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The error describes in the narrower sense a wrong assumption or opinion or a wrong belief (also called erroneous belief ), whereby the claimant, opinion or believer always considers the wrong to be correct. In contrast to a lie in which the truth has been deliberately falsified, an error arises unintentionally from incorrect information or fallacies . Systematically occurring errors are called cognitive distortions .

In a broader sense, the term error is also applied to false claims and other erroneous actions resulting from an erroneous assumption or belief.

Error from an epistemological point of view

In epistemology , one has always studied the causes and conditions for the occurrence of errors. The ancient philosophers saw the source of error in the imperfection of the level of sensory perception, in the imperfection of man's capacity for knowledge. In more recent times, Francis Bacon sought the sources of error in the false ideas he called illusions or idols. According to Bacon, one can only get rid of these sources of error by sticking to experiment and to such a method of knowledge as induction . Leibniz spoke of the following four causes of the error:

  1. the lack of evidence,
  2. insufficient ability to use evidence,
  3. the lack of desire to apply evidence and
  4. wrong probability rules.

He also believes that there is a serious source of error in belief in authority and in passion. Thomas Hobbes and John Locke saw the sources of error in the violation of the rules of logic in the formation of judgments. According to David Hume , experience teaches an error about the imperfection of the induction reasoning. Without this experience, too much emphasis would be placed on the habitual. Immanuel Kant explained the moral imperfection of human nature as the cause of the error.

Hegel approached the genetic, rational interpretation of the cause of the error. Error, according to Hegel, is a moment in the development of truth. The error one-sidedly reflects the true situation of things, but through it the knowledge reaches the truth. Hegel further distinguished error from accidental errors.

In dialectics , truth and error are viewed as a mutual connection. A level of truth is usually only a relative truth and becomes an error with increasing knowledge as soon as a deeper truth has been found.

Scientific errors

The science does not only provide new insights, but also examples of errors, such as the idea of a universal ether . If the aberration lasts for a long time, one speaks of pathological science . An error can e.g. B. be the result of hasty, careless, and consistent conclusions, as well as subjective views and biases. Often the error is the result of incomplete knowledge of the state of affairs in the area examined. It is not uncommon for an error to be caused by the fact that only limited means and methods of knowledge are used; but if improved methods are available in the process of further investigation, the error begins to disappear, which amounts to an approximation of the truth. In principle, science, like the Hegelian process dialectic, knows no irrefutable truth. Every theory can be tested by hypotheses and, if necessary, convicted of error. According to Jürgen Mittelstrass , errors in science have a considerable heuristic value because they can open doors to new knowledge under certain circumstances.

"Error" with machines

Machines can not err in the same way as humans, since them a consciousness missing. However, machines can by entering false information or errors in the information processing produce incorrect results. A machine can possibly simulate an error.

See also


Web links

Wikibooks: Encyclopedia of Popular Errors  - Study and Teaching Materials
Wikiquote: Error  - Quotes

Individual evidence

  1. See Duden online: error
  2. Reiner Ruffing: Small lexicon of scientific errors. Gütersloher Verlagshaus, 2011, ISBN 978-3-579-06566-3 , pp. 29-31.