The linguistic - cultural nature of scientific truth


While we typically think of culture as defined by geography or ethnicity (e.g., American culture, Mayan culture), the term also applies to the practices and expectations of smaller groups of people. Though embedded in the larger culture surrounding them, such subcultures have their own sets of rules like those that scientists do. Philosophy of science has as its main object of studio the scientific activity. A way in which we have tried to explain these scientific practices is from the actual ontological commitments that scientists do through their scientific theories. Certainly, we know scientific theories through some specific scientific language, which is, in its turn, a subset of the natural language developed by a particular culture. This study is conducted to explore and evaluate some of the most important epistemological consequences of these ontological commitments, specially the so-called ‘truth-commitment’ and its relation with a linguistic-cultural framework. There is an interesting debate between advocates and opponents of scientific realistic view of the natural world. Some lines of scientific realism argumentation assure that: (i) Mature scientific theories are approximately true. (ii) There are entities and organisms in the world that correspond with the ontology presupposed by the best scientific theories within a specific domain of scientific research and (iii) The new acceptable scientific theories should explain why past theories were successful predecessors (Colyvan 2008, Cocchiarella 2007 & Laudan 1981). Contrary, anti- realist positions ensure against the realist’s true - claim that is a semantic commitment - that the purpose of scientific theories to found the truth it is simple an unattainable goal, especially if the kind of truth they are looking for is a corresponding relation between scientific theories and the ontology of the world. Anti-realist positions held that this relation could be circular and unknowable. I do believe that there is a deep confusion between the way in which we accede to the knowledge of the constitutive structures, entities and organisms of the world (which is an epistemological matter) and the way these structures, entities and organisms are (which is an ontological matter). It seems that there is a bridge between the epistemological and ontological aspect in need for conceptual clarification. I do propose that the type of link between the two extremes have to be linguistic in nature.

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Damian Islas
National Autonomous University of Mexico

References found in this work

A Confutation of Convergent Realism.Larry Laudan - 1981 - Philosophy of Science 48 (1):19-49.
The Basic Works of Aristotle. Aristotle - 1941 - New York, NY, USA: Random House.
A Confutation of Convergent Realism.Larry Laudan - 1980 - In Yuri Balashov & Alexander Rosenberg (eds.), Philosophy of Science: Contemporary Readings. Routledge. pp. 211.

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