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Empiricist Warns Against Reliance On Pure Analysis


Walter T. Stace, professor of Philosophy, emeritus, at Princeton University, last night attacked as a misconception the notion that empirical philosophers must devote themselves entirely to analysis.

Stace, in the first Alfred North White-head Lecture, spoke on "Some Misinter-pretations of Empiricism" before a large audience in Emerson Hall.

He said that the general empirical principle that meaningful verbal expressions must be analysable in terms of experience has been incorrectly identified with the proposition that analysis is the sole function of philosophy.

Denying that this is the empirical view of philosophy, he stated that "the empirical principle applies to all concepts and all knowledge." Empiricism, he said, provides a technique for analysis, but does not limit the scope of philosophers.

Stace also attempted to refute the view that physical sensation is the only kind of experience recognized in empiricism. "Empiricism is neutral on the number of kinds of experience," he declared. The sensationalist theory, he said, ought not to attempt to prove its truth on the basis of empiricism.

Consciousness Is Valid Experience

"Philosophers need not deny the existence of an inner stream of consciousness," Stace continued. "Consciousness is not purely a bodily movement," and inner mental experience is as valid as sensual experience as an object of philosophical analysis, he said.

Defending empiricism from the charge that its principles are self-defeating, he admitted that it has purely stipulative elements. He noted that the charge of "circularity" had been made by Alfred North Whitehead, in whose honor the lecture series was established.

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