Much of science is founded on empiricist principles, and would not have advanced without it. If we base our conclusions about the world on empiricism, we can change our theories and improve upon them and see our mistakes. A rationalist seems to have to say that we’ve discovered innate knowledge and then be embarrassed if they’re ever wrong
Empiricism represents an attempt to remove metaphysical and ideological questions from science by sticking strictly to observations. However, critics has pointed out, that pure observations does not exist, that our observations are theory laden.
Thus empiricists proposed to show how all the ideas requisite for the kind of knowledge afforded by the new science could be derived from sensation. For epistemologists of this persuasion the certainty accorded the new science rests on the claim that its description of nature rests on observational evidence which, in the last analysis reduces to an enormous number of particular sensations of particular subjects.
Since every idea is by definition the "private" possession of the mind that thinks it, there is no way to demonstrate that any (allegedly) innate idea does indeed display the characteristics of clarity and distinctness. Indeed the whole hypothesis of innate ideas was regarded by empiricists as unprovable, incoherent, and unnecessary for a proper account of knowledge.
John Locke (1632-1704) thought that the human mind at birth was a tabula rasa (blank tablet) on which experience writes the general principles and details of all knowledge. This is completely opposite to the rationalists (see above). Whereas a rationalist would attempt to find knowledge by thought alone, an empiricist would use the methods of the experimental sciences.
Locke was no extremist in his empiricism; he regarded knowledge as a product of reason working out connections between ideas derived from sensory experience. Philosophers identify him as the first of the British Empiricists.
Three principal philosophers are associated with British Empiricism: John Locke, George Berkeley, and David Hume.
Humans, who are the servants and interpreters of nature, can act and understand no further than they have observed in either the operation or the contemplation of the method and order of nature.
The "empirical world" is the world of the senses, i.e. the world we can see, feel, touch, hear and smell.
In philosophy (Honderich, 1995), empiricism is a school of thought that stresses the role of the five senses in the construction of knowledge. Classical empiricism began with John Locke (1632–1704)