The theory that all knowledge is based on experience derived from the senses. Stimulated by the rise of experimental science, it developed in the 17th and 18th centuries, expounded in particular by John Locke, George Berkeley, and David Hume
(Originally, in the philosophy of William James (1842–1910)) the theory that ultimate reality consists of pure experience; (more generally) the view that knowledge of reality can only be achieved through a rigorous and sceptical empiricism.
See logical positivism.
(In philosophy of science) the theory that, although capable of being strictly true or false, scientific theories aim only to describe observable phenomena adequately, and that acceptance of a scientific theory involves believing that it is adequate in this way, not that it is true.