- The word means:
- in practice
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.
You do not actually conduct an experiment.
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
By the numbers empirical evidence, not anecdotal experience, applies to a greater number of us. Empirical connotes a larger sample, or group of people.
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 has to do with a personal experience, measured only by that person, entirely subjective.
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.
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 subjective. 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.
If this article appears incomplete, it may be intentional. Try prompting for a continuation.