The Ignorabimus-Paradigm and Its Relevance for Contemporary Science

Schnaiter David, Kofler Walter

Medical University of Innsbruck, Austria


Within this comment on the so-called «Ignorabimus-paradigm», one of the most important European scientific disputes about epistemological and ontological positions and basic methodologies in history, we will try to point out the past and the contemporary relevance of different self-conceptions and selfunderstandings of modern science and the worrying growing gap between natural and nonnatural sciences. Basic conceptions on how research can and should be done have been established in context with the Ignorabimus discussions and are still shaping our scientific community nowadays. Especially in natural sciences new discoveries and research results, but also a feeling of limitation due to extreme sectoral specialization cause again questions to be raised about approaches, techniques and our own subjectivity. Two major different ways of facing these questions adequately seem to be possible: To pay no attention to any question that goes beyond the own field of research assures less vulnerability and risks but may lead to non-causal explanations and the need to ignore knowingly facts. The other way means to strike out in new directions, to accept linguistic, methodological and other severe differences as well as harsh critique and to really watch out for interdisciplinary research approaches. A glance at the almost forgotten historic controversies following the postulations of Du Bois-Reymond about blind spots and black boxes in science may help us to settle our own scientific self-understanding.

Language: english



Schnaiter David, Kofler Walter
The Ignorabimus-Paradigm and Its Relevance for Contemporary Science // Electronic periodical “Herald of the International Academy of Sciences. Russian Section”, 2008. Issue #1: 59—64