[Top] [All Lists]

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

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: KCliffer@xxxxxxx
Date: Fri, 18 May 2007 16:58:54 EDT
Message-id: <c1e.164eb21e.337f6d8e@xxxxxxx>
Okay, I just realized that Deb's was just a thanks - not further questions. So it's just Paola's questions to respond to. I'm editing out some parts not pertinent to the questions.
We're getting into the interface between ontology and epistemology here.
paola.dimaio@xxxxxxxxx writes:
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 like this description of truth. So what you are saying is that 'absolute truth' does not exist,
only a relative value based on its assertion?
See my response to Waclaw (did I use the right part of the name?) regarding science as a way of developing a body of statements approaching truth (correspondence to reality). I suppose that for simple aspects of reality on which virtually everyone would easily agree, we can consider that we have an "absolute truth" insofar as our mental models clearly represent reality very well for any purpose in an agreed way. And one could say that there is a theoretical absolute truth about other things, but that a total absolute truth (i.e. a model clearly accurately representing all aspects of reality) is not determinable by us since we can never be sure that we have been able to perceive or reveal to our instruments and perceptions all aspects of reality. Relative values of truth are not based on assertion, but on demonstrable (with which all observers would agree) correspondence with reality.
are you saying that truth does not exist if it is not asserted as such, ie not expressed with language or symbol?
Since, in this view, truth is correspondence between reality and a mental model or the statement expressing it (or the meaning of the statement), then yes, the idea of "truth" has no meaning (does not exist) without a mental model and/or its corresponding _expression_ (a statement or assertion in language or symbol) for it to refer to, in relationship to reality.
if so, can the same be said of reality? Ie, that reality is defined by the point of view of its observer?
No. A perception or mental MODEL of reality is resident in the observer, and therefore, in a sense, defined by the point of view of the observer. But reality is the world as it actually IS (the ontology part), which we can never completely be sure we know completely (the epistemology part).

Reality simply IS.

Tat Sat in Sanskrit.(what is=absolute truth)
If you consider that to say WHAT IS we need to have a mental model of what we mean by saying what is - a mental MODEL of what is -  then you could say that when we have a fully accurate mental model, then we have absolute truth, which corresponds to what actually is. As I suggest above, I think we can do this for simple things on which we all agree. But not for things on the edge of or beyond our agreed models and perceptions. (One implication - within a group with similar mental models, the people may consider themselves to all have absolute truth on which they all agree - but others with different mental models will not consider the first group's models to be absolute truth - or truth at all. The question of "real" absolute truth has to do with which models more accurately represent reality - and, again, there are problems determining this, for which science is a solution many accept.)
 But  we have to define  reality for some practical purpose, like writing a chapter , or giving a lecture or designing a system etc.  'what is' must be defined a bit more narrowly
We DESCRIBE reality for practical purposes, based on agreed assumptions and definitions giving meaning to our words, which correspond to mental constructs/concepts. The descriptions are the statements that may or may not be true, depending on whether or how well they correspond to reality. Chapters and lectures get tested by each reader or listener for correspondence to his or her perception of reality- mental model of reality - and will be considered true by the reader or listener to the degree to which it corresponds to that person's mental model - but the mental model might or might not be true (or might only be partially true), regardless of whether it is thought to be.
Statements about it, and the concepts associated with them, are true or false (or somewhere between, if we allow for fuzzy logic).

I agree that in general terms, making statements about reality can become highly speculative. However my statement 'reality is what is true' is indeed related to the need to make a declaration about a system. within the system what is true should be modeled
In an ontology, when something is true is part of the reality and should not be ignored
I would rather say "reality IS", or "reality is what EXISTS" (not "reality is what is true") and that when we make a declaration about what reality is, that declaration may or may not be true, depending on how well it corresponds with the actual reality. See my answer to Woclaw for how and how well we can determine whether something's true.
All mental models are generally considered to be true representations of reality by their holders - unless they're specifically labeled as tentative models or hypotheses, and only provisionally held, subject to proof or disproof. I don't think there's a "should" to modeling what is - it's simply what we do whenever we have a concept of reality - it's a model. An ontology itself must be some kind of model - because it's a representation of reality - the question is how one can make an ontology that is as "true" or accurate as a representation as feasible. In this case, given some of the discussion I've seen here of the types of things to be represented, the reality having to do with all sorts of information and concepts itself is very complex - so we're partly dealing with a model of models. I'm not sure what the implications of this are beyond that it's a complex problem to deal with.

The question of whether the representations must be consciously perceived or only phenomenologically functional takes the question to another level. Animals respond on the basis of representations of reality in their brains that could be said to have a level of truth or falseness - in fact, representations that have meaningful falseness would be selected against.

This is the next interesting point. Our ability to perceive  determines what we  consider true or false,
We usually consider our perceptions true (accurate representations of reality), except insofar as we have learned a superceding idea that allows us to recognize that a perception is false (an inaccurate representation). Such learning is still based on perceptions and understandings that become our mental models built on more information beyond the initial perception.
Kenneth Cliffer, Ph.D.

See what's free at AOL.com.

Message Archives: http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog-forum/  
Subscribe/Config: http://ontolog.cim3.net/mailman/listinfo/ontolog-forum/  
Unsubscribe: mailto:ontolog-forum-leave@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Shared Files: http://ontolog.cim3.net/file/
Community Wiki: http://ontolog.cim3.net/wiki/ 
To Post: mailto:ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx    (01)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>