Word painting can easily be seen as the result of the philosophy of empiricism. Empiricism is the belief that a scene only exists when you perceive it; you only learn that which you are sure of through your senses. Radcliffe and Wordsworth wrote during the enlightenment, a period when philosophers like Hobbes and Locke made empiricism a well know topic of debate. Although both Radcliffe and Wordsworth use a very visual vocabulary, there are aspects of "Tintern Abbey" which seem to contradict empirical theory. For example, Wordsworth declares his need too improve on that which he has perceived using his imagination:

Therefore I am still
A lover of... eye and ear, — both what they half create,
And what perceive;" (ll.102-106)

This passage seems to go against empiricist beliefs.

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