The problem of truth and rationality in scientific knowledge
As a result of studying this chapter, the master student must:
• the essence of theoretical problems related to scientific truth;
• Specificity of absolute truth, relative truth, concrete truth;
• the preconditions and essence of dogmatism and relativism in science;
• the main criteria of scientific truth;
• Leading approaches to understanding the rationality of science;
• the main types of scientific rationality;
• the content of the categories "rationality", "the type of scientific rationality", "truth", "absolute truth", "relative truth", "concrete truth", "dogmatism", "relativism" , verification & quot ;, falsification & quot ;;
be able to
• Identify differences in the understanding of truth in relation to the main scientific world pictures;
• characterize the main approaches to understanding the essence of scientific rationality;
• Identify the specificity of scientific rationality in the theory of social work;• a categorical device for investigating truth and rationality in science;
• skills to identify the criteria of truth in relation to scientific theories of social work;
• skill analysis of specificity of rationality of specific scientific theories.
The problem of truth in scientific knowledge
Questions about the possibility of obtaining true knowledge, about ways to substantiate the reliability of those or other statements are the most important problem not only in the philosophy of science, but in philosophy in general, as well as in human practice. So, the social worker is concerned about the truthfulness of the methods used in his professional activity, the selected theoretical approaches to substantiating certain practical actions.
The goal of cognitive efforts in most cases is to know truth. However, there are types of knowledge for which this goal is not the main, or even not at all. So, artistic knowledge comprehends not so much the truth, as much beauty. For everyday knowledge, the benefit is important, for the ethical - the knowledge of good and evil. Knowing truth as a special and primary task is important, first of all, for scientific knowledge.
In epistemology and epistemology, as in philosophical knowledge in general, truth is realized not only as a category of the theory of knowledge, but also as an important social value.
In popular educational literature, as a rule, there is talk about specific, relative, absolute truths, and as a result, it seems that these are different autonomous forms and types of knowledge. However, in the real practice of scientific cognition, they manifest themselves as different aspects of the truth of knowledge.
The nature of truth
Most philosophers define truth as true knowledge, as knowledge that corresponds to reality Thus, only knowledge about items and processes can be true or false, but not themselves these processes and objects. With this approach, it is inevitable that any truth is objective. However, only objects, things, processes independent of the subject can have this quality. From the understanding of truth as true knowledge, it follows that there is not a single circle of phenomena other than human knowledge that could be judged from the standpoint of truth: only knowledge can be (or may not be) true. Since knowledge is the product of subjective human (cognitive) activity, the validity of the term "objectivity of truth" is questionable: how can the product of the activity of the knowing subject be objective?
In fact, objectivity is associated with content of human notions and concepts. It is possible to speak about objective truth when the content of knowledge coincides with the real characteristics of those objects that are reflected in this knowledge, when nothing subjective is introduced into such content, as "imagined" subject to the object. Thus, the objectivity of truth means that its content coincides with objective reality, that it is knowledge reflecting the reality of exactly what it is, that is, it's not composed subject of knowledge, not brought by his own good or evil understanding.
It is on the basis of objective knowledge that a person is able to adapt to his environment, transform it into his own purposes. This is possible only when knowledge of the environment coincides in content with the environment itself.
However, the truth is not only objective, but is subjective. If the objectivity of truth is related to its content, subjectivity is primarily determined by the presentation form of true knowledge. For example, one and the same true information can be presented in oral or written speech, can be expressed in United States or English. Often, the choice of the form of presentation is determined by the specific interests of the subject, the specific cognitive situation. In this sense they speak of subjectivity of truth. The nature and form of the acquired knowledge inevitably experience the influence of the psychological characteristics of the cognizing person, the level of his theoretical development, the degree of interest in the results of cognition.Absolutization of the objectivity of truth, its consideration in isolation from the subjective representation of knowledge can lead to the absolutization of knowledge, to their transformation into a set of unchanged, frozen values (dogmas), in other words, to the dogmatization of the cognitive process.
Thus, according to form truth is subjective, for it is knowledge, and knowledge exists only in the human mind. Even if knowledge is objectified, objectified in texts, symbols, signs, this does not mean that knowledge thus exists outside consciousness. Without understanding in the human consciousness, these symbols and texts are empty, they are only a shell, from which, in the absence of a person, knowledge disappears, and in the presence of a person who understands the meaning of the corresponding symbols, these "shells" again filled with knowledge.
Is truth absolute? Can an infinite world be closed in the finite framework of knowledge? Philosophy formulates this problem as a matter of comprehension of absolute truth. In this case, absolute truth is most often understood as complete, comprehensive knowledge of the object.
Relativist philosophers (from Latin relatio - relative) argue that there is no absolute truth at all because exhaustive knowledge of any object inevitably implies an exhaustive knowledge of the world as a whole. The world is infinite and at every particular moment of time one can not have all the information about this world, therefore the knowledge of man is relative, and since absolute truth does not exist, the process of cognition moves from one error to another. Such, for example, is the logic of reasoning by the representative of the critical rationalism of Karl Raimund Popper.
For dogmatics any truth is absolute, and in fact, acts as dogma, ie. eternal, once and for all given an exhaustive position, not requiring development.
Dialectical epistemology seeks to show that there are no rigid limits to cognition, there is no absolute antithesis between the phenomenon and the "thing in itself," as I. Kant claimed. The difference is only between what we know and what is not yet known. In connection with this, the task of epistemology is to discover how from ignorance knowledge is obtained, how incomplete knowledge becomes more complete and more precise. This problem is solved by epistemology on the basis of the dialectic absolute and relative truth.
Such an aspect of the dialectic of truth arises only when understanding the process of cognition (and therefore, the process of obtaining truth) not as an instantaneous act, but as a process of constant development of knowledge. This side of knowledge was well expressed in the philosophy of GV Hegel, who believed that "truth is not a minted coin that can be given in a finished form (gegeben werden) and in the same kind hidden in a pocket". Reaching the truth is an endless process of cognition.
Sometimes absolute truth is considered as a complete, exhaustive knowledge of an object that is unattainable at any particular moment in time. With this approach, absolute truth is understood as the limit to which human knowledge aspires asymptotically, but which will never be achieved. However, such an approach appears to be akin to agnosticism, since it actually denies the possibility of comprehending the truth.
The world around the world, including the world of social work, is multifaceted and diverse, so the amount of knowledge that a person receives in the process of interacting with reality, covers only some aspects of this many-sided and many-sided world. Such knowledge can give, albeit an incomplete, approximate, but still true idea of the individual aspects of the world around us.
Incomplete, though true, representations are constantly refined and improved. This expresses the relativity of the truth of our knowledge. Obviously, the main reason for such relativity is the limited nature of social and historical practice as the basis of cognition.
It should be borne in mind that the concepts objective truth and absolute truth are attached to the same phenomenon-true, correct knowledge. However, in the concept of objective truth reflects the fact that the content of this knowledge is independent of the subject; in turn, the concept of "absolute truth" characterizes the same knowledge, but in terms of their completeness. With this approach, it becomes obvious that truth can retain its objective character (ie, remain true), being known and only partially. To this truth, the term relative is used.
Relative truth is knowledge that is relevant to reality, which is incomplete and is supplemented and refined with the development of cognition and practice. In this case, absolute truth is represented as an infinite set of relative truths, with the knowledge of each of which the absolute truth is more and more fully learned, and the process of knowing this truth can never be completed.Often, the absolute truths include the so-called "truths of fact", for example, that the Volga flows into the Caspian Sea, that April 12, 1961, the first flight of a man to space, etc. The absolute truths include such statements as the years of the birth and death of I. Kant, the place of his burial (Königsberg), the publication of "Critics of Pure Reason" (1781), and the like.
It is overlooked that the very interpretation of the fact depends on one or another of its understanding.
For example, what does "died" mean? If this concept is given biological meaning, then Kant really died. But in the culturological sense of this concept, I. Kant is alive, since he is an active factor in the development of modern culture. The ideas of I. Kant are discussed by scientists and philosophers, his categorical moral imperative is still relevant in thinking about the nature of morality. The date of birth and death of I. Kant, as well as the publication of his books, differ in the Gregorian and Julian calendars. Finally, there is no Koenigsberg on modern maps of the world. All this requires additional interpretation.
In connection with what has been stated in reality, any true knowledge acts as a relative truth, in which only the moment of absolute truth is present.
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