• Sapientia
    5.1k
    Because "truth" is an aspect of statements in which we make a judgement about things. Judgements are mental, something you agreed with in an earlier post. We say "the cat is on the mat" as a statement we believe to be true. Statements require meaning; statements refer to things. Meaning and reference are subjective, mental occurrences. What the statement is about can be a non-mental thing/event (i.e. the cat on the mat) (but it doesn't necessarily have to be non-mental either--it could be mental, e.g. making a truth-statement about your own mental experience).numberjohnny5

    The problem with your argument is that it connects truisms with one or more false premises. The less time that is spent on these distracting truisms which you - and certain others who indicate a preference to be referred to in a certain outdated way which indicates a certain kind of haughtiness - raise, the better.

    Yes, I do agree that judgements are mental. But no, truth is not an aspect of statements in which we make a judgement about things. Truth is what a true statement says. That a truth can be, and in at least some cases is, separable from - and independent to - judgement, refutes that argument. For example, it is a truth that Earth preexisted us. That is true whether it is judged or not. It would be absurd to suggest that the length of time that the Earth has existed depends on our judgement. You can rightly say that our judgement of that length of time depends on our judgement, but that's trivially true and beside the point.

    As for meaning and reference, there is a charitable assumption that we are both competent English speakers, and that we aren't using words in unusual ways. So, "the cat" refers to the cat, and not a fish or an idea or my experience. If I had meant to refer to a fish or an idea or my experience, then I could have used the right words. That's a starting point to a sensible conversation, and that's the only kind of conversation that I'm interested in.

    A fact is, or corresponds with, the truth. If it's a fact that the cat is on the mat, then the truth is that the cat is on the mat, and vice versa.
    — Sapientia

    I wouldn't say that because the thing that is doing the corresponding (i.e. the thing that is making the reference) is the individual in question. People make statements about the facts, not the other way around.
    numberjohnny5

    No, the individual is not doing the corresponding. The individual can make a statement, and it either corresponds with the truth or it doesn't. The correspondence is out of our hands. We can make statements, not correspondence.

    I never suggested that people can make facts about statements. That's a misreading of what I said, as can be seen by comparing the two quotes above.

    I don't understand the analogy you're making re woods and trees.numberjohnny5

    It means that you're missing the bigger picture by focussing on what's close by. What's close by are the words that I'm speaking and the judgements that I'm making and so on. By I'm trying to get you to step back and look at the bigger picture, or at that which is outside of your immediate vicinity.

    But no, I'm trying to clarify and distinctify the difference between subjectivity and objectivity when it comes to judgments etc. (By the way, the way I use the terms, "subjectivity" just refers to the spatio-temporal location of minds; and "objectivity" refers to the spatio-temporal location of anything that are non-minds.)numberjohnny5

    Judgements don't make sense without something to judge. I'd rather we talk about that something, rather than getting bogged down by the judging and the judgement that is produced, as I think that it has a better chance of getting an answer to the question of the discussion.

    Just because you believe you've clarified something doesn't mean the other person is clear on what you mean. That's the whole point of a commitment to conversing and arguing with others' perspectives/views. I get the impression that you don't care to help me understand your views better with a statement like that.numberjohnny5

    So then you explain to me why my clarification has not clarified it for you, and we work from there.

    Anyway, I think it's important to acknowledge the difference between "fact" and "truth" because the meaning we have for those terms influences the conclusions we make, as well as helps us understand each other. That's what I'm interested in--I'm not interested in being right mainly because I don't think that's generally, in my experience, a good way to argue philosophically. And not many people generally tend to agree with me so I don't bother (i.e. I'm not too emotionally invested in) trying to convince them either. But I do think it's good practice and healthy to challenge my own views and others' views.numberjohnny5

    Okay, but I think that it's important to acknowledge the similarity.

    And I prefer not to digress too much by, for example, talking about talking, or talking about the other person, or their motives, or talking about myself, and so on.

    I'm still not clear what that entails. Looking up a dictionary definition yields this:

    "a factor which decisively affects the nature or outcome of something."

    Is that what you mean by "determinant"?

    Also, what are your definitions for "objective" and "subjective"? We may be using them in different ways, which would add to miscommunication here.
    numberjohnny5

    Sure, why not? I would turn that around and ask you why you think that that definition is inadequate, if that is what you think.

    Some words are difficult to precisely define in a way which avoids problems, like "chair" or "game", yet we know roughly what they mean, are able to correctly identify them, provide examples, and communicate effectively. The words "subjective" and "objective" are like that. I don't think it necessary to attempt to precisely define them, and I'm not willing to do so unless you give me a good enough reason. I could quote you a dictionary definition or give you some examples, but is that really necessary? If your interpretation differs from the norm, then that may be where the problem lies. And if it doesn't, then I'm not sure why you think that there's a problem.

    (By the way, the way I use the terms, "subjectivity" just refers to the spatio-temporal location of minds; and "objectivity" refers to the spatio-temporal location of anything that are non-minds.)numberjohnny5

    I use the terms in a not too dissimilar manner. Off the bat, and loosely, I'd say that what is subjective is what relates to, or comes from, or is about, or depends upon, or is produced by, the subject. So, thinking, judgement, opinion, evaluation, experience, and that kind of thing. And what is objective is otherwise, like facts, the truth, rocks, planets, reality, and that kind of thing.

    I think we agree on that.numberjohnny5

    Okay.

    Another way of describing objects/things or facts (as events between things) is that, ontologically, there exist a variety of different stuff. What "makes" those things different are the particular properties they have relative to other things; maybe that's what you mean by "relational qualities." So while some objects are bigger than others ontologically, there is no comparison between "big" and "small" without minds. We make up a system of thought (like language, mathematics, etc.) that enables us to compare things with each other.numberjohnny5

    Yes.

    The act of perceiving, comparing, describing, measuring, judging etc. about that stuff is subjective (i.e. occurring in minds). When we say one object is bigger than another object and that matches/corresponds accurately to what we're referring to, that would be a true statement/judgement.numberjohnny5

    Yes.

    Another way of putting it is that relations exist and we make particular judgments about them. Some of those judgments can be true, and some false.numberjohnny5

    And yes.

    I agree, although again, I'm not sure how you're using "subjective or objective."numberjohnny5

    Okay, well I think that I might have just gone some ways to clarifying that. This time, I'll let you tell me whether I have or haven't. :wink:
  • Klemens von Metternich
    5
    Everyone is born equal, under God. A person's life choices will make oneself different from others, but from the beginning we are all same, and will be the same forever, as God loves all (John 5:42).
  • Sapientia
    5.1k
    If the OP intended the title to mean the way you interpreted it, it would say, "Are Some People Better Than Others At Certain Things?"Harry Hindu

    Or in certain respects. That's the only way that it would make sense, so it's a charitable interpretation. I could have just replied that it makes no sense.

    If that were the case, then yes, some people are better than others at certain things - but that would be a boring topic as everyone would agree that we have objective measuring sticks of who is a better runner, or ball player. But being a better runner or ball player does not make you a better person.Harry Hindu

    For the love of God, a better person in what respect? The question can't be sensibly answered unless that is specified, except by saying that it makes no sense.

    Exactly. That is why I said earlier, "It is nonsensical to ask a subjective question as if it had an objective answer."Harry Hindu

    And that's why I assumed that he was doing something less baffling. But maybe you're right that he was just being nonsensical.

    He hasn't bothered to reply, thus far.
  • numberjohnny5
    132
    The problem with your argument is that it connects truisms with one or more false premises. The less time that is spent on these distracting truisms which you - and certain others who indicate a preference to be referred to in a certain outdated way which indicates a certain kind of haughtiness - raise, the better.Sapientia

    Well, thanks for your honesty. I don't know what you mean by "a preference to be referred to in a certain outdated way", but re "haughtiness", I definitely don't think I'm superior to anyone. I do think some of my views are more reasonable than others'; and I also think that some of my views might be incoherent or not very well-fleshed out. That's one reason why I'm participating in this forum.

    The "problem" could be that you don't understand what I'm saying re "truth" and "fact", I don't understand what you're saying re "truth" and "fact", or that you're wrong (I obviously believe my views are true).

    For example, it is a truth that Earth preexisted us. That is true whether it is judged or not. It would be absurd to suggest that the length of time that the Earth has existed depends on our judgement. You can rightly say that our judgement of that length of time depends on our judgement, but that's trivially true and beside the point.Sapientia

    I'd say that "that the Earth preexisted us" is an empirical claim, and I think you're saying that that empirical claim is "true". So you're judging a (meaningful) statement (that refers to the empirical domain) to be true. That's what truth is for me: a judgment about facts/events or claims (which are mental facts/events).

    I'm also not saying or implying that facts/events depend upon our judgements about them; in other words, to use your example, I don't believe that the Earth's preexistence hinges upon our judgments.

    As for meaning and reference, there is a charitable assumption that we are both competent English speakers, and that we aren't using words in unusual ways. So, "the cat" refers to the cat, and not a fish or an idea or my experience. If I had meant to refer to a fish or an idea or my experience, then I could have used the right words. That's a starting point to a sensible conversation, and that's the only kind of conversation that I'm interested in.Sapientia

    Even though we may want to enter into conversations with that "charitable assumption" in mind (and I often do), to do so without some scepticism would be foolish, in my view. I've taken part in many discussions in my life-time (which is nearing 40 years), and it's often the case that terms or words are being used conventionally and unconventionally among conversing participants.

    I did take your "the cat" as referring to an actual cat, btw. And I don't think words can be "right" or "wrong", only conventional or unconventional. We may use the word "cat" to hold meaning unconventionally for an actual hat, for example. There's nothing "right/wrong" about that particular decision though.

    No, the individual is not doing the corresponding. The individual can make a statement, and it either corresponds with the truth or it doesn't. The correspondence is out of our hands. We can make statements, not correspondence.Sapientia

    Ok, what is "the truth", ontologically? Does it have location? Does it have properties? What kind of thing is "truth" for you?

    I never suggested that people can make facts about statements. That's a misreading of what I said, as can be seen by comparing the two quotes above.Sapientia

    You said "A fact is, or corresponds with, the truth." I understand "correspond" as something minds do--we make truth-statements in order to match/correspond with facts; this is because my ontology says that "truth" is a property of statements that are used to make judgements that correspond with the facts. So that's why I said "I wouldn't say that" because under my ontology it doesn't make sense to say "facts correspond with truth." Correspondence requires minds, in that sense. I think you're using "correspond" differently, almost interchangeably with "truth". I don't know.

    It means that you're missing the bigger picture by focussing on what's close by. What's close by are the words that I'm speaking and the judgements that I'm making and so on. By I'm trying to get you to step back and look at the bigger picture, or at that which is outside of your immediate vicinity.Sapientia

    If we can't sort out the details (i.e. the trees) then the bigger picture is not worthwhile for me. The bigger picture (the wood) hinges on and is identical to the (all the trees).

    Judgements don't make sense without something to judge. I'd rather we talk about that something, rather than getting bogged down by the judging and the judgement that is produced, as I think that it has a better chance of getting an answer to the question of the discussion.Sapientia

    I already have an answer for the OP. I'm not sure what question you're hoping to find an answer to.

    So then you explain to me why my clarification has not clarified it for you, and we work from there.Sapientia

    Ok, re "fact" and "truth", I'm not clear because I don't understand how you're using those terms. So you can help me understand the difference (if there is a difference?) between "fact" and "truth". What is "fact" ontologically; and the same question goes for "truth" (which I already asked you above).

    And I prefer not to digress too much by, for example, talking about talking, or talking about the other person, or their motives, or talking about myself, and so on.Sapientia

    Me neither, but if the issue that is causing an impasse is being caused by how we're conversing, our intentions, etc., then that needs to be addressed. Ignoring that would only make a conversation more impenetrable, don't you think?

    I would turn that around and ask you why you think that that definition is inadequate, if that is what you think.Sapientia

    It's not that I think your definition for "criteria" is inadequate, it's rather that it's not conventional, which means it's difficult to be on the same page as you about what we're talking about. Here are some conventional definitions of "criteria/criterion":

    - a principle or standard by which something may be judged or decided.
    - A standard or test by which individual things or people may be compared and judged.
    - a standard by which you judge, decide about, or deal with something

    That's how I use the term: "criteria" are subjective/mental constructs i.e. standards/principles that we apply to or impose upon things. That seems to be different from how you're using "criteria".

    Do you see why it's sometimes important to focus on the "trees" before we jump to the "woods"?

    Furthermore, you said that "criteria" weren't subjective, which was what I was arguing against.

    Some words are difficult to precisely define in a way which avoids problemsSapientia

    The way to try and limit that is to know the conventional or standard definitions being used in a particular intellectual milieu.

    The words "subjective" and "objective" are like that. I don't think it necessary to attempt to precisely define them, and I'm not willing to do so unless you give me a good enough reason. I could quote you a dictionary definition or give you some examples, but is that really necessary? If your interpretation differs from the norm, then that may be where the problem lies. And if it doesn't, then I'm not sure why you think that there's a problem.Sapientia

    I disagree, and I have a precise definition of subjective/objective; a major upshot of that precision is that it helps make things easier to organise in my thinking/beliefs; and it also helps other people realise the difference between their and my definitions. From that starting point, some progress can be made. Whereas, the less precise definitions are, the much more difficult it can be to make progress.

    I could quote you a dictionary definition or give you some examples, but is that really necessary?Sapientia

    It's only necessary insofar as it's helpful for a conversation to progress effectively. That's something I care about, so I deem it necessary. You may not care so much, and that's fine, but that's important to know for me because it can help make a decision re whether to continue conversing with you and to manage my expectations, for example. Not that I'm saying I'm not interested in conversing with you at the moment, I'm getting some value out of it, for one thing.

    I use the terms in a not too dissimilar manner. Off the bat, and loosely, I'd say that what is subjective is what relates to, or comes from, or is about, or depends upon, or is produced by, the subject. So, thinking, judgement, opinion, evaluation, experience, and that kind of thing. And what is objective is otherwise, like facts, the truth, rocks, planets, reality, and that kind of thing.Sapientia

    Ok, thanks for clarifying that. I agree, except that I also use "fact" to refer to (non-associative) mental events (i.e. as distinct from mental events as statements about mental events); as well as non-mental events.
  • Sapientia
    5.1k
    I don't know what you mean by "a preference to be referred to in a certain outdated way", but re "haughtiness", I definitely don't think I'm superior to anyone.numberjohnny5

    I don't know what I meant either. Do you have any idea, @Sir2u? :snicker:
  • Sir2u
    1k
    What about the collective mind? saving face, hive mind, group think. Don't they count for something?matt

    Do they count for something? What part do you think they play?

    I don't know if I could definitively say if truth was subjective or objective. Is it possible that truth is beyond subjectivity/objectivity.matt

    Could it be both at the same time? Could it be both at different times? Why do you think it might be objective.
  • Sir2u
    1k
    I wouldn't say all facts are subjective. Some facts don't happen in the mind.numberjohnny5

    Name one please.

    The reason I believe this is because I think facts are essentially events, and there exist events occurring inside and outside minds.numberjohnny5

    Is a tree in the middle of the forest an event? When does it become a fact?
  • Sir2u
    1k
    I don't know what I meant either. Do you have any idea, Sir2u? :snicker:Sapientia

    Oh happy day, I am not on Sappy's list of Dingbats.

    As to you question, I think that you are full of shit. Not that you are not telling the truth though, because you probably have no freakin idea what you meant. Not many others do either I think because it makes no sense at all in the context of any sane discussion.

    Is it not strange that when I claimed that you should have explained better your OP in that obnoxious self pitying thread about whether philosophy makes people pretentiousness, you said that even a half witted person should be able to figure it out because it was so OBVIOUS and that there is no room for misinterpretation. But then you have the balls to post this.

    That's not how the title is worded. That's just one interpretation of it. I interpreted it differently. It's down to the person behind the title to clarify its meaning. If the question is whether some people are better than others, as per the title and opening post, then my answer is yes, in some respects they are. Some people are better than others at the 100 metres, for example. — "Sapientia

    One more time.
    Learn to be civil, learn to try and see other peoples point of view.
    And try to understand that we are not in a battle to be right all the time. You do not have to be telling people "either prove it or admit you are wrong", because you are definitely not prepared to prove anything except with bullying.

    Grow up.

    Have a nice day too.
  • numberjohnny5
    132
    I wouldn't say all facts are subjective. Some facts don't happen in the mind. — numberjohnny5

    Name one please.
    Sir2u

    Sure. A person driving a car in another country.

    The reason I believe this is because I think facts are essentially events, and there exist events occurring inside and outside minds. — numberjohnny5


    Is a tree in the middle of the forest an event? When does it become a fact?
    Sir2u

    Yes. A tree in the middle of the forest is an event. I'd say events in this sense are "situational", that is, they involve objects "interacting" (which could simply involve "being" a tree in relation to other objects/trees/animals/etc.) in some way within a situation/context/environment.

    Facts are observer-independent. Things don't graduate to become facts. Facts exist; observers can happen to experience/perceive facts; and they can make judgements about facts if or when they experience them.
  • Sir2u
    1k
    Sure. A person driving a car in another country.numberjohnny5

    The "fact" of someone driving in another country is information, is the information not in your head?

    Facts are observer-independent. Things don't graduate to become facts. Facts exist; observers can happen to experience/perceive facts; and they can make judgements about facts if or when they experience them.numberjohnny5

    Information might be observer independent, but a fact is something that has been proven/judged/evaluated to be true. That can only happen in someone's mind which means that a fact is not independent of the observer. Many things might be true even if we have no knowledge of their existence, but a fact is a human construct used to define the level of reliability of information.
  • numberjohnny5
    132
    The "fact" of someone driving in another country is information, is the information not in your head?Sir2u

    Let's substitute the word "event" for "fact" here. And let's assume there's the event occurring of someone driving in another country. Before I introduced that claim, that event was occurring. After I focused on other things since I introduced that claim, that event was also occurring. The event is occurring as I type. None of what I have been doing has effected the event of someone driving in another country. My role has to just introduce the claim about that event. Introducing and making claims are (ontologically) mental events. So mental events are required to "discuss" non-mental events (someone driving in another country) in this example. But in this example, mental events do not cause non-mental events to occur. In other words, the statement/claim about someone driving in another country has no direct effect on the event of someone driving in another country.

    Information might be observer independent, but a fact is something that has been proven/judged/evaluated to be true. That can only happen in someone's mind which means that a fact is not independent of the observer. Many things might be true even if we have no knowledge of their existence, but a fact is a human construct used to define the level of reliability of information.Sir2u

    It depends on what you mean by "information". I've just been having a conversation with someone in another threat about it, and it seems to me that "information" (in that thread) refers to meaningful statements/claims about phenomena that can be relayed via various means of communication to other individuals, and so on.

    I don't define "fact" the way you do, and I don't think that's the conventional way in philosophy of talking about "fact" (not that things being unconventional/conventional are "wrong/right"). It seems that you think that facts are only facts if they are tied to truth-statements. I don't think that's a necessary condition for "fact" though. That's tied to what I think "truth" is too: an aspect/part/property of judgments/claims/propositions that relate to events/facts. "Truth" is a mental event about other mental events or non-mental events. "Facts" (i.e. events) do not need truth-statements to validate them as "facts". "Facts" are facts regardless of what any mind thinks about them.
  • Sir2u
    1k
    Let's substitute the word "event" for "fact" here.numberjohnny5

    event:
    Something that happens at a given place and time

    fact:
    Knowledge acquired through study, experience or instruction
    A collection of facts from which conclusions may be drawn

    I really do find that difficult to agree with. Information about the event, yes, that would be fact but the event itself no.

    But in this example, mental events do not cause non-mental events to occur.
    In other words, the statement/claim about someone driving in another country has no direct effect on the event of someone driving in another country.
    numberjohnny5

    But the event causes the information, on that we agree. This sort of brings us back to the falling tree. Millions Zillions of events are happening in the universe as we discuss this, which are facts? I think that we can only call facts the ones that we know about.
    Did you read about the supernova in the Orion Belt? No,me neither. Probably because no one saw it. It might have happened or it might not. So can the supernova be a fact? Only when the information is available.

    I don't define "fact" the way you do, and I don't think that's the conventional way in philosophy of talking about "fact" (not that things being unconventional/conventional are "wrong/right").numberjohnny5

    I use the definition I gave above.

    It seems that you think that facts are only facts if they are tied to truth-statements.numberjohnny5

    No, facts are only facts if they describe correctly reality. Facts are statements of truth because they describe reality.
  • Sapientia
    5.1k
    I'd say that "that the Earth preexisted us" is an empirical claim, and I think you're saying that that empirical claim is "true". So you're judging a (meaningful) statement (that refers to the empirical domain) to be true. That's what truth is for me: a judgment about facts/events or claims (which are mental facts/events).numberjohnny5

    So much in so little!

    First of all, it doesn't have to be a claim of any type, which is important, because you begin by taking what you've put in quotes as a type of claim (which is a statement). In addition to statements (which need to have been stated, and stated by someone) and judgements (which result from the act of judging, which requires someone to perform the act of judging) there are facts (which don't need to be stated or judged by anyone, and do not need anyone to be around at all).

    Now, despite the fact that I am using a statement to express to you a fact, that statement is not itself the fact. That would be an error similar to - if not an example of - those errors which arise as a result of a failure to properly distinguish between use and mention. It is a fact that the earth preexisted us. And it is a fact that the earth preexisted us whether I make that claim or not.

    You interpret me to be saying that "that the Earth preexisted us" is true, which is understandable, but not quite right. I would say that, "The Earth preexisted us", is true - which is a subtle but important difference. I would not begin the sentence with, "That", because that's how facts are denoted, which would suggest that I'm saying that a fact is true, but that's not what I'm saying. I think that it would be a category error to claim that a fact is true, but correspondence with truth avoids that problem.

    Despite the fact that I have judged that Earth has preexisted us, and despite the fact that I have judged the statement, "Earth has preexisted us", to be true, that doesn't really matter here. That is the tree, so to speak. What matters is the woods, which is the fact, which is what I was expressing to you through the use of language.

    With regards to your last sentence in the quote above, I think that it's productive to think about this in terms other than - or at least in addition to - claims; so, in that sense, when you bring up facts and events in addition to claims, that's a start. But I don't agree that claims are mental in nature, unless you only mean that they require a claimant for their production. Claims are just a kind of statement or assertion, and are therefore independent of any mind, except for their production. And they're dependent on that which is external and physical, be that my mouth, sound waves, a pen, or my mobile phone which I'm using to type this very statement. One type of statement is a recorded statement, and recorded statements necessarily have physical properties.

    Instead of facts, events, or claims, it makes sense to think about the judgement as being about a possibility. It is possible that Earth preexisted us, and I judge that it has. But again, this is not about my judgement, nor, primarily, is it about the possibility. It's about the fact. This is, again, where another tree-wood or map-territory sort of analogy would be appropriate.

    I'm also not saying or implying that facts/events depend upon our judgements about them; in other words, to use your example, I don't believe that the Earth's preexistence hinges upon our judgments.numberjohnny5

    That's good. Just take care not to suggest otherwise.

    Even though we may want to enter into conversations with that "charitable assumption" in mind (and I often do), to do so without some scepticism would be foolish, in my view. I've taken part in many discussions in my life-time (which is nearing 40 years), and it's often the case that terms or words are being used conventionally and unconventionally among conversing participants.

    I did take your "the cat" as referring to an actual cat, btw. And I don't think words can be "right" or "wrong", only conventional or unconventional. We may use the word "cat" to hold meaning unconventionally for an actual hat, for example. There's nothing "right/wrong" about that particular decision though.
    numberjohnny5

    Okay, well, I'm glad that you caught my drift that I'm using words conventionally (as with "the cat" and the cat, as opposed to the hat, which, funnily enough, I call "the hat"), despite any lingering doubts that you might've had. I am hereby confirming to you that that is indeed the case, so that we may move on.

    Ok, what is "the truth", ontologically? Does it have location? Does it have properties? What kind of thing is "truth" for you?numberjohnny5

    It's just a term which refers to what a true statement says. (That's the kind of thing it is). So, if the statement says that the cat is on the mat, and the statement is true, then that's the truth. Why should I care whether or not it has a location? I'm not sure whether it even makes sense to ask that question of it. As for properties, I've told you a bit about the truth already, like what I've reiterated above, and like what I've said about correspondence with fact.

    You said "A fact is, or corresponds with, the truth." I understand "correspond" as something minds do...numberjohnny5

    Then you misunderstand it, in my assessment. That's the act of association, which is distinct from the correspondence of which I'm talking. Not only is it distinct, the correspondence of which I'm talking does not depend on the act of association.

    ...we make truth-statements in order to match/correspond with facts;numberjohnny5

    I don't think that that's worded correctly. The "in order" suggests intention. The intention varies and is not relevant. Rather, we make truth-statements which correspond with facts. I know that correspondence between truth-statements and facts do not necessarily require minds doing anything at the time, because, for one thing, if all minds suddenly ceased to exist, then, all else being equal, recorded truth-statements would remain, and at least some of them would correspond with fact. For example, "Earth exists".

    ...this is because my ontology says that "truth" is a property of statements that are used to make judgements that correspond with the facts.numberjohnny5

    So, you think that truth is a property of statements which correspond with facts. But you also seem to think that how statements are used, and judgement, is also somehow relevant. It's the latter that I have a problem with. In what sense are they presumably of relevance? They aren't necessary for correspondence, properly understood, to take place. You could define it as a mental correspondence, but I don't know why you would do so. That's not the correspondence that I'm talking about, which is the correspondence between true statements and facts. Whenever there's a true statement, like "Earth exists", there's a corresponding fact. That's it. No judgement required. No one is required at all. No one needs to be doing anything. What could possibly make you think otherwise? Are you some sort of idealist or aren't you? Because you sound like one in some respects.

    So that's why I said "I wouldn't say that" because under my ontology it doesn't make sense to say "facts correspond with truth."numberjohnny5

    Then the problem must be with your ontology.

    Correspondence requires minds, in that sense.numberjohnny5

    Either correspondence does not require minds or you're talking about correspondence in a different sense for some reason. But if it's the latter, why are doing so?

    I think you're using "correspond" differently, almost interchangeably with "truth". I don't know.numberjohnny5

    I'm using it differently, yes. But not interchangeably with "truth". Correspondence is about the relationship between true statements and fact, which is a conditional relationship in the logical sense.

    If we can't sort out the details (i.e. the trees) then the bigger picture is not worthwhile for me. The bigger picture (the wood) hinges on and is identical to the (all the trees).numberjohnny5

    It's important to recognise which details are essential and which are not. I think that you've been focussing on aspects which are not essential to the bigger picture.

    I already have an answer for the OP. I'm not sure what question you're hoping to find an answer to.numberjohnny5

    I know that you already have an answer. I think that it's the wrong answer. That's how we ended up here. The original question was whether some people are better than others. You gave an answer, which I then questioned, which lead to you providing further details, which I have been criticising, and you've been responding to my criticism, and so on, and so forth, and this is where we're at. My concern is the right answer.

    Ok, re "fact" and "truth", I'm not clear because I don't understand how you're using those terms. So you can help me understand the difference (if there is a difference?) between "fact" and "truth". What is "fact" ontologically; and the same question goes for "truth" (which I already asked you above).numberjohnny5

    One difference is that truth requires language whereas facts do not. To use your terminology, one could think of truth as a property of statements and facts as a property of reality.

    It's not that I think your definition for "criteria" is inadequate, it's rather that it's not conventional, which means it's difficult to be on the same page as you about what we're talking about. Here are some conventional definitions of "criteria/criterion":

    - a principle or standard by which something may be judged or decided.
    - A standard or test by which individual things or people may be compared and judged.
    - a standard by which you judge, decide about, or deal with something

    That's how I use the term: "criteria" are subjective/mental constructs i.e. standards/principles that we apply to or impose upon things. That seems to be different from how you're using "criteria".

    Do you see why it's sometimes important to focus on the "trees" before we jump to the "woods"?

    Furthermore, you said that "criteria" weren't subjective, which was what I was arguing against.
    numberjohnny5

    No, I was using the conventional definition. What I'm saying, with regards to what we're talking about, and with regards to the example - which, if I recall correctly, was something like whether or not the moon is bigger than my foot - is that the appropriate standard to use would be one that is objective, in that it's defining feature is that it reflects reality, rather than my judgement, which might clash with reality.

    Also, once criteria are set or "decided", they determine the outcome or "judgement". So, what I was saying was not far off from the wording and gist of those definitions. I think that you're just over-anyalysing. We can call it something else if need be.

    The way to try and limit that is to know the conventional or standard definitions being used in a particular intellectual milieu.numberjohnny5

    Yes, and another way to avoid that is not to seek an unnecessary degree of exactness, not to over-analyse, not to rigidly adhere to the wording of definitions, and to instead adapt to a way of thinking in line with the spirit of what's being said and in line with the Wittgensteinian concept of family resemblance.

    Ok, thanks for clarifying that. I agree, except that I also use "fact" to refer to (non-associative) mental events (i.e. as distinct from mental events as statements about mental events); as well as non-mental events.numberjohnny5

    Okay, so we agree on that, except that I haven't quite wrapped my head around your possible exception. I might have some idea about what you're getting at, but don't worry about explaining it in detail unless it's pertinent to our main topic of discussion.
  • Sapientia
    5.1k
    You're right, and I applaud you for even engaging with such an argument. I doubt whether I'd have the patience, or whether I'd see it as worth my time. Our positions are not too far apart, but his is miles away. The way he uses the word "fact" would mean that he'd just be talking past us. Facts, when properly defined, are not dependent on knowledge. The only part of your reply that I don't agree with is what you classify as mental events. Also, I'm not tied to your definition of information, although that's one way of defining it.
  • numberjohnny5
    132
    You're right, and I applaud you for even engaging with such an argument. I doubt I'd have the patience.Sapientia

    Thanks, but to which post/claim(s) are you referring?

    (Btw, I'm currently in the middle of responding to your last (big) post to me, but I won't be able to finish it until the weekend as I'm really busy.)
  • Sapientia
    5.1k
    Thanks, but to which post are you referring?numberjohnny5

    I was referring to his overall argument or stance, which would include posts like the one you were replying to - this one - as well as this one, which I also briefly commented on.

    (Btw, I'm currently in the middle of responding to your last (big) post to me, but I won't be able to finish it until the weekend as I'm really busy.)numberjohnny5

    That's fine, I can wait. And besides, it took me a couple of days to reply. (And yes, that was a big post for me. It took me a long time to come up with. I lost track of time because I was concentrating and "in the zone").
  • Sir2u
    1k
    I have told you before, do not talk behind my back. If you have something to say about my way of thinking please grow a set of balls and tell me about your problem.

    Thank you,have a nice day.
  • numberjohnny5
    132
    I really do find that difficult to agree with.Sir2u

    Well, at least it shows you're trying to agree! :P

    fact:
    Knowledge acquired through study, experience or instruction
    Sir2u

    I've never comes across this definition of "fact".

    Anyway, a reason why "fact" is the same as "event" is because in my ontology all things are events. In other words, all things/objects are comprised of properties in relations interacting in particular ways with other things. There's a dynamic fluidity to all that exists, and all that exists is physical, in my view. So in that sense, events are properties undergoing change. Information, as phenomena that we perceive and organise mentally, is included in this ontology.

    But the event causes the information, on that we agree.Sir2u

    I think information is a mixture of the event and our experience and processing of the event into an organised, coherent and meaningful set of statements/judgements.

    Zillions of events are happening in the universe as we discuss this, which are facts? I think that we can only call facts the ones that we know about.Sir2u

    You're conflating knowledge about events with events. They are not the same. It seems like you're defining "fact" as "knowledge-by-acquaintance" (or acquaintance knowledge). Conventionally, knowledge is justified, true belief in analytic philosophy, right? That's mental phenomena. You're saying mental phenomena about phenomena we have no mental phenomena about is not phenomena.

    Do you have a term for phenomena we do not experience and have knowledge of then, if it's not the term "fact" for you?

    Let's return to my vignette about someone driving in another country being a fact/event. Would you agree that just because you or I do not know about someone driving in another country at this present moment, that it is therefore not an event that is actually taking place? That because we aren't aware of, having an experience of, or have no knowledge that someone in another country is driving right now, it is not an event? Is that your position?

    I presume you'd agree that someone knows that someone is driving in another country even if we do not, right? If you agree, then that means that there are generally people who do know that events are taking place and generally people who do not know that events are taking place in a given moment. What relationship, then, does an event have with mental phenomena in the form of knowledge? How are they connected so that events only qualify as events if they are known?

    Did you read about the supernova in the Orion Belt? No,me neither. Probably because no one saw it. It might have happened or it might not. So can the supernova be a fact? Only when the information is available.Sir2u

    If a supernova occurred it would be a fact despite our lack of knowledge about it. Again, knowledge-by-acquaintance is not identical to what--the thing/event in question--we're acquainting ourselves with. Things happen, whether we are aware of them or not.

    No, facts are only facts if they describe correctly reality. Facts are statements of truth because they describe reality.Sir2u

    So facts are mental phenomena, for you? What's the difference between "reality" and "fact"? What are events that aren't known?

    Because if events/facts only occur when minds know about them occurring, that's a causal argument. That is, you'd be positing that minds and only minds cause events to occur.
  • numberjohnny5
    132
    I am starting with your definition/explanation of what "truth" is because I think this informs the other parts of your recent post, in terms of where I think the problems lie.

    It's just a term which refers to what a true statement says. (That's the kind of thing it is). So, if the statement says that the cat is on the mat, and the statement is true, then that's the truth. Why should I care whether or not it has a location? I'm not sure whether it even makes sense to ask that question of it. As for properties, I've told you a bit about the truth already, like what I've reiterated above, and like what I've said about correspondence with fact.Sapientia

    The reason I think it's important to care about where things are located for ontological matters is because I think it's nonsense to believe that things/events that exist have no location. "Truth" as "a term", in your words, is located somewhere, otherwise it doesn't exist. Further, the original focus of my inquiry is related to whether "truth" is subjective (occuring in minds) or "objective" (occurring external to minds). So for me, ontologically, thinking/conceptualising "a term" is a mental event, and hence located in minds. The properties of said mental event (on one relative scale of analysis) are comprised of neurons, synapses, chemical reactions, etc.

    The problem I have with your explanation for "truth" is that it's unclear and muddled. You write, "...if the statement says that the cat is on the mat, and the statement is true, then that's the truth." Let's break this down.

    {The first part of this conditional is:}

    (i) "if the statement says that the cat is on the mat,"
    (ii) "and the statement is true,"

    In other words, if the statement "the cat is on the mat" is true,...

    {The second part of this conditional is:}

    (iii) "then that's the truth."

    ...then the statement "the cat is on the mat" is true.

    That's a tautology. In other words, your conditional is stating that if the statement about a fact (the cat on the mat) is true, then the statement is true. (I assume by "that's the truth" you're claiming that the statement about the cat is true. But it's redundant and unnecessary to use "true" and "truth" in that way. It muddies the waters.) So all you need to say is "if I judge my statement to correspond with a fact (in this case, the cat being on the mat), then I judge my statement to be true."

    Otherwise, what's the difference between "true" and "truth"? I wonder whether you're conflating "truth" with "fact" there, as in, "it's a fact that the statement about the cat on the mat is true."

    Ok, so using your definition/explanation of "true/truth"...you write,

    "For example, it is a truth that Earth preexisted us."

    In other words, I read that sentence as claiming: "it is true that Earth preexisted us." I don't know what else is could be saying. Maybe it's saying "it is a fact that Earth preexisted us"? But if so, that sentence is still a statement. Referring to facts necessarily involves statements about facts. There's no escaping that fact. Furthermore, you're judging that statement about facts to be true.

    "First of all, it doesn't have to be a claim of any type..."

    "a type of claim (which is a statement)"

    Any statement is a statement about stuff. Statements refer, that's what they do. So any mention or reference about facts is necessarily a statement or claim of some type. So it does have to be a claim...

    "despite the fact that I am using a statement to express to you a fact, that statement is not itself the fact."

    In other words, although I am using a statement to refer to a fact in a particular way, that statement is not actually the fact I'm referring to. Yeh, I agree.

    Despite the fact that I have judged that Earth has preexisted us, and despite the fact that I have judged the statement, "Earth has preexisted us", to be true, that doesn't really matter here.Sapientia

    Judging something to be the case is identical to judging something to be true. That's the only way we can refer to facts, by referring to them in different ways.

    It is a fact that the earth preexisted us. And it is a fact that the earth preexisted us whether I make that claim or not.Sapientia

    Both statements are claims about past facts (i.e. that the Earth preexited us). (And statements about facts as ontological statements about ontological facts are empirical statements/claims.) The first statement is a claim about a past fact that you judge to be true, do you not? You're not saying "it is false that the earth preexisted us", are you? And you're not saying "I'm not making any ontological commitment as to whether the earth preexisted us", are you? If your answer to two those questions is "true", then logically, "It is a fact that the earth preexisted us" is a claim that you believe to be true. What else can it be?

    The second statement is also one that believes it is true (again, what else can it be?).

    You interpret me to be saying that "that the Earth preexisted us" is true, which is understandable, but not quite right. I would say that, "The Earth preexisted us", is true - which is a subtle but important difference. I would not begin the sentence with, "That", because that's how facts are denoted, which would suggest that I'm saying that a fact is true, but that's not what I'm saying. I think that it would be a category error to claim that a fact is true, but correspondence with truth avoids that problem.Sapientia

    I wasn't using the word "that" in any special way, or in the way you're describing; that is, '"that the Earth preexisted us" is true' and '"The Earth preexisted us", is true' are identical statements to me.

    In any case, you're then acknowledging that facts cannot be true. Does that mean that judgments about statements that correspond to facts are the things that can be true?

    So, you think that truth is a property of statements which correspond with facts.Sapientia

    It's more that "truth" is a property of statements that judges how statements refer/relate to facts. That is, "truth" is the aspect of statements that we use to judge whether statements relate to the facts "accurately" or not. Having a statement without a judgment about that statement excludes it from being a statement. Statements judge. Statements are a type of sentence. A sentence that doesn't judge is rather a non-propositional sentence, like a question or phrase. So it's the property of "truth" in a sentence that makes it a statement/proposition.

    But you also seem to think that how statements are used, and judgement, is also somehow relevant. It's the latter that I have a problem with. In what sense are they presumably of relevance? They aren't necessary for correspondence, properly understood, to take place. You could define it as a mental correspondence, but I don't know why you would. That's not the correspondence that I'm talking about, which is the correspondence between truth statements and fact.

    Whenever there's a true statement, like "Earth exists", there's a corresponding fact. That's it. No judgement required. No one is required at all.Sapientia

    The judgement is required, otherwise what do you think truth-values are? They are judgements about stuff: either true or false (depending on the species of logic you use). "Earth exists" is a statement that is judged to correspond with a fact.

    Either correspondence does not require minds or you're talking about correspondence in a different sense for some reason. But if it's the latter, why are doing so?Sapientia

    I'm saying correspondence requires minds because that's what's involved when corresponding statements to events/facts.

    One difference is that truth requires language whereas facts do not. To use your terminology, one could think of truth as a property of statements and facts as a property of reality.Sapientia

    Ok, thanks. So "truth" is a property of minds, then, correct? I would say that "facts [are] a property of reality", but because I think that minds are also part of reality, that means there are also mental facts/events. So "truth" is a type of fact - a mental fact i.e. an event that occurs in minds as opposed to a fact/event that does not occur in minds.

    No, I was using the conventional definition.Sapientia

    The conventional definition of criteria refers to standards/principles that we judge. In an earlier post you said "criteria are not subjective". Then you said that criteria are determinants. I don't believe standards are non-mental. So an "objective standard" (i.e. your " the appropriate standard to use would be one that is objective") in my ontology would refer to a real external-to-mind standard, akin to what a Platonic realist might believe about Forms being real. I'm an anti-realist on abstract objects like that (insofar as those objects exist external to minds).

    You also say "once criteria are set or "decided", they determine the outcome or "judgement"." Are you saying that minds set or decide upon criteria? If so, it then seems you believe that subjective criteria then "graduate" or change to become objective criteria as "determinants" that relate to (subjective) judgments. Criteria are mental abstract objects, and "judgements" are abstract objects. (I don't know what would be included in "outcome" there.) Which means that subjective standards (as mental abstract objects) "determine" other mental abstract objects like judgements. There is no objective criteria involved.

    In an earlier post you wrote, "And criteria are not subjective, even if they require a subject to set them, which they don't in at least some cases. No one really needs to set the criteria for what makes the moon bigger than my foot. The criteria are predetermined, unless you change them to something else."

    I don't think you're using the conventional definition of "criteria" here. "What makes the moon bigger than my foot" are the ontological properties of those two objects. An assessment of their relative sizes might involve criteria, which would be subjective, obviously (since assessments occur in minds).

    What I'm saying, with regards to what we're talking about, and with regards to the example - which, if I recall correctly, was something like whether or not the moon is bigger than my foot - is that the appropriate standard to use would be one that is objective, in that it's defining feature is that it reflects reality, rather than my judgement, which might clash with reality.Sapientia

    You say, "Also, once criteria are set or "decided", they determine the outcome or "judgement". So, what I was saying was not far off from the wording and gist of those definitions. I think that you're just over-anyalysing. We can call it something else if need be."

    You could say I'm over-analysing, but I think I have good reason to do so since I don't think you're being clear or coherent, in my view. I think what you're saying is "far off from the gist of those definitions". I also don't understand how criteria that is set or decided by minds can 'determine the outcome or "judgment".'
  • Sir2u
    1k
    Well, at least it shows you're trying to agree! :Pnumberjohnny5

    I always try to understand what others are saying, it is up to them to convince me to agree with them and for me to do the same.

    I've never comes across this definition of "fact".numberjohnny5

    http://www.dictionary.com/browse/fact

    There are sometimes many definitions of a word. When this happens it is necessary to provide the definition one is using to avoid problems. People tend to presume that the meaning of what they write is obvious.

    Anyway, a reason why "fact" is the same as "event" is because in my ontology all things are events. In other words, all things/objects are comprised of properties in relations interacting in particular ways with other things. There's a dynamic fluidity to all that exists, and all that exists is physical, in my view. So in that sense, events are properties undergoing change. Information, as phenomena that we perceive and organise mentally, is included in this ontology.numberjohnny5

    I suppose that if this is your way of seeing things then it is acceptable, but I am still not sure whether or not I could agree with it.

    I think information is a mixture of the event and our experience and processing of the event into an organised, coherent and meaningful set of statements/judgements.numberjohnny5

    This is were I disagree most. I do not see the event itself as the information. From my point of view the information is the product of the event, even if the event is just a tree sitting in the middle of a forest. The information is the description of the event.

    You're conflating knowledge about events with events. They are not the same. It seems like you're defining "fact" as "knowledge-by-acquaintance" (or acquaintance knowledge).numberjohnny5

    No, you are doing that. See above. Fact and knowledge are not the same. We can have facts as knowledge but we cannot have all of the facts. My question was, if information about some obscure event in the universe is not available to us is it still a fact? Using common acceptable definitions of fact, I don't see how that is possible.

    Conventionally, knowledge is justified, true belief in analytic philosophy, right? That's mental phenomena. You're saying mental phenomena about phenomena we have no mental phenomena about is not phenomena.numberjohnny5

    No, I am saying that if something is unknown then we cannot have mental phenomena about it. It is, if it is actually happening phenomena. But How does anyone know about it?

    Do you have a term for phenomena we do not experience and have knowledge of then, if it's not the term "fact" for you?numberjohnny5

    The Unknown.

    Let's return to my vignette about someone driving in another country being a fact/event. Would you agree that just because you or I do not know about someone driving in another country at this present moment, that it is therefore not an event that is actually taking place? That because we aren't aware of, having an experience of, or have no knowledge that someone in another country is driving right now, it is not an event? Is that your position?numberjohnny5

    Ok, I think that here is were the problem of our misunderstanding lies. If those people are driving around some place, then they are witnesses to their own events. Others would see them as well. This would be a fact.
    But how can something be a fact if absolutely no one knows about it?
    If a supernova occurred it would be a fact despite our lack of knowledge about it. Again, knowledge-by-acquaintance is not identical to what--the thing/event in question--we're acquainting ourselves with. Things happen, whether we are aware of them or not.numberjohnny5

    This, again, is where we diverge in agreement. Events and information cannot be the same thing. Information is the result of events, events cause information. What information is available if no event occurs? None right.

    So facts are mental phenomena, for you? What's the difference between "reality" and "fact"? What are events that aren't known?numberjohnny5

    Look at any of the definitions of fact, what do they all imply? Reality is everything that is in existence, of which we know very little. Fact is what we do know about reality. Event about which we have no knowledge (unknown) are usually called unknown events because we have no facts about them. There might have been events that generated information, but we do not have the facts.

    Because if events/facts only occur when minds know about them occurring, that's a causal argument. That is, you'd be positing that minds and only minds cause events to occur.numberjohnny5

    No, events occur all the time. I am positing that events can happen, do happen but we are often ignorant of their passing because we have no facts about them. No one said anything about our minds causing events to happen even though that sometimes is the case, as in the event of me replying to you.

    I think that you should stop calling events facts unless you can properly explain how that is possible and where you got the definition of fact that you use.
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