from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

As experience is known by perception and learning acquired skills and behaviors within the meaning of "life experience" the totality of all experiences that a person ever had, including their processing .


According to Jürgen Mittelstraß , experience is usually "the acquired ability of secure orientation [and] familiarity with certain action and factual contexts without recourse to independent theoretical knowledge" z. B. scientific nature meant: because of the constantly revolving in every experience, automatic, for the most part, while psychologically associative and at least later conscious mental ( mental or cognitive ) processing and beruhendem to knowledge and skills of a person, together with associated views , beliefs and principles hire . up to their individual, self-chosen and determined lifestyle and lifestyle as well as other behaviors that have developed over time as habits in response to their own experiences due to mere learning processes that are not reflected further .

In science , instead of the usually more personal experience , one speaks of “ empiricism ”. For scientific statements it is required that they come about on the basis of systematic and intersubjectively confirmed observations , which can include, for example, strictly controlled methodological measurements or experiments . Studies on such basis be methodically parent for distinguishing individual random or personal knowledge and experience with the demand for higher reliability empirical science or empirical science called. According to Oswald Schwemmer , all empirical sciences are subject to the same scientific explanatory model , including the disciplines he calls culture , but usually the humanities , in which only the obligations to justify are more complex than in natural sciences . Although these are widely regarded as prime examples of empirical sciences , any research based on documented facts is something of a historical nature, from cosmology to evolutionary theory and archeology , etymology and linguistics to the science of history . ( This is why religious studies differ in their empirical basis from theology ).


The writer William Saroyan once wrote: "Experience is the sum of mistakes made divided by one's own stupidity."

In everyday life, life experience generally refers to the tried and tested knowledge gained in the course of a lifetime. Professional experience means that someone had a certain professional activity for a long time , and when faced with many different situations that had to be mastered, acquired a wide range of knowledge.

The exchange of experiences is usually understood as mutual learning . Positive / good and negative / bad experiences mainly stand for the effects left behind by things experienced in the past , which one interprets and evaluates for one's life afterwards.

One also speaks of religious experiences (→ transcendental experience !) As, in the broadest sense, the human encounter with the transcendent , furthermore the impressions experienced in the form of contemplations , such as the mystical experience .

In education a distinction is made between primary experience and secondary experience . Primary experiences are immediate experiences that are made in direct contact with other people or an object. Experiences that one inherits from the perception of others are secondary experiences. These include, for example, experiences that are conveyed through the mass media .

In developmental psychology , experience is the event stored in the brain , without which learning processes and overall human development are inconceivable (or possible). The opposite of the situation associated with events is monotony , which generally does not have any beneficial effects (for learning processes ). Monotony hinders or prevents developmental progress (in humans, in mammals). In this respect, experience is the basic requirement for progress in developmental psychology.

In general, one differentiates an inner experience from an outer experience . External experience refers to the experience of "external", i. i.e. events taking place in the world, while inner experiences can take place completely in the area of imagination , thinking or feeling (→ self-experience ).

Immediacy and imparting experience

In epistemology, there are a number of terms related to the concept of experience or some of which are more frequently used. Experience in phenomena such as knowledge , skills , convictions and opinions or in the development of individual and cultural worldviews can play a decisive role. In contrast to other possible forms of knowledge, the concept of experience emphasizes that this has come about through direct, personal experience . Experience can only ever be related to a certain subject, which, however, in the limit case can also be the whole of humanity.

Knowledge, skills and abilities can be based on personal experience as well as on the experience of others who pass on their experiences through narratives, reports, lessons or even the mass media . For the recipient of the knowledge, they are then no longer experiences in the narrower sense, but "mere, abstract knowledge". Every self and directly gained knowledge of a person, on the other hand, is accompanied by a development of emotions , motivations and volitional decisions that take place in processes of experience . If other forms of knowledge appear “de-subjectified”, “value-free” - for example certain theories, knowledge systems, knowledge - this is never the case with experience.

Experience and empiricism in science

The level of experience plays a central role in science . The natural sciences in particular , but also the humanities, relate to the legitimation of their statements on tangible, sensual, sometimes also measurable quantities, in contrast to philosophy, for example . In science, however, the term empiricism is more common to denote the experience-based production of knowledge. Above all, this includes the scientific method , the strictly controlled observation and measurement of the objects of investigation or their controlled re-arrangement in the experiment . A science is “empirical” or “experience-based” if its results can be checked and verified or falsified at any time by third parties and their own experience .

While a whole range of sciences see themselves as empirical sciences and thus as experience-based, the concept of experience only explicitly plays a central role in some currents, especially in pragmatism , such as Wilhelm Dilthey or John Dewey .

Philosophical Approaches

Generally speaking, it can be stated that the concept of experience is not used unambiguously in philosophy . It allows materialistic as well as idealistic conclusions and needs a clear scientific and philosophical specification in specific contexts of use. It is precisely the ambiguity of the concept of experience that is one of the reasons for the many divergent definitions as well as for the numerous ways of using and interpreting the history of philosophy. In the history of philosophy, the discussion of the experience problem runs largely parallel to that of the knowledge problem. Rudolf Eisler distinguishes between three lines of tradition:

" Empiricism evaluates experience as the only source of knowledge, rationalism ascribes over-empirical cognitive power to thinking, criticalism emphasizes in various ways the need for experience and thinking to work together."

Following Immanuel Kant , the former can also be described as a posterior , the second as a priori , and the third as dualistic lines of tradition.

Modern philosophy

Although one can extend this perspective to the considerations of ancient and medieval philosophy, only a few philosophical approaches of the more recent times should be mentioned here. Empirical approaches more or less equate experience with perception and usually regard it as a central category of their philosophical systems. Francis Bacon first emphasized, with a view to the development of modern science, the value of methodically guided experience over everyday experience. Thomas Hobbes regarded sensual perception as the source of ideas from which all knowledge comes, and strictly separates sensation from thought. John Locke assumes that all knowledge comes from external or internal experience, the spirit merely serves the connection, separation and generalization of the experience and the soul is a tabula rasa : nothing is in the mind that was not previously in the senses. George Berkeley and David Hume used Locke's views to derive their empirical systems. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz expands this view: There is nothing in the mind that was not previously in the senses - except for the intellect itself. He is already pointing to dualistic and even dialectical possibilities.

Rationalist approaches, especially those of classical objective idealism , see experience as subordinate to the a priori - (either innate or mentally prepared) - ideas and thoughts. René Descartes and Spinoza see reason as the primary source of knowledge, although they do accept the fact of making experiences. Descartes' idea of ​​“innate ideas” ( Ideae innatae ) in particular has a formative effect up to modern times (for example with Noam Chomsky ). Fichte regards the system of our ideas as experience. According to Hegel , experience is independent of the determinations of pure thinking. In addition to ordinary experience as certainty that we receive from external things and their nature through the senses, Schelling also allows revealed supersensible and divine aspects to be considered “higher” empiricism. Arthur Schopenhauer regards experience as everything that can occur in empirical consciousness. Many neo-Kantians also tend to take rationalist positions, such as Otto Liebmann , Hermann Cohen and Paul Natorp .

Immanuel Kant as well as positivism

The most important origin of “dualistic” approaches is the completely new understanding of experience that Immanuel Kant introduced into philosophy. First, Kant used the term in an extraordinarily broad understanding that encompasses knowledge in the broadest sense. For him, experience designates both the object and the method of knowledge, the coherence of all functions of knowledge under the law of thought: the product of the senses and the understanding. All of our knowledge lies in the whole of all possible experience. Second, he differentiates and structures this concept of experience in depth. On the one hand, experience for him is the knowledge of objects through perceptions, a synthesis of perceptions, thus signifying a constantly progressing knowledge process and delivering empirical, objectively valid results.

But this is nothing less than an empirical approach. On the other hand, he clearly states that the understanding itself is the author of experience through its concepts (that is, of the categories ), that the understanding principles, as synthetic a priori knowledge , anticipate experience. Thirdly, experience is inserted into the interplay of a priori and a posteriori and a question that is still valid today is asked: To what extent is the sensory perception and the cognitive processing of what is perceived by already existing - phylogenetically or ontogenetically or socially acquired - mechanisms determined by the receptor configurations and Do the possibilities and limits of neural self-organization extend to the socially prescribed knowledge, attitudes and evaluations?

The positivism of thinkers as diverse as John Stuart Mill , Auguste Comte , Karl Eugen Dühring , Richard Avenarius , Joseph Petzold , Ernst Mach and many others ties in with classical empiricism and tries in different ways to turn the (absolute, pure) experience into the source of all to determine true knowledge.

To the task of clearing the inner experience

One of the tasks that remains to be clarified is to find an extended access to inner experience, not just in terms of the relative a priori. Thus, in the context of self-organization theory, especially here the autopoiesis theory of Humberto Maturana , to the emergence of new spiritual without any input from the environment noted.

Sociological approach: experience according to Oskar Negt

The Marxist sociologist Oskar Negt used in the early 1960s a concept of experience, among other things, for the trade union education was central. He developed his position in Sociological Fantasy and Exemplary Learning from 1964 and in the book Public and Experience from 1972, which was written with Alexander Kluge . According to Negt, experiences are, on the one hand, specific forms of production for processing reality, and on the other hand, active reactions to this reality. Although experiences have to go individually “through the heads of individual people”, they are “moments of a confrontation with reality, with society, mediated by concepts and language”.

For workers' education this means that it must start with the collective experiences of workers . Educational work based on collective experience runs less of a risk of imparting semi-education . To this day, one speaks of the “experience approach” in trade union education.

Life experience with judges

Personal life experience is the basis for judges' assessment of evidence . They have to meet three essential requirements for their office as judges, namely, in addition to life experience, subsumption and logical thinking skills . Life experience reflects the judges' insights that have been generalized from the observation of individual cases. It can condense in such a way that it is absolutely imperative to pay attention to it. " Experience sentences are the rules obtained on the basis of general life experience or scientific knowledge, which do not allow any exception and which have a probability bordering on certainty as their content". The application of the experience of life is a task tatrichterlicher appraisal which no legal control of the Court of Appeals subject. However, findings of fact that are obviously contrary to experience need to be checked in the revision procedure based on life experience.



Web links

Wiktionary: Experience  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Jürgen Mittelstraß: Encyclopedia Philosophy and Philosophy of Science , Volume I, Mannheim 1980, p. 569.
  2. Oswald Schwemmer: Theory of the rational explanation. On the methodological foundations of cultural studies . Beck, Munich 1976.
  3. Rudolf Eisler, Article Experience . In: Dictionary of Philosophical Terms . Vol. 1, Berlin 1904.
  4. BGH, decision of September 8, 1999, Az .: 2 StR 369/99 = StV 2000, 69 .
  5. Bernhard Wieczorek / Rolf A. Schütze, Großkommentar ZPO, §§ 355-510c ZPO , Volume 6, 2013, § 402 Rn. 75 f., P. 502 .