Tuesday, 17 February 2009


- Empiricism vs. A-Priori

If you follow the empirical approach, then you are always chasing definite and conclusive evidence for something, so I guess facts and figures are a good place to start. For example, symptoms of the recession; you would want to physically see evidence that proves Britain is in a worse financial state than 12 months ago...

Tuesday's (17/1) report about a 0.1% decline in the UK's inflation in the last month certainly fits in with the ideals of an empiricist as it is based on fact. I can say that with relative confidence as it comes direct from the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) and the subsequent report was published on the BBC News website. It has been documented that the main reasons for the decline, and yet another chapter in this economic downturn, are the falls in energy and fuel prices.

Meanwhile, my A-Priori example comes from Arsenal's Samir Nasri in today's Sun (19/1). The French midfielder said that new signing Andrei Arshavin could be "key" to solving the midfield problems of the North London outfit. Nasri told The Sun the Russian "will give us that little bit more penetration and incisiveness which the team have been lacking recently." Of course there is absolutely no proof that Arshavin will make a difference as yet, but as he is known for his attacking invention, it is a fair evaluation on Nasri's part, thus epitomising A-Priori. If you adopted an empirical point of view on this story, you would say something along the lines of: "This argument will only be valid if and when there is evidence, such as OPTA stats revealing that his average assist rate is higher than all the other Arsenal players."


  1. good examples - to be a journo you have to be thinking about the difference between fact and comment (empirical evidence vs reasoning from apriori principles). The later is always very dangerous because you can jump to conclusions and get a Fatal Error. Always stick to he facts. You can report option - eg "I think Arsebal will never again win anything" but you should always attribute thyat to a source or authority..."says" so and so or usually better "claims" so and so. It is a simple rule - stick to the provable facts to a fanatical extent and you will not go wrong in journalism.