EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

About reproducibility. The advantages of the synthetic thesis of truth.

Eduardo Marone1,2,4 and Martin Bohle3,4
Eduardo Marone and Martin Bohle
  • 1FUNPAR Foundation of the Federal University of Paraná, CEM-UFPR, CURITIBA, Brazil
  • 2International Ocean Institute Training Center for Latin America and the Caribbean, IOITCLAC - CURITIBA, Brazil
  • 3Ronin Institute, Montclair, NJ, USA
  • 4International Association for Promoting Geoethics (IAPG), Rome, Italy

In the early 2000s, the reproducibility crisis began to ‘shake’ the scientific community1 and continues nowadays2. The scientific method (SM) relies on the empirical confirmation of hypotheses3. Reproducibility of results is at the core of the SM, although it is possible, stricto sensu, only in some configurations4. Many phenomena studied in Earth Sciences cannot be empirically replicated. Thus, Earth Sciences face an intrinsic ‘reproducibility crisis’. How to confront this dilemma? In 2018, an Editorial in Science5 suggested that “…improving reproducibility will require…the best possible practices.” What are these best possible practices? Some clues can be found in Bunge’s work. He proposed that SM’s classical correspondence thesis of truth (CTT) can be replaced by the synthetic thesis of truth (STT)6. STT requires considering a hypothesis corroborated by empirical confirmation and consistency with the bulk of existing background knowledge (systemicity)7. STT relies on multiple empirical and theoretical approaches: a scientific test is adequate to the extent that it is neither purely empirical nor viewed in isolation. Pattern consistency (empirical control) and an understanding of causal relations (rational and empirical control) make confirmed hypotheses more reliable. The history of sciences shows this approach was followed on multiple occasions8, for example, to develop the theory of special and general relativity. The STT combines empirical evidence, stochasticity (combining deterministic and probabilistic approaches), heuristic approaches, mental experiments, computer modelling, among other rational instruments. When the Covid-19 crisis hit, several successful practices were based on this approach9. Considering epistemology, the knowledge-building process of the STT approach is an excellent practice to overcome the reproducibility crisis on Earth Sciences. The intersection of different knowledge domains is a two-way road and implies a knowledge overlap among different epistemic domains. Epistemology is the domain of philosophy of sciences that is fundamental for developing geoethics considering how the reproducibility crisis on Earth Sciences can be handled.  

1.       Ioannidis, J. P. A. (2005a). Why most published research findings are false. PLoS Medicine, 2 (art. e124). 

2.       Saltelli, A., Funtowicz, S. (2017). What is science’s crisis really about? Futures, Volume 91, 2017, Pages 5-11, ISSN 0016-3287, 

3.       Staddon, John (2017). Scientific Method: How Science Works, Fails to Work or Pretends to Work. Taylor and Francis.

4.       Baker, Monya (2016). 1,500 scientists lift the lid on reproducibility. Nature. Springer Nature. 533 (7604): 452–454. 

5.       Berg, J. (2018) Progress on reproducibility. SCIENCE 5 Jan 2018 Vol 359, Issue 6371 p. 9 

6.       Bunge, M. (2012). The correspondence theory of truth. Semiotica, 188: 65-75. 

7.       Marone, L., Lopez de Casenave, J., & González del Solar, R. (2019). The synthetic thesis of truth helps mitigate the reproducibility crisis and is an inspiration for predictive ecology. Revista De Humanidades De Valparaíso, (14), 363–376. 

8.       Renn, J. (2020). The Evolution of Knowledge - Rethinking Science for the Anthropocene. Oxford, UK: Princeton University Press.

9.       Marone, E., and Bohle, M. (2020). Geoethics for Nudging Human Practices in Times of Pandemics. Sustainability 12, 7271. 

How to cite: Marone, E. and Bohle, M.: About reproducibility. The advantages of the synthetic thesis of truth., EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-9010,, 2022.