Show Summary Details
Page of

date: 29 June 2022

p. 9213. Empiricismlocked

p. 9213. Empiricismlocked

  • Jonathan Barnes


‘Empiricism’ stresses that, for Aristotle, knowledge or science ultimately derives from perception. That is the source of the concepts in terms of which we seek to understand reality. Knowledge is not the same as perception, but is bred by generalization out of perception. This raises questions. Is sense perception reliable? How can we tell? How can we distinguish illusion from genuine perception? Are we justified in moving from particular observations to general truths? How can we know if our observations are sufficiently numerous or representative? Aristotle is dismissive of the sceptics in the Metaphysics: he thinks their views are not seriously held and need not be taken seriously.

Access to the complete content on Very Short Introductions online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.