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Re: [ontolog-forum] {Disarmed} Reality and Truth

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Waclaw Kusnierczyk <Waclaw.Marcin.Kusnierczyk@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 11 May 2007 10:28:02 +0200
Message-id: <46442912.30808@xxxxxxxxxxx>

Ingvar Johansson wrote:
> John F. Sowa schrieb:
>> Ingvar,
>> I accept the notion of 'truthlikeness' with the option
>> of degrees of truthlikeness, as well as many degrees of
>> confidence, certainty, approximation, etc.
>> But I wouldn't equate truthlikeness with truth.
>> Given Peirce's definition of truth as the ultimate goal that
>> might require an indefinite amount of research by indefinite
>> number of scientists, it wouldn't make sense to have
>> different degrees of truth.
> I am almost stunned by the reaction on my introduction of the notion of 
> 'truthlikeness' into this forum. Waclaw, who at first looked like a 
> social constructivist prepared to admit the reasonableness of any idea 
> whatsoever, has now a couple of times just like a complete dogmatist 
> merely stated "truth does not take degrees!".     (01)

Ingvar,    (02)

Thank you for reminding me that I should coherently defend my own 
preferred views.  Being prepared to accept the reasonableness of any 
idea of any sort does not imply not having any belief whatsoever about 
the actual state of the matters.  Only one among all possible ways the 
world could be (or could have been), I believe, is the way the world is.
If I am to adopt the correspondence theory of truth, the only reasonable 
view on what truth is appears to me the one in which truth cannot have 
degrees.  I may, of course, be wrong in the assumption that the world is 
as I think it is, and even in that there is only one world, etc.  I may 
be wrong in that truth does not have degrees.  I may be wrong in 
believing that I discuss with you, or even in that I am.    (03)

Being prepared to admit the reasonableness of any idea whatsoever does 
not preclude having beliefs.  The view that reality could have been in 
many different ways and the view that reality is one particular way are 
not contradictory.  (Of course, to speak about contradiction you have to 
adopt some sort of logic in the first place.)    (04)

So my dogmatic 'X!' is, as most other statements me and you and all 
others on this forum make (I believe), a shorthand for 'I believe that 
X'.  And this is because I adopt a particular theory, from which it 
follows (as it seems to me).  But the theory itself may be wrong, of 
course.  (It could even be partially wrong, if, contrarily to my belief, 
  truth could take degrees.)    (05)

A reflection on the side.  The coherence theory of truth is a view that 
a theory is true if it is coherent.  The correspondence theory of truth 
is a view that a theory is true if it corresponds to the actual state of 
the matters.  If the coherence theory of truth is coherent (according to 
our criteria), it is true, according to itself.  If the correspondence 
theory corresponds to truth, it is true, according to itself.  But 
theories is something that we create (I believe), and we can choose the 
criteria of coherence so as to make the coherence theory true.  But we 
cannot make the correspondence theory true:  it either is or is not true 
(according to itself).  A proponent of the coherence theory can make his 
own theory true and the other false;  a proponent of the correspondence 
theory can't do anything than believe he is right.    (06)

> John, who endorses 
> Peirce's view that the scientific community *approaches* truth, equally 
> stubbornly simply refuses to consider my (originally Popper's) proposal     (07)

Hm.  Might it be that you present your own preferred views as if they 
were Popper's?  (Pardon me my ignorance.)    (08)

> to introduce a notion of 'truth' according to which truth is a 
> determinable that can take degrees. I don't know what blocks them, but 
> here are some further words that might help to make the notion of 
> 'truthlikeness' clearer.    (09)

Fine.  I agree with you that this theory might be seen as a reasonable 
one.  I don't see it this way, which does not appear to me to be a proof 
of its falseness -- which is completely coherent with my previous social 
constructivism, call it as you like.  I think we were discussing what 
truth *is*, and then I simply stick to my own beliefs.  If it were 
obvious to me that we discuss how truth *could* be, I would (I think) 
agree with you.    (010)

> On  my proposal, of course, the term  'truth'  becomes *out of context* 
> ambiguous. It can then mean (i) 'truth' in the bipolar sense (which does 
> not take degrees), (ii) 'truth' in the determinable sense (which takes 
> degrees), and (iii) complete and absolute truthlikeness (which does not, 
> just like any determinate truthlikeness, take degrees).
> 'Truthlikeness' is introduced as a notion *beside* the bipolar notion of 
> 'true-false' used in everyday life and in two-valued logic. I have by no 
> means claimed that the introduction of 'truthlikeness' implies that 
> two-valued logic has to be replaced by many-valued logic. The notion of 
> 'truthlikeness' is needed in order to make sense of the history of 
> science and to get a reasonable view of the future of science. When, 
> *within* an empirical science, reseachers are discussing theories and 
> hypotheses and what observable consequences they might yield, ordinary 
> two-valued logic functions well.    (011)

Good, but you did make claims that it is truth that takes degrees.  It 
appears to me that both John and me (and now you?) see truthlikeness as 
distinct from truth, and calling it 'truth' (as in (ii) above, where you 
seem to speak of determinate truthlikeness while proposing to name it 
'truth') is simply begging for problems -- and thus the discussion.    (012)

vQ    (013)

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