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Pronunciation: em-pir'ik


  1. A member of a school of Graeco-Roman physicians (late BCE to early CE) who placed their confidence in and based their practice purely on experience, avoiding all speculation, theory, or abstract reasoning; they were little concerned with causes or with correlating symptoms to gain a true understanding of a disease, even holding basic knowledge, physiology, pathology, and anatomy in low esteem and of no value in practice.
  2. Modern: testing a hypothesis by careful observation, hence rationally based on experience.
  3. Founded on practical experience, rather than on reasoning alone, but not established scientifically in contrast to rational1.
  4. Relating to an empiric1.

[see empirical]

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© Copyright 2018 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review date: Sep 19, 2016.