In the years prior to World War I, a mathematician, a sociologist, and a physicist would come together regularly to meet in various cafés around Vienna, Austria, to discuss philosophy in a genial, friendly atmosphere. At the core of the majority of their discussions was the nature of belief—a field of philosophy called epistemology. How do we know “truth” from “fiction”? This issue is at the heart of attempts to define truth, whether from a scientific or a communication point of view.

The war put a temporary hold on their association as the group disbanded and went their separate ways. It wasn't until 1922 that the mathematician Hans Hahn returned to Vienna and encouraged a newly appointed professor in the philosophy of inductive sciences to join ...

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