Eureka – Evidence Criteria in Academia

The Research Group

What do the different disciplines consider sufficient proof for a hypothesis? In some disciplines, the statistical five-percent-threshold in a significance test is applied as the standard, in others this is regarded as completely insufficient. Does one have to observe a phenomenon once, a hundred times, a thousand times to believe it? Or is a plausible chain of reasoning enough? Do philosophers, mathematicians, social scientists, biologists use different measuring sticks? And what about disciplines that do not do any measuring – do they have a "measuring" stick at all? Is the moment in which an inquisitive mind shouts "Eureka!" identical to the one in which a thesis can be proven? And what do philosophers of science think about this?


A fundamental question is how the disciplines should "talk" to each other when "evidence" is defined so differently that a matter of fact could be accepted according to the rules of one discipline but dismissed as insufficient according to the rules of another?

The Research Group Eureka – consisting of philosophers, mathematicians, chemists, biologist and geologists – debated similarities and differences in internal communications within a field and made the implicit evidence criteria of the respective disciplines explicit. Researchers developed fictitious requirement-catalogues for students and drafted a survey for the members of the Junge Akademie.



  • Matthias Klatt


    Matthias Klatt
    Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz (Österreich)
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  • Eva-Maria Engelen

    Eva-Maria Engelen
    Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften
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  • Christian Fleischhack

    Christian Fleischhack
    Mathematics / Theoretical Physics
    Universität Paderborn
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  • Giovanni Galizia

    Giovanni Galizia
    Universität Konstanz
    Giovanni Galizia more
  • Andreas Hüttemann

    Andreas Hüttemann
    Universität zu Köln
    Andreas Hüttemann more
  • Katharina Landfester

    Katharina Landfester
    Engineering / Chemistry
    Max-Planck-Institut für Polymerforschung, Mainz
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  • Ulrike von Luxburg

    Ulrike von Luxburg
    Computer Science
    Universität Tübingen
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  • Hildegard Westphal

    Hildegard Westphal
    Palaeontology / Geology
    Leibniz-Zentrum für Marine Tropenforschung GmbH
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  • Robert Wolf

    Robert Wolf
    Universität Regensburg
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