• Leontiskos
    1.5k
    There's a touching passage in Tarski's little Introduction to Logic that I'll quote in full hereSrap Tasmaner

    Very interesting. Thanks for sharing. :up:

    I think Tarski is right that logic pulls more weight than it appears to at first glance, and it is for this reason that I think varieties of logical pluralism are especially problematic.
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    2.1k


    First order predicate calculus does not render ontological conclusions.

    Be charitable here.


    I'm trying, lol, maybe I missed the point. Well, you can see the direction I was thinking in anyhow.

    On the account you gave, it would be best to remove the inconsistencies

    I don't see it that way. For an example of my thinking on this, some Hindu philosophy seems to embrace
    the excluded middle. I don't think it would be charitable to try to iron this out in translation, because it wouldn't be taking the ideas seriously. I guess in some cases it seems more charitable to just say, "I hear you but I think you're wrong."
  • Leontiskos
    1.5k
    As already noted, if logic had no ontological implications then there could be no historical progression in logic vis-a-vis ontology, there could be no better or worse logics vis-a-vis ontology, and Wittgenstein's logic could not have excluded dynamism from his ontology, <which it did>.Leontiskos

    Does any one else see this as a bad argument? Count Timothy von Icarus? @Srap Tasmaner?

    If logic does not have ontological implications, then there are no better or worse logics regarding ontology.

    But it remains that there may be better or worse uses of logic in ontological arguments.

    Or is there a more charitable way to read this than as a transcendental argument with a false conclusion?
    Banno

    I think this is a good example of the standard sort of strawman that you engage in. You took "vis-a-vis ontology" and replaced it with "regarding ontology," and then pretended that I was referring to ontological arguments like Anselm's. The context about Wittgenstein should have been enough to preclude such a strawman, for obviously I have not claimed that Wittgenstein gave a bad "ontological argument." But even if it wasn't, the context of this debate that has already taken place earlier in the thread is obviously about the topic you raised: ontological implications of different logics, not ontological conclusions arrived at from pure logic.

    This is bad-faith argumentation, and it's no secret you are engaged in it all the time. But recognizing how very old you are, I largely ignore it. :meh:

    (I suppose it is worth pointing out here that those who struggle with intellectual vices could use a "principle of charity" as a medicine, whether that vice stems from old age, pride, or other such things. Again, this is a practical consideration, but on point.)
  • Banno
    23.5k
    This is bad-faith argumentation...Leontiskos
    You'd know. I'll leave you to it then.
  • Leontiskos
    1.5k
    - Cop out, as usual. :roll:
    It's high time you started taking responsibility for what you say.
  • Srap Tasmaner
    4.7k
    I had a similar discussion with Joshs re truth being true withing a given metaphysics versus being true universally. It seems to me that if you tell a lot of people, "yes, what you're saying is true...but only in your context," you're actually telling them that what they think is false, because they don't think the truth is context dependent in this way.Count Timothy von Icarus

    Well. Several things going on here.

    It's an interesting point, but how broadly it applies isn't clear.

    I'm desperately trying not to become an expert on QV, but I want to start by pointing out something a little odd about Hirsch's formulation of charity that I posted before:

    A charity-based metasemantics assigns L the interpretation that, when all is said-and-done, when every disposition to correct and revise is accounted for, makes the best sense of the linguistic behavior of L-speakers by making their considered utterances come out true in actual and possible circumstances, ceteris paribus.Hirsch & Warren

    Surely "true" here is short for "true in L, under I", but I find it odd they didn't just say that, since all the model-theoretic machinery seems ready to hand.

    So that's caveat number 1 to your point: truth is always truth in a language, under a particular interpretation. It doesn't even make sense -- heh, in this theoretical context -- to say otherwise, to say "just plain true, dammit!"

    Caveat number 2: it's widely understood that even statements of fact -- observations and such -- in the context of science are relative to a given theoretical framework. There's no pure non-theory-laden observation to be had, and no one pretends otherwise; rather, it's the theory that enables the observations to be made at all. (More Kant, etc. And absolutely every philosopher of science.)

    Caveat number 3: Goodman, in Ways of Worldmaking, makes the point that reduction is essentially a myth in science, and if that's so, he can claim for his relativism that rather than it being anti-science, it empowers him to take each science at "full force", to endorse the work of biologists and chemists, for instance, without treating them as second-class citizens whose science isn't quite as true as physics. That's appealing.

    Caveat number 4: one of your interlocutors is claiming to have the regular old absolute truth, not truth relative to anything, and it's only because of that claim that contextualizing their substantive claim is either necessary (for the listening relativist) or offensive (to them making the claim).

    Well, what do you intend to do about that? Goodman's line is to say that their being right -- assuming they are right -- doesn't preclude there being other perspectives that are also right. (A picture doesn't invalidate a verbal description of the same scene -- just different versions, doing different things.)

    I think you want to give them the respect of telling them they're wrong when you think they are, and that's fine. Pluralism doesn't have to mean everyone's always right. It just means understanding something about how you're right, and that there may be other ways to be right. (Note that I am not here addressing charity and Hirsch's use of it.)

    In short, you can separate their claim into two: the substantive claim, and an additional claim that all other versions are wrong.
    *
    (I mean, the latter is not even true in basic arithmetic, because of bases. Yes, you can claim that "10" is ambiguous, and with the base specified means one thing. Well, yeah. Keep going.)
    You can take both claims quite seriously, accepting one and denying the other. If they want to fight about it, you're not fighting about the substantive claim, but about their claimed monopoly on the truth, which you have taken just as seriously and denied.

    That's enough "How To Be a Relativist."

    I am reluctantly going to take a stab at a real paper by Hirsch. I'll get back to y'all on his particular take on charity.
  • Leontiskos
    1.5k
    Surely "true" here is short for "true in L, under I", but I find it odd they didn't just say that, since all the model-theoretic machinery seems ready to hand.

    So that's caveat number 1 to your point: truth is always truth in a language, under a particular interpretation. It doesn't even make sense -- heh, in this theoretical context -- to say otherwise, to say "just plain true, dammit!"
    Srap Tasmaner

    It seems to me that this is already duplex veritas; it is already a premise of quantifier variance. Hence it is part of the controversy, and someone like Sider (and me!) would already disagree with you here. Sider's (really Aristotle's) notion of "carving reality at the joints" is presupposing contextless truth, as does the idea of "ontological structure." Sider partitions out that argument and distinguishes the variety of QV that denies this notion of carving from the variety of QV that does not deny it—and his distinction is what sparked some of @Count Timothy von Icarus' musings in the first place—but this is surely one of the very things that is at stake, and is not a common presupposition.

    Edit: But I think the question here needs to be refined. It is the question about whether language can speak about something beyond itself:

    The first kind of ideology is, after all, not ideology but just another name for thinking. Edge describes it as the fact that we have no access to a world independent of our senses and judgments. Indeed. No one can think without thinking and, since we are sensing creatures, without sensing either. But Edge then immediately slides into a suggestio falsi by glossing what he said as that we always think, when we think, with an inherited language-picture of the world. He then gives a further gloss that the drive to get beyond such a picture to ‘the resplendent and glorious room of objectivity’ is ‘fruitless’ because we cannot get to a place ‘independent of human thought, talk, language and belief’. Of course not. But whoever thought one had to in order to get to objectivity, to truth, to the way things are? One gets to objectivity by thinking.Peter L. P. Simpson, A Response to Edge

    Pluralism doesn't have to mean everyone's always right. It just means understanding something about how you're right, and that there may be other ways to be right.Srap Tasmaner

    Along the same lines of what @Count Timothy von Icarus has already alluded to, to say that some are equally right (and others could be wrong) would seem to imply that there is a standard of rightness that measures both equally-right views simultaneously. So if I say that a claim made in context X and a claim made in context Y are both equally right, then I have already implicitly appealed to a super-context that is capable of measuring both contexts, X and Y.
  • Srap Tasmaner
    4.7k
    truth is always truth in a language, under a particular interpretation. It doesn't even make sense -- heh, in this theoretical context -- to say otherwise, to say "just plain true, dammit!" — Srap Tasmaner

    It seems to me that this is already duplex veritas; it is already a premise of quantifier variance. Hence it is part of the controversy, and someone like Sider (and me!) would already disagree with you here. Sider's (really Aristotle's) notion of "carving reality at the joints" is presupposing contextless truth, as does the idea of "ontological structure."
    Leontiskos

    I guess I had that coming, but it puts me in an awkward position.

    I'm already on record, in this very thread, dismissing much of contemporary mainstream Anglo-American philosophy. Easy enough for me, dilettante that I am, but I've given my reasons: science stumbles merrily ahead, leaving the philosophers to argue amongst themselves. If there is something left for philosophy to do, I haven't been able to figure out what that is, and god knows I've tried. (There are people here, @Joshs and @180 Proof and god help me @apokrisis come to mind, who have a program philosophy plays a vital part in. I envy them their conviction, but I'm just a guy who thinks about stuff.)

    But I can still play at philosophy, and it's an old habit. Even though the content of philosophy mostly leaves me cold now, I still enjoy the practice of philosophy, the challenge of understanding and evaluating arguments, all that.

    So I could do that here, and we could play at arguing about the nature of truth, but my heart's not in it. I don't have a horse in this race; I'm just a guy who's spent an unhealthy amount of time around the track.

    I could argue against "contextless truth" and "carving nature at the joints" but I wouldn't be arguing for an alternative philosophical position. And I'd spend a lot of time arguing against misunderstanding positions I don't even hold, just out of scrupulousness I guess. Trying to think well is about as much of a program as I have.

    TL;DR. Bait not taken. If you want to opine on Absolute Truth, I won't get in your way.
  • Leontiskos
    1.5k
    But I can still play at philosophy, and it's an old habit.Srap Tasmaner

    Lol, okay.

    I could argue against "contextless truth" and "carving nature at the joints" but I wouldn't be arguing for an alternative philosophical position. And I'd spend a lot of time arguing against misunderstanding positions I don't even hold, just out of scrupulousness I guess. Trying to think well is about as much of a program as I have.Srap Tasmaner

    Well, you've already argued against contextless truth, so I don't know what to make of this. I am the one who took your bait, and now it seems that you were engaged in "catch and release." :grin:

    I would make the point with Plato that what you have said already commits you to contextless truth. If that is right, then it's not some abstruse academic argument, but rather an entailment of your own thought that hasn't been seen through to the end (unless you were stating something you do not believe for the sake of argument, to bolster QV). There is nothing less programmatic than the simple idea that truth exists and can be known. That's the presupposition for any thought and any program, good or bad. And this isn't off-topic or far away. It is the very topic of the OP. Is it the very thing Sider is arguing for. In a nutshell: if truth exists then quantifier variance and logical pluralism don't.
  • fdrake
    6k
    But I can still play at philosophy, and it's an old habit. Even though the content of philosophy mostly leaves me cold now, I still enjoy the practice of philosophy, the challenge of understanding and evaluating arguments, all that.Srap Tasmaner

    It might be off the track, but do you enjoy its applications in other disciplines? I'm reading a Deleuze inspired social science book on addiction at the minute.
  • Srap Tasmaner
    4.7k
    you've already argued against contextless truthLeontiskos

    Did I? Are you sure?

    I would make the point with Aristotle that what you have said already commits you to contextless truth.Leontiskos

    There's no need to be insulting.

    There is nothing less programmatic than the simple idea that truth exists and can be known.Leontiskos

    I mean, it's tempting just to let that stand without commentary.

    Are you standing up for common sense here, Leontiskos? Against what? Against me? Against a damnable relativism? Has common sense ever needed defending against philosophers?

    What common sense usually needs defending against is science. I just heard on the radio an interview with a UCLA anthropoligist who's spent time along the migration trails from Central America to the US. He said his new book was intended just to add some nuance to the public conversation about migration, because nothing in life is black and white, and smugglers aren't just good or bad.

    Which way do you want to go here? If this guy is good at his job, and it sounded to me like he is, then we might agree to say he is pursuing the truth, and is in a position to tell us truths we were unaware of. Fine.

    But does that mean the statement "Smugglers are bad" must be true or false? Why would it? And what do we say about Jason De León's book? That it's the truth? The whole truth and nothing but the truth? A version of the truth? A part of the truth? But a partial truth can be misleading, so the understanding of truth is not monotonic even if the acquisition of truth is. How do we judge his work? None of us saw what he saw; we can't go back in time and skulk behind a tree to see if his reporting is accurate. We could interview his informants, if we could find them, but even the people that were there might not have noticed something that he did, and anyway some of them are dead now.

    What does common sense say here? What does the political or moral philosopher say about human smuggling? What is the truth and how do you propose to get it?
  • Leontiskos
    1.5k
    I just heard on the radio an interview with a UCLA anthropoligist who's spent time along the migration trails from Central America to the US. He said his new book was intended just to add some nuance to the public conversation about migration, because nothing in life is black and white, and smugglers aren't just good or bad.

    Which way do you want to go here? If this guy is good at his job, and it sounded to me like he is, then we might agree to say he is pursuing the truth, and is in a position to tell us truths we were unaware of. Fine.

    But does that mean the statement "Smugglers are bad" must be true or false?
    Srap Tasmaner

    If De León is right then "Smugglers are just bad" is false and "Smugglers aren't just good or bad" is true. That's what he's doing, he's arguing for a truth.

    Unless I'm mistaken, your post seems to be a roundabout way of arguing that truth doesn't exist or isn't knowable. I know philosophers have "seen it all," and arguments about performative contradiction now come across as passé. What I would say is that they might be age-old, but the are also, well, true.

    But does that mean the statement "Smugglers are bad" must be true or false? Why would it? And what do we say about Jason De León's book? That it's the truth? The whole truth and nothing but the truth? A version of the truth? A part of the truth? But a partial truth can be misleading, so the understanding of truth is not monotonic even if the acquisition of truth is. How do we judge his work? None of us saw what he saw; we can't go back in time and skulk behind a tree to see if his reporting is accurate. We could interview his informants, if we could find them, but even the people that were there might not have noticed something that he did, and anyway some of them are dead now.Srap Tasmaner

    I would say that the commitment to truth is behind us, not in front of us. We can churn up the water and get it as muddy as we like, but we have presupposed truth the whole while. And if there is a question that is too complex to answer, then it is to that extent not truth-apt. But other questions surely are.
  • Srap Tasmaner
    4.7k
    do you enjoy its applications in other disciplines? I'm reading a Deleuze inspired social science book on addiction at the minute.fdrake

    Desiring-machines run amok?

    What I most enjoy, honestly, is everyday reasoning. I eavesdrop a lot -- the rednecks across the street talking about Vietnam, the guy lecturing his buddy on the phone about friendship, etc. One of my first posts at the new site was about my youngest son and I playing catch and, when I sailed one over his head, by way of excusing me, he said, "If I were taller I could have caught it." That strikes as obviously true, but I immediately thought, "But if you were taller, you wouldn't be Michael." What to do, what to do.

    My indolent studies over the years (philosophy, cognitive science, evolutionary biology, statistics, linguistics, economics, anthropology, sociology, blah blah blah) have all been guided by trying to understand how people make sense of things, and in particular how they share the sense they've made with each other. Why do you believe what you do? Do you know? Can you know? When people demand or give reasons for beliefs, how does that work, and why do they do it the way they do?

    So rather than applied philosophy, I'm interested in what you might call philosophy found in the wild.

    Vaguely on topic, I argued somewhere a long time ago, that ontology is peculiar in this respect. People -- by which I mean, you know, people -- talk and argue about how to live, about how government should work, about how they know what they claim to know, about what makes a book or a movie or a piece of music good or bad, about what the right thing to do is in all kinds of situations. You can see the sort of raw material for whole branches of philosophy just laying around in the street. Except for ontology. The only everyday arguments about ontology I could come up with are things like Bigfoot and other cryptids, the Bermuda Triangle, today I might add the secret adrenochrome-sipping cabal of satanist liberals, and usual troubles over Sherlock Holmes and the sense in which Santa Claus and unicorns "aren't real." Philosophers argue about whether there are chairs or numbers or natural kinds, but people don't. (Scientists are likely to say, there are, kinda, for some of those, but not in the way you think, and then we all just need to deal with that.) But there is quite definitely no great body of everyday discussion of whether certain kinds of things exist, nothing anywhere approaching the discussions of right & wrong, of politics, of aesthetics, even of whether you have enough evidence to conclude that your boyfriend is cheating on you. (Austin was fond of reading legal opinions, and thought philosophers were ignoring a great body of practical reasoning.) Ontology, as we here think of it, is a game that only philosophers play. I've seen it argued that physicists, some of them, are now doing metaphysics, and if so, good for them.
  • fdrake
    6k
    Desiring-machines run amok?Srap Tasmaner

    Aye. The body without organs concept is pretty natural there. Ironically it is not talking much about chemicals and demographic risk factors for addiction.

    Ontology, as we here think of it, is a game that only philosophers play.Srap Tasmaner

    I think that's broadly true. Though I do think how people relate the concepts and things in their world counts as an examinable ontology. In that respect, "out in the wild" it isn't sharply distinguished from how people think of institutions, nature, their own bodies, culture and themselves. But it's definitely never thought about as its own thing, I agree with you there.

    of aestheticsSrap Tasmaner

    Yes, and this is even avoided in my book group. Who enjoy analysing literature.

    discussions of right & wrong, of politics,Srap Tasmaner

    Yes, broadly speaking these are also avoided in the activist circle I'm part of. Since most of the theory is irrelevant to tangible goals, and the tangible goals are clearly worth fighting for (eg taking a landlord to court for allowing raw sewage to pour into an immunocompromised person's kitchen for months on end).
  • Leontiskos
    1.5k
    But there is quite definitely no great body of everyday discussion of whether certain kinds of things existSrap Tasmaner

    This is interesting. On many forms of realism predication is an attribution of existence, and if this is right then all discussions involve existence claims (Sider basically defines quantifiers in relation to sentences and truth). Or as says, "how people relate concepts and things."

    And there are also claims about primary substances, i.e. hypotheses. "It's cold in this building, therefore the furnace must be out" (i.e. there exists no fire in the furnace). "The crops are dry; there must be a lack of rain." "My car won't start; the (proximity) key must be somewhere else."

    Philosophers and scientists often take hypothesis to the next level, where they construct mental entities that may or may not exist in the world, and then go about arguing over them. Then there are the table arguments. But I do wonder what percentage of philosophers in the history of the world spent appreciable time arguing whether tables exist.
  • Srap Tasmaner
    4.7k
    I would say that the commitment to truth is behind us, not in front of us. We can churn up the water and get it as muddy as we like, but we have presupposed truth the whole while. And if there is a question that is too complex to answer, then it is to that extent not truth-apt. But other questions surely are.Leontiskos

    I'm more inclined -- you'll be shocked to hear -- to say the opposite.

    There is behavior, such as De León's, that we can recognize as "truth seeking". This project started, he relates, by accident. He had finished a project on migration and intended to move on to something else, but he took one last trip down to Mexico, where he spent some time talking to a bunch of young men hanging around the railroad tracks. He told them about his work, and they said, "Why didn't you talk to us?" They were all smugglers. So he took Herodotus's advice, and rather than just talk to them, which we can all see would be a useful step, he went to see for himself.

    There is, I submit, no correlate to this, behavior we can recognize as "truth getting".

    You're inclined to say there has to be a truth out there to seek, like it's just sitting there, to be found or overlooked or deliberately hidden. Unfortunately for you, "seeking" is an intensional verb, so as Quine patiently explained, just because you're looking for a spy, that doesn't mean there's a spy for you to find.

    Of course, if I wanted to make that argument, it would only get me that maybe there's a spy and maybe there isn't, maybe truth exists and maybe it doesn't. I could say that, but what would I have achieved? And, more importantly, what would I say next? Shall we talk some more about the thing that maybe exists and maybe doesn't, which by definition we have no way to determine?

    Instead, the behavior, where we started, is a rich territory, with lots to learn, and lots to say. There may or may not be a truth out there, but how people comport themselves toward it is endlessly fascinating.

    (I was just yesterday going to look at Hobbes, but I got distracted by the introduction by "the late W. G. Pogson Smith", who must have been an old Oxford don. A couple choice moments:

    He offers us a theory of man's nature that is at once consistent, fascinating, and outrageously false.

    Ah, they don't write like that anymore. And this:

    Truth is a necessity; but necessary truth is a will-o'-the-wisp. Seekers after truth --- how Hobbes despised them, all that deluded race who dreamt of a law whose seat is the bosom of God, her voice the harmony of the world: all things in heaven and earth doing her homage! Rather, boldly conclude that truth is not to be sought, but made. Let men agree what is to be truth, and truth it shall be.

    Marvelous. No wonder, as the other introduction notes, the English Parliament "even claimed that the theories found in Leviathan were a likely cause of the Plague of 1665 and the Great Fire of 1666."

    There's your enemy, the damnable atheist Hobbes. It's all his fault.)
  • Srap Tasmaner
    4.7k


    Sigh. Look at what you quoted:

    But there is quite definitely no great body of everyday discussion of whether certain kinds of things existSrap Tasmaner

    People might talk about whether there's money in the bank or beer in the fridge, but they don't talk about whether money or banks or beer or refrigerators exist.

    And even for particular cases, you're far more likely to find someone saying "It hasn't rained for a while" than someone who says "There is a lack of rain." What's a lack when it's at home? Always something going on out in the fields -- sometimes it's rain and sometimes it's lacks.

    there exists no fire in the furnaceLeontiskos

    Uh huh. What if there does but it's out?
  • 180 Proof
    14.4k
    If there is something left for philosophy to do, I haven't been able to figure out what that is, and god knows I've tried.Srap Tasmaner
    Idling semantic quibbles aside, do you mean "academic philosophy" or "amateur philosophy" or "way of life philosophy"?

    Consider this: these variations of philosophy each "do" different things with, at minimum, the same praxis: reflective inquiryproblematizing aporias, or what we do not / cannot know or understand about what we think we know or what we misunderstand – that reasons towards more probative questions we still do not know how to answer (i.e. philosophical truthes (?)). So, IMO, it does not make sense to apply the notion of "something left to do" to philosophy any more than it does to apply it to other interminable practices (which resemble J. Carse's "infinite games") like martial arts, public health & sanitation, natural sciences, history & politics, personal hygiene, logic & mathematics, fine arts, etc.
  • Leontiskos
    1.5k
    Sigh. Look at what you quoted:Srap Tasmaner

    If you follow my reply a bit closer, I built up to what you were talking about and implied that the lesser forms are related to inquiries about "secondary substances." The distinction that must be made is between the facticity of something whose mode of existence is not in dispute (e.g. extraterrestrials), and the mode of existence of something like a table. The former is sometimes found in ordinary reasoning, and one could recast disputes over the latter as predication disputes (even though this move will in some cases fall into what Sider calls "hostile translation").

    I do grant your point that ontological disputes of the latter kind are more common in philosophy than in everyday speech, but I am wondering if this has more to do with recent philosophy than historical philosophy, at least after the presocratics.

    (Sorry, I realize I am posting a bit too fast. I will try to rectify that.)
  • fdrake
    6k
    @Srap Tasmaner - I think the only application of ontology in everyday life I've had recently was a spirited mereological discussion over whether every man was gay if their butt counted as part of, and was thus in, their own butt.
  • Leontiskos
    1.5k
    - If it could be sufficiently proved that such a sentence follows upon embracing Wittgenstein's philosophy, then the title of schopenhauer1's recent thread would take on a whole new meaning.
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