Listen
On Now : Drama
Rumpole - Rumpole and the Portia of our Chambers
BBC Radio 4

Empiricism

Listen in pop-out player

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Empiricism, England’s greatest contribution to philosophy. At the end of the seventeenth century the philosopher John Locke wrote in his Essay Concerning Human Understanding: “All ideas come from sensation or reflection. Let us then suppose the mind to be, as we say, white paper, void of all characters, without any ideas:- How comes it to be furnished? Whence comes it by that vast store which the busy and boundless fancy of man has painted on it with an almost endless variety? Whence has it all the materials of reason and knowledge? To this I answer, in one word, from EXPERIENCE.”It was a body of ideas that for Voltaire, and for Kant after him, defined the English attitude to thought; a straight talking pragmatic philosophy that was hand in glove with a practical people.How was the philosophy of empiricism developed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries? And what effect did this emphasis on experience have on culture and literature in Britain?With Judith Hawley, Senior Lecturer in English at Royal Holloway, University of London; Murray Pittock, Professor of Scottish and Romantic Literature at the University of Manchester; Jonathan Rée, philosopher and author of Philosophy and its Past.

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Thu 10 Jun 2004 21:30

Featured in...

Download this programme

Download this episode

Subscribe to this programme or download individual episodes.

In Our Time Archive: A new way to find the programmes you want to hear

Free Will

We've created a new way to search through the programmes and would like your help.

In Our Time Downloads

melvyn-bragg.jpg

Every episode of In Our Time - available to download to listen to when & where you want.

Watch animations from A History of Ideas

The Libet Experiment

Explore some big questions about how we live today.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss