A technician explains measurements whilst a scientist explains observations.

What is New Empiricism?

New Empiricism addresses the simple observations and questions of everyday life such as: 'when I say "now!" how do I hear a word that is in the past?' or 'when I look in a mirror I cannot see my eyes move so what am I seeing while they move?' and integrates these into a scientific description of our human and physical world. It delivers descriptions of our experience in simple terms and then asks what sort of theory can explain these descriptions.

New Empiricism holds that our experience, our mind, is a real phenomenon that will, one day, have a physical explanation and that we should not declare that it is supernatural and inexplicable or use school physics to deny that it exists.

The various articles on New Empiricism are listed in the Table of Contents on the left.

A good starting point is the "Introduction to New Empiricism" and "Time and conscious experience" treats the subject in more depth. If you find yourself bridling at the novelty of this approach and feel it should be dismissed try "Perceiving perception" and "Materialists should read this first" which provide arguments about why you might believe your own experience.

The purpose of this site is to try to alert research workers to the possibility that our conscious experience may be localised in our brains. Bizarre as it may seem to lay visitors, many philosophers and neuroscientists are materialists or dualists and absolutely refuse to countenance the possibility that conscious experience is localised and would actively discourage research on the matter as pointless (See "Where is conscious experience?").

New Empiricism is not just academic or agitating for research, it has consequences such as the insight that digital computers with defined states for each clock pulse cannot have conscious experience and that if God exists He would exist as part of, or the whole of, what we call the physical world. It also has consequences for what is called free will", suggesting that our will is the result of training (See "Conscious free will and empiricism").

New Empiricism is an updated form of William James' Radical Empiricism. Like James it takes the view that our experience can be inspected and analysed and should not be dismissed on the basis of theory. Although there is considerable overlap with James' empirical observations the analysis of New Empiricism is inclined towards indirect and representational realism. (It should not be confused with the 'New Empiricism' movement in architecture).

New Empiricism is a scientific approach which recognises that we can compare our conscious experience and treat our observations scientifically. The most probable physical explanation of our conscious experience is that dimensional time exists and spacetime has a geometry that permits point observation (See An Introduction to New Empiricism). However, the objective of New Empiricism is not to provide certainties, it is to demonstrate that materialism and dualism are in error and that other hypotheses are needed if we are to explain "mind".

If a scientist were to find a phenomenon where the current theory (physical description) of that phenomenon did not correspond to the reality of observations then he would rub his hands with glee. He would have found that most elusive of situations: a chance to expand scientific theory. Philosophers on the other hand have a tendency to dismiss observations that do not correspond to theory, I hope the articles on this web site might convince them otherwise.

Our conscious experience is a projective geometrical space and projective geometry was developed to describe it so that artists could produce a convincing appearance for their pictures. Physics in three dimensions will not be adequate for a description of a projective space such as our experience. Many people have spotted that there is a difference between physical theory and the reality of experience but it would be nice to see more people adapting physical theory to remove the difference.