Empirical relationship

In science, an empirical relationship or phenomenological relationship is a relationship or correlation that is supported by experiment and observation but not necessarily supported by theory.[1]


Analytical solutions without a theory

An empirical relationship is supported by confirmatory data irrespective of theoretical basis such as first principles. Sometimes theoretical explanations for what were initially empirical relationships are found, in which case the relationships are no longer considered empirical. An example was the Rydberg formula to predict the wavelengths of hydrogen spectral lines. Proposed in 1876, it perfectly predicted the wavelengths of the Lyman series, but lacked a theoretical basis until Niels Bohr produced his Bohr model of the atom in 1925.[2]

On occasion, what was thought to be an empirical factor is later deemed to be a fundamental physical constant.[citation needed]


Some empirical relationships are merely approximations, often equivalent to the first few terms of the Taylor series of the analytical solution describing the phenomenon.[citation needed] Other relationships only hold under certain specific conditions, reducing them to special cases of more general relationship.[2] Some approximations, in particular phenomenological models, may even contradict theory; they are employed because they are more mathematically tractable than some theories, and are able to yield results.[3]

See also


  1. ^ Hall, Carl W.; Hinman, George W. (1983), Dictionary of Energy, CRC Press, p. 84, ISBN 0824717937
  2. ^ a b McMullin, Ernan (1968), “What Do Physical Models Tell Us?”, in B. van Rootselaar and J. F. Staal (eds.), Logic, Methodology and Science III. Amsterdam: North Holland, 385–396.
  3. ^ Roman, Frigg; Hartmann, Stephan. "Models in Science" . In Zalta, Edward N. (ed.). The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2012 ed.). Retrieved 24 July 2015.

Categories: Empiricism | Concepts in epistemology | Epistemology of science

Information as of: 09.06.2021 05:09:29 CEST

Source: Wikipedia (Authors [History])    License : CC-BY-SA-3.0

Changes: All pictures and most design elements which are related to those, were removed. Some Icons were replaced by FontAwesome-Icons. Some templates were removed (like “article needs expansion) or assigned (like “hatnotes”). CSS classes were either removed or harmonized.
Wikipedia specific links which do not lead to an article or category (like “Redlinks”, “links to the edit page”, “links to portals”) were removed. Every external link has an additional FontAwesome-Icon. Beside some small changes of design, media-container, maps, navigation-boxes, spoken versions and Geo-microformats were removed.

Please note: Because the given content is automatically taken from Wikipedia at the given point of time, a manual verification was and is not possible. Therefore LinkFang.org does not guarantee the accuracy and actuality of the acquired content. If there is an Information which is wrong at the moment or has an inaccurate display please feel free to contact us: email.
See also: Legal Notice & Privacy policy.