Mario Bunge’s systemic thesis of truth: implications for research practice and the “reproducibility crisis”

Humanities Journal of Valparaiso 14:363-376 (2019)
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There are currently serious concerns that published scientific findings often fail to be reproducible, and that some solutions may be gleaned by attending the several methodological and sociological recommendations that could be found in the literature. However, researchers would also arrive at some answers by considering the advice of the philosophy of science, particularly semantics, about theses on truth related to scientific realism. Sometimes scientists understand the correspondence thesis of truth as asserting that the next unique empirical confirmation of a hypothesis suffices to attribute truth to it provisionally. Such empiricist bias is not necessarily at the core of CTT, but Mario Bunge proposed the synthetic thesis of truth, based on CTT, to explicitly avoid the bias. STT requires considering a hypothesis corroborated, both by purely empirical confirmation and external consistency or compatibility with the bulk of existing background knowledge. While a capricious understanding of CTT could be rigged to recommend the “one shot game” in hypothesis testing, STT clearly demands the use of multiple approaches, empirical as well as theoretical, and it asserts that a scientific test is effective to the extent to which it is neither purely empirical, nor viewed in isolation. Pattern consistency together with an understanding of causal relations make confirmed hypotheses robust and more reliable. The militancy of the double mechanism of hypothesis control of STT can help mitigate the reproducibility crisis. Earl Werner’s research program in community ecology is an example of the use of STT criteria, which leads to the development of reliable, cross-checked, ecological results, with high predictive capacity.



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Rafael Gonzalez Del Solar
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (PhD)

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References found in this work

Logic, semantics, metamathematics.Alfred Tarski - 1956 - Oxford,: Clarendon Press. Edited by John Corcoran & J. H. Woodger.
Chasing Reality: Strife Over Realism.Mario Bunge - 2006 - Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Robustness, discordance, and relevance.Jacob Stegenga - 2009 - Philosophy of Science 76 (5):650-661.
Mechanism and explanation.Mario Bunge - 1997 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 27 (4):410-465.

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