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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: Mon, 28 May 2007 20:19:55 +0200
Message-id: <465B1D4B.8000807@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Ingvar Johansson wrote:
> I think what (reading vQ:s mail) might be 
> pedagogically missing in Peirce and Sowa is a concept advertised by 
> another fallibilist, Karl Popper. He verbalizes it using three different 
> expressions: ‘truthlikeness’, ‘verisimilitude’, and ‘approximation to 
> truth’. Theories are not just either true or false; truth can take 
> degrees. And very very much tells in favor of the view that most 
> empirically adequate theories have a rather high degree of truthlikeness.    (01)

 > As long as you stick to the polar notion of truth-falsity, then you
 > have to say that all propositions that are not 'simply true' are
 > 'simply false'. And then you end up in the curious position that all
 > scientific theories - today, in the past, and for an immensely long
 > future to come - are simply false.    (02)

Ingvar,    (03)

I have, for curiosity rather than for stubbornness, read an article on 
truthlikeness from SEP:    (04)

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/truthlikeness/    (05)

It appears to me that, according to that article, Popper's truthlikeness 
is, as you say, an approximation to truth.  However, there is no word 
about degrees of truth, and indeed, every theory is either true or 
false.  (Simply true or simply false, if you prefer.)    (06)

Furthermore, it also seems that the Popper's definition of truthlikeness 
is far from problematic, and the subsequent extensions are also not void 
of problems.  Depending on the definition, a false theory may be more 
truthlike than a true theory, and a true theory may be of truthlikeness 
lower than the maximal.  And also, it seems to me that, with the 
syntactic definition of truth attributed to Popper in the referred 
article -- truth as as the set of all true sentences -- and the 
definition of truthlikeness as linearly corresponding to the proportion 
of truth captured by a theory, most scientific theories are in fact of 
rather low truthlikeness.    (07)

Should 'theories are not just either true or false; truth can take 
degrees' be attributed to Popper, or is your own view?    (08)

I am of course aware that the author of the SEP entry may have 
misinterpreted original works of Popper, simplified his words, as well 
as that an entry of this length can never accommodate for a full 
overview of a philosopher's opinion.  And, of course, I have no 
intention to challenge your expertise.    (09)

vQ    (010)

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