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A verdade e seus objetos

Luiz Carlos Bresser-Pereira

Texto escrito para discussão no curso de Metodologia Científica para Economistas. Primeira versão, janeiro de 2004. Versão revisada em 26 de setembro de 2006; é ainda um texto rigorosamente provisório.

Abstract. Theories on truth can be realist or relativist. Realist theories, like neopositivism, falsificacionism, and coerentism, assume the separation of the observer from the facts, and assert that it is possible to find words that make thoughts conform to facts. Relativist or epistemic theories, like pragmatism, the rhetoric theory, and the ideological theory of truth, doubt that this is possible, and look for more modest criteria to assert the truthfulness of a statement or a theory like its usefulness, the consensus achieved on it, or its persuasiveness. The author rejects these theories arguing that if, when the facts to be studied are simple, truth is achievable, this means that this will be also theoretically possible when they are complex. Yet, scientist should not be arrogant, and he asks for a modest theory of truth, particularly in the case of the social sciences, which deal with facts extremely complex and continuously changing.