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Re: [ontolog-forum] Correspondence Theory Of Truth -- Discussion

To: Ontolog <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: Inquiry <inquiry@xxxxxxxxxx>
From: Jon Awbrey <jawbrey@xxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 17 Aug 2007 10:16:29 -0400
Message-id: <46C5ADBD.F49DFDA2@xxxxxxx>
o~~~~~~~~~o~~~~~~~~~o~~~~~~~~~o~~~~~~~~~o~~~~~~~~~o~~~~~~~~~o    (01)

BS = Barry Smith
HS = Henry Story
IJ = Ingvar Johansson
JA = Jon Awbrey    (02)

Ingvar,    (03)

I wanted to continue replying to one of your previous messages,
but 2 or 3 tries at doing that led me to believe that I should
review the way that "correspondence theories of truth" came up
in our discussions here.    (04)

Many of the participants in this forum make it their business
to concern themselves with the relationship between realities --
very often all too harsh realities -- and the representations
that we form of the relevant piece of the world.  As a result,
the question often arises, expressed many ways by many voices,
as to how realities impact -- or ought to impact -- on formal
theories and formal models, IF those theories and models are
to allow of "continuous quality improvement" (CQI), as one
recent buzzword expresses it.    (05)

For my part, I've been focused for a couple of months now on
the questions that arose in the train of trying to answer the
question that Barry Smith raised back around the Ides of July:    (06)

| If we have a sentence in a biology textbook,
| say "blood cells are non-nucleated", then
| is this about cells in reality (as I, and
| I guess common sense, would assume) or
| about cells in the biology model?
| Barry Smith, http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog-forum/2007-07/msg00077.html    (07)

So we have (1) the "real world", the objective situations and things of
our various concerns, and we have (2) a wide variety of representations
on our "non-fiction shelves", so to speak, from the raw data of our own
senses to the cleaned-up data in our lab archives to axiomatic theories
and mathematical models, all of which "relate" to this world of reality.    (08)

A very compelling question then arises:
What is the nature of this relation?
What is it?  What ought it to be?    (09)

Those questions bring us to the heart of logic -- What's it all about?    (010)

One of the ways that I addressed the question of logic was in this form:    (011)

| Peirce continues a classical line of calling logic a normative science,
| a science of how we ought to do things of we want to achieve a certain
| class of objectives.  This makes logic, whose object is truth, akin to
| aesthetics, whose object is beauty, pleasure, or experiential goodness,
| and ethics, whose object is virtue, justice, or comportmental goodness.
| What is the good of logic?  The classical answer is "truth".
| What is truth?  It's a property of a sign, or a representation,
| that makes it a good sign, a representation that is so natured
| or so designed as to further the achievement its proper object.
| Jon Awbrey, http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog-forum/2007-08/msg00002.html    (012)

One of the ways that another interlocutor addressed the question was this:    (013)

| Now the other way of looking at truth is that there is a relation
| between statements and reality.  That still holds.  If you accept
| as true statements that are wrong, reality will soon remind you
| of your mistake.
| Henry Story, 
|http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/semantic-web/2007Aug/0025.html    (014)

If we think of "truth" as a design objective of our representations,
the quality that justifies calling them "knowledge representations",
then we must attend to our concept of truth, and try to clarify it.    (015)

That is where definitions of "truth" as "correspondence" came in.    (016)

Jon Awbrey    (017)

JA: In what "frame of reference" shall I evaluate your objection?
    I tried to follow fashion by invoking analogies from physics.
    Relative to that frame of reference, I can only iterate what
    all my physics professors dinned into my skull, to wit, that
    older common sense notions of magnitude had simply ceased to
    make sense any more lacking reference to an observer's frame
    and the specified operations commonly known as "measurements"
    that are an absolute, er, relative "must" to pin operational
    definitions to the given magnitudes.  That's how they taught,
    but I will refrain from echoing all the ridicule they heaped
    on former generations of deluded philosophers, prescientists,
    and especially common sense normal folks who ever languished
    in the dissociative styles of thought that dreamed otherwise.    (018)

JA: Ingvar sought to evade the point of that analogy by shifting
    the frame of reference to everyday epistemology and ordinary
    language acceptability.  The very attempt to change the fact
    by shifting the frame of reference has just proved the point.    (019)

IJ: 1. I did not try to evade any lesson to be learnt from the
       theory of special relativity.  I tried to point out the
       following.  We learn (both as children and as adults)
       many concepts (everyday as well as scientific) by means
       of meeting protypical examples or performing prototypical
       actions.  In case of understanding the concept of
       'the correspondence theory of truth' there is a
       prototypcial example available:  the correspondence
       or non-correspondence between ordinary perceptions
       on the one hand and statements in ordinary language
       on the other.    (020)

IJ: 2. I think it is fair to say that "older common sense"
       implicitly had a Newtonian notion of absolute space
       and time, and that the special theory of relativity (SR)
       proved this notion to be obsolete.  But this does does mean
       that SR proved either that *epistemological relativism* is true
       or that *operationalism*  in the philosophy of science is true.
       What SR does mean, among other things, is (i) that each inertial
       frame of reference is just like the absolute space of Newtonian
       mechanics, and (ii) that there is a special formula (the Lorentz
       transformations) by means of which measurement values obtained in
       one inertial frame of reference can be translated into the values
       that would be obtained in another such frame.  This story is
       neither a threat to a fallibilist epistemology nor to the
       correspondence theory of truth.    (021)

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