What is Truth made of?

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ACB
 
Reply Wed 9 Dec, 2009 07:37 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;109419 wrote:
I agree with everything you said, I think. But I should mention that I consider the "thing-in-itself" to be just a concept, and part of our mental model of objective reality.


This is problematic. "Thing-in-itself" specifically means something that is independent of consciousness, so the idea that a thing-in-itself is just a concept seems a kind of contradiction to me. I think we should distinguish between (1) things-in-themselves, and (2) the concept of things-in-themselves. Otherwise the whole concept collapses.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 9 Dec, 2009 07:45 am
@ACB,
ACB;109579 wrote:
This is problematic. "Thing-in-itself" specifically means something that is independent of consciousness, so the idea that a thing-in-itself is just a concept seems a kind of contradiction to me. I think we should distinguish between (1) things-in-themselves, and (2) the concept of things-in-themselves. Otherwise the whole concept collapses.


If the TII were just a concept, then there would be no TII, but just the concept of TII. Just as if God were just a concept, then there would be no God, but just the concept of God. And in general, if X is just a concept, then there is no X, but just the concept of X. So, "X is just a concept" implies that "X does not exist".

"Logic is logic. That's all I can say" Oliver Wendal Holmes.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Wed 9 Dec, 2009 02:42 pm
@Reconstructo,
Kenneth, I feel like your last post implies a conversion to my side of the fence.

The "thing-in-itself" is indeed a paradoxical concept. Which the German Idealist after Kant called him out on. I stress that it's a concept precisely to stress this. That even our concept of that which is outside of our mental-models is one more mental model.

There is no outside! When Korzybski said "the map is not the territory," he was only drawing on the map. The map is the territory. And objectivity is where our subjective maps overlap.

Our concept of the reality beyond the subjective is humorously enough very much ours, very much subjective.

It's precisely because we don't have access to this "thing-in-itself," that truth is and always has been based on persuasion. To distinguish between convincing and persuaded is a trivial dodge. "Convince" works just as well.

Logic is the bluff of Rhetoric. I deny that man is capable of some cold pure disinterest dialectic. I call it a superstition, motivated by the feeling of power that comes from connection to a god, in this case the god of logic and objective reality.

Your attachment to them goes well beyond a respect for their practical utility. It reeks of faith. And faith is not bad in itself, but pretense I will argue against.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 9 Dec, 2009 04:26 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;109631 wrote:
Kenneth, I feel like your last post implies a conversion to my side of the fence.

The "thing-in-itself" is indeed a paradoxical concept. Which the German Idealist after Kant called him out on. I stress that it's a concept precisely to stress this. That even our concept of that which is outside of our mental-models is one more mental model.



Don't get your hopes up.
I wasn't posting about the TII. I was posting about your saying that the TII was a concept. And I pointed out that was false. And I added that if what you meant to say was that the TII was just a concept, that what you were really saying was that there was no TII. I don't care about the TII. Only what you said.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Wed 9 Dec, 2009 04:38 pm
@Reconstructo,
All we have are sense-data, emotions, concepts. In that sense there is a "thing-in-itself." In another sense there is not. And by "thing-in-itself" I mean the same thing as mind-independent reality, which is you implied was holding the moon up before the arrival of man.

If you don't believe in existence outside of consciousness, then I agree with you. If you do think there is existence outside of consciousness, you must mean something similar to noumena, to things-in-themselves, independent of our perception of them. Look it up. Decide for yourself. Is there or is there not a reality apart from human perception?
 
ACB
 
Reply Wed 9 Dec, 2009 04:38 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo - In the light of your post #23, do you believe the following?

1. There are no things-in-themselves.
2. Everything is entirely produced by our (or should that be "my"?) consciousness.
3. Our common-sense view of reality as an external thing is merely a useful fiction.
4. There is no difference between X and the concept of X.

I am a little puzzled by the contrast between the strictly idealist tone of your post #23 and the more equivocal mood of some of your earlier posts, in which you appeared to give some ground to the realist side. It seems to me that if what you say in your post is correct, then our common-sense view is just plain wrong, and the answer to the question "Did the Moon exist before our (my?) consciousness" is a simple 'No'. Is that what you believe?

My main problem with idealism is that it fails to explain the coherence of our experience. Berkeley relied on God, but wiithout God there seems no explanation. Note that coherence is directly experienced, so it "exists" in a way which (for an idealist) the external world does not. So the external world (if it is non-existent) cannot serve as an explanation for coherence. Coherence requires an explanation in terms of something equally real.

Also, how do you stop idealism collapsing into some form of solipsism? If your existence is just part of my mental-model, are you not just part of my mind?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Wed 9 Dec, 2009 04:49 pm
@Reconstructo,
No, I'm not an idealist in that sense. As I said, the concept of the thing-in-itself is paradoxical, and Kant was criticized for this. It's sort of like the word ineffable in negative theology. When we say that God cannot be described we are describing him.

There are things in themselves, but this must be inferred via social interaction. This is why I say that objective reality is a useful fiction, based on consensus in regards to sense-data and persuasion in regards to interpretation.

The difference between the concept and what it refers to is not a simple issue. Ask yourself what cleavage there really is between the two. It's similar to the form/content dichotomy. Where is the form if not in content, and where is content that is not formed?

I agree with Hegel that if anything is considered detached from the Totality, it's an abstraction. For convenience we can conceptually separate the tree from the dirt it grows in or man from his society, but then we are not dealing with what Hegel calls the concrete. To abstract is to yank out. Analysis has its advantages but it often errs on the other side of holism.

On the moon question, it all comes down to what we mean by "exist." We see the light waves of moon from a distance, see pictures, sew it all together in our heads. According to our scientific mental models, of course the moon was there. But these scientific mental models are here, in our present consciousness. And all reality can be described as here in our present consciousness.

I'm not pushing anything extreme here.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 9 Dec, 2009 06:35 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;109648 wrote:


On the moon question, it all comes down to what we mean by "exist." We see the light waves of moon from a distance, see pictures, sew it all together in our heads. According to our scientific mental models, of course the moon was there. But these scientific mental models are here, in our present consciousness. And all reality can be described as here in our present consciousness.

.


What it means to say that the Moon exists is: Something is such that it is a satellite of Earth, etc. etc. What you are talking about is how we know that there is something that has the properties of the Moon. You are confusing the conditions of justification, with the conditions of assertion. The Idealists confusion. We do not confuse what it means to assert, "that is a dog" with how we know that something is a dog. Those are very different conditions. What it is for p to be true is one thing; how we know that p is true is quite a different thing.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Wed 9 Dec, 2009 06:38 pm
@kennethamy,
Main Entry:
Pronunciation: \ig-ˈzist\
Function: intransitive verb
Etymology: Latin exsistere to come into being, exist, from ex- + sistere to stand, stop; akin to Latin stare to stand - more at stand
Date: circa 1568
1 a : to have real being whether material or spiritual <did unicorns exist> <the largest galaxy known to exist> b : to have being in a specified place or with respect to understood limitations or conditions <strange ideas existed in his mind>
2 : to continue to be <racism still exists in society>
3 a : to have life or the functions of vitality <we cannot exist without oxygen> b : to live at an inferior level or under adverse circumstances <the hungry existing from day to day>




The question of existence connects to the question of being, which you objectiphiles run from in terror....
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 9 Dec, 2009 06:41 pm
@ACB,
ACB;109646 wrote:
Reconstructo -

My main problem with idealism is that it fails to explain the coherence of our experience.


Even worse, it fails to explain what causes our experience.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Wed 9 Dec, 2009 06:46 pm
@Reconstructo,
Sorry to disappoint you, K, but I'm not an idealist. But I'm not a naive realist either. I've read some Kant, and it changes things. And I didn't stop there. I thought about the issue, read some good criticism of Kant. Read some good criticism of rationality itself.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 12:16 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;109677 wrote:
. Read some good criticism of rationality itself.


I hope it will be rational criticism.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 12:25 am
@Reconstructo,
And just what is this "rationality"? If rationality isn't critical thinking, what else is it? But what does it mean to be critical? It still boils down to what one finds persuasive.

:sarcastic:
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 12:28 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;109737 wrote:
And just what is this "rationality"? If rationality isn't critical thinking, what else is it? But what does it mean to be critical? It still boils down to what one finds persuasive.

:sarcastic:


It does? Why? (You have not given an argument for it, just a series of questions that have nothing much to do with the matter). You really don't seem to know what an argument is.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 12:30 am
@Reconstructo,
But that's just it. I don't think philosophy is limited to arguments. Questions open minds. Questions break new ground. I invite you to elaborate on this "rationality."
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 12:33 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;109740 wrote:
But that's just it. I don't think philosophy is limited to arguments. Questions open minds. Questions break new ground. I invite you to elaborate on this "rationality."


I don't think that philosophy is limited to arguments either. What has that to do with it?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 12:37 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;109738 wrote:
It does? Why? (You have not given an argument for it, just a series of questions that have nothing much to do with the matter). You really don't seem to know what an argument is.


I ask you questions and you accuse me of not giving arguments. And then you make the silly comment that I don't know what an argument is. I don't think the basics of logic are hard to grasp. A person might want to exaggerate the difficulty of such a subject, for we are status-seeking beings.:detective:
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 12:41 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;109744 wrote:
I ask you questions and you accuse me of not giving arguments. And then you make the silly comment that I don't know what an argument is. I don't think the basics of logic are hard to grasp. A person might want to exaggerate the difficulty of such a subject, for we are status-seeking beings.:detective:


You give no evidence that you know what an argument is. The basics of logic are not hard to grasp. You are right. What has that to do with it? Asking questions is not giving an argument.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Fri 11 Dec, 2009 04:34 pm
@Reconstructo,
There's more to philosophy than making arguments. A metaphor is often better. A question is often better. For me, the pursuit of wisdom is not limited to the pursuit of certainty.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Fri 11 Dec, 2009 10:10 pm
@Reconstructo,
"Truth is that concordance of an abstract statement with the ideal limit towards which endless investigation would tend to bring scientific belief, which concordance the abstract statement may possess by virtue of the confession of its inaccuracy and one-sidedness, and this confession is an essential ingredient of truth." Peirce 1901


I can get down with this. Though it's not all that can be said on the matter.

---------- Post added 12-11-2009 at 11:12 PM ----------

"The best definition of truth from the logical standpoint which is known to me is that by Peirce: "The opinion which is fated to be ultimately agreed to by all who investigate is what we mean by the truth, and the object represented in this opinion is the real." Dewey

---------- Post added 12-11-2009 at 11:18 PM ----------

And from Wiki:

According to the redundancy theory of truth, or the disquotational theory of truth, asserting that a statement is true is completely equivalent to asserting the statement itself. For example, asserting the sentence " 'Snow is white' is true" is equivalent to asserting the sentence "Snow is white". Redundant theorists infer from this premise that truth is a redundant concept, in other words, that "truth" is a mere word that is conventional to use in certain contexts of discourse but not a word that points to anything in reality. The theory is commonly attributed to Frank P. Ramsey, who argued that the use of words like fact and truth was nothing but a roundabout way of asserting a proposition, and that treating these words as separate problems in isolation from judgment was merely a "linguistic muddle", though there remains some debate as to the correct interpretation of his position (Le Morvan 2004).
Redundancy theorists begin by inquiring into the function of the predicate "__is true" in sentences like " 'Snow is white' is true". They reason that asserting the longer sentence is equivalent to asserting the shorter sentence "Snow is white". From this they infer that nothing is added to the assertion of the sentence "Snow is white" by quoting it, appending the predicate "__is true", and then asserting the result.
Most predicates attribute properties to their subjects, but the redundancy theory denies that the predicate is true does so. Instead, it treats the predicate is true as empty, adding nothing to an assertion except to convert its mention to its use. That is, the predicate "___is true" merely asserts the proposition contained in the sentential clause to which it is applied but does not ascribe any additional property to that proposition or sentence.
 
 

 
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