Was ist Wahrheit in den Naturwissenschaften?

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Abstract

IN this little book Prof. B. Bavink discusses first the meaning of 'truth' in science and, secondly, the criterion by which we determine what is true and what is false. On the first point he contrasts the realistic view—that there is an external world which we examine and that our description of it is true if it corresponds faithfully to that world—with the positivist view that there is no world independent of our observations and that a statement about our observations is true if it is consistent with them all. As a compromise between these extremes he cites the Kantian doctrine that there is an external world but that it is unknowable and all our knowledge is of our experience. Prof. Bavink considers these attitudes in their relation to both general and particular scientific laws. Without definitely adopting any of these views he points out that in practice we usually think in terms of the first, and that in any case we must admit that scientific laws hold independently of the knowing subject. In the matter of the truth criterion he discusses the belief that mathematical and scientific theorems are conventions, and gives reasons for rejecting the positivist attitude in this matter. He finds the criterion of truth with respect to a scientific law in the convergence of different, and apparently independent, lines of research towards the same conclusion ; the law is true in so far as this convergence is without exception.

Was ist Wahrheit in den Naturwissenschaften?

Von Bernhard Bavink. Pp. 88. (Wiesbaden: Eberhard Brockhaus Verhag, 1947.) n.p.

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D., H. Was ist Wahrheit in den Naturwissenschaften?. Nature 163, 707 (1949) doi:10.1038/163707b0

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