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happiness

Are the phrases "empirical science" and "empirical evidence" redundant?

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In a field of interest to me, it's common for people make arguments like "the empirical evidence shows such and such" and proceed to ascribe their uncontrolled observations to whatever cause they want. Isn't all evidence based on observation, and aren't uncontrolled observations not really evidence at all? 

I read a question on Quora today that asks what would happen if children were raised with "empirical science" instead of religion. I was going to answer by saying that all science is empirical, but then it hit me that philosophy isn't—is it? So while all physical science is empirical, the statement I was going to make would not be true. Correct?

Edited by happiness

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Objectivism rejects that distinction. All knowledge is empirical.

"Any theory that propounds an opposition between the logical and the empirical, represents a failure to grasp the nature of logic and its role in human cognition. Man’s knowledge is not acquired by logic apart from experience or by experience apart from logic, but by the application of logic to experience. All truths are the product of a logical identification of the facts of experience. "

Leonard Peikoff, “The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy,”
Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, 112

 

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Well, in one sense, empirical evidence is usually of the external world, while not all evidence is external, like your first-hand experiences. Going by that, philosophy isn't an empirical science. Logic isn't an empirical science because it isn't -about- the external world per se, but it certainly is (and must be!) used with the empirical to gain knowledge.

What do you mean by uncontrolled observation?

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21 hours ago, happiness said:

In a field of interest to me, it's common for people make arguments like "the empirical evidence shows such and such" and proceed to ascribe their uncontrolled observations to whatever cause they want. Isn't all evidence based on observation, and aren't uncontrolled observations not really evidence at all? 

I read a question on Quora today that asks what would happen if children were raised with "empirical science" instead of religion. I was going to answer by saying that all science is empirical, but then it hit me that philosophy isn't—is it? So while all physical science is empirical, the statement I was going to make would not be true. Correct?

Some people use "uncontrolled observation" to refer to how researchers examine responses of people without properly recording behavior.  In THAT context, "empirical evidence" could include the product of guessing based on superficial similarities (non-essentials).

Now obviously that woozy kind of thinking should NOT be grouped together with precisely valid conceptual identification. So I have to wonder whether "empirical evidence" is a package deal. 

I would want a tree of conceptual identifications.  I would want to know how to move, step by step, from perceptible changes to their alleged "observations" (which are actually the end products of a long, complex process of identification).  I would want to know how they used their conceptual abstractions to reach their "observations".   I expect that such information would help me detect invalid concepts or errors of identification.

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14 hours ago, Eiuol said:

What do you mean by uncontrolled observation?

An example of the kind of observation and argument I'm talking about is "Usain Bolt ate Chicken Mcnuggets an hour before winning the Olympics; therefore, the 'empirical evidence' shows that eating Chicken McNuggets makes you fast." it is extremely common for people interested in exercise and physical training to follow the same reasoning to other equally stupid conclusions. 

Edited by happiness

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