The Foundations of Empirical Knowledge

Abstract

FOR more reasons than one it is important that those who are engaged in acquiring empirical knowledge should sometimes ask what it is precisely that they are doing, and what is the significance of their work. Much depends on the answer to this question, for in the long run it determines the direction which history takes. High explosive and incendiary bombs may destroy the material products of civilization, but if civilization survives it can produce others: a false idea is a bomb of the delayed action type which may destroy civilization itself. For this reason I have on more than one occasion protested against the false notion, coming unfortunately from authoritative sources within the world of science itself, that what we call empirical knowledge can be acquired without recourse to experience, and that future experience must conform to it.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

DINGLE, H. The Foundations of Empirical Knowledge. Nature 147, 286–290 (1941). https://doi.org/10.1038/147286a0

Download citation

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.