pm

bahman wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 5:46 pm
Common experience.
all experience is private

descriptions of experience are never complete

-Imp

Veritas Aequitas
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Re: What is empirical evidence?

Post by Veritas Aequitas » Tue Jan 22, 2019 5:20 am

What is 'empirical' can objectively represented by brain parts and activities.

Image

What is empirical involves all parts of the brain imperatively the senses.
There are two main categories of the empirical, i.e. the proven empirical and the empirical possibilities.
  • For example I can proved empirically the existence of that tree out there from my window. With this empirical proofs, I can speculate such type of an empirical tree may possibly exists empirically in another planet 100 light years from Earth.
    I can also speculate God as a bearded man in that planet 100 light years from Earth. But until empirical evidences are produced, that proposition remains a speculation, albeit a 0.00000001 possibility based on current knowledge.
What is non-empirical involves only the neo-cortex representing pure reason i.e. involving the thinking part of the brain only without any empirical grounding on other parts of the brain.
  • For example I can use my thinking brain to think of a square-circle, but this thing that is thought cannot be empirical due to being a contradiction which is impossible.
    The default and ultimate God is imperatively ontological [with whatever OMNI- properties] which is at best only a thought [philosophical idea] and as such cannot be empirical.
The non-empirical thought of God is compelled and driven by an existential crisis in the psyche, thus psychological. It is impossible for God to exists as real other than a thought only to soothe Angst.

surreptitious57
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Re: What is empirical evidence?

Post by surreptitious57 » Tue Jan 22, 2019 8:17 am

bahman wrote:
Common experience
Common experience is not necessarily empirical just becaused it is shared
Empirical evidence by definition has to satisfy the rigours of the scientific method in order for it to be accepted as such
There are factors that would invalidate this such as for example peer pressure / confirmation bias / chemical imbalance

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bahman
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Re: What is empirical evidence?

Post by bahman » Tue Jan 22, 2019 3:37 pm

Logik wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 11:10 pm
bahman wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 10:37 pm
Isn't that the definition experiment?
Are you not running experiments (predicting/inferring/anticipating) all the time?
I theoretize too.

Logik
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Re: What is empirical evidence?

Post by Logik » Tue Jan 22, 2019 3:38 pm

bahman wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 3:37 pm
Logik wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 11:10 pm
bahman wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 10:37 pm
Isn't that the definition experiment?
Are you not running experiments (predicting/inferring/anticipating) all the time?
I theoretize too.
All the time!

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bahman
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Re: What is empirical evidence?

Post by bahman » Tue Jan 22, 2019 3:39 pm

Impenitent wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 11:23 pm
bahman wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 5:46 pm
Common experience.
all experience is private

descriptions of experience are never complete

-Imp
You are correct. I have an impression of mind which I cannot translate it to language.
Last edited by bahman on Tue Jan 22, 2019 5:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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bahman
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Re: What is empirical evidence?

Post by bahman » Tue Jan 22, 2019 3:47 pm

surreptitious57 wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 8:17 am
bahman wrote:
Common experience
Common experience is not necessarily empirical just becaused it is shared
Empirical evidence by definition has to satisfy the rigours of the scientific method in order for it to be accepted as such
There are factors that would invalidate this such as for example peer pressure / confirmation bias / chemical imbalance
Yes. You need all things that you explained in order to have a common experience. What you state in fact is the methodology for gaining common experience.

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