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(Aristotle, On the Soul, 3.4.430 Aristotle's explanation of how this was possible was not strictly empiricist in a modern sense, but rather based on his theory of potentiality and actuality, and experience of sense perceptions still requires the help of the active nous.
These notions contrasted with Platonic notions of the human mind as an entity that pre-existed somewhere in the heavens, before being sent down to join a body on Earth (see Plato's Phaedo and Apology, as well as others).
Vaisheshika darsana, founded by the ancient Indian philosopher Kanada, accepted perception and inference as the only two reliable sources of knowledge. The earliest Western proto-empiricists were the Empiric school of ancient Greek medical practitioners, who rejected the three doctrines of the Dogmatic school, preferring to rely on the observation of "phenomena".
The notion of tabula rasa ("clean slate" or "blank tablet") connotes a view of mind as an originally blank or empty recorder (Locke used the words "white paper") on which experience leaves marks. The image dates back to Aristotle: What the mind (nous) thinks must be in it in the same sense as letters are on a tablet (grammateion) which bears no actual writing (grammenon); this is just what happens in the case of the mind.
knowledge of God's existence) could be arrived at through intuition and reasoning alone.
Similarly Robert Boyle, a prominent advocate of the experimental method, held that we have innate ideas.
In the late renaissance various writers began to question the medieval and classical understanding of knowledge acquisition in a more fundamental way.
In political and historical writing Niccolò Machiavelli and his friend Francesco Guicciardini initiated a new realistic style of writing.
Both natural and social sciences use working hypotheses that are testable by observation and experiment.It is known that he was the essential pedagogical influence upon the young Galileo, his eldest son (cf. Music and Science in the Age of Galileo Galilei), arguably one of the most influential empiricists in history.Vincenzo, through his tuning research, found the underlying truth at the heart of the misunderstood myth of 'Pythagoras' hammers' (the square of the numbers concerned yielded those musical intervals, not the actual numbers, as believed), and through this and other discoveries that demonstrated the fallibility of traditional authorities, a radically empirical attitude developed, passed on to Galileo, which regarded "experience and demonstration" as the sine qua non of valid rational enquiry.Thomas Hobbes and Baruch Spinoza, in the next generation, are often also described as an empiricist and a rationalist respectively.John Locke, George Berkeley, and David Hume were the primary exponents of empiricism in the 18th century Enlightenment, with Locke being the person who is normally known as the founder of empiricism as such.