Based on experience and observation, rather than systematic logic. Experienced physicians often use empirical reasoning to make diagnoses, based on having seen many cases over the years. Less-experienced physicians are more likely to use diagnostic guides and manuals. In practice, both approaches (if properly applied) will usually come up with the same diagnosis.
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1. Founded on practical experience, rather than on reasoning alone, but not established scientifically, in contrast to rational (1). 2. Relating to an empiric (2). 3. Based on careful observational testing of a hypothesis; rational. SYN: empiric (1). [G. empeirikos; fr. empeiria, experience, fr. en, in, + peira, a trial]

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em·pir·i·cal -i-kəl also em·pir·ic -ik adj
a) following or used in the practice of the empirics compare RATIONAL (2)
b) being or befitting a quack or charlatan
2) originating in or based on observation or experiment <much medical lore had had an \empirical origin...centuries of trial-and-error gropings after remedies (R. H. Shryock)>
3) capable of being confirmed, verified, or disproved by observation or experiment <\empirical statements or laws>
em·pir·i·cal·ly -i-k(ə-)lē adv

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describing a system of treatment based on experience or observation, rather than of logic or reason.

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em·pir·i·cal (em-pirґĭ-kəl) based on experience.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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