Quasi-truth and incomplete information in historical sciences



Published Feb 16, 2021
Jonas Rafael Becker Arenhart
Vítor Medeiros Costa


Quasi-truth is a formal approach to a pragmatically-oriented view of truth. The basic plan motivating the framework consists in providing for a more realistic account of truth, accommodating situations where there is incomplete information, as typically happens in the practice of science. The historical sciences are a case in hand, where incomplete information is the rule. It would seem, then, that the quasi-truth approach would be the most appropriate one to deal with historical sciences, then. In this paper, we explore this possibility and use the historical sciences as a test case for the approach of quasi-truth. Our claim is that, on what concerns historical sciences, the quasi-truth approach fails in two basic senses; first, by misrepresenting some cases concerning incomplete information, and second, by falling short of accounting for many features of incomplete information peculiar to historical sciences. We conclude that, despite its stated goals, quasi-truth must be either amended or substituted if the goal of a more faithful representation of scientific practice is to be achieved.

How to Cite

Arenhart, J. R. B., & Costa, V. M. (2021). Quasi-truth and incomplete information in historical sciences. THEORIA. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science, 36(1), 113–137. https://doi.org/10.1387/theoria.21254
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quasi-truth, truth, historical sciences, incompleteness.