I'll respond to this comment first, since it was simpler that the
other responses to my note, and then I'll try to give quick responses to the
others, if I can, possibly related to some of what I say here.
> Truth (like falseness) is a quality of
a statement or assertion about
> reality - based on a mental construct
or model of reality, which is the
> only possible basis for an
assertion (using language or symbols, which
> is based on concepts,
which are mental representations).
I guess you mean that it is
assertions, not truth, that are based on
mental models of reality.
(Unless we consider assertions about mental
models of reality.)
I think I agree. Assertions or statements are based on mental models of
reality. They themselves express those mental models. The interpreter of the
assertion or statement then gleans from the statement a meaning - a mental model
that will or should correspond with the model from which the statement comes, IF
the statement is clear enough in meaning. If not, the intended meaning and the
interpreted meaning may have different values of truth, since they will be
different representations (or they might both have the same value of truth, even
if they are different meanings) - two different interpretations (generating and
interpreted) of the same statement could both be true.
The generating and interpreted meanings (representations of
reality) have a truth or falsity to the degree to which they
correspond "correctly" to, or represent accurately, the reality they
represent. Our ability to DETERMINE the truth value of a meaning - its
correspondence with reality - may vary, and, for more than simple assertions,
may require extensive testing for consistency of associated features of reality.
Science is, in a way, a method of building assertions with a degree of confident
agreement that they have a high truth value - correspondence with or accurate
representation of reality, as revealed by tests we do and our perceptions of the
This gets a bit dicey when one gets into areas of science in which a fully
accurate categorical truth value is theoretically not even attainable given the
current set of mental models available. For example in some cases truth values
have to do with probabilities, such as locations of electrons. Even the value of
the fundamental concepts of the model may begin to break down as we learn more
about reality - i.e. does an electron really HAVE a location at a given time if
we cannot determine it unequivocally except as a probability it is somewhere?
There may be an answer to this one, but the point is beyond the specific
example. The point is that mental models of what reality is shift with our
increasing understanding of reality - because shifted models work better in
terms of explaining and predicting the phenomena we observe as reflections of
the underlying reality. The whole mental model of reality may NEED to shift for
us to maintain our confidence that we have a "truth" (a statement that
corresponds with reality) in light of new information.
In science we always have to be open to the possibility that new
information will emerge that reveals a deficiency in the level of truth of our
model of reality, requiring a new perspective from which to view a
phenomenon - a broader and "truer" mental model. There may be times in
which we know that our model is false to one degree or another, but we don't
have a model that's a truer one to explain something.
All WE can have to understand and view things is our mental models -
because understanding and viewing are mental activities. We test those models
for truth in relationship to how we perceive reality responding to our tests -
but we can never know absolutely the truth of our models - at least the ones on
the frontier of our understanding, or dealing with all aspects of
phenomena - since we can never be entirely sure that some aspect of reality
hasn't been hidden from our senses and methods and tests as we interpret
them - with our mental models - like ultraviolet and infrared light once
were hidden, in a way (and even the nature of any light or electromagnetic