Influence of empiricism on scientific inquiry

  • Describe the influence of empiricism on scientific inquiry 


Science is influenced by people’s perception of reality because this is what science aims to explain and understand. Empiricism is a theory whereby all knowledge is gained through the senses so our perception of reality is gained only through our senses according to this theory. Using empiricism to answer the epistemology question “how do we know what we don’t know?” reveals that scientific investigation is influenced by what we observe of reality and attempt to explain with hypothesis’ then theories when applying the scientific method. Therefore, empiricism can be a source of an inquiry question which can direct a scientific investigation.

For example, observing the wings of a Beatle through the senses of sight. This empirical observation could lead us to inquire “what is the function of the wings of a Beatle?” Which results in an experiment where it is observed a Beatle with wings is capable of flying but the same type of Beatle without wings (genetically identical clone which is genetically engineered not to have wings for a more ethical study to reduce suffering) is unable to fly. Hence the function of the wings was discovered to be for flight hence emperiscm shaped scientific inquiry.

It should be noted that other ways of knowing can lead to the development of new scientific ideas. For example, thought experiments such as Einstein’s thought experiment to explain the phenomena of simultaneity with a speeding train lead to the inquiry and production of the theory of special relativity. 

Therefore, empiricism is one possible way to generate scientific inquiry questions to study the nature of reality.


Question 1. [not an exam style question]

Define empiricism, what are some of it’s limitations?

Question 2. [6 marks]

In what ways has empirical observations influenced your scientific understanding and your research inquiry question so far.

Leave a Reply

Homework emailed to you weeklyNever fall behind with physics, biology, chemistry, science extension and mathematics homework

Subscribe below to get homework emailed to you each week for free!

Join 27,053 other students getting ahead