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  A philosophy of science which accords a double privilege to empirical observations over theoretical statements:

{img src=show_image.php?name=2022.gif } ontological privilege (see ontology): empiricism assumes that observational statements are the only ones which make direct reference to phenomena in the real world; and {img src=show_image.php?name=2022.gif } epistemological privilege (see epistemology): empiricism assumes that observational statements can be declared true or false without reference to the truth or falsity of theoretical statements.Empiricism is a fundamental assumption of positivism and logical positivism and is challenged by most modern philosophies of science, which establish connections between theoretical and observation languages in terms which allow for varying degrees of theoretical (co-) determination (see realism). Empiricism is also out of sympathy with those versions of postmodernism that insist on the importance of multiple points of view and with critiques derived from post-structuralism that seek to establish the social construction of different regimes of truth.

It is important, therefore, to distinguish between (a) an empiricist inquiry, which assumes that its facts somehow \'speak for themselves\' and represses the concepts and technologies that make its observations possible; and (b) an empirical inquiry, which is a substantive study that does not necessarily make any assumptions of ontological and epistemological privilege. (DG)



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