Science is About Discovering the Truth

As someone who works in IT, I hear and read a lot of comments about science. One common but unfortunate claim is that “science is not about finding truth.” While I won’t get into what I think are the hidden philosophical reasons behind this claim, I do want to at least respond to it. It’s a short response.

The word science comes from the Latin scientia, meaning knowledge.

Plato said that knowledge is “justified true belief.” I’m not a big fan of Plato, but this is a good definition. Put another way, knowledge is what you believe to be true (a) that actually is true and (b) for which you have reason to believe is true. That’s less concise, but it hits all the important points.

If that’s not convincing, we could just skip to Encyclopedia Britannica, which says:

In general, a science involves a pursuit of knowledge covering general truths or the operations of fundamental laws.[1]

But a practical matter, if science isn’t about finding truth, then why should anyone care about it at all? If the purpose of science isn’t to discover truth, then it’s nothing more than fictional storytelling.