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The empiricists in general have tendencies which contrast with those of the rationalists. Empiricists hold that all the material for knowledge, our ideas or concepts, and all knowledge of actual matters of fact, as opposed to logical or conceptual truths, must be derived from, or are reducible to, aspects of our experience: features of the information provided by the content of our senses and introspection.


We should reject knowledge claims concerning matters of fact about the nature of the world which are not supportable by the evidence of experience. This leads to a tendency among empiricists to emphasize that the limit of human knowledge and imagination is bounded by the limit of our experience. Empiricists reject the rationalist claim that it is possible to come to know by a priori reason alone the nature of an intelligible real world inaccessible to experience that stands beyond appearances. The empiricist may argue that concepts (such as substance), and the terms that express them, are meaningless or else must relate to some possible experience, since concepts and terms get their meaning by reference to some possible experience, but a world beyond experience cannot be a world that might possibly be experienced; in either case it is not possible to use meaningful concepts to talk of a world beyond possible experiences.
The tendency in empiricism is also to deny the existence of natural necessity: necessity is a property only of logical relations between concepts, or of logical relations between ideas or thoughts, not between things or events in the world whose existence, nature and connections are all contingent; such natural contingent connections can be discovered not by reason, wh ...
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