Difficulty may be found in carrying out this empiricist programme; but at the outset no one dreams of failure.
Mill boldly affirmed that there might be remote realms in space where 2+2 did not make 4 but some different total, even empiricists may hestitate to concur; and yet Mill's assertion is at least the most obvious empiricist reading of the situation.
What the modern empiricist needs is a rational bond uniting the individual with the community or with the aggregate of individuals - a rational principle distinguishing high pleasures from low, sanctioning benevolence, and giving authority to moral generalizations drawn from conditions that are past and done with.
The design argument is available for the slightly bolder philosophy of intuitionalism as well as for empiricist theism.
When we recollect the empiricist starting-point of science, it is curious to observe with what vehemence the average man of science now rejects free will.
In England, empiricist thought found a prophet in Bacon.
This is a form of the cosmological argument, and ought to go with an intuitionalist not an empiricist doctrine of causality.
Locke is thus a sensationalist and empiricist, but incompletely, and without perfect coherence.
This reveals the empiricist temper, and points to an attempted empiricist solution of great problems. Butler holds that more ambitious philosophies are valid, but he shrinks from their use.
He will not waste time upon triflers who deny what he thinks, in the light of the (empiricist!) Design argument, an absolutely clear truth.'
On the whole then Butler in personal conviction is an intuitionalist, wavering towards the idealism of his age; but in argument he is an empiricist, trying to reason every question as one of given facts.
Dismissing his earlier intuitionalism, in order, like Butler, to conciliate an empiricist age, M.
Allied with this more empiricist stand-point is the assertion that Greek philosophy borrowed from Moses; but in studying the Fathers we constantly find that groundless assertion uttered in the same breath with the dominant Idealist view, according to which Greek philosophy was due to incomplete revelation from the divine Logos.
Empiricist Natural Theology - the argument from Design.
So Avenarius (q.v.) was no materialist, but only an empiricist anxious to reclaim man's natural view of the world from philosophic incrustations; yet when his Empiriokriticismus ends in nothing but environment, nervous system, and statements dependent on them, without soul, though within experience, he comes near to materialism, as Wundt has remarked.
Soar, however, as he might, he was essentially not a doctrinaire, but an empiricist; his mind was objective.
Round this distinction a rather barren controversy has raged, and almost all modern philosophers have labelled themselves either "Intuitionalist" (a priori) or "Empiricist" (a posteriori) according to the view they take of knowledge.
If the empiricist denies the intellectual element in scientific knowledge, he must not claim absolute validity for his conclusions; but he may hold against the intuitionalist that absolute laws are impossible to the human intellect.
Helmholtz also wrote on philosophical and aesthetic problems. His position was that of an empiricist, denying the doctrine of innate ideas and holding that all knowledge is founded on experience, hereditarily transmitted or acquired.