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living through events and the impression on a person or animal of events. In epistemology, a distinction is made between things known inductively, from experience, and those known deductively or theoretically, from a priori principles. The ancients, under the influence of Plato and of Euclidean geometry, tended to prize deductive or theoretical knowledge above that gained through experience. Their influence was dominant through the Renaissance. With the rise of modern empirical science the preference was reversed. Immanuel Kant's critical epistemology, however, emphasized the dependence of all experience on the mediation of the intelligence. Modern thought has tended to agree with Kant; accordingly, discussion has centered on what, if anything, can be said to be immediately experience, and how this experience may be conditioned by social factors affecting the social milieu or by perceptual processes themselves.



sensory empirical knowledge of reality based on practical activity; the fusion of knowledge, abilities, and skills.

In the history of philosophy the empiricist and sensationalist views, which assert that experience is the only source of knowledge, have been widely held. Proponents of idealist empiricism, such as Berkeley and Hume, restricted experience to the sum of sensations and perceptions and denied that it was rooted in objective external reality. The materialist empiricists (for example, F. Bacon, Hobbes, Locke, Diderot, and Helvetius) proceeded from the assumption that the material world is the source of experience. “We know from the history of philosophy that the interpretation of the concept ‘experience’ divided the classical materialists from the idealists” (V. I. Lenin, Poln. sobr. sock, 5th ed., vol. 18, p. 153). In contrast to the empiricists, the rationalists (Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz) argued that logical thought could not be based on experience, which provides unclear, confused knowledge that may lead to error. In their view, reason had the power to arrive at truth directly, bypassing the empirical and sensory level of cognition.

In pre-Marxist philosophy the problem of experience was most deeply analyzed in German classical philosophy. Kant criticized the rationalist proposition of intellectual intuition, as well as the attempts of the sensationalists to derive general concepts from simple aggregates of sensory data. In Kant’s opinion, the human intellect is equipped with a priori (pre-experiential) forms of reasoning, through which sensory impressions are synthesized. Thus, the active role of the knower was emphasized. Hegel studied cognition as a developing, multilevel process. In this view, experience derives from the movement of consciousness, which sets goals for itself. Hegel believed that, insofar as the result attained through action fails to correspond fully to the intended goal, one’s views concerning an object are transformed by the comparison of what was desired with what was achieved, and new knowledge of an object emerges. This process constitutes experience.

Subjective idealist theories, many of which overemphasized the concept of experience in their epistemology, became common in 20th-century bourgeois philosophy. It was argued that the monistic views of materialists and idealists should be replaced by a more perfect, “neutral” monism, which would remove the categories of mind and matter from philosophical parlance, replacing them with the category of “pure experience” (Machism). Lenin’s work Materialism and Empiriocriticism revealed the untenability of such theories, which, in essence, continued the line of thought established by Berkeley and Hume (ibid.).

Among the many subjective idealist interpretations of experience are pragmatism and instrumentalism, which view experience as an “instrumental” aspect of making use of objects. Existentialism, another subjective idealist interpretation, regards experience as the inner world of the subject’s immediate experiences. Neopositivism interprets experience as the different states of consciousness of the subject and dismisses as a false issue the problem of whether objective external reality is the source of experience.

In contrast to idealism and unlike contemplative metaphysical materialism, dialectical materialism believes that experience stems from objective reality. Experience is also thought of as a process in which human beings act upon the external world in order to change it; because of this human activity, in the form of knowledge and skills, experience is also viewed as an interaction between subject and object. The concept of experience essentially coincides with the category of practice, especially experiment and observation, on the basis of which experience takes shape as the result of cognition, including the totality of historically formed knowledge.

The accumulation and transmission of experience from generation to generation are essential features of social development. Experience is objectivized in objects and language, in cultural values. As the practical activity of human beings and the result of that activity, experience reflects the degree to which people at a given stage of historical development have mastered the objective laws of nature, society, and thought. Marxism-Leninism is the scientific generalization and explanation of the experience of revolutionary struggle by the working class and all the toilers for their social emancipation, for the construction of socialism and communism, and for the development of science and culture.



a. the content of a perception regarded as independent of whether the apparent object actually exists
b. the faculty by which a person acquires knowledge of contingent facts about the world, as contrasted with reason
c. the totality of a person's perceptions, feelings, and memories
References in classic literature ?
In his voice was kindness--something of which White Fang had no experience whatever.
Their meagre physical experiences, plus their meagre intellectual experiences, made a negative sum so vast that it overbalanced their wholesome morality and healthful sports.
All philosophy, even that part of it which is said to be based upon experience, is really ideal; and ideas are not only derived from facts, but they are also prior to them and extend far beyond them, just as the mind is prior to the senses.
Stately and more familiar passages alike show that however much his experience had done to harden Milton's Puritanism, his youthful Renaissance love of beauty for beauty's sake had lost none of its strength, though of course it could no longer be expressed with youthful lightness of fancy and melody.
Of the three individuals, which has the greatest experience of all the pleasures which we enumerated?
The things we now esteem fixed shall, one by one, detach themselves like ripe fruit from our experience, and fall.
It was a token that he was harking back through his own life to the lives of his forebears; for he was a civilized dog, an unduly civilized dog, and of his own experience knew no trap and so could not of himself fear it.
In this essay he explains how what used to be the soul has gradually been refined down to the "transcendental ego," which, he says, "attenuates itself to a thoroughly ghostly condition, being only a name for the fact that the 'content' of experience IS KNOWN.
It is well within my experience, that young ladies of rank and position do occasionally have private debts which they dare not acknowledge to their nearest relatives and friends.
When his experience fails, he will retire from the position of narrator; and his task will be continued, from the point at which he has left it off, by other persons who can speak to the circumstances under notice from their own knowledge, just as clearly and positively as he has spoken before them.
I may venture to assert the same of every aspect of the story, while I confess that the particular typhoon of the tale was not a typhoon of my actual experience.
There is sometimes an odd disposition in this country to dispute as improbable in fiction, what are the commonest experiences in fact.