From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"Nothing, indeed, can be more harmful or more unworthy of the philosopher, than the vulgar appeal to so-called experience. Such experience would never have existed at all, if at the proper time, those institutions had been established in accordance with ideas." --The Critique of Pure Reason, Kant
"Experience, the name men give to their mistakes." --Vera; or, The Nihilists (1880) by Oscar Wilde
"I am going to write about what I never saw myself, nor experienced, nor so much as heard from anybody else, and, what is more, of such things as neither are, nor ever can be. I give my readers warning, therefore, not to believe me." --A True Story (2nd century) by Lucian, Thomas Francklin translation
The history of the word experience aligns it closely with the concept of experiment. For example, the word experience could be used in a statement like: "I have experience in fishing".
The concept of experience generally refers to know-how or procedural knowledge, rather than propositional knowledge: on-the-job training rather than book-learning. Philosophers dub knowledge based on experience "empirical knowledge" or "a posteriori knowledge".
The interrogation of experience has a long tradition in continental philosophy. Experience plays an important role in the philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard. The German term Erfahrung, often translated into English as "experience", has a slightly different implication, connoting the coherency of life's experiences.
A person with considerable experience in a specific field can gain a reputation as an expert.
Certain religious traditions (such as types of Buddhism, mysticism and Pentecostalism) and educational paradigms stress the experiential nature of human epistemology. This stands in contrast to alternatives: traditions of dogma, logic or reasoning. Participants in activities such as tourism, extreme sports and recreational drug-use also tend to stress the importance of experience.
Alternatives to experience
- "Nothing, indeed, can be more harmful or more unworthy of the philosopher, than the vulgar appeal to so-called experience. Such experience would never have existed at all, if at the proper time, those institutions had been established in accordance with ideas." --The Critique of Pure Reason
These views of Kant are mirrored in the research of ideasthesia, which demonstrates that one can experience the world only if one has the appropriate concepts (i.e., the ideas) about the objects that are being experienced.
The American author Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote an essay entitled "Experience" (published in 1844), in which he asks readers to disregard emotions that could alienate them from the divine; it provides a somewhat pessimistic representation of the Transcendentalism associated with Emerson.
From Middle English, from Old French, from Latin experientia (“a trial, proof, experiment, experimental knowledge, experience”), from experiens, present participle of experiri (“to try, put to the test, undertake, undergo”), from ex (“out”) + *periri (“to go through”), in past participle peritus (“experienced, expert”); see expert and peril.
- Armchair traveler
- Vicarious experience
- Experience economy
- The inner experience
- The 'limit experience'
- The film experience