Conceptual or Empirical?
©1999 Edward G. Rozycki, Ed.D.

edited 4/14/12

Conceptual statements (sometimes called "analytic statements" by some philosophers) are such that we can judge their truth or falsity purely on the basis of our understanding their meaning. We often get a sense of oddness or immediate assent when we read them. (Statistics are sometimes added -- pointlessly and misleadingly -- to such statements for puposes of persuasion.)

Empirical statements (sometimes called "synthetic statements", also) cannot be judged to be true or false without information external to the statement. (Of course, our ability to agree on the answers depends upon a consensus as to the meanings of the critical terms. This consensus may not be widespread. )

For the statements listed below:

A. Decide whether the following statements state conceptual relationships, or
B. Empirical relationships
C. Can you determine if the statements are true or false?


Status: Conceptual or Empirical?
1. Only 30% of all dogs in this city are canines.  
2. At least 50% of every tennis class is female.  
3. At least 45% of all oak trees are not herbivores.  
4. Few carnivores are shark-eaters.  
5. Punishment deters crime..  
6. 70% of all felons have escaped conviction.  
7. An adequate educational program has less than an 80% failure rate.  
8. At least 56% of all mammals are bears.  
9. Only 35% of all cows produce milk.  
10. Only 35% of all milk-producing animals are cows.  
11. Corporal punishment is child abuse.  
12.At least 48% of cows are mammals.  
13. Rewards are reinforcers.  
14. Reinforcers are necessary to cause learning.