Abstract zu »Empirie«
Empirical research is nowadays usually identified with statistical retrieval of data. Likewise the philosophical concept of empiricism, opposed to rationalism, stresses sensual information and observation. However, these notions do not sufficiently take into account how empirical research emerged by questioning what the unity of a phenomenon is and how it can be accessed by means of thought and communication. The article reassesses the history of empirical research, and it demonstrates that this history starts with Francis Bacon distrusting words and the power of verbal description. Empirical research challenges the equation of language and thought, but it does not attack rationalism or logic. The article eventually claims that this equation persists to be taken for valid in the humanities, which is the major obstacle to finding an adequate hermeneutical groundwork for philosophical and literary theory.