## "What is truth? said jesting Pilate; and would not stay for an answer."

• 1k
I open with a quote: "Is truth a property of sentences (which are linguistic entities in some language or other), or is truth a property of propositions (nonlinguistic, abstract and timeless entities)? The principal issue is: What is truth?"
https://iep.utm.edu/truth/#H7

Of all the theories featured in the linked source, I find the simplest one most plausible. P is true is just fancy talk for P. This is the 'redundancy' theory.

It is worthy of notice that the sentence “I smell the scent of violets” has the same content as the sentence “It is true that I smell the scent of violets.” So it seems, then, that nothing is added to the thought by my ascribing to it the property of truth. (Frege, 1918) — link

Why else is this approach attractive ? If true claims can be unwarranted and unwarranted claims can be true, then defining truth in terms of warrant seems unwarranted.

Correspondence, a popular and maybe even default choice, also seems problematic. "The theory says that a proposition is true provided there exists a fact corresponding to it. In other words, for any proposition p, p is true if and only if p corresponds to a fact." But is it not cleaner to just understand p as a fact, iff it is true ?

This is a thorny issue, and I hope I've set it up just enough to get a conversation going. Personally I'd especially like to learn more about deflationary approaches, which some posters here seem to know about, and which I haven't studied closely yet.
• 1.6k
"Is truth a property of sentences (which are linguistic entities in some language or other), or is truth a property of propositions (nonlinguistic, abstract and timeless entities)?Pie

Or is it a property of a state of affairs, whether conceived as a concrete event (region of space-time) or something more abstract? Which latter might be what many people mean by proposition. What a quagmire!

1 truth-bearing sentence/proposition/fact

2 truth-making event/state of affairs/proposition/fact

Not that we have to acknowledge truth-makers corresponding to truth-bearers. Just flagging up the likely misunderstandings coming down the line.

Could we all just drop "state of affairs" and "proposition" and "fact"? Serious suggestion. Because even the first ends up standing for "sentence". At least with those perhaps disavowing correspondence but prone to having it both ways.
• 11.9k

I think a distinction needs to be made between these two claims:

1. "p" is true iff p
2. "'p' is true" means "p"

The issue with the first is that it entails that all propositions exist:

q ≔ the proposition that p
T(q) ≔ q is true

1. T(q) ↔ p
2. T(q) → ∃x(x=q)
3. p → ∃x(x=q)
4. ¬T(q) ↔ ¬p
5. ¬T(q) → ∃x(x=q)
6. ¬p → ∃x(x=q)
7. ∃x(x=q)

This is problematic because it suggests that propositions exist as abstract entities (à la Platonism) which may be unacceptable to some.

Alternatively propositions are expressions, in which case the T-schema only applies when something is expressed, and so it doesn't make sense to talk about "unspoken truths" (unless this is understood as being comparable to "unbuilt houses", i.e. a reference to potential/possibility).
• 1k
Or is it a property of a state of affairs, whether conceived as a concrete event (region of space-time) or something more abstract? Which latter might be what many people mean by proposition. What a quagmire!

:up:

It is a quagmire !

Could you say more ?
• 38
My first thoughts on the matter of truth is that truth seems to be a human construction. All there really is is reality, things happening and existing. It is when you introduce a human or some sort of human-like observer that we start carving up the world, identifying real things that happen (truth?) and things that don't (falsehoods?). Consider this example: is it true that bachelor's are unmarried? It seems the answer is yes, by definition, but do bachelors even exist in the first place? I might take a radical stance (if it is one) and say bachelors only exist insofar as there are observers of reality that identify a pattern compatible with the bachelor definition. But if the existence of a bachelor is dependent on how the observer carves reality, then it is only true that they are unmarried given that context.

I'm not sure if this is compatible with correspondence or redundancy theory, but I don't think truth is as absolute as most people think, I guess.
• 1k
Not that we have to acknowledge truth-makers corresponding to truth-bearers. Just flagging up the likely misunderstandings coming down the line.
You mention one of my concerns, truth-makers, which seem like unnecessary entities.

Could we all just drop "state of affairs" and "proposition"? Serious suggestion. Because even the former ends up standing for "sentence". With those perhaps disavowing correspondence but prone to having it both ways.

You probably know that I agree. I want things public. Enough with the hidden.
• 1k
The issue with the first is that it entails that all propositions exist:

I'm not 100% comfortable with the move from English to symbolic logic, but your using 'means'
looks pretty good. "P is true" basically means "P" (the "is true" doesn't add anything.) (I guess that's how I understood your #1 in the first place.)
• 1.6k
one of my concerns, truth-makers, which seem like unnecessary entities.Pie

:up:

Controversial!
• 1k
My first thoughts on the matter of truth is that truth seems to be a human construction.

In my view, there's some truth in this. I'm reluctant to say that there is truth without assertions. Ignoring rational aliens, it seems that truth is not apart from us.

It is when you introduce a human or some sort of human-like observer that we start carving up the world, identifying real things that happen (truth?) and things that don't (falsehoods?).

One of the problems is this carving-up: the world-carved-up as opposed to the world-not-carved-up. It seems that the raw or uncarved world is just Being, which is basically Nothing (no distinctions make it a ineffable clump). To say anything about it is to carve carve carve.
• 11.9k
Correspondence, a popular and maybe even default choice, also seems problematic. "The theory says that a proposition is true provided there exists a fact corresponding to it. In other words, for any proposition p, p is true if and only if p corresponds to a fact." But is it not cleaner to just understand p as a fact, iff it is true ?Pie

p is a proposition. So what this says is that the proposition "the cat is on the mat" is true if it corresponds to some fact about the word, namely the cat being on the mat. I don't think it correct to say that the proposition is the fact. Me writing "the cat is on the mat" isn't the cat being on the mat. The writing isn't the thing being written about.

one of my concerns, truth-makers, which seem like unnecessary entities.Pie

In this case, the cat being on the mat is the truth-maker and the proposition "the cat is on the mat" (which can be spoken or written or signed, etc.) is the truth-bearer.
• 1k

I think I am using 'fact' in a biased way (accidentally taking for granted a point of view which is not yet established.) I would 'like' to understand facts as true claims.

I want something like facts to serve as the inputs of inferences.

Me writing "the cat is on the mat" isn't the cat being on the mat. The writing isn't the thing being written about.
:up:

I agree that a string of letters is not a cat on a mat.
• 11.9k
I think I am using 'fact' in a biased way (accidentally taking for granted a point of view which is not yet established.) I would 'like' to understand facts as true claims.Pie

I think it's just a matter of preference whether to call the true proposition "the cat is on the mat" the fact or the cat being on the mat the fact.

You could always re-read the correspondence theory as saying that a proposition is true iff it corresponds to some object/event that exists/happens in the world. It's just a little wordy that way which is why I suspect they opted to use the term "fact" as a shorthand.
• 1k
I'm not sure if this is compatible with correspondence or redundancy theory, but I don't think truth is as absolute as most people think, I guess.

I'd only say that truth seems grammatically absolute, in a way that I hope to articulate further.

It's like a knight on the chessboard.
• 1k
You could always re-read the correspondence theory as saying that a proposition is true if it corresponds to some object/event that exists/happens in the world.

My issue with this is ....to what does it correspond...if not the reiteration of that which it is supposed to make true ?

"The cat on the mat" is true if the cat is on the mat.

I guess I want to avoid some weird stuff that is and is not language at the same time, some kind of quasi-physical cat-on-the-mat-ness. It's as if we are tempted to say too much, to merely muddy the water....
• 11.9k
My issue with this is ....to what does it correspond...if not the reiteration of that which it is supposed to make true ?

"The cat on the mat" is true if the cat is on the mat.

I guess I want to avoid some weird stuff that is and is not language at the same time, some kind of quasi-physical cat-on-the-mat-ness. It's as if we are tempted to say too much, to merely muddy the water....
Pie

I could just point to the cat on the mat and say that your statement is true because it corresponds to the thing I'm pointing at.

Obviously I have to use the phrase "the cat on the mat" when I'm writing here, but in real life I can perform the action without writing (or saying) "the cat is on the mat".

"What you say is true because it corresponds to that [the thing I point to]".
• 1.6k
Alternatively propositions are expressions,

in which case the T-schema only applies when something is expressed,

So, whenever there is a T-schema expression, at least?

Problem?
• 1k
I could just point to the cat on the mat and say that your statement is true because it corresponds to the thing I'm pointing at.

I agree that you pick a case where correspondence is more plausible, but this is like choosing the little pieces of language that conform to the otherwise broken nomenclature theory.

To what would "truth is correspondence" (if true) correspond ? The concept of truth ? Perhaps. But one could not point.
• 1k
"What you say is true because it corresponds to that [the thing I point to]".

This also takes us into the ineffable, the gestural. I grant that it's probably the intuitive source of the CT.
It deserves credit for what it gets right.
• 1k
If nyet, there really is no point to...anything, oui monsieur?

But that is merely to assume the CT, and to therefore think there's only void and darkness without it.

Qui ?

I do not suggest that nothing is true...only that maybe being true is radically simple thing, like some kind of default intention in communication (but that's not quite it, just exploring.)
• 8.9k
CTPie

What that? :chin:
• 1k

The grand old Correspondence Theory (of truth)...
• 11.9k
But one could not point.Pie

I don't need to be able to point to it for it to be the case, just as I don't need to say "the cat is on the mat" for the cat to be on the mat. Whether or not we can demonstrate correspondence has no bearing on whether or not correspondence obtains.
• 1k
I don't need to be able to point to it for it to be the case, just as I don't need to say "the cat is on the mat" for the cat to be on the mat.

OK, but what is it to be the case ?

To me, it all boils down to P.

P is the case. P is true. P.

Or is there a difference that makes a difference?
• 8.9k
The grand old Correspondence Theory (of truth)...Pie

:snicker: Oops!
• 11.9k
OK, but what is it to be the case ?

To me, it all boils down to P.
Pie

Yes, but it doesn't boil down to "P". That's the point.
• 1k
Yes, but it doesn't boil down to "P". That's the point.

But surely we don't intend P as 'P.' Else why invent the notation for mention rather than use ?

Nor is 2 + 2 = 4 intended as a fact about numerals rather than numbers.

One might be tempted to talk of the meaning of 'P,' which is fair enough. But we might also consider an equivalence class of intersubstitutable expressions.

Are we forced into talk about something 'behind' our expressions ? Perhaps 'mind' is right there in them and as them (not singly but their relationships.)
• 11.9k
Are we forced into talk about something 'behind' our expressions ?Pie

A realist would want to. There's the written sentence "the cat is on the mat" and then there is the cat on the mat, which is an animal sitting on some fabric.
• 1.6k
Try to correspond with real things or events. Cats, mats and cat-on-mat events. Celebrate your confidence in the correspondence by positing actual entities that are truly called "a cat", "a mat", "a cat-on-mat-event" or are truly related verbally by "is on the".

"The cat's being on the mat" is the controversy. Any such entity?

Sounds a bit straw-manish, admittedly. Can we agree, then?

So. Sentences. Things/events.

Sentences true or false. Things/events corresponding to names or other sentence-parts.

No entities corresponding to whole sentences. No truth-value attaching to things or events that aren't sentences.

I thank you.
• 1k
We see N. I'm in my room, I see lots of things about it but I don't describe them.

There's the written sentence "the cat is on the mat" and then there is the cat on the mat, which is an animal sitting on some fabric.

Does this mean there exists $f : \mathbb{E} \to \mathbb{N}$ such that f('the cat is on the mat') = the cat's being on the mat ? I take $\mathbb{E}$ to be the set of English assertions and $\mathbb{N}$ to be the set of non-linguistic reality bits. But what do we ever see of $\mathbb{N}$ but transformed English assertions ? It's like the thing-in-itself. Is this just an issue with use versus mention ?

It seems that we basically have f('P') = P, so that f removes quotes, transforms mention to use.
• 11.9k
But what do we ever see of N but transformed English assertionsPie

We see N. I'm in my room, I see lots of things about it but I don't describe them.
• 1k
But this is back to the ghost story ! Sensations aren't the inputs of inferences. We need claims.

In essence, basic statements are for Popper logical constructs which embrace and include ‘observation statements’, but for methodological reasons he seeks to avoid that terminology, as it suggests that they are derived directly from, and known by, experience (2002: 12, footnote 2), which would conflate them with the “protocol” statements of logical positivism and reintroduce the empiricist idea that certain kinds of experiential reports are incorrigible.
...
Experiences can motivate a decision, and hence an acceptance or a rejection of a statement, but a basic statement cannot be justified by them—no more than by thumping the table.
https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/popper/#BasiStatFalsConv

On an intuitive level, I see the temptation...but I'm also wary of this prelinguistic blob. I think awareness ought to be understood linguistically. The ineffable doesn't get us anywhere. If you, on the other hand, start talking about objects in your room and light hitting your retina...we can all work with that.

Like this:

Statements can be justified only by other statements, and therefore testing comes to an end, not in the establishment of a correlation between propositional content and observable reality, as empiricism would hold, but by means of the conventional, inter-subjective acceptance of the truth of certain basic statements by the research community.
Tentatively warranted and therefore jointly accepted premises.
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal