The True Definition of Truth.

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kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 15 Jul, 2009 01:52 pm
@richrf,
richrf;77434 wrote:
I want to let you know that my mind appreciates your mind telling me what it believes.

Rich


That's nice. Did you learn anything?
 
richrf
 
Reply Wed 15 Jul, 2009 01:57 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;77459 wrote:
That's nice. Did you learn anything?


Yes. I learned that there is another mind out there that thinks it knows the truth. Thanks.

Rich
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 15 Jul, 2009 03:13 pm
@richrf,
richrf;77460 wrote:
Yes. I learned that there is another mind out there that thinks it knows the truth. Thanks.

Rich


Well, that's something. At least you learned that it is true that there is another mind out there, and that it is true that the other mind out there thinks it knows the truth. Therefore, those are two truths you learned. (If you already know that 1+1=2). Keep it up. Who knows how far you will go if you keep listening to me?
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Wed 15 Jul, 2009 03:37 pm
@DasTrnegras,
If you maintain that there is no basis other than collective opinion for what is true, then indeed for you there is no concept of truth. If there is no concept of truth I don't really understand how you can expect any particular conversation, statement, argument or proposition to be better than, or worse than, any other. Nothing you write will really mean anything, and nothing that I reply with will either. There is no measure. You can say anything you like (which indeed you appear to do.) Perhaps that is what you perceive as 'contortions'. Perhaps you can remind us who the very influential early Western philosopher was that distinguished 'truth' from 'mere opinion', what was said to be important about this distinction, and why it was made.
 
ACB
 
Reply Wed 15 Jul, 2009 04:05 pm
@richrf,
richrf;77411 wrote:
In the past, and in the present, people measure. They look around. They try to figure things out. At one time they figured out that if the earth wasn't flat people would fall off. It was all a matter of perception. Heck, every day, there are new discoveries that overturn prior discoveries. Some are embraced by consensus, some are rejected, some are ridiculed only to be reborn in the future. Einstein's Theory of Relativity was at first ridiculed. In fact, he was never granted a Nobel Prize for this discovery, as the Nobel Prize committee took great pains to point out.


So would you agree that people look outside themselves in order to find progressively better explanations for what they observe? That is to say, explanations that are more comprehensive and can predict the future more accurately?
 
pagan
 
Reply Wed 15 Jul, 2009 04:34 pm
@DasTrnegras,
DasTränegras;77058 wrote:


And thus, the definition of "Truth" has been obscured by these armchair philosophers, who overlook the obvious only because the obvious is what is observed. No other group deserves such dis-respect.

For example, the Definition of truth. It is observed what can be called truth in almost all situations. Any philosopher needs to just observe the method we use to determine the truth of a statement.

How do we determine something is true? It is observed that for a person to determine a statement to be "true", they compare said statement with what is observed. Yes, that is correct. We can observe that truth is a comparison of a statement with an observation.


I think this is a good direct way to challenge the complex and subtle ways of defining truth. But i have to say that more recently that i have become much more relativistic with regards to truth. I am not sure if this is contrary to what i see as your clear and pragmatic approach.

For example with regards to the highly pragmatic situation of a court of law. I am sure you recognise that many people were convicted simply because the 'evidence' presented/available to the jury genuinely convinced the jury that they were guilty. ie 'It is true that you are guilty as charged of this crime because guilt is a true statement when compared to what is observed."

Of course subsequently, say with new technology and forensic evidence, an appeal court can say that "It is true that you are innocent because that statement is true compared to what is observed. New observations show the previous verdict to be false" ..... and herein lies the problem.

Of course the method of comparing a statement with the observations remains the same, and thus the probability of established truth (or the probabilty of overthrowing established falsehood) is presumed to increase by continuing to use the method.

However ...... that is an infinite iterative process and one can never be sure by applying such a method for finding /establishing truth that the truth has ever been found/confirmed. Thus the definition of comparing a statement of truth with what is observed can never by its own admission ever establish truth with certainty. New and better observations can always potentially find an established statement of truth ......as false. Thus it is not a definition of truth, UNLESS truth is also considered necessarily to be intrinsically relative (to available observations/ language capabilities/....)

Quote:
Which brings the discussion to the ultimate prize of the armchair philosopher, "Absolute truth". Distrustful of perception, the armchair philosopher yearns for some "transcendent truth to be directly percieved without the aid of(stupid I know) perception". To them, reality is something "behind" observation. Yet they yearn to observe it.

This is stupid. Why? Because of the observation that information travels. It is not observed that information is somehow incorrect when it moves through a medium. Indeed, an observation through the eye yields the same information as a direct perception. Why? because "direct perception" has been observed to be the traveling of information. That is precisely what observation is.
..... well i have to strongly disagree with your crucial statement here
Quote:

It is not observed that information is somehow incorrect when it moves through a medium.


Media often distorts and loses information. That has been observed!
 
richrf
 
Reply Wed 15 Jul, 2009 04:58 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;77466 wrote:
Well, that's something. At least you learned that it is true that there is another mind out there, and that it is true that the other mind out there thinks it knows the truth. Therefore, those are two truths you learned. (If you already know that 1+1=2). Keep it up. Who knows how far you will go if you keep listening to me?


Never said it was true. This is what my mind believes, subject to change. Smile

As for 1+1 = 2, well that depends upon the number system the mind is using. 1 + 1 could very easily be 10 as it is in a binary number system. But if the mind decides it is 2 then it is 2, as long as there is consensus with other minds. No consensus, then there is discussion until there is some agreement. There was a time when zero didn't exist until the mind invented it.

What is true is always changing. That is what I love about it.

Rich
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Wed 15 Jul, 2009 05:14 pm
@DasTrnegras,
and it doesn't make any difference whether you say it or not, or believe it or not.

So are you actually saying anything or do you just enjoy typing?
 
richrf
 
Reply Wed 15 Jul, 2009 05:16 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;77472 wrote:
If you maintain that there is no basis other than collective opinion for what is true, then indeed for you there is no concept of truth.


Yep, this is how I approach my exploration into life. Each mind has its own perspective, and I listen to the different perspectives.

Quote:
If there is no concept of truth I don't really understand how you can expect any particular conversation, statement, argument or proposition to be better than, or worse than, any other.
I don't expect better or worse. Each conversation is different. Some are more interesting to me than others. Some more enjoyable. Just ways to pass time.

Quote:
Nothing you write will really mean anything, and nothing that I reply with will either.
For you maybe not. For others, maybe yes. Lots of people are looking for different things. People loved Seinfeld which was a self-proclaimed show about nothing.

Quote:
There is no measure.
Why do I need to measure? Some like Picasso. Some don't. Nothing to measure. Just what one feels.

Quote:
You can say anything you like (which indeed you appear to do.)
I suppose most people say what they like. Some may say things to gain favor. I find that to be particularly so when money is involved.

Rich

---------- Post added 07-15-2009 at 06:18 PM ----------

jeeprs;77487 wrote:
and it doesn't make any difference whether you say it or not, or believe it or not.

So are you actually saying anything or do you just enjoy typing?


Oh, I believe it and I will suggest reasons I believe it. I am just not equating a belief with the truth (whatever the heck it is). Apparently you and others don't mind suggesting that just because you believe something and some others agree with you, then that must be the truth. That seems to be fraught with issues - not the least of which is the extraordinary numbers of people who have been put to death because they would not agree with the truth.

Rich
 
pagan
 
Reply Wed 15 Jul, 2009 05:52 pm
@richrf,
My own personal approach to the definition of truth is that it is like asking the question "What is the secret of film making/golf/drumming/pig sticking etc etc." That is "what is the secret of any complex enterprise?" ...... answer :- there isnt one.

So i ask is truth complex? ...... and since the answer is yes then defining it by a simple statement is not possible.

But it is possible to make simple observations about truth. eg a truth is a language statement.

I agree with wittgenstein that there is no such thing as a private language, thus truth is never entirely private, because the language that holds it is necessarily communal.

Scientific truth is probably the ultimate example of communal truth. Not only is the language persistently ridden of ambiguities (which would allow multiple interpretations and or errors) but an intrinsic condition of the scientific method itself is that all experimental inferrences about the laws of nature are necessarily repeatable under the same strict communal conditions. Thus necessarily confirming any truth assertions using the same language.

Of course many search for an ultimate universal language capable of expressing unambigously any truth. I seriously doubt if such a language could ever exist ..... but if it did, its universality would express communality to the highest level.

Communality in the sense of community agreement. The scientific community very definitely has its own language.

....... and is truth complex enough to be ambiguous? If so then is science trying to filter those truths out? Maybe not. If a scientific experiment always yields an ambiguous result, it is still a scientific truth so long as the ambiguity is repeatable. BUT would that necessitate a futile development of scientific language to clarify a truth that is actually intrinsically ambiguous? I suppose it depends upon the scientific community. Smile
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Wed 15 Jul, 2009 06:11 pm
@DasTrnegras,
Thanks Rich - very well explained, I understand your position perfectly now, and believe it can be summed up in a expression often used by that noted philosoper, Bart Simpson: "Whatever"

So henceforth, I will agree with whatever you say, and you can draw whatever conclusion you like from what I say in return. It doesn't really matter what, as they are all subject to change and are basically the same. Or whatever.

---------- Post added 07-16-2009 at 10:21 AM ----------

Quote:
Which brings the discussion to the ultimate prize of the armchair philosopher, "Absolute truth". Distrustful of perception, the armchair philosopher yearns for some "transcendent truth to be directly percieved without the aid of(stupid I know) perception". To them, reality is something "behind" observation. Yet they yearn to observe it.


Actually, and once again from the vantage point of my extremely comfortable and luxurious armchair (boy I'm really appreciating just how comfortable now), the initial debate in ancient Greece about whether or not perception was the source of true knowledge was informed by the fact that animals are also able to perceive, and in many cases, their perceptions are considerably sharper than ours. So if perception were the sole source of truth, would it not be fair to say that dogs and eagles were wiser than men? No? Well, if not, there might be something in addition to perception which is required to perceive the truth, or attain true knowledge. What might that be, and do animals have it?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 15 Jul, 2009 06:58 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;77496 wrote:
Thanks Rich - very well explained, I understand your position perfectly now, and believe it can be summed up in a expression often used by that noted philosoper, Bart Simpson: "Whatever"

So henceforth, I will agree with whatever you say, and you can draw whatever conclusion you like from what I say in return. It doesn't really matter what, as they are all subject to change and are basically the same. Or whatever.

---------- Post added 07-16-2009 at 10:21 AM ----------





And since what he says is clearly inconsistent with what he believes, there is no need to take him seriously. If ever there were.
 
richrf
 
Reply Wed 15 Jul, 2009 07:06 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;77496 wrote:
Thanks Rich - very well explained, I understand your position perfectly now, and believe it can be summed up in a expression often used by that noted philosoper, Bart Simpson: "Whatever"

So henceforth, I will agree with whatever you say, and you can draw whatever conclusion you like from what I say in return. It doesn't really matter what, as they are all subject to change and are basically the same. Or whatever.


Yep. When I was young, we (my friends and I) use to talk all the time about who was better Mantle or Mays. We would talk about it for hours, weeks, months, years. And we enjoyed it. It was lots of fun. We use to argue who was better the Yankees or Dodgers. And we use to wonder what would have happened if Mantle was not injured so often, or if Sandy Kofax didn't retire so early. It was all lots of fun.

And then ... we went to school, where we were taught that there were right and wrong answers, and it was all so, ... boring. You had to mimic the teacher to get an A. BORING! Smile

Rich
 
pagan
 
Reply Wed 15 Jul, 2009 07:09 pm
@kennethamy,
animals dont have our symbolic language skills. Truth is a language statement. If you haven't got a complex enough language you cannot express complex truths, however good your perceptions.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Wed 15 Jul, 2009 09:42 pm
@DasTrnegras,
Which shows that the original statement in this thread that 'realty is simply what is perceived' is not actually true, and that there is a reality 'behind perception' which consists of our innate intelligence and the human ability to interpret perceptions (and what lies behind perceptions).

I would also question whether philosophy is 'en exploration of the world around us'. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but philosophy is, literally, the love (philo) of wisdom (sophia). (It might interest you to know that in the ancient world, Sophia was depicted as a beautiful goddess. Sophia-Wisdom appears in Ancient Greek, Middle Eastern and even Mahayana Buddhist iconography and literature. She is always depicted as being very beautiful.)

Study of 'the world around you' belongs properly to what used to be called 'natural philosophy' but which really has become 'science'. Asking deep and meaningful questions of yourself about the nature of reality - reality as lived by you a human being, not necessarily as seen through a telescope or microscope - that is part of philosophy. As is coming to understand yourself and why you think the way you do - many would say the main aim of philosophy is to attain self-knowledge, a hard thing to get. Perhaps you might give some thought to why it is. And again - why the angst?
 
richrf
 
Reply Wed 15 Jul, 2009 10:04 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;77559 wrote:
Not that there is anything wrong with that, but philosophy is, literally, the love (philo) of wisdom (sophia).


While I appreciate Greek philosophers, I think that Eastern philosophers have much to offer. For example, Chinese philosophy can be traced back almost 5000 years to the I Ching:

From Wikipedia:

"The text describes an ancient system of cosmology and philosophy that is intrinsic to ancient Chinese cultural beliefs. The cosmology centres on the ideas of the dynamic balance of opposites, the evolution of events as a process, and acceptance of the inevitability of change."

I find this far more interesting than static truths. It gives everyone and everything the opportunity to evolve - and my consciousness loves evolution and change. This is how I grow :detective:

Heraclitus had similar ideas: All is in flux.



Rich
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 16 Jul, 2009 06:38 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;77559 wrote:


I would also question whether philosophy is 'en exploration of the world around us'. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but philosophy is, literally, the love (philo) of wisdom (sophia).


Actually, philosophy is only etymologically the love of wisdom. But the meanings of words change throughout their life, and their original meaning need not be their present meaning, and it is their present meaning which is their literal meaning, their original meaning is their etymological meaning. In fact, for most English speaking philosophers, philosophy is the analysis of basic concepts like knowledge, truth, understanding, morality, causation, and so on. For instance, the subject of this thread is, truth, it isn't love of wisdom.
 
pagan
 
Reply Thu 16 Jul, 2009 06:54 am
@kennethamy,
yes i have noticed a very strong bias amongst english speaking philosophy forums towards analytical philosophy, which i think at times is philosophy seduced by science. Postmodernism, which historically seems to have been developed predominantly in continental europe, is often rejected out of hand and with ridicule by many english speaking philosophers.
 
richrf
 
Reply Thu 16 Jul, 2009 07:44 am
@pagan,
pagan;77624 wrote:
yes i have noticed a very strong bias amongst english speaking philosophy forums towards analytical philosophy, which i think at times is philosophy seduced by science. Postmodernism, which historically seems to have been developed predominantly in continental europe, is often rejected out of hand and with ridicule by many english speaking philosophers.


I agree. Almost everything nowadays is shaped by what is considered acceptable scientific approaches. Yet, quantum physicists are probably the most creative people out there breaking down barriers between what is real and what is not real, and what life beyond the material may be all about. Philosophy, in general, seems to be in a rut.

I enjoy creativity and crazy ideas that are evolving out of quantum physics.

Quote:
We are all agreed that your theory is crazy. The question which divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct. My own feeling is that it is not crazy enough. [Niels Bohr]


Rich
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 16 Jul, 2009 08:03 am
@richrf,
richrf;77637 wrote:
I agree. Almost everything nowadays is shaped by what is considered acceptable scientific approaches. Yet, quantum physicists are probably the most creative people out there breaking down barriers between what is real and what is not real, and what life beyond the material may be all about. Philosophy, in general, seems to be in a rut.

I enjoy creativity and crazy ideas that are evolving out of quantum physics.



Rich


Spoken like someone who learns all his science from popular science books, and sound bites from scientists, mostly taken out of context.
 
 

 
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