experience

experience

[ik-speer-ee-uhns]
experience, 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.

Experience as a general concept comprises knowledge of or skill in or observation of some thing or some event gained through involvement in or exposure to that thing or event. The history of the word experience aligns it closely with the concept of experiment.

The concept of experience generally refers to know-how or procedural knowledge, rather than propositional knowledge. Philosophers dub knowledge based on experience "empirical knowledge" or "a posteriori knowledge". The interrogation of experience also has a long tradition in continental philosophy. The German term Erfahrung, which is translated as 'experience' into English has, however, a slightly different implication, given that it is associated with the coherency of life's experiences.

A person with considerable experience in a certain field can gain a reputation as an expert.

Certain religious traditions, such as in certain types of Buddhism, Surat Shabd Yoga and mysticism) and educational paradigms with, for example, the conditioning of boot camps, stress the experimental nature of human epistemology. This stands in contrast to traditions of dogma, logic or reasoning. Activities such as tourism, extreme sports and recreational drug use also tend to stress the importance of experience.

Types of experience

The word "experience" may refer, somewhat ambiguously, both mentally unprocessed immediately-perceived events as well as to the purported wisdom gained in subsequent reflection on those events or interpretation of them.

Most wisdom-experience accumulates over a period of time, though one can also experience (and gain general wisdom-experience from) a single specific momentary event.

One may also differentiate between physical, mental, emotional and spiritual experience(s).

Immediacy of experience

Someone able to recount an event they witnessed or took part in has "first hand experience". First hand experience of the "you had to be there" variety can seem especially valuable and privileged, but it often remains potentially subject to errors in sense-perception and in personal interpretation.

Second-hand experience can offer richer resources: recorded and/or summarised from first hand observers or experiencers or from instruments and potentially expressing multiple points of view..

Third-hand experience, based on indirect and possibly unreliable rumour or hearsay, can potentially stray perilously close to blind honouring of authority.

The Subjective Experience

A state of individual subjectivity, perception on which one creates their own state of reality; a reality that is based on one’s interaction with their environment. The subjective experience is based on one’s individual ability to process data, store and internalize it, for example: our senses collect data, which is then processed according to biological programming (genetics), neurological network relationships and other variables such as relativity etc., all of which affect our individual experience of any given situation in such a way as to render it subjective.

Games

Role-playing games treat experience (and its acquisition) as an important and valuable commodity. See experience point.

Writing

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.

Art

The art group Monochrom organized a series of happenings that ironically take up the implications of this term: Experience the Experience

See also

External links

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