Topic: empirical truth

topics > philosophy > Group: meaning and truth

philosophy of science

analytic truth
information as facts
law of nature
metaphysics and epistemology
problems with analytic truth
problems with empirical truth
science as experiment
science as mathematics
science as measurement
scientific method
scientific paradigms and research programs
sense perception
sentences, propositions, and truth
what is truth


Kant distinguished analytic from synthetic and a priori from a posterior statements. A posterior, synthetic statements concern empirical truths, i.e., those truths that are true by experience.

This is the domain of science, or more accurately, science is a (perhaps the) methodology for discovering empirical truths. The great success of science has made empirical truth an important foundation for meaning.

Philosophical empiricism turns empirical facts or observations into the ultimate source of meaning. Aristotle argued that one understands a concept when one understands its cause. Verification theories are similar. Note that these go beyond science in emphasizing observables. Science uses observables to refute or confirm hypotheses, but the scientific truths are in the hypotheses. Ordinary language philosophy returns closer to the scientific roots. One can think of ordinary sentences as a form of hypothesis, and then ask, "What conditions confirm this statement?," and "What is the effect of confirming a statement?" (cbb 04)

Subtopic: a posteriori, synthetic, empirical up

Quote: an a posteriori truth depends on facts; an a priori truth depends on general, primitive laws that neither need nor admit to proof [»fregG_1884]
Quote: an analytic statement follows from intensions; a synthetic statement is verified with extensions [»sowaJF_1984]
Quote: a priori knowledge may be know empirically; e.g., a computer says a number is prime [»kripSA_1980]
Quote: necessary and contingent propositions; what is (so) either is or is not (so) vs. something exists [»leibGW_1666]
Quote: science is the attempt at the posterior reconstruction of existence through conceptualization [»einsA_1941]

Subtopic: empirical truth up

Quote: the concept of truth is rooted in the senses, what is real; if the senses are untrue, all reasoning is wrong [»lucr_55]
Quote: the truth of a sentence consists in its agreement with reality; Aristotle [»tarsA_1944]
Quote: evidence is to truth, as the sap to the tree; science, knowledge, and meaning are dependent on evidence of the senses [»hobbT_1650, OK]
Quote: as an empiricist, science is a tool for predicting future experience via past experience
Quote: when turn causal into ontological reduction, redefine notions to exclude subjective appearances; e.g., heat from feeling hot to molecular motions [»searJR_1992]
Quote: any action is universally understood if its cause is revealed; even if it is something alien to a person's culture; Aristotle [»laurB_1991]

Subtopic: scientific truth up

Quote: the more a man is imbued with the ordered regularity of all events the firmer becomes his conviction that there is no room left for causes of a different nature
Quote: cannot abandon, actually and forever, the idea of direct representation of physical reality; nor believe that events in nature behave as a game of chance [»einsA5_1940]
Quote: Newton's fourth rule--propositions inferred from phenomena are accurate, despite contrary hypotheses; only change by other phenomena [»newtI_1685, OK]
Quote: science is about asking questions sliced thin enough that they can be answered, definitely, once and for all [»campNR_1919, OK]
Quote: scientific properties are necessary but not a priori, e.g., gold has atomic number 79, but was still gold beforehand [»kripSA_1980]
Quote: physicists have changed the concepts of time and space to fit experience; were a priori
Quote: mass, gravitational attraction and molecule are intrinsic features of the world; the realm of natural science

Subtopic: physical law up

Quote: Galileo discovered the equation for acceleration in free fall by seeking a general rule of proportionality for uniform growth of distances, times, and speeds [»drakS5_1973]
Quote: a physical law is wrong if it does not work in one place where it ought to [»feynRP_1963]
Quote: Nature is inexorable, immutable, and cares nothing of man; it is bound by law
Quote: everywhere, at every time, things are just as they are here; explain the most remote and hidden things by analogy to what is visible and near to us [»leibGW5_1705]
Quote: nothing can be made of nothing; otherwise any breed could be born from any other; people would pop out of the sea

Subtopic: perception up

Quote: requirement of definability--any term with empirical significance must be definable by observation terms; used to form significant sentences [»hempCG_1951]
Quote: knowledge by evident cognition; e.g., the wall is white because I see the wall's whiteness [»ockhW_1310]
Quote: possible experience can alone give reality to our concepts; without it a concept is merely an idea, without truth or relation to an object [»kantI_1781, OK]
Quote: the primary criterion for observed or experienced fact is our perceptions
Quote: what is more certain than our senses to tell false from real [»lucr_55]
Quote: those who contradict the evidence of any sense deserved to lose that sense; e.g., heavy things go down and fire and air move up
Quote: concepts, propositions, and logic acquire meaning only through their connection with sense-experience [»einsA_1949]
Quote: the system of concepts is the creation of man. It is bound by simplicity and the most nearly possible certain, intuitive connection to the totality of sense-experience
Quote: objects are what is sensed and not ideas; things come and go; e.g., combining two bodies and the present time [»aris_322a]

Subtopic: evidence and observation up

Quote: empiricism--a sentence is either true or false if it is analytic (logical meaning) or tested by experiential evidence [»hempCG_1951]
Quote: a cognitively significant, theoretical system is interpreted in terms of observables without isolated sentences
Quote: empirical significance if relate a hypothesis to observation sentences that can be ascertained by direct observation [»hempCG_1951]
Quote: by verification theory, synonymous statements are alike in method of empirical confirmation or infirmation [»quinWV1_1951]
Quote: a declarative sentence gets its meaning by virtue of its truth conditions; basic idea of Tractatus
Quote: under what conditions can a declarative sentence be asserted or denied; and what is the role of such assertion/denial; but not primary [»kripSA_1982]

Subtopic: measurement up

Quote: we do not know what energy is; energy is just a calculated number that is always the same for a given system [»feynRP_1963]
Quote: only with quantitative observations can one arrive at quantitative relationships
Quote: in 1656 Roemer measured the speed of light by measuring the discrepancies in the orbits of Jupiter's moons when Jupiter was close to earth and when it was far from earth

Subtopic: experiment up

Quote: the defining principle of science is that experiment is the sole judge of scientific truth [»feynRP_1963]
Quote: fundamental hypothesis of science: the sole test of the validity of any idea is experiment; we must formulate our ideas in terms of our actual experience [»feynRP_1963]
Quote: Aristotle held that sensible experiments were better than human arguments [»galiG_1632]
Quote: both experiment and analysis leads to strict truth if rightly interpreted [»faraM_1855, OK]
Quote: science is rechecking ideas from past generations by new direct experience [»feynRP9_1969]

Subtopic: time up

Quote: time is nothing but the form of our internal intuition; it has empirical reality but not absolute reality [»kantI_1781, OK]

Related Topics up

Group: philosophy of science   (10 topics, 406 quotes)
Group: science   (45 topics, 1960 quotes)

Topic: analytic truth (51 items)
Topic: entities (20 items)
Topic: information as facts (21 items)
Topic: law of nature (28 items)
Topic: metaphysics and epistemology (99 items)
Topic: problems with analytic truth (20 items)
Topic: problems with empirical truth (21 items)
Topic: science as experiment (38 items)
Topic: science as mathematics (26 items)
Topic: science as measurement (36 items)
Topic: scientific method (42 items)
Topic: scientific paradigms and research programs (30 items)
Topic: sense perception (55 items)
Topic: sentences, propositions, and truth (23 items)
Topic: what is truth
(67 items)

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