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:
“The most important American addition to the World Experience was the simple surprising fact of America. We have helped prepare mankind for all its later surprises.”
—Daniel J. Boorstin (b. 1914)
“Teaching Black Studies, I find that students are quick to label a black person who has grown up in a predominantly white setting and attended similar schools as not black enough. ...Our concept of black experience has been too narrow and constricting.”
—bell hooks (b. c. 1955)