The Importance Of Empiricism In Psychology

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David Hume once stated, “No amount of observations of white swans can allow the inference that all swans are white, yet the observation of a single black swan is sufficient to refute that conclusion.” (Lutus2013) The philosopher was stating a significant rule of science; always consider alternative explanations and never accept anything at face value. Defining an area of study as a science requires an unyielding view of the standards defining evidence, jargon and the methodological approach taken in research and experimentation. However certain areas of psychology stray from this fundamental standard when doing research, questioning the fact of whether or not it is science.
One of the more regarded ideals in a hard science is evidentiary standards.
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Psychology uses the empiricists rational in the collection of data. Empiricism by definition is the “doctrine that all knowledge is gained through sense experience,” (dictionary) meaning that all knowledge is gained by utilizing the sensory systems of the brain. Since psychologists study the mind and its internal processes, it is impossible for psychology to be objective as it is using a system that derives its evidence from thoughts and observations to study the very mind the that the observations are …show more content…
“Experiments are a scientific processes used to test a hypothesis, make a discovery or demonstrate a known fact.” (Lutus 2013) Psychological experimentation does not meet this requirement due to several social and scientific reasons. One such social reason is the ethical consideration when it comes to doing experiments, for the most part it’s ok to do dissection work on rats and birds to gain insight on the inner workings of their brains. Human research tends to be a more controversial subject as you cannot in sound mind complete the same experiments that you can on animals. For psychology to meet the definition of a hard science experiment it would have to deprive humans of their most basic physical and social needs. To have a scientifically controlled experiment they would not be allowed to know what essential care was being denied in order to keep the experiments the most objective. One way that psychology has attempted to go around this is by retrospective studies; the studies look at what has already happened instead of working in a controlled environment. These retrospective studies by default cannot differentiate between the cause and effect making their results suspicions and weakening the standards accepted by the psychological community as

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