• The word means:
    • in practice
    • experimental
    • non-philosophical
    • scientific


Empirical probability

The empirical (or experimental) probability of an event is an “estimate” that an event will occur based upon how often the event occurred after collecting data from an experiment in a large number of trials.

Theoretical probability

You do not actually conduct an experiment.

Political theory

Empirical political theory

Concerned with ‘what is.’

Normative political theory

Concerned with ‘what ought to be.’

Concerned about how the world should be and focuses on the exploration of values and what should be done based upon those values


Empirical evidence

  • Pros
By the numbers empirical evidence, not
anecdotal experience, applies to a greater
number of us.

Empirical connotes a larger sample, or group
of people.
  • Cons
But there is a limit to empiricism.

You'll be hard pressed to find an experiment
to where everyone had the same result.

Thus, the empirical is just a number, an
impersonal one.

It demonstrates the chance that something
applies to us, but does not guarantee it.

The empirical does not remove the need for
personal science.

Anecdotal evidence

Anecdotal has to do with a personal experience, measured only by that person, entirely subjective.

  • Cons
With all the errors of perception and memory,
one’s personal experience isn’t sufficient to
inform everyone else’s behavior (although it
often does).

And so, with the rise of the Scientific Method,
the anecdotal has given way to the empirical.
  • Pros
Whether you listen to one person’s experience,
or the evidence of a sample of other people,
that doesn’t tell you about you.

The highest use of science isn’t in the search
of the objective but in the discovery of the

If you want to find what works for you, you’ll
have to experiment for and on yourself.

When it comes the world of personal (applied)
science, “anecdotal” isn’t a dirty word, it
may be the most sacred of all words.