Working Paper 65

Hard Truth and Validation: What Zeus understood

Stephen P. Reyna

Abteilung ‚Integration und Konflikt’

Jahr der Veröffentlichung


Working Paper 65

This essay introduces to anthropology and other human sciences a particular variety of approximate truth, termed hard truth, together with certain methods appropriate to its validation. The argument is presented in three sections. Positivist, post-positivist, and vulcaniste positions, with varying approaches to truth, are identified in the first section. A rationale is proposed for utilizing the latter position. Next, in the succeeding two sections, this position is applied to construct the idea of a hard truth. The notion of generalization is clarified in the second section, as this is the symbolic structure that must bear the burden of truth. Hard truth is formulated in the third section. It is argued that the validation of such truth depends upon the labor of producing validation histories with evidential ladders and validation sets, universes and hierarchies. The essay?s conclusion reveals what Zeus understood, and how this is relevant to questions of truth.

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