Maarten Maartensz:    Philosophical Dictionary | Filosofisch Woordenboek                      

 T - Term - Empirical


Empirical term or statement: Term or statement that stands for something that is experienced.

When taken strictly, most of one's terms or statements are not about one's direct ongoing experience, which is the sense used in the above definition. The reason to use that sense is to stress that most of the terms people use are, in actual fact, not empirical.

When speaking about scientific theories, it makes sense to use 'empirical' in a modalized sense: Empirical terms are such as can be experienced in suitable conditions with apropriate procedures, such as "the majority candidate of the voters" or "the weight of this elephant"; and theoretical terms are such as cannot  be experienced, because they are abstract or refer to what does not (yet) exist.

However, empirical terms in the context of scientific theories come normally with methodological rules and practices, that make these more precise and unambiguous than terms are outside scientific contexts.



See also: Term - Theoretical

Literature: Carnap


 Original: Aug 15, 2004                                                Last edited: 12 December 2011.   Top