Archives For Gereon Wolters

Author Information: Gereon Wolters, University of Konstanz,

Editor’s Note:

    Through Stefano Bigliardi, Professor Wolters provided the SERRC with an extended abstract of a paper to be published in Bollettino della Società Filosofica Italiana. Wolters’ abstract, and future article, fits into the larger discussion on Islam and science being hosted by the SERRC.[a]


From everyday life we know that quite a few people insist on having the last word on whatever issue. This seems to be connected with exerting power on others. How about the last word in cognitive contexts, particularly in religion (as far as it is cognitive) and science, humanities and social sciences included? Is not defending truth here the motive for the last word? My thesis is that also in these cognitive contexts rather power than truth, or better authority connected with power is the central issue. Only enlightened rational thinking that found its most vocal and popular expression in Karl Popper’s Logic of Scientific Discovery (original in German, 1935) came to the conclusion that there is no last word, neither in science nor in other cognitive fields. One should fight—this is the normative part of the paper—both the ongoing claims to the last word in cognitive matters by religious fundamentalists and “postmodern” Western relativism. The latter correctly joins modern philosophy of science in rejecting the last word, denies, however, that there are objective second last words, based on universalizable arguments and evidence.  Continue Reading…