<history of Philosophy, biography> French mathematician and philosopher of science (1854-1912). Although he granted the necessity of testing scientific propositions against observed facts about the natural world in La Science et l'hypoth╦se (Science and Hypothesis) (1902), Poincar╚ emphasized that scientific theories are conventional claims best supported by appeal to their simplicity and utility rather than to their truth. This philosophy of science provided a significant impetus for logical positivism, but Poincar╚ himself criticized the logicization of arithmetics in Derni╦res Pens╚es (Mathematics and Science: Last Essays) (1912). Recommended Reading: The Value of Science: Essential Writings of Henri Poincare (Modern Library, 2001); Elie Zahar, Poincare's Philosophy: From Conventionalism to Phenomenology (Open Court, 2001); and Mathematical Heritage of Henri Poincare, ed. by Felix E. Browder (Am. Math. Soc., 1983).
[A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names]
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