Experience as a general concept comprises knowledge of or skill 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. 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, Surat Shabd Yoga, mysticism and Pentecostalism) and educational paradigms with, for example, the conditioning of military recruit-training (also known as "boot camps"), 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.
Famous quotes containing the word experience:
“Therefore, as necessarily we protect our children from harm, we are nevertheless not too quick to come between them and a negative experience from which they can safely learn something on their own.”
—Polly Berrien Berends (20th century)
“If Montaigne is a man in the prime of life sitting in his study on a warm morning and putting down the sum of his experience in his rich, sinewy prose, then Pascal is that same man lying awake in the small hours of the night when death seems very close and every thought is heightened by the apprehension that it may be his last.”
—Cyril Connolly (19031974)
“While I do not think it was so intended I have always been of the opinion that this turned out to be much the best for me. I had no national experience. What I have ever been able to do has been the result of first learning how to do it. I am not gifted with intuition. I need not only hard work but experience to be ready to solve problems. The Presidents who have gone to Washington without first having held some national office have been at great disadvantage.”
—Calvin Coolidge (18721933)