Truth, Opinion, Time

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Reply Fri 21 May, 2010 09:00 pm
What is the relation between truth, opinion, and time?

If we make a claim to "Truth" that does not stop being the truth, are we not forced to make a claim on the future? Some might say that this kind of truth is impossible. If so, does this not leave us with nothing but opinions?

Someone like Kant tries to give us the unchanging structure of our otherwise changing experience. Or so is my understanding. The more religious philosophers might talk of a God who created and exists outside of time. Hegel suggest that truth must slowly evolve from opinion, within time. Aristotle (correct me if I am wrong) justifies his Truth with the notion that time repeats itself. Schopenhauer seems to be in the same boat. For instance, the individual animal dies but the species remains. Or different kinds of government come and go, but humans remain the same.

Natural science assumes without being able to prove (?) that the laws of nature do not change. (Is this correct?)

I'm not making a case in any direction but opening a dialogue, or shall we say trialogue.
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Fri 21 May, 2010 09:05 pm
@Reconstructo,
I imagine the requirements for an Eternal Truth would be stringent.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Fri 21 May, 2010 09:20 pm
@Jebediah,
Jebediah;167166 wrote:
I imagine the requirements for an Eternal Truth would be stringent.


In the strict sense, I would say impossible. At best, we can argue about certain ways the brain always structures things. This is why I find numbers so interesting, especially unity. I expect that all higher mammals automatically divide their sense experience into objects. And that math is nothing but the rarefied formalization of this tendency -- at least in its most basic foundations.

Also, Euclidean geometry might be suggested. Will we ever be able to see more than 3 spatial dimensions? I don't know how one can prove this....
 
Humchuckninny
 
Reply Fri 21 May, 2010 10:36 pm
@Reconstructo,
I think that first you'll have to specify the types of propositions that we could consider. Since this is my first time here in the Epistemology section, I don't know what all is considered "presumed" so please feel free to yell at me if I'm getting too "meta-Epistemology" here. Smile

From the initial post I think we can claim truths about the external world. This is especially true with the natural science statement at the end. Please correct me if we want to broaden this claim to include more than just an external world.

Additionally, if I may be so bold, I would claim that we're not exactly striking at the heart of the question. Whether or not truth is eternal is irrelevant unless we first answer the epistemological question about whether or not we can KNOW of eternal truth. Obviously, undertaking this new question changes the context of this thread, and I'm not proposing we go there.

Instead, I guess I'll just try to clarify what it is we're investigating. You want to figure out whether or not there can be such a thing as "eternal truth." If a proposition P is true at time A1, but is no longer true at time A2, then what do we conclude to be the truth-value of P? A question such as this assumes, among other things, that we have knowledge of the truth value of P at times A1 and A2. I do not want to call into question whether or not we have knowledge of the truth-value of P at times A1 and A2, but rather what the conditions that make up this presumption are. This is an important question for the initial post, because it can make the difference between whether or not we will get caught in a circular reasoning trap.

To clarify: Is it assumed that knowledge is justified true belief? If we assume this, then to ask whether or not we know if P is true is essentially to ask whether or not we are justified in believing the true belief that P is true. How do we know if P is true? Well, we know it because we're justified, we believe it, and because it's true. That "true" portion of knowledge can catch us in the trap - we know P is true because P is true.

Therefore, in order to have knowledge of anything eternally true, it would already have to be true, by definition. Otherwise we wouldn't even know it in the first place.

Again, my intent is not to steer towards a discussion of knowledge, but rather to clarify the thread's context. Are we claiming to have knowledge of these truths (internalism) or simply that these truths can possibly exist (externalism)?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Fri 21 May, 2010 11:01 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;167165 wrote:
What is the relation between truth, opinion, and time?

If we make a claim to "Truth" that does not stop being the truth, are we not forced to make a claim on the future? Some might say that this kind of truth is impossible. If so, does this not leave us with nothing but opinions?

Someone like Kant tries to give us the unchanging structure of our otherwise changing experience. Or so is my understanding. The more religious philosophers might talk of a God who created and exists outside of time. Hegel suggest that truth must slowly evolve from opinion, within time. Aristotle (correct me if I am wrong) justifies his Truth with the notion that time repeats itself. Schopenhauer seems to be in the same boat. For instance, the individual animal dies but the species remains. Or different kinds of government come and go, but humans remain the same.

Natural science assumes without being able to prove (?) that the laws of nature do not change. (Is this correct?)

I'm not making a case in any direction but opening a dialogue, or shall we say trialogue.


I don't understand what you are asking. A lot of jumping around, but no clear question.

I claim that Obama is the 44th president of the United States. Now, what is the question about that claim? Whether it is true? How we know it is true? Is it eternally true (whatever that means)?
 
Humchuckninny
 
Reply Sat 22 May, 2010 08:26 am
@Reconstructo,
I think he's asking something like this: If I say that Obama is the 44th President of the United States, would I also have to claim that I know in the future, say, 1000 years, that Obama is the 44th President of the United States? That question is difficult because it seems too obvious XD.

Perhaps this is better: All our experiences of an external world occur in Space and Time. Will this claim ever cease to be true?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 22 May, 2010 08:44 am
@Humchuckninny,
Humchuckninny;167293 wrote:
I think he's asking something like this: If I say that Obama is the 44th President of the United States, would I also have to claim that I know in the future, say, 1000 years, that Obama is the 44th President of the United States? That question is difficult because it seems too obvious XD.

Perhaps this is better: All our experiences of an external world occur in Space and Time. Will this claim ever cease to be true?


The claim is that it is true in 2010 that Obama is the 44th president. But that claim will clearly be true 1,000 years from now. Just as it was true, 1,000 years ago.

I don't think your second version is better, perhaps because I don't know what it means.
 
Owen phil
 
Reply Sat 22 May, 2010 10:10 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;167298 wrote:
The claim is that it is true in 2010 that Obama is the 44th president. But that claim will clearly be true 1,000 years from now. Just as it was true, 1,000 years ago.

I don't think your second version is better, perhaps because I don't know what it means.


It cannot be true 1,000 years from now if we cannot be certain there will be people at that time...true to whom, if there is no whom?
Surely (I know you don't like to be called Shirley but ..) truth has no meaning without mind.

It cannot be true 1,000 years ago, because there is no possible way of showing future tense true ..at any time.
Future tense propositions cannot be true now.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 22 May, 2010 10:15 am
@Owen phil,
Owen;167315 wrote:
It cannot be true 1,000 years from now if we cannot be certain there will be people at that time...true to whom, if there is no whom?
Surely (I know you don't like to be called Shirley but ..) truth has no meaning without mind.

It cannot be true 1,000 years ago, because there is no possible way of showing future tense true ..at any time.
Future tense propositions cannot be true now.


Why is it necessary for there to be people in order for a proposition to be true? It was true before there were people that the Moon existed. At least so scientists believe. There have to be people in order for a proposition to be known to be true, but not for it to be true. Do not confuse knowledge of the truth with truth.
 
davidm
 
Reply Sat 22 May, 2010 10:17 am
@Owen phil,
Owen;167315 wrote:
It cannot be true 1,000 years from now if we cannot be certain there will be people at that time...true to whom, if there is no whom?
Surely (I know you don't like to be called Shirley but ..) truth has no meaning without mind.

It cannot be true 1,000 years ago, because there is no possible way of showing future tense true ..at any time.
Future tense propositions cannot be true now.


Why can't future-tense propositions be true now?

If I say, "It is true in the year 1,008 that Obama will be elected president in 2008," that seems like a true statement. Why wouldn't it be?
 
Owen phil
 
Reply Sat 22 May, 2010 12:21 pm
@davidm,
davidm;167318 wrote:
Why can't future-tense propositions be true now?

If I say, "It is true in the year 1,008 that Obama will be elected president in 2008," that seems like a true statement. Why wouldn't it be?


A proposition is true, iff, it can be shown to be the case.
What is shown via proof is truth.

In the year 1,008 there was no method of confiming physical facts of 2008. Future happenings cannot be shown to be the case (true) until and unless they become present.
 
davidm
 
Reply Sat 22 May, 2010 12:24 pm
@Owen phil,
Owen;167363 wrote:
A proposition is true, iff, it can be shown to be the case.
What is shown via proof is truth.

In the year 1,008 there was no method of confiming physical facts of 2008. Future happenings cannot be shown to be the case (true) until and unless they become present.


Does this mean that, in the year 3008, if records are destroyed because of war or some other catastrophe, and it becomes impossible to verify that Obama was elected a thousand years earlier, in 2008, then will the statement in 3008, that Obama was elected president in 2008, be false, or will it lack a truth value?
 
Owen phil
 
Reply Sat 22 May, 2010 12:46 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;167317 wrote:
Why is it necessary for there to be people in order for a proposition to be true? It was true before there were people that the Moon existed. At least so scientists believe. There have to be people in order for a proposition to be known to be true, but not for it to be true. Do not confuse knowledge of the truth with truth.


Truth and falsity are abstract, ie. they exist only within mind.
If there are no people, then there are no abstract things at all.

There cannot be a 'proposition' "The moon exists." before there were people.
We all believe 'The moon existed before there were people', but we cannot know its truth. It cannot be shown to be the case.

---------- Post added 05-22-2010 at 02:55 PM ----------

davidm;167365 wrote:
Does this mean that, in the year 3008, if records are destroyed because of war or some other catastrophe, and it becomes impossible to verify that Obama was elected a thousand years earlier, in 2008, then will the statement in 3008, that Obama was elected president in 2008, be false, or will it lack a truth value?


imo, It would lack a truth value.
Verifyability is required to know its truth.
 
davidm
 
Reply Sat 22 May, 2010 12:59 pm
@Owen phil,
Owen;167371 wrote:
Truth and falsity are abstract, ie. they exist only within mind.
If there are no people, then there are no abstract things at all.

There cannot be a 'proposition' "The moon exists." before there were people.
We all believe 'The moon existed before there were people', but we cannot know its truth. It cannot be shown to be the case.

---------- Post added 05-22-2010 at 02:55 PM ----------



imo, It would lack a truth value.
Verifyability is required to know its truth.


Suppose we were to say, "There are intelligent aliens in the Andromeda galaxy."

Now, we cannot verify this claim, so you're saying it lacks a truth value? That seems peculiar to me. I'm not saying you're wrong about this, but the logic seems suspect.

Of course, your position looks to be the same as Aristotle's position about future contingent propositions.

But suppose we were to say, "It's true that aliens either exist, or do not exist, in Andromeda."

Now it seems the above disjunctive statement must necessarily be true. For it cannot be the case that they both exist and don't exist, and existence and non-existence are the only options.

So if the disjunctive statement necessarily is true, it seems (to me) that it follows that one or the other disjuncts must also necessarily be true, from which it follows that verifiability is not a criterion for assigning a truth value.
 
prothero
 
Reply Sat 22 May, 2010 01:16 pm
@Reconstructo,
In time the truth will out.
Opinion is temporal, truth is eternal.

Or something like that.:bigsmile:
 
Owen phil
 
Reply Sat 22 May, 2010 01:18 pm
@davidm,
davidm;167374 wrote:
Suppose we were to say, "There are intelligent aliens in the Andromeda galaxy."

Now, we cannot verify this claim, so you're saying it lacks a truth value? That seems peculiar to me. I'm not saying you're wrong about this, but the logic seems suspect.

Of course, your position looks to be the same as Aristotle's position about future contingent propositions.

But suppose we were to say, "It's true that aliens either exist, or do not exist, in Andromeda."

Now it seems the above disjunctive statement must necessarily be true. For it cannot be the case that they both exist and don't exist, and existence and non-existence are the only options.

So if the disjunctive statement necessarily is true, it seems (to me) that it follows that one or the other disjuncts must also necessarily be true, from which it follows that verifiability is not a criterion for assigning a truth value.


It is not the case that: If (p or ~p) is necessary, then p is necessary or (~p) is necessary, for synthetic propositions.

Aliens exist in Andromeda, or Aliens do not exist in Andromeda, implies,
Necessarily(Aliens exist in Andromeda) or Necessarily(Aliens do not exist in Andromeda) ...is false ..the premise is tautologous and the conclusion contradictory.
 
davidm
 
Reply Sat 22 May, 2010 01:24 pm
@Owen phil,
Owen;167378 wrote:
It is not the case that: If (p or ~p) is necessary, then p is necessary or (~p) is necessary, for synthetic propositions.

Aliens exist in Andromeda, or Aliens do not exist in Andromeda, implies,
Necessarily(Aliens exist in Andromeda) or Necessarily(Aliens do not exist in Andromeda) ...is false


Wait, I think we're in agreement. But that's not what I'm getting at.

I do agree that it's false to say that either p is necessary, or that not-p is necessary. Neither is necessary.

What looks to be necessary, though, and what I was trying to say, is that one or the other disjuncts is true, if the disjunctive statement is true, regardless of whether we can verify which one is true.

All I'm saying is that the statement "Aliens either exist or do not exist in Admromeda," means that one of the disjuncts of the disjunctive statement is contingently true, but true nonetheless; which again implies that verifiability is not a criterion believing in the reality of truth values.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 22 May, 2010 01:29 pm
@prothero,
prothero;167377 wrote:
In time the truth will out.
Opinion is temporal, truth is eternal.

Or something like that.:bigsmile:


Or, rather, "Truth is the daughter of time".
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Sat 22 May, 2010 01:32 pm
@Reconstructo,
Owen wrote:
A proposition is true, iff, it can be shown to be the case.


What? So nothing was true before humans existed ? Doesn't that strike you as strange, to say the least?
 
ughaibu
 
Reply Sat 22 May, 2010 01:32 pm
@davidm,
davidm;167380 wrote:
What looks to be necessary, though, and what I was trying to say, is that one or the other disjuncts is true, if the disjunctive statement is true, regardless of whether we can verify which one is true.
Owen's original assertion was "future tense propositions cannot be true now". It's true that fifteen minutes from now, I will either be at home or not at home, but I see no reason to believe that either disjunct is true now, because if either can be proved to be true, I can bring about the other.
 
 

 
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