How to discuss truth and reality without fistfights


seth: 2012-09-30 10:53:32
2012-09-30 10:53:32
I actually think, with your help Lisa, we were getting close to an agreement ... or if not agreement ... at least an understanding of why we do not agree.
Lisa's replies to Seth's black text is inserted in, uh, maroon?
I haven't read far enough to see if Mark thinks we're getting closer, but thanks for the compliment.  I feel useful!

If I were to say: "this statement is a better statement than that one" ... i will bet that Mark would have no complaint. In essence that is all I am saying when i say this is a better truth than that.
If I understand correctly, "statement" implies language.  Mark may not object, but I'd probably jump in and ask "better according to which judge using what goal and what measurement strategy?" since I don't believe judgements can happen without (possibly subconscious) interpreters, goals, and measurement conditions.  But maybe we all agree on that? 

Truth ... hopefully how we are both talking about it ... is the relationship between statements and what is so.
Mark might follow you there.  I'm not sure I can.  I'd have to think about it a lot.
I like the idea of truth and don't wish to abandon it and not be able to use it to talk about what i honestly believe. But there is this pesky problem with this truth thingey: nobody really knows or can experience what the term "what is so" refers to. So i have attempted to fix that problem so that i can still use "truth" and mean something real by using it.
I actually have no problem with folks using a shorthand of "truth" to talk about anything as long as everyone in the conversation knows what the shorthand really means.  But unfortunately, we sloppy humans use the same word to mean different things and forget to tell the others in the conversation when we switch.  At least I do. Unless I'm very, very careful.

"Absolute truth", "knowledge apart from opinion", "what is so", "the natural world apart from interpretation", "God's eye view" ... to me those are all the terms referring to the same thing and it doesn't matter which we use just that we agree that we are talking about the same thingey. Now i assume, without proof, that thingey exists ... even though i can know nothing of it's content. I also assume, also without proof, that since you all are human beings in the same perdicament as I, that you also can know nothing of the content of the thingy.
I may not be understanding correctly, but I think Mark disagrees with this at its highest level.  I think he is saying Zen ontology says that we *can* know truth about reality, while you and I don't believe that (at least yet).  Part of the questions I want to bother Mark with are about this stuff. 

The problem is that the thingey is one of the terms in this essential concept we have called "truth" ... what to do ... oh what to do? It's like trying to solve an equation like a - ? = 1 for a. You will always end up with a = 1 + ? ... which just says you don't know what a is.
Maybe the thing to do is to say "that thingy out there in reality that Seth and Lisa are trying to interpret without the help of Zen"?  Would that make Mark happy, or just make him laugh at us?

Tags

  1. truth
  2. interpretation
  3. knowledge

Comments


Lisa Cox says
I screwed something up in the quote marks above. Either that or I do not know how they are supposed to work. Sorry.

Lisa Cox says
seth: 2012-09-30 11:21:50
2012-09-30 11:21:50
What is interesting to note is that my claim does make a difference.

For analogy: if all we know is that that a - ? = 1 then a can still be any number whatsoever. But, on the other hand, if instead we know that a - ? > 1 , then we have restrained a to any positive number except 1.

The same goes for saying that statement A is a better truth than statement B.

All right.  You've lost me.  Did you limit 'a' and '?' to positive numbers?  Do you mean that the first statement is a "better" truth because it gives a more constrained answer because there are lots more answers that will match the 2nd statement even if we know the value of either 'a' or '?'  --- ?????  


Mark de LA says
Check 16232 for my previous explanations & see if they address the points you reopened here.


Seth says

source: me in 16221
If I were to say: "this statement is a better statement than that one" ... i will bet that Mark would have no complaint. In essence that is all I am saying when i say this is a better truth than that.
...
source: Lisa responding to me
If I understand correctly, "statement" implies language.  Mark may not object, but I'd probably jump in and ask "better according to which judge using what goal and what measurement strategy?" since I don't believe judgements can happen without (possibly subconscious) interpreters, goals, and measurement conditions.  But maybe we all agree on that? 

Everybody judges what they speak and hear in language.  If i write something off the wall like "snow is black" ... you probably will immediately make a judgement that might go something like ... "he has got to be joking" about that statement.  In some circle they refer to those judgements as "propositional attitudes".   Mathematically those have gotten reduced to just your binary 0 or 1.  The strategy for making these judgements, of course, is up to the agent doing the talking or listening. 

I had not though that would have been at all contraversial.

Seth says
seth 2012-09-30 22:31:49 16231
you do need to be careful when you copy paste the delete and quote gadgets, the trash can and the quote.  Those are hot links and whever you post them they would still be active there and if somone clicks on them who has permission to delete, the comment would actually be deleted.  So when you copy paste make sure those are not taken along.


In other words you should edit your item above and remove the trash cans and the quote gadgets.  

incidentally i usually use my wizard hat when i'm talking as the developer of fastblogit.

Seth says
source: above me in black lisa in red
Truth ... hopefully how we are both talking about it ... is the relationship between statements and what is so.
Mark might follow you there.  I'm not sure I can.  I'd have to think about it a lot.

Well that is pretty close to just the dictionary definition of a true sentence.  If the meaning of a sentence conforms to the facts of reality, then we say the sentence is true.  The facts of reality is just "what is so".  CFR had a really nifty way of saying that which escapes me at the moment ... perhaps Mark will provide it.

Seth says
source: me in black lisa in red
"Absolute truth", "knowledge apart from opinion", "what is so", "the natural world apart from interpretation", "God's eye view" ... to me those are all the terms referring to the same thing and it doesn't matter which we use just that we agree that we are talking about the same thingey.   Now i assume, without proof, that thingey exists ... even though i can know nothing of it's content. I also assume, also without proof, that since you all are human beings in the same perdicament as I, that you also can know nothing of the content of the thingy.

I may not be understanding correctly, but I think Mark disagrees with this at its highest level.  I think he is saying Zen ontology says that we *can* know truth about reality, while you and I don't believe that (at least yet).  Part of the questions I want to bother Mark with are about this stuff.


Yes, i think Mark does not accept my assumption that we cannot know the natural world apart from our own interpretation.  He does not believe, as do I, that there is no "knowledge apart from opinion".  Apparently he believes that at times people can know things from a God's point of view.

But in a way, it doesn't matter .... because that knowledge that he presumes some people have at times cannot be communicated in language anyway.  We cannot talk of it.  It is, to quote Mark himself, "the null set".  So, to paraphrase Mark elsewhere, the whole absolute truth thingey is a strawman.

Following that all i can say is that the best we can ever do is to find better and better statements to tell each other ... ones that conform in wider and wider contexts more and more to the facts of reality which we percieve ..... my way of saying that is:  We seek a better truth.

This is the point at which, were we to have a common purpose to reach an understanding, i would expect Mark to simply agree. 

But read back there ... he told you his purpose ...
source: M 2012-09-29 13:50:31 16221
If I had one goal in this discussion it would be to get Seth to quit using the term better truth.
... so you see, we are working at cross purposes.

Seth says
As much as this conversation is captivating ... it will be necessary for me to forswear indulgence in it until i can get the speak to me catalogs to press.  So i will promise not to look in on group semanticponderings until Wednesday at the earliest when i can give it the time it deserves. 

Lisa Cox says
seth 2012-09-30 22:49:15 16231
seth 2012-09-30 22:31:49 16231
you do need to be careful when you copy paste the delete and quote gadgets, the trash can and the quote.  Those are hot links and whever you post them they would still be active there and if somone clicks on them who has permission to delete, the comment would actually be deleted.  So when you copy paste make sure those are not taken along.

In other words you should edit your item above and remove the trash cans and the quote gadgets.  

incidentally i usually use my wizard hat when i'm talking as the developer of fastblogit.

Aha!  Thank you, oh wizard!

Lisa Cox says
seth 2012-09-30 23:08:23 16231

Everybody judges what they speak and hear in language.  If i write something off the wall like "snow is black" ... you probably will immediately make a judgement that might go something like ... "he has got to be joking" about that statement.  In some circle they refer to those judgements as "propositional attitudes".   Mathematically those have gotten reduced to just your binary 0 or 1.  The strategy for making these judgements, of course, is up to the agent doing the talking or listening. 

I had not though that would have been at all contraversial.

I don't think they are controversial.  I think you just told me they are assumed by most communicators and I just asked for them to be explicit.
Of course, I'd be your outlier 'cause if you told me the snow was black, I'd run to the window and worry about soot from coal burning, electricity generating power plants.   But then, I grew up in Ky.
I always seem to be running in the opposite direction than everyone who already knows everything.  My brain isn't usually one of the "cool kids" in most places.  Sorry.

Lisa Cox says
seth 2012-10-01 00:08:23 16231
Well that is pretty close to just the dictionary definition of a true sentence. If the meaning of a sentence conforms to the facts of reality, then we say the sentence is true. The facts of reality is just "what is so". CFR had a really nifty way of saying that which escapes me at the moment ... perhaps Mark will provide it.

Ah. I (possibly wrongly) make a distinction between truth and "true sentences."

Lisa Cox says
seth 2012-10-01 00:39:47 16231
snip
... so you see, we are working at cross purposes.

I think I understand both perspectives, at least at a rudimentary level. Thanks!

Lisa Cox says
seth 2012-10-01 06:09:13 16231
As much as this conversation is captivating ... it will be necessary for me to forswear indulgence in it until i can get the speak to me catalogs to press.  So i will promise not to look in on group semanticponderings until Wednesday at the earliest when i can give it the time it deserves. 

  I completely understand!  I've made myself "not look" until I get my work done for the day.

Seth says
Lisa Cox 2012-10-01 14:36:24 16231
seth 2012-10-01 00:08:23 16231
Well that is pretty close to just the dictionary definition of a true sentence. If the meaning of a sentence conforms to the facts of reality, then we say the sentence is true. The facts of reality is just "what is so". CFR had a really nifty way of saying that which escapes me at the moment ... perhaps Mark will provide it.

Ah. I (possibly wrongly) make a distinction between truth and "true sentences."

Well i also can draw a grammatical / semantic distinction.  But moving beyond the mere grammatical ... I think people frequently use the word "truth" as a reified abstraction ... but there really is something real here ... it is the sum total of all of the things we say, mostly in language, that match up well with reality.  It is the relationship between the meta world and the real one.  If you want to divide that fabric, that network, into atomic pieces, me thinks true sentences would describe its atoms quite well. 

Is that anywhere close to the distinction that you draw?

Mark de LA says
seth 2012-10-01 00:08:23 16231
source: above me in black lisa in red
Truth ... hopefully how we are both talking about it ... is the relationship between statements and what is so.
Mark might follow you there.  I'm not sure I can.  I'd have to think about it a lot.

Well that is pretty close to just the dictionary definition of a true sentence.  If the meaning of a sentence conforms to the facts of reality, then we say the sentence is true.  The facts of reality is just "what is so".  CFR had a really nifty way of saying that which escapes me at the moment ... perhaps Mark will provide it.
3345 is probably what you remember, Seth.  The 3rd paragraph separates logic/reasoning from truth in part:
Barbara Cubed page 1 (C.F.Russell 1944): ...
Although an essential aid in the pursuit of Truth, Pure Logic does not occupy itself with gathering data or testing them except where such is involved in the process of transforming them into logical objects, but it begins to operate only after all pertinent data are assembled. Then it deals only with antecedents and consequents; something is given & something necessarily follows.
...
just for fun you might give pause to Mathematical Thinking MOOC lecture https://class.coursera.org/maththink-2012-001/lecture/4 which deals with the last sentence.

In a way this supports a thesis that no amount of reasoning will lead to the truth or:
 Garbage in -> Garbage out!

Seth says
M 2012-10-02 11:26:10 16231
seth 2012-10-01 00:08:23 16231
source: above me in black lisa in red
Truth ... hopefully how we are both talking about it ... is the relationship between statements and what is so.
Mark might follow you there.  I'm not sure I can.  I'd have to think about it a lot.

Well that is pretty close to just the dictionary definition of a true sentence.  If the meaning of a sentence conforms to the facts of reality, then we say the sentence is true.  The facts of reality is just "what is so".  CFR had a really nifty way of saying that which escapes me at the moment ... perhaps Mark will provide it.
3345 is probably what you remember, Seth.  The 3rd paragraph separates logic/reasoning from truth in part:
Barbara Cubed page 1 (C.F.Russell 1944): ...
Although an essential aid in the pursuit of Truth, Pure Logic does not occupy itself with gathering data or testing them except where such is involved in the process of transforming them into logical objects, but it begins to operate only after all pertinent data are assembled. Then it deals only with antecedents and consequents; something is given & something necessarily follows.
...
just for fun you might give pause to Mathematical Thinking MOOC lecture https://class.coursera.org/maththink-2012-001/lecture/4 which deals with the last sentence.

In a way this supports a thesis that no amount of reasoning will lead to the truth or:
 Garbage in -> Garbage out!

That wasn't it.   To me that talks about logic ... which is quite apart from truth.  Like i said, it was words to the effect "If the meaning of a sentence conforms to the facts of reality, then we say the sentence is true" .   I am pretty sure i have heard you quote CFR on that ... i don't don't remember his precise wording ... nor will a search yield it.

Mark de LA says
OK - anyway it doesn't take authority to get the distinction which I remember as:
"When language agrees with the facts it is said to be true."  - that's axiomatic.


Seth says
Yes, agreed, that is the definition that i have been going with .  

Mark de LA says
seth 2012-10-03 07:44:37 16231
Yes, agreed, that is the definition that i have been going with .  

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