We live in a time in which we might say in some ways the spirit of the empirical rules. And I would want to be first in line to offer my gratitude for everything human observation and the use of the senses has brought us. But, and there is almost always a but, except with the apriori, for now I want to chastise the love of the empirical. I want to call it on its excess.
Empirical is the status of knowledge claims that are rooted in experience. Experience is the continued gathering up and processing of data made possible by action. Here I immediately enter a kind of controversy. There is a tributary stream of silly-talk in the empirical school. It is a stream that would reduce experience to something like passive, mechanical, receptive processing according to preset formula.
If you have not encountered this reading of human experience before, you may not take seriously its pervasiveness. The notion of cause and effect rooted in the constancy principle (that the future will be like the past) is a principle that makes experience possible. But the thinker should note that such a principle is not discoverable in experience. Ha! Hume showed us this years ago. It is old news, and yet it has not been thoroughly digested.
That I encounter and have experience of a something that is someway is taken as fundamentally true for it to be worth my attempting to gather up more information about it, compare it with yours, discard what we take to be anomaly or inadequate and move forward more robustly in relation to it. But note that we remain open to future experience. And this is at the heart of the empirical–openness to falsification, endless revision. Where does it end? It does not. How far does such insecurity extend? Well that depends on whether the thinker takes there to be any knowledge which is itself not empirical.
In order to understand the empirical pursuit of it two things must be presumed: constancy and action. Let’s be honest. The constancy principle is not found out there in experience. And, I cannot understand pursuit or experience humanly without noting their active nature. They are a doing something or they are waves washing on the sand. The choice is fundamental.
The worship of maybe but maybe not is a diabolical religion today. It is more and more demanded by those in power. It is often used to establish the preservation of the power structure by those in power. You have evidence that would disturb the power structure? Let us produce our pile of evidence and soon the debate is treading water in a sea of empirical research, hardly any definitive, hardly any universally agreed upon, and opposing teams left with their efforts at defense dogmatically.
I want to work on the apriori of action as a foundation for assertion which is not similarly out to sea. I do not aim for power or control in the social sense. I aim for insight that is the product of a work which is not made impossible by the work of the empirical research. It turns out that meditating on work itself contains insight. This is what I am calling the apriori of action.
My hope, I will wax poetic, is that a new dawn will arise after the final death of the drowning in the sea of maybe. Children will be brought up to learn systems where there are systems: logic and language, mathematics, action. The rest is data to be examined with an by the systems. The last is maybe the most essential–for humans do logic and mathematics and study and teaching. To any activity there are elements, rules and the appreciation of the rules opens a world of insight.
I, and I emphasize me, feel insecure rejecting the great monument of the empirical. I have been raised in its church. Trust the study! I turn to study study. Then I return back to the empirical with a healthy systemic analysis of all that is implied. To the apriori of action.