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date: 17 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Conceptions of truth in relation to the sciences vary extensively along two dimensions. The first concerns the applicability of the notion of truth to scientific knowledge, resulting in a number of contentions regarding the relevance or importance of truth in this context. The second dimension concerns the particular theory of truth one might think applicable, and here one finds a variety of preferences, including: truth as coherence, especially suited to historicist and sociological approaches to science; truth as utility, described by pragmatist approaches to science; and truth via correspondence or truth-making, especially in the context of various forms of “realism” in connection with scientific knowledge. This chapter travels along the first dimension in the direction of increasing commitment to the applicability of truth, and in each case explores the second dimension: how different views of scientific knowledge appeal, explicitly or implicitly, to different theories of truth.

Keywords: science, truth, historicism, sociology of knowledge, empiricism, realism, approximate truth, correspondence, coherence, pragmatism

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