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During the 13th century Thomas Aquinas adopted the Aristotelian position that the senses are essential to mind into scholasticism.
Bonaventure (1221–1274), one of Aquinas' strongest intellectual opponents, offered some of the strongest arguments in favour of the Platonic idea of the mind.
Machiavelli in particular was scornful of writers on politics who judged everything in comparison to mental ideals and demanded that people should study the "effectual truth" instead.
Their contemporary, Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) said, "If you find from your own experience that something is a fact and it contradicts what some authority has written down, then you must abandon the authority and base your reasoning on your own findings." The decidedly anti-Aristotelian and anti-clerical music theorist Vincenzo Galilei (c.
It is a fundamental part of the scientific method that all hypotheses and theories must be tested against observations of the natural world rather than resting solely on a priori reasoning, intuition, or revelation.
Empiricism, often used by natural scientists, says that "knowledge is based on experience" and that "knowledge is tentative and probabilistic, subject to continued revision and falsification." The English term empirical derives from the Ancient Greek word ἐμπειρία, empeiria, which is cognate with and translates to the Latin experientia, from which are derived the word experience and the related experiment.
For example, John Locke held that some knowledge (e.g.
It is one of several views of epistemology, the study of human knowledge, along with rationalism and skepticism.
Empiricism emphasizes the role of empirical evidence in the formation of ideas, over the idea of innate ideas or traditions; Empiricism in the philosophy of science emphasizes evidence, especially as discovered in experiments.
(Aristotle, On the Soul, 3.4.430 Aristotle's explanation of how this was possible was not strictly empiricist in a modern sense, but rather based on his theory of potentiality and actuality, and experience of sense perceptions still requires the help of the active nous.
These notions contrasted with Platonic notions of the human mind as an entity that pre-existed somewhere in the heavens, before being sent down to join a body on Earth (see Plato's Phaedo and Apology, as well as others).