• Sapientia
    5.6k
    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.numberjohnny5

    I think that it might be nonsense to assume that everything that exists must have a location. A thing that exists might well have some sort of relation to something that has a location, but there are some things with which it does not seem to make sense to even ask, due to it seeming to be a category error. Where is perpendicular located? Where is justification located? Where is mathematics located? Where is the biological kingdom Animalia located? Where is the number twenty located?

    "Truth" as "a term", in your words, is located somewhere, otherwise it doesn't exist.numberjohnny5

    Yes, in a sense, it's located somewhere. But we'd have to break down what's meant. The term, as a word on a screen, does indeed have a location. But is that necessarily, or always, what is meant?

    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.numberjohnny5

    Thinking and conceptualising are indeed mental events, and they do indeed occur in minds. But what about concepts? The continued existence of concepts does not seem to depend on anyone being around performing any kind of cognitive act relating to them, nor on any kind of mental event taking place. So, where are concepts located?

    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.
    numberjohnny5

    It's your analysis that's muddled, not my explanation, although my explanation might have been unclear to you, so I will attempt to clarify.

    What I am saying is not like saying that a triangle is a triangle. What I am saying is like saying that a triangle is a plane figure with three straight sides and three angles. In saying that the truth is what a true statement says, rather than that the truth is the truth, or that a true statement is a true statement, I'm explaining that if the true statement were, "the cat is on the mat", then the truth would be that the cat is on the mat. Your confusion seems to be a result of confusing a statement with what it says, which relates back to my earlier mention of the use-mention distinction. The distinction here might be seen as subtle and at risk of being overlooked or dismissed as trivial and uninformative, but it's not trivial, because it plays an important role, and it's not uninformative, because it tells us what truth is.

    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.)numberjohnny5

    Wrong. The conditional does not state that if the statement is true, then the statement is true, which is like stating that if the shape is a triangle, then the shape is a triangle. The conditional states that if the statement is true, then the truth is what it says, which is like stating that if the shape is a triangle, then the shape is a plane figure with three straight sides and three angles.

    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."numberjohnny5

    No, that would be saying something else, which would be making a different point to the one that I'm making. That's a point which is beside the point.

    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."numberjohnny5

    We've been over this already to some extent. I thought we had it covered. :meh:

    A statement can be true, but a statement can't be truth, as that doesn't make sense. We use "true" to say what a statement of that kind is, and we use "truth" to say what a statement of that kind speaks.

    I'm not conflating "truth" with "fact", despite the striking resemblance in the way in which they can be used, which I have acknowledged, because, like I said, the truth is defined by its relation to statements, whereas facts are not.

    I think that the problem is that you have to pay very close attention to what I'm saying and the distinctions that I'm making, otherwise it's easy to get lost.

    "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.
    numberjohnny5

    Of course I'm judging it to be true. That's an implication of my stating it, but that is of no significance here. Another implication is, as you say, that it's a fact that Earth preexisted us, but that's not what it says, as what it says is about a truth. It says what it does, and what it says is close enough to saying that it's true that Earth preexisted us. So I see little point in digging any deeper.

    "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...
    numberjohnny5

    Use-mention! Please bear it in mind when I'm trying to point out stuff like this:

    That the earth preexisted us is a fact, not a statement. The statement would be, "That the Earth preexisted us". I'm using a statement to express a fact, not mentioning a statement relating to fact. It's the fact that I mean to talk about, not the statement.

    That's what I was getting it. Do you follow me now?

    "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.
    numberjohnny5

    Oh good, so you do understand. It was just a breakdown in communication to some extent, given what we've just gone through.

    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.numberjohnny5

    No, they're not identical, because we judge a statement to be true, whereas we judge a possible state of affairs to obtain or be the case. Resemblance is not equivalence.

    Both statements are claims about past facts (i.e. that the Earth preexited us).numberjohnny5

    Yes.

    The first statement is a claim about a past fact that you judge to be true, do you not?numberjohnny5

    It's about a past fact. It's not about my judgement, although my judgement is implied when I make the statement. And I don't judge any fact to be true, because I don't consider facts to be the kind of thing that can be true. Statements, on the other hand, can be true. And I do judge, "Earth preexisted us", to be true.

    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?numberjohnny5

    No, I'm not saying either of those.

    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?numberjohnny5

    Well, yes, it is. That shouldn't have been in any doubt. You are drifting away from why I made the comment that you're replying to in the first place, which had to do with the distinction between facts and statements. I wasn't suggesting that statements aren't statements, or anything of the sort.

    The second statement is also one that believes it is true (again, what else can it be?).numberjohnny5

    Correction: that "I" believe to be true, not that "it" believes to be true. And I wasn't talking about statements, I was talking about facts!

    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.numberjohnny5

    Okay, but I am, and they're not to me, so I would suggest that you abide by this distinction, otherwise I might end up misinterpreting you.

    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?numberjohnny5

    Statements can be true. Judgements can be right or wrong, accurate or inaccurate, etc.

    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.numberjohnny5

    First of all, truth doesn't judge. (I take it that you were not being literal when you said that, but I don't think that that way of talking will help clear this up).

    We judge what is the truth, but we don't need to do so for there to be truths. That is, truths do not depend on our judgement.

    It's wrong to say that having a statement without a judgement about that statement excludes it from being a statement. Rather, for anyone to make sense of a statement in relation to an agent, it must be assumed that there is an underlying judgement from the agent about the statement, such that the statement is true.

    What you're doing here is confusing metaphysics and human psychology. Statements, in the form of recorded statements, would exist without any judgement about them or interpretation of them. They would exist without any humans whatsoever.

    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.numberjohnny5

    No, no, no. Truth-values are properties, not judgements! The judgement would be what we make about the truth-value of a statement. Again, judgement is dispensable here in terms of necessity, given that we're talking about metaphysics, and not human psychology.

    Correspondence between true statement and fact does not require judgement. Logically, the conditional does not need to include judgement, and it should not include judgement if we're aiming to give an accurate account. If the statement is true, then there's a corresponding fact. That's it! You can't rightly add something to that formulation that has no place being there. Otherwise it's anything goes: if the statement is true, and I feel like a ninja, then there's a corresponding fact!

    That a statement is judged in terms of truth-value, is not that it must be.

    I'm saying correspondence requires minds because that's what's involved when corresponding statements to events/facts.numberjohnny5

    That reply isn't very helpful, because it doesn't explicitly answer my question, leaving it down to me to figure out what the answer is. I'm going to go with: you're talking about correspondence in a different sense to me, for some reason that isn't clear to me, and you don't want to explain why you're doing this. Well, you'll just be talking past me, and that isn't something that I want to get too involved with, except in order to redirect you back to the sense of correspondence that I'm talking about.

    If you want to talk about the mental act of association or comparison, then you should at least be clear about it. The term "correspondence" already has a technical use within philosophy, and, more specifically, in relation to theories of truth. Please use another term if this sense of correspondence is not what you mean.

    Ok, thanks. So "truth" is a property of minds, then, correct?numberjohnny5

    No, not correct. That's a logical leap you'll have to explain.

    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.numberjohnny5

    Truth isn't a type of fact - at least not in my book. And also, in my book (which, by the way, is the bestest book ever) there's no such thing as a mental fact, unless by that what is meant is just a fact about something mental. Also, facts and events are different things, and should not be conflated. Facts can be about events, and events that have occurred or are occurring are factual. It isn't correct to say that facts occur and events are the case - it's the other way around.

    So, I don't think that you've got your terms straight. But I'm guessing that you might have rejigged your terms to suit your metaphysical commitments, which, for you, take priority.

    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).numberjohnny5

    What I had in mind there was more Lockean than Platonic, as in primary qualities. The moon is bigger than my foot, not because I perceive it to be so, but because of the primary qualities of the moon and of my foot. That's the objective standard to which I was referring.

    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.numberjohnny5

    It's something that can be either predetermined or set. I could set the criteria for whether the moon is bigger than my foot to be whatever I like, but I can't alter reality by the setting of a standard. That would be a shallow, deceptive, and very egocentric position.

    In reality, the moon is bigger than my foot, regardless of the philosophical games that we play.

    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).
    numberjohnny5

    Okay, so maybe I diverged from convention somewhat. So shoot me. Does it really matter?

    With regards to your last sentence, I've noticed that there are two different senses of "subjective" and "objective" at play here. I agree that assessments are subjective in the sense that they are mental and require a subject, but they can also be objective, in a sense, if they are based upon and reflect reality.

    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".'numberjohnny5

    Well, you'll need to explain why you think that. What's not to understand? That makes me think that maybe you don't understand what criteria are and how they function. Criteria are like rules. If I set as my criteria for what day it is, whatever date on the calendar I judge to be the most appealing, and the date that I judge to be the most appealing happens to be February 25th, then that's what determines what day it is in accordance with the aforementioned criteria. That's the outcome. If someone were to ask me how I was judging what day it is, or how I am determining what day it is, then that would be the answer. That's my criteria.

    Similarly, there are facts about the world which, like criteria, determine the outcome to predicted events, and determine the answer to certain questions. The difference is that we don't set these "criteria" - they're predetermined. But we can set our standards accordingly, and that way move closer towards objectivity.
  • numberjohnny5
    139
    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.Sir2u

    Yeh, that's good. I was being facetious, btw. :)

    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.Sir2u

    Ah, I think I can see how you're defining fact a bit better. My criteria for "facts" include unknowable/unperceived events/things, and yours is tied only to mental events. I'm saying that all things that exist--all events/happening/things--are facts, whether we know about them or not. So it's not tied exclusively to mental phenomena.

    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.Sir2u

    I explained my ontological basis for facts as events already. The definition of fact I use (but which I've elaborated on myself personally) is here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_of_affairs_(philosophy). And here's an excerpt from The Oxford Companion to Philosophy (Honderich):

    "A fact is, traditionally, the worldly correlate of a true proposition, a state of affairs
    whose obtaining makes that proposition true. Thus a fact is an actual state of affairs. Facts
    possess internal structure, being complexes of objects and properties or relations. Thus the fact that Brutus stabbed Caesar contains the objects Brutus and Caesar standing to one another (in
    that order) in the relation of stabbing. It is the actual obtaining of this state of affairs that
    makes it true that Brutus stabbed Caesar."


    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.Sir2u

    Saying something like "we have no facts about them" is confusing. It's not that we literally "have facts" about stuff; it's that we have information or experience about/of stuff--and that "stuff" we call "facts". The facts you're referring to are not internal, but external, so we don't literally "have" the external stuff internally.

    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.Sir2u

    "Description" as in a linguistic description?

    And I didn't say "the event itself" was the information; I said it's a mixture between the event and our perception and thinking about the event. Think of it in terms of direct realism: phenomena cause us to perceive them (via the particles from their properties that reach our sensorial apparatus). As we experience them, we can think about what we're perceiving/experiencing, and decide to selectively organise some of that experience as sufficient for a "piece of information" that we may want to communicate. So it's a blend of phenomena interacting with us--that's what I think "information" is. It's not either one or the other.

    It's not clear to me what you take "information" to be based on your descriptions there. It seems like you've given two definitions of information: "the product of the event" and "the description of the event". Can you clarify what you mean? In what sense "product," and in what sense "description"?

    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.Sir2u

    Just to clarify, ontologically, all events/things are facts. That includes mental events. Anything that's actually happening is an event of some sort. So ontologically, "knowledge" of some X is a mental event. The X is also an event/fact, and the X could be another mental event or a non-mental event. For example, I am having the mental event right now of thinking that I know I am having a mental event right now. I can look across the room at a plant and notice I am having a mental event of looking across the room at a plant. The events are facts. The plant across the room (from my perspective) is a fact/event. Every existent is a fact/event.

    So "fact" and "knowledge" are ontologically identical in terms of them both being actual events occurring. But epistemologically, (i) "knowledge about some fact" is different than (ii) the actual fact that the knowledge is about.

    And I don't think it's possible to 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.Sir2u

    In my view, if we have no good reason to believe a particular event/fact is occurring whatsoever (so that we're only speculating without any evidence or good reasoning), then we don't know whether it is occurring either way. It could be occurring; it might not. Whether we have that "information" about the event or not doesn't affect whether the event is actually occurring though.

    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?Sir2u

    I agree with that. But not having mental phenomena about some X doesn't mean that X isn't real. Things we don't know have no bearing on whether those things exist.

    It is, if it is actually happening phenomena. But How does anyone know about it?Sir2u

    If no one knows about some phenomena it doesn't mean that phenomena isn't happening (unless you're some kind of idealist). Facts include knowable and unknowable phenomena. That's because mental phenomena has no bearing on facts obtaining for me (unless the only facts existing were mental facts/events).
  • Sapientia
    5.6k
    And here's an excerpt from The Oxford Companion to Philosophy (Honderich):

    "A fact is, traditionally, the worldly correlate of a true proposition, a state of affairs
    whose obtaining makes that proposition true. Thus a fact is an actual state of affairs. Facts
    possess internal structure, being complexes of objects and properties or relations. Thus the fact that Brutus stabbed Caesar contains the objects Brutus and Caesar standing to one another (in
    that order) in the relation of stabbing. It is the actual obtaining of this state of affairs that
    makes it true that Brutus stabbed Caesar."
    numberjohnny5

    :up:
  • Sir2u
    1.1k
    A fact is, traditionally, the worldly correlate of a true proposition, a state of affairs whose obtaining makes that proposition true. Thus a fact is an actual state of affairs.numberjohnny5

    "Thus a fact is an actual state of affairs."
    The key word here is Actual.
    Presently existing in fact and not merely potential or possible
    Taking place in reality; not pretended or imitated
    Being or reflecting the essential or genuine character of something
    Existing in act or fact

    Not one of those definitions allows one to suppose that something is happening. They would all need confirmation that an event is happening.

    Facts possess internal structure, being complexes of objects and properties or relations. Thus the fact that Brutus stabbed Caesar contains the objects Brutus and Caesar standing to one another (in that order) in the relation of stabbing. It is the actual obtaining of this state of affairs that makes it true that Brutus stabbed Caesar.numberjohnny5

    So how does one obtain the state without the information necessary.

    It's not clear to me what you take "information" to be based on your descriptions there. It seems like you've given two definitions of information: "the product of the event" and "the description of the event". Can you clarify what you mean? In what sense "product," and in what sense "description"?numberjohnny5

    I use the standard definition of information
    Knowledge acquired through study, experience or instruction
    A collection of facts from which conclusions may be drawn

    So both of the ways I use it seem to be perfectly in order.

    Joe lifts his hand and slaps Fred, a series of events that I have experienced. The event itself was created by the people involved and and I watching received the information.
    Because I witnessed the event I have the information about it and a good description(the facts) of it for anyone that wants to hear the details. I can also concluded from seeing Joe's actions that it must have hurt Fred.

    But not having mental phenomena about some X doesn't mean that X isn't real. Things we don't know have no bearing on whether those things exist.numberjohnny5

    But not having mental phenomena about something simply means that we do not know anything about them therefore it cannot be claimed that facts exist about them.

    A fact is, traditionally, the worldly correlate of a true proposition, a state of affairs whose obtaining makes that proposition true.numberjohnny5

    Where would you get the true proposition about anything that is unknown?
    Where would you obtain a state of affairs that would make the proposition true?

    If no one knows about some phenomena it doesn't mean that phenomena isn't happening (unless you're some kind of idealist).numberjohnny5

    I have already stated that there are many unknown things happening in the universe.


    Facts include knowable and unknowable phenomena. That's because mental phenomena has no bearing on facts obtaining for me (unless the only facts existing were mental facts/events).numberjohnny5

    You are very confused. Facts are information therefore they are subjective according to your own words. In your head, mental.
  • Sir2u
    1.1k
    Oh by the way, you really do need to start reading your references.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_of_affairs_(philosophy). Nice one son. :up:
  • numberjohnny5
    139
    Where is perpendicular located? Where is justification located? Where is mathematics located? Where is the biological kingdom Animalia located? Where is the number twenty located?Sapientia

    This will take us into new territory, which can only make me think these posts will grow even larger. :S

    Perpendicular: if we're only talking about mental abstracts, then perpendicular is a mental event (so located in minds). If we're talking about a state of affairs/fact in which two things are actually at 90 degree angles to each other, then that is located in that state of affairs. If we're talking about a mind assigning a state of affairs/fact as being perpendicular, it's a mixture of both mental and non-mental facts, in which both have location.

    Justification: this is a mental event (so located in minds).

    Mathematics: a language system that allows us to make sense of relations and has instrumental utility. This is mental, since languages are meaningful, and meaning is mental.

    Animalia: according to our criteria/definitions of this kingdom, the "kingdom" is any place the animals in this kingdom are located.

    The number twenty: located in our minds, since numbers are mental constructs/events.

    Yes, in a sense, it's located somewhere. But we'd have to break down what's meant. The term, as a word on a screen, does indeed have a location. But is that necessarily, or always, what is meant?Sapientia

    I meant "truth/true" as in what it is ontologically. In my view, anything related to "truth/truth-values/claims, etc." is a mental event. (I'm an internalist on meaning.) The term "true" as a word on a screen is ontologically pixels on a screen. But the meaning of "truth/true" is a property of the mental.

    Thinking and conceptualising are indeed mental events, and they do indeed occur in minds. But what about concepts? The continued existence of concepts does not seem to depend on anyone being around performing any kind of cognitive act relating to them, nor on any kind of mental event taking place. So, where are concepts located?Sapientia

    I disagree. For example, if only one person existed and at time T1 they had a concept x, and then at time T2 they didn't have a concept x, then concept x would not obtain/exist at time T2. Concepts as mental events are not numerically identical with other people's concepts (even if their concepts share a very high degree of similarity). Concepts also aren't static things; in my ontology: everything that exists is also changing. I'm a Heraclitean, in that sense.

    I'm explaining that if the true statement were, "the cat is on the mat", then the truth would be that the cat is on the mat. Your confusion seems to be a result of confusing a statement with what it says, which relates back to my earlier mention of the use-mention distinction.Sapientia

    No, I'm not confused with the difference between what a statement is ontologically, and what a statement refers to or does. Saying that "if the true statement were, 'the cat is on the mat', then the truth would be that the cat is on the mat" is confusing to me; so you're right about me not finding your explanation coherent. Obviously, if I find something incoherent it doesn't mean others do. I think we may agree in general though that a statement about a fact is not the fact itself, right?

    A statement can be true, but a statement can't be truth, as that doesn't make sense. We use "true" to say what a statement of that kind is, and we use "truth" to say what a statement of that kind speaks.Sapientia

    I don't use "truth" in the way you use it. So "truth" is what the truth-statement is stating with regards to facts?

    I think that the problem is that you have to pay very close attention to what I'm saying and the distinctions that I'm making, otherwise it's easy to get lost.Sapientia

    I agree that this is partly what is happening, and I'm sometimes still "lost" when you attempt to explain things further. I have hope though! :)

    That the earth preexisted us is a fact, not a statement. The statement would be, "That the Earth preexisted us". I'm using a statement to express a fact, not mentioning a statement relating to fact. It's the fact that I mean to talk about, not the statement.Sapientia

    No. It impossible to refer to facts without referring to facts. That doesn't mean I'm saying facts only exist if we refer to them though. So saying "That the earth preexisted us is a fact" is a statement about some state of affairs/a fact. It's an ontological/empirical statement you're making. Please can you tell me how that's not a statement about a past fact? I know that when you're using a statement to "express" a fact you're not referring to that statement as a statement; rather, you're using a statement to make an ontological claim about some state of affairs in the past. I'm saying that statements refer to things, and there's no escaping that fact. You can't make an ontological claim--express a fact--without making a statement about a fact. That's all I'm saying and trying to clarify.

    Oh good, so you do understand. It was just a breakdown in communication to some extent, given what we've just gone through.Sapientia

    I hope so :P

    Statements can be true. Judgements can be right or wrong, accurate or inaccurate, etcSapientia

    Sure, I know that's how you use it. Just for clarification, the way I use "judgement" in a statement is that a "judgement" affirms whether a statement is true or false in relation to or when referring to facts.

    We judge what is the truth, but we don't need to do so for there to be truths. That is, truths do not depend on our judgement.Sapientia

    Yeh, I've got a feeling that your use of "fact" and "truth" are similar, if not identical. As if you're saying "it's a fact that this true-statement truthfully corresponds to a fact."

    Rather, for anyone to make sense of a statement in relation to an agent, it must be assumed that there is an underlying judgement from the agent about the statement, such that the statement is true.Sapientia

    Yes, that's what I mean...what makes a statement true or false is that someone is judging that statement to be true or false. Without that judgement about the statement being true or false means the statement is not a statement--it is a different kind of sentence, like a question or phrase.

    What you're doing here is confusing metaphysics and human psychology. Statements, in the form of recorded statements, would exist without any judgement about them or interpretation of them. They would exist without any humans whatsoever.Sapientia

    I'm not. I have so far been referring to statements as being made in the present (as in, statements being actually thought or expressed in the present moment by minds), not statements as recorded on some document or by pixels on a screen. The latter type of statements are ontologically just that, non-mental, organised (symbolic) patterns that we use to assign meaning onto.

    there's no such thing as a mental fact, unless by that what is meant is just a fact about something mental.Sapientia

    Yes, there are mental facts: that mentality occurs in brains is a fact. I explain more about this below re "subjective" and "objective"...so stay tuned!

    No, no, no. Truth-values are properties, not judgements! The judgement would be what we make about the truth-value of a statement. Again, judgement is dispensable here in terms of necessity, given that we're talking about metaphysics, and not human psychology.Sapientia

    Yeh, I was incorrect that judgements are identical to truth-values; rather, it's that judgements assign truth-values to a statement. So we judge a statement to be true or false (i.e. assigning a truth-value to that statement), in relation to a fact. It wouldn't make sense to judge a statement without a truth-value.

    (Aside from that, it doesn't make sense to me to say "Truth-values are properties" because all existents are just bundles of properties, in my ontology. But we don't need to go there...yet.)

    Correspondence between true statement and fact does not require judgement. Logically, the conditional does not need to include judgement, and it should not include judgement if we're aiming to give an accurate account. If the statement is true, then there's a corresponding fact. That's it! You can't rightly add something to that formulation that has no place being there. Otherwise it's anything goes: if the statement is true, and I feel like a ninja, then there's a corresponding fact!Sapientia

    That a statement is judged in terms of truth-value, is not that it must be."

    Bear in mind my view of "truth" is not conventional. When you say "true statement", I parse that as a person judging that statement to be true (about something). For example, I parse the statement, "the Earth preexisted us" as "the statement 'the Earth preexisted us' is true". I am making a judgement about that statement by assigning a truth-value to it--the value "true". Without my judgement about that statement, it wouldn't function as a statement in the conventional sense. A statement that isn't judged to be true or false (i.e. without a truth-value) is not conventionally "expressing" anything, unless it's functioning as a question or a phrase. I hope that makes things clearer, even if you don't agree.

    If you want to talk about the mental act of association or comparison, then you should at least be clear about it. The term "correspondence" already has a technical use within philosophy, and, more specifically, in relation to theories of truth. Please use another term if this sense of correspondence is not what you mean.Sapientia

    Ok. Correspondence does require minds. This is because the correspondence theory of truth is about statements corresponding to facts; and in my view, "statements" as statements occuring in the present in the form of thoughts expressed verbally, are mental events.

    Ok, thanks. So "truth" is a property of minds, then, correct? — numberjohnny5


    No, not correct. That's a logical leap you'll have to explain.
    Sapientia

    In my view, "truth" is a property of statements/claims/propositions that we judge in relation to what the statements are corresponding to. Since statements as thoughts are mental events, and since "truth" is a property of statements as mental events, then "truth" is a property of minds.

    in my book (which, by the way, is the bestest book ever)Sapientia

    Where can I get one?

    Truth isn't a type of factSapientia

    Let me try to clear this up. In my ontology, all existents/events are facts--they're actual/real. There are non-mental facts, like trees, rocks, stars, and so on. There are mental facts, like thoughts and perceptual experiences. "Truth" is a type of mental fact.

    Also, facts and events are different things, and should not be conflated. Facts can be about events, and events that have occurred or are occurring are factual. It isn't correct to say that facts occur and events are the case - it's the other way around.Sapientia

    They're not different in my view. In my ontology, since all existents are consistently, dynamically changing in relation to other existents, all events consist of a collection of existents interacting or in relation to each other. This applies to the micro and macro levels of scale. States of affairs as facts are the way things are happening. Things/existents are constantly happening. Things that are happening are events, in my view.

    What I had in mind there was more Lockean than Platonic, as in primary qualities. The moon is bigger than my foot, not because I perceive it to be so, but because of the primary qualities of the moon and of my foot. That's the objective standard to which I was referring.Sapientia

    I see. I define "standards" as norms people create, and so they're not objective (as in, external-to-minds). So "objective standard" doesn't make sense to me.

    Okay, so maybe I diverged from convention somewhat. So shoot me. Does it really matter?Sapientia

    Haha. I diverge from convention all the time. I don't think that's a problem in itself. Why it matters to me in this case, is to just clarify your views in lieu of mine.

    With regards to your last sentence, I've noticed that there are two different senses of "subjective" and "objective" at play here. I agree that assessments are subjective in the sense that they are mental and require a subject, but they can also be objective, in a sense, if they are based upon and reflect reality.Sapientia

    I only use "subjective" and "objective" one way: they are both terms re location, i.e. where some x occurs. "Subjective" refers only to locations occurring in minds. "Objective" refers only to locations occuring external-to-minds. That's it. So "assessments" are things that occur in minds, and hence "subjective". Assessments can refer to/or are about "objective" things, but are not themselves "objective" (unless by "objective assessments" you're referring to a piece of writing or pixels on a screen, in which case, those things don't have meaning "in" them).

    Well, you'll need to explain why you think that. What's not to understand? That makes me think that maybe you don't understand what criteria are and how they function. Criteria are like rules. If I set as my criteria for what day it is, whatever date on the calendar I judge to be the most appealing, and the date that I judge to be the most appealing happens to be February 25th, then that's what determines what day it is in accordance with the aforementioned criteria. That's the outcome. If someone were to ask me how I was judging what day it is, or how I am determining what day it is, then that would be the answer. That's my criteria.Sapientia

    Ah, that sounds different in the way you're explaining "criteria" from the other times. I agree that minds set rules/criteria/standards, and then according to those criteria, minds determine whether facts match them, for whatever reason.

    Similarly, there are facts about the world which, like criteria, determine the outcome to predicted events, and determine the answer to certain questions. The difference is that we don't set these "criteria" - they're predetermined. But we can set our standards accordingly, and that way move closer towards objectivity.Sapientia

    I don't use "criteria" for objective, mind-independent facts. I keep those two things separate. I'd just say that we can construct criteria about some facts in order to predict or discover how those facts develop or change.
  • Sapientia
    5.6k
    Perpendicular: if we're only talking about mental abstracts, then perpendicular is a mental event (so located in minds). If we're talking about a state of affairs/fact in which two things are actually at 90 degree angles to each other, then that is located in that state of affairs. If we're talking about a mind assigning a state of affairs/fact as being perpendicular, it's a mixture of both mental and non-mental facts, in which both have location.

    Justification: this is a mental event (so located in minds).

    Mathematics: a language system that allows us to make sense of relations and has instrumental utility. This is mental, since languages are meaningful, and meaning is mental.

    Animalia: according to our criteria/definitions of this kingdom, the "kingdom" is any place the animals in this kingdom are located.

    The number twenty: located in our minds, since numbers are mental constructs/events.
    numberjohnny5

    Well, that's one way of explaining it, but I'm not convinced. It seems as though you're putting the cart before the horse, in that it seems as though you're setting out to reduce whatever I bring up to something that has a mental or a physical location, rather than starting from a position of impartiality whereby you keep your options open.

    To focus on just one of my examples: classifications, once made, do not depend on us in any way. They don't depend on our having some kind of mental event which involves them. If a cat has been classified as feline, then, accordingly, a cat is feline, and that's that. That would be the case if there were no cats, no people, or no cats or people. It's not like an electronic device which needs a source of electricity to keep it powered up. It's more like a lever which, once pulled, remains as such until someone comes along and resets it, if they ever do (which they needn't).

    I meant "truth/true" as in what it is ontologically. In my view, anything related to "truth/truth-values/claims, etc." is a mental event. (I'm an internalist on meaning.) The term "true" as a word on a screen is ontologically pixels on a screen. But the meaning of "truth/true" is a property of the mental.numberjohnny5

    I know that you meant to talk about what it is ontologically. It was already predetermined that we were talking about a word, because you asked me about the term "truth", which is a single word term. I then gave you a particular example of what that could be referring to, and the example I gave you makes some sense as a reference, has a physical location, and is not mental. But I emphasise that that is only one take on it, and one particular example. It doesn't put the matter to rest. There are a number of ways of interpreting what a word is ontologically, not a single way, and the answers depend on how this is framed.

    I disagree. For example, if only one person existed and at time T1 they had a concept x, and then at time T2 they didn't have a concept x, then concept x would not obtain/exist at time T2. Concepts as mental events are not numerically identical with other people's concepts (even if their concepts share a very high degree of similarity). Concepts also aren't static things; in my ontology: everything that exists is also changing. I'm a Heraclitean, in that sense.numberjohnny5

    We fundamentally disagree then. It just isn't plausible that the existence of concepts depends on us actively thinking of them; nor, consequently, that they pop in and out of existence, all of a sudden, in accordance with our active thoughts. They're just not like that. Concepts are separable from - and independent of - the act of conceiving. But you're trying to blur the lines.

    It doesn't even make sense to take a concept as a mental event. It's conceiving which is the mental event. You're confusing a noun with a verb, and a thing with an act.

    Concepts are fixed. Subsequent to conception, they remain static and uniform. They depend on beings such as us for their conception only, and from that point onwards, they're independent. We can alter them, if we're around to do so, but even if we do, those alterations will then remain in place unless tinkered with.

    And everything that physically exists is changing.

    No, I'm not confused with the difference between what a statement is ontologically, and what a statement refers to or does. Saying that "if the true statement were, 'the cat is on the mat', then the truth would be that the cat is on the mat" is confusing to me; so you're right about me not finding your explanation coherent. Obviously, if I find something incoherent it doesn't mean others do. I think we may agree in general though that a statement about a fact is not the fact itself, right?numberjohnny5

    Yes, we agree about that. But I don't understand your confusion, nor why you don't find my explanation coherent.

    I don't use "truth" in the way you use it. So "truth" is what the truth-statement is stating with regards to facts?numberjohnny5

    Yes, so long as you mean what I mean by that. My meaning is consistent with what I've said previously.

    No. It's impossible to refer to facts without referring to facts.numberjohnny5

    Yes, but that's disconnected to what I said, and connected to a possible misinterpretation of what I said.

    Let me try again:

    It is a fact that Earth preexisted us. That Earth preexisted us is a fact. A fact is not a statement. Therefore, that Earth preexisted us is not a statement.

    That doesn't mean I'm saying facts only exist if we refer to them though.numberjohnny5

    I didn't think that you were saying that.

    So saying "That the earth preexisted us is a fact" is a statement about some state of affairs/a fact.numberjohnny5

    Yes, and my favourite colour is blue, but these points are beside the point. You are focussing on the saying, instead of what's being said, which is always frustrating when it's the latter which matters.

    Please can you tell me how that's not a statement about a past fact?numberjohnny5

    Oh god, what a pickle. There's an incongruity between what we're referring to. I'm not disputing the above, so your question contains an erroneous suggestion.

    You're referring to a statement about a past fact, and then you're asking me how this statement about a past fact is not a statement about a past fact. :brow:

    The problem is with the first part. The point I made was never about a statement, it was about a fact. But you're making this about my statement. I'm talking about stuff, and you're talking about my talk, rather than the stuff. The result is a disconnect.

    This is an example of the kind of thing that I think is happening here, where it's easier to spot the problem:

    Person A: "That cup is an object".

    Person B: "But 'cup' is a word!".


    And this is what's happening here:

    Me: "That Earth preexisted us is a fact".

    You: "But 'That Earth preexisted us' is a statement!".


    It's the same problem. :meh:

    I know that when you're using a statement to "express" a fact you're not referring to that statement as a statement; rather, you're using a statement to make an ontological claim about some state of affairs in the past.numberjohnny5

    Then what's with the poorly composed question and the points which miss the point?

    I'm saying that statements refer to things, and there's no escaping that fact.numberjohnny5

    But I'm not trying to escape it!

    You can't make an ontological claim--express a fact--without making a statement about a fact. That's all I'm saying and trying to clarify.numberjohnny5

    Okay, but there was no need for that.

    Yes, that's what I mean...what makes a statement true or false is that someone is judging that statement to be true or false.numberjohnny5

    Oh dear. No, that is not the case at all. That's a kind of idealism which I strongly reject. It's odd, because some of the things you've said make me think that you're a realist like me, but then you come out with a bombshell like that.

    What makes a statement like, "Earth preexisted us", true or false, is whether or not Earth preexisted us - which has nothing whatsoever to do with anyone judging any statement to be true or false.

    "Earth preexisted us" is true if, and only if, Earth preexisted us.

    Without that judgement about the statement being true or false, that means that the statement is not a statement--it is a different kind of sentence, like a question or phrase.numberjohnny5

    No, that's not right. There doesn't have to be (present tense) any judgement for the statement to be a statement. It just has to have the right sentence structure; or, at best, you could argue that there must have been (past tense) a judgement (from which it doesn't follow that there must be one).

    I'm not. I have so far been referring to statements as being made in the present (as in, statements being actually thought or expressed in the present moment by minds), not statements as recorded on some document or by pixels on a screen. The latter type of statements are ontologically just that, non-mental, organised (symbolic) patterns that we use to assign meaning onto.numberjohnny5

    Then that's the problem. My understanding was that we're talking about statements in general, not restricting the conversation in that manner, which conveniently suits your argument. Why would you do that?

    Yes, there are mental facts: that mentality occurs in brains is a fact.numberjohnny5

    That's not inconsistent with what I said. I'm fine with that sort of fact, namely facts about mental stuff.

    Bear in mind my view of "truth" is not conventional. When you say "true statement", I parse that as a person judging that statement to be true (about something).numberjohnny5

    Why would you do that? :angry:

    The convention makes sense. You shouldn't diverge from it. That's going to cause more problems than it solves.

    For example, I parse the statement, "the Earth preexisted us" as "the statement 'the Earth preexisted us' is true".numberjohnny5

    But why? Don't.

    Do you parse cats as dogs and up as down?

    I am making a judgement about that statement by assigning a truth-value to it--the value "true". Without my judgement about that statement, it wouldn't function as a statement in the conventional sense.numberjohnny5

    I think what you really mean is "assertion" or "claim". Statements are broader and more ambiguous. But again, judgement is only necessary in past tense, not present tense i.e. there must have been a judgement, but there doesn't have to be one.

    A statement that isn't judged to be true or false (i.e. without a truth-value) is not conventionally "expressing" anything, unless it's functioning as a question or a phrase. I hope that makes things clearer, even if you don't agree.numberjohnny5

    I can't be bothered to verify whether or not that wording is conventional. The gist of it is understandable, but, given the wording of it, I disagree with it. It makes your earlier mistake of confusing judgement and property. A statement that isn't judged to be true or false is not what makes a statement lack truth-value. Truth-value doesn't hinge on judgement of truth-value. For a statement to have truth-value, it need only be meaningful. And, for the kind of statements that we've been talking about to be true, they'd need to correspond with facts which reflect them.

    Ok. Correspondence does require minds. This is because the correspondence theory of truth is about statements corresponding to facts; and in my view, "statements" as statements occuring in the present in the form of thoughts expressed verbally, are mental events.numberjohnny5

    Your conclusion doesn't follow, because statements aren't limited to being those which "occur" in the present, in the form of thoughts expressed verbally (which are arguably "mental events").

    Your view is unreasonably narrow, and it seems as though you've purposefully made it that way, because making it that way will give you your desired conclusion.

    What you're doing seems to be fallacious along the lines of begging the question or moving the goalposts.

    In my view, "truth" is a property of statements/claims/propositions that we judge in relation to what the statements are corresponding to.numberjohnny5

    No, truth-values are properties of statements. The truth is not a property of a statements. We do judge the truth, and we do judge the truth-value of statements, and we do judge whether statements correspond with fact.

    Since statements as thoughts are mental events, and since "truth" is a property of statements as mental events, then "truth" is a property of minds.numberjohnny5

    Again, your conclusion doesn't follow, since statements would have to be thoughts. Talk of statements "as" thoughts doesn't work. And your second premise is false: truth is not a property of statements.

    Let me try to clear this up. In my ontology, all existents/events are facts--they're actual/real. There are non-mental facts, like trees, rocks, stars, and so on. There are mental facts, like thoughts and perceptual experiences. "Truth" is a type of mental fact.numberjohnny5

    But that's just wrong. Why would you do that?

    How about, in my ontology, cats are a type of dog?

    They're not different in my view.numberjohnny5

    Okay, but then your view is wrong.

    In my ontology, since all existents are consistently, dynamically changing in relation to other existents, all events consist of a collection of existents interacting or in relation to each other. This applies to the micro and macro levels of scale. States of affairs as facts are the way things are happening. Things/existents are constantly happening. Things that are happening are events, in my view.numberjohnny5

    There's a relationship between facts and events, but they're not indistinct, so they can't be identical. And the way that we conventionally talk about them reflects this distinction which you're attempting to set aside.

    (N.B. There are parts of your reply that I have not addressed, because I felt, in relation to these parts, that there wasn't much more to be said).
  • Sir2u
    1.1k
    Person A: "That cup is an object".
    Me: "That Earth preexisted us is a fact".
    Sapientia

    Sorry to butt in here, but yes it is easy to see why there is confusion.
    In the first sentence "that" is used as a pronoun.
    In the second it is used as a conjunction.

    Maybe that is why you are confused.
  • Sapientia
    5.6k
    Sorry to butt in here, but yes it is easy to see why there is confusion.
    In the first sentence "that" is used as a pronoun.
    In the second it is used as a conjunction.

    Maybe that is why you are confused.
    Sir2u

    I don't mind you butting in, but I do mind you butting in with only a trivial point about grammar which misses the point and an ironic accusation of confusion.
  • Sapientia
    5.6k
    I wasn't using the word "that" in any special way, or in the way you're describing...numberjohnny5

    By the way, using the that-clause like this is not really anything special. It's a common way of expressing or referring to facts, and is recognised in the context of philosophy:

    The word is also used in locutions such as:


    It is a fact that Sam is sad
    That Sam is sad is a fact
    That 2+2=4 is a fact.
    — Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy
  • numberjohnny5
    139
    I use the standard definition of information. Knowledge acquired through study, experience or instruction. A collection of facts from which conclusions may be drawnSir2u

    Ok, thanks, I'll go with that definition.

    But not having mental phenomena about something simply means that we do not know anything about them therefore it cannot be claimed that facts exist about them.Sir2u

    Let me try to rephrase what you're saying there in an attempt to make progress.

    If we are not perceiving/experiencing some X, then we cannot make claims about some X. In other words, we have to have some experience of some X to be able to claim some X exists or to make particular claims about aspects of some X. Is that right?

    Information about some X is knowledge obtained from some X. That seems to be saying that making claims about some X is impossible without experiencing some X. Is that right?

    If so, the issue I'm trying to resolve is not about making claims about some X. The issue for me is whether experiencing some X and making claims about some X is necessary for some X to obtain/exist.

    So how does one obtain the state without the information necessary.Sir2u

    The "obtaining" of a state of affairs just means the actual happening/occurring/existence of a fact/event. But you don't seem to think that facts happen unless they're known about.

    Because I witnessed the event I have the information about it and a good description(the facts) of it for anyone that wants to hear the details.Sir2u

    Wait--I just want to make sure I know what you mean by "good description (the facts) of it". Do you mean after having witnessed the event you had knowledge about the event and could therefore describe your knowledge about the event to others? If so, then in other words, you're saying that because I have observed/experienced some X, I have obtained knowledge about some X, and therefore I can make a claim about what I know about some X.

    That's not something I disagree with. That you couldn't make a particular knowledge-statement about it prior to experiencing it makes logical sense. I'm saying that some X/that particular X you experienced didn't actually/ontologically just appear/begin-to-exist just when you or because you observed/experienced it. When I talk about "facts" I'm making existence claims. Facts obtain/occur/happen/are/etc. So I'm saying some facts exist that we don't know about to support my claim that objective facts don't rely on minds to exist. That objective facts are mind-independent. (Subjective facts are mental facts.)

    Where would you get the true proposition about anything that is unknown?Sir2u

    It wouldn't be a true proposition about a particular, actual unknown or un-experienced fact/event. It would be a claim that there exist some unknown or un-experienced facts. It's just an existential claim. It's based on reasoning and other available evidence accumulated by experience. For example, I realise that after having experienced many things in my life, there are some things I haven't experienced that I know exist. I have experienced the sturdiness of a wall in my backyard, and I infer, from experiencing many walls at different locations as sturdy, that other walls exist that are sturdy that I haven't experienced as sturdy. You can apply that logic to other things I haven't experienced but are actual/happening. Essentially, it's an ontological claim based on actuals, i.e. actuals exist in places we have yet to observe. We may not know specifically what those actuals are or what they're like (apart from knowing that they must be physical, in my view), but that's different than knowing that unknown actuals exist in some form.

    Again, I'm saying some facts exist that we don't know about to support my claim that objective facts don't rely on minds to exist. I think you're arguing that objective facts rely on minds to exist. Correct me if I'm wrong (I know you will ;)).

    I have already stated that there are many unknown things happening in the universe.Sir2u

    How could you claim that if you have no information/experience/knowledge about those unknown things? That's the argument you're using against me! You're contradicting yourself. On the one hand, you say one can't make claims about facts unless facts are known about, and also that facts are present actuals that aren't happening. And on the other hand, you're saying that some unknown things are happening. But you say that what determines whether a fact is happening is confirmation of it happening. But how can one confirm something they don't know about? That seems confused to me.

    Where would you obtain a state of affairs that would make the proposition true?Sir2u
    Oh by the way, you really do need to start reading your references.Sir2u

    One doesn't literally "obtain a state of affairs". "Obtain" means exist/happen. And I think it's a mis-reading to assume that states of affairs literally "make" (as in, they intentionally/actively make) propositions true. That's just a manner of defining facts. What actually happens is that states of affairs exist, we experience them and judge our statements about them to be true or false. Another way of stating "a state of affairs is a way the actual world must be in order to make some given proposition about the actual world true" is, "a proposition is true if it accurately relates to some state of affairs obtaining".

    "Thus a fact is an actual state of affairs."
    The key word here is Actual.
    Presently existing in fact and not merely potential or possible
    Sir2u

    Do you believe in past facts?

    Not one of those definitions allows one to suppose that something is happening. They would all need confirmation that an event is happening.Sir2u

    How can something actual not be happening? It doesn't make sense to me to suppose any existent isn't happening since all existents are changing. I don't believe in anything being literally static. I'm a Heraclitean, in that sense.

    You are very confused. Facts are information therefore they are subjective according to your own words. In your head, mental.Sir2u

    Or you're using "facts" in a different way to me; or you're misunderstanding me (which I think is true). I've stated multiple times that there are subjective facts (facts about mental events happening like thoughts etc.), and objective facts (non-mental facts). I wouldn't say "facts are information" because that's a category error. Rather, I'd say information as knowledge is factually a mental event, since knowledge occurs in minds.
  • Sir2u
    1.1k
    If we are not perceiving/experiencing some X, then we cannot make claims about some X. In other words, we have to have some experience of some X to be able to claim some X exists or to make particular claims about aspects of some X. Is that right?numberjohnny5

    Yes, it is not possible to make claims about anything that no information exists for.

    Information about some X is knowledge obtained from some X. That seems to be saying that making claims about some X is impossible without experiencing some X. Is that right?numberjohnny5

    Not exactly. while it is true that information about anything has to come from the source, the object itself provides us with the information, if no one has any information about something then no one can make any claims about it.

    If so, the issue I'm trying to resolve is not about making claims about some X. The issue for me is whether experiencing some X and making claims about some X is necessary for some X to obtain/exist.numberjohnny5

    If absolutely no information about X exists no one can make claims about whether it exists or not, it might or it might not exist. Could you give me an example of something that exists but that we have no information at all about? Our knowledge or lack of it has nothing at all to do with somethings exists, there are zillions of things out there in the universe that no one knows about but nobody can claim that they exist.

    The "obtaining" of a state of affairs just means the actual happening/occurring/existence of a fact/event. But you don't seem to think that facts happen unless they're known about.

    "Obtain" means exist/happen.
    numberjohnny5

    I think you should get a dictionary.
    So where does the "obtaining" part fit in, is it not the gathering, collecting, acquisition of knowledge? Is there a definition of obtaining that I do not know? What is the definition you use?
    Events might happen, as I have already said, but an event is not the same as a fact. And unless you can find some way to prove that they are the same then there is no way to continue. I cannot agree to them meaning the same thing.

    I'm saying that some X/that particular X you experienced didn't actually/ontologically just appear/begin-to-exist just when you or because you observed/experienced it.numberjohnny5

    I have never said it did. That is why one says that one observed an event, because one is watching it happening. They happen simultaneously, it would be impossible for the "looking at it" to make it happening.

    When I talk about "facts" I'm making existence claims. Facts obtain/occur/happen/are/etc. So I'm saying some facts exist that we don't know about to support my claim that objective facts don't rely on minds to exist. That objective facts are mind-independent. (Subjective facts are mental facts.)numberjohnny5

    I cannot accept your use of the word fact to include the unknown. Something that is unknown cannot be a fact. Please mention just one unknown fact and I will agree with you that it is possible. The tell me an objective fact.

    It wouldn't be a true proposition about a particular, actual unknown or un-experienced fact/event.numberjohnny5

    If it is not a true proposition about a particular object, event then it cannot be a fact.

    How could you claim that if you have no information/experience/knowledge about those unknown things? That's the argument you're using against me! You're contradicting yourself.numberjohnny5

    Simple deduction my friend, if there was nothing unknown in the universe then nothing new would be discovered, but as we see every day new things are being discovered thus there are still unknown things in the universe. But that might change tomorrow if they fail to find anything new.

    Do you believe in past facts?numberjohnny5

    Anything, even things in the past that have been certified as a fact remain a fact while the circumstances about the fact remain the same. When they were declared facts they were actual states of affair, or evidence of them still exists to prove that they were facts. Archeologists dig up past facts all the time, even if they don't know what they are.

    How can something actual not be happening?numberjohnny5

    Who said it could not?

    I'm a Heraclitean, in that sense.numberjohnny5

    That sounds interesting.

    Or you're using "facts" in a different way to me;numberjohnny5

    No, you are using it incorrectly.

    I wouldn't say "facts are information" because that's a category error.numberjohnny5

    Not in my dictionary.
    Fact; A piece of information about circumstances that exist or events that have occurred

    Rather, I'd say information as knowledge is factually a mental event, since knowledge occurs in minds.numberjohnny5

    And you would, and do have it wrong. The only part that you have right is that it occurs in the mind.
    Knowledge; The psychological result of perception and learning and reasoning.

    Many people claim to have knowledge of god, can anyone prove it to be a fact.
    Lots have people have been walking around with the erroneous knowledge that screwing standing up stops a woman from getting pregnant. That was the result of perception, learning and reasoning. But a lot of them still get pregnant because it is not a fact.
  • Johnny Public
    13
    Assuming a person is defined as "desires, principles, and sensations" the way Marcus Arelious defines the soul; some people's actions ultimately increase our species chances of survival while others decrease it. In that way yes; some people are better than others. However the only reason our bloodlines and jeans have lasted as long as they have is because we all have the ability to adapt. If we all have the ability to do anything, and we are ultimately defined by what we do, then we're all the same.
  • Johnny Public
    13
    *Genes. Audio text! Is there a way to edit posts on here I don't know about?
  • Johnny Public
    13
    There really should be. I'm a man on the go!!!
  • Sir2u
    1.1k
    Is there a way to edit posts on here I don't know about?Johnny Public

    Click on the bottom of the post and some dots should appear, click on the dots and a pencil will appear.
  • numberjohnny5
    139
    It seems as though you're putting the cart before the horse, in that it seems as though you're setting out to reduce whatever I bring up to something that has a mental or a physical location, rather than starting from a position of impartiality whereby you keep your options open.Sapientia

    Well, that's because I'm a physicalist, and it doesn't make sense to me how a non-physical thing can exist. It's not as though I haven't thought about and argued this stuff before, btw.

    It's not that I'm "setting out to reduce whatever" you bring up as if I had some kind of agenda. I don't tend to use the terms "reduce/reductionism" because there's often a lot of stigma surrounding those terms in places I've argued philosophy, especially from those who tend to be dualists, universalists, and realists on abstract objects. Furthermore, what makes you think you're being more impartial?

    Also, "mental" is physical.

    classifications, once made, do not depend on us in any way. They don't depend on our having some kind of mental event which involves them. If a cat has been classified as feline, then, accordingly, a cat is feline, and that's that.Sapientia

    No wonder you believe that there exist "objective standards" of some kind. It seems that you're an externalist. A cat is thought of as feline always to someone. There is no view-from-nowhere. A cat's classification is reinforced by others thinking about a cat as feline. Classifications don't make sense outside of mental events. We assign/impose concepts upon things. Those things aren't real, objective things though. As an internalist, that's my view, anyway.

    That would be the case if there were no cats, no people, or no cats or people.Sapientia

    That's just weird to me.

    We fundamentally disagree then. It just isn't plausible that the existence of concepts depends on us actively thinking of them; nor, consequently, that they pop in and out of existence, all of a sudden, in accordance with our active thoughts. They're just not like that. Concepts are separable from - and independent of - the act of conceiving. But you're trying to blur the lines.Sapientia

    Again, that's just a bizarre thing to me. Interesting to know though. I'm curious what "concepts" are ontologically for you?

    Also, hypothetically, or for the sake of argument, if concepts are thoughts, do you think that thoughts "pop in and out of existence"?

    It doesn't even make sense to take a concept as a mental event. It's conceiving which is the mental event. You're confusing a noun with a verb, and a thing with an act.Sapientia

    Well, as we all have different ontologies, I'm sure it doesn't make sense to you. In my view, things are happening/being in some way, some more dynamic than others. Nouns and verbs can be useful, but are just ways of parsing and organising experience. Remember that old thing you said? The map ain't the territory.

    Concepts are fixed. Subsequent to conception, they remain static and uniform. They depend on beings such as us for their conception only, and from that point onwards, they're independent. We can alter them, if we're around to do so, but even if we do, those alterations will then remain in place unless tinkered with.Sapientia

    Your definition of "criteria" makes a bit more sense to me now...I think.

    And everything that physically exists is changing.Sapientia

    So that's everything then. :)

    But I don't understand your confusion, nor why you don't find my explanation coherent.Sapientia

    It's confusing because as I said there's a more straightforward way of making that claim, rather than saying something like "it's the truth that this statement about this fact is true". Using "truth" and "true" in that statement just seems redundant to me. Otherwise, it seems like "truth" is being used like a fact, as in, "it's a fact that this statement about this fact is true".

    Yes, that's what I mean...what makes a statement true or false is that someone is judging that statement to be true or false. — numberjohnny5


    Oh dear. No, that is not the case at all. That's a kind of idealism which I strongly reject. It's odd, because some of the things you've said make me think that you're a realist like me, but then you come out with a bombshell like that.
    Sapientia

    I don't know why what I said there makes you think I'm an idealist. I am a realist on some things, but I'm an anti-realist on some things, like abstract objects. Also, I've checked and it seems that, standardly in analytic philosophy, (propositional) statements involve an individual judging statements to be true or false. But then, if you're an externalist and you believe things like concepts are mind-independent once they've been conceived, you would disagree. I'd guess you're a realist about abstract objects too.

    What makes a statement like, "Earth preexisted us", true or false, is whether or not Earth preexisted us - which has nothing whatsoever to do with anyone judging any statement to be true or false.Sapientia

    There is a relationship between statements and facts. What makes that relationship is individuals/minds using statements to refer to facts. Objective facts don't literally make that relationship, because they aren't individuals/minds--they don't have things like intentions or will. That's the purpose of propositional statements: they refer to things; and minds judge whether those statements accurately refer to facts or not. What else is going to judge whether a statement is true or not? The non-mental objects/events/facts can't, can they? If there was no one around to observe facts and to make judgements about them in the form of statements, the facts would still obtain, but there would be no true or false because truth is a property of propositions only. No minds, no truth.

    Furthermore, I think we have to be careful about how we use/interpret language because it can mislead us into mistaken views. Facts don't actually "make" statements true or false. That's just a manner of speaking. Facts are observed and judged to be facts (via statements/propositions) by individuals/minds.

    My understanding was that we're talking about statements in general, not restricting the conversation in that manner, which conveniently suits your argument. Why would you do that?Sapientia

    I think that's because statements don't inherently contain meaning, so it would only be relevant to discuss statements that we think and utter ourselves, or when we assign meaning onto written statements of some medium. Apart from that, it could be an assumption I made that I wasn't aware of.

    Bear in mind my view of "truth" is not conventional. When you say "true statement", I parse that as a person judging that statement to be true (about something). — numberjohnny5


    Why would you do that? :angry:

    The convention makes sense. You shouldn't diverge from it. That's going to cause more problems than it solves.
    Sapientia

    Yeh, I checked and it seems I'm not using an unconventional definition of "truth" re propositions afterall. Oops. Still learning.

    Btw, some conventions make sense, some don't, right? So I wouldn't stick to a convention unless I agreed with it. I think it's useful to be aware of conventions in general though so as to have a reference frame from which to discuss this stuff.

    For example, I parse the statement, "the Earth preexisted us" as "the statement 'the Earth preexisted us' is true". — numberjohnny5


    But why? Don't.

    Do you parse cats as dogs and up as down?
    Sapientia

    Those examples aren't equivalent to my statement. Is your statement, "The Earth preexisted us" a true statement because it refers to past facts?

    I think what you really mean is "assertion" or "claim". Statements are broader and more ambiguous. But again, judgement is only necessary in past tense, not present tense i.e. there must have been a judgement, but there doesn't have to be one.Sapientia

    What I mean by "judgement" is an evaluation and psychological commitment towards the relationship between a statement and how it refers to the facts. E.g. I evaluate whether a statement refers to the facts accurately (via acquaintance knowledge), and if I believe the correspondence is accurate, then I commit myself to a truth-value, namely, "true" or "false".

    Also, I make a distinction between "statement" and "sentence". I take "sentence" to be a broader class in which things like statements, questions, instructions, and exclamations exist.

    Here's some references I use (The Oxford Companion to Philosophy, by Honderich):

    "Most modern logicians maintain that statements are distinct
    from sentences, citing the fact that not all sentences are used to make statements or arguing
    that the same statement may be expressed by different sentences. Some use 'statement' and
    'proposition' interchangeably, regarding them as alternative names for what is 'expressed'
    by an indicative sentence or 'asserted' when such a sentence is used. Others distinguish
    between the two, so that a proposition is what is asserted when such a sentence is used to
    make a statement."

    "The term 'truth' seems to denote a property, one which is also expressed by the truth-predicate 'is true'. But if so, of what is truth a property? What are the primary 'bearers' of
    truth, and of its counterpart, falsity? At least three candidates can be put forward:
    sentences, statements, and propositions. Loosely, a sentence is a linguistic token or type,
    such as the string of written words 'This is red'. A statement is the assertoric use of a
    sentence by a speaker on a particular occasion. A proposition is what is asserted when a
    statement is made—its 'content'. Thus two different speakers, or the same speaker on two
    different occasions, may assert the same proposition by making two different statements,
    perhaps using sentences of two different languages."


    Truth-value doesn't hinge on judgement of truth-value. For a statement to have truth-value, it need only be meaningful.Sapientia

    I don't think that's sufficient. Any statement can be interpreted meaningfully in numerous ways, since meaning is subjective.

    And, for the kind of statements that we've been talking about to be true, they'd need to correspond with facts which reflect them.Sapientia

    Yes, and individuals/minds are the ones that refer or do the corresponding. The facts don't do anything but "sit" there.

    Your conclusion doesn't follow, because statements aren't limited to being those which "occur" in the present, in the form of thoughts expressed verbally (which are arguably "mental events").Sapientia

    It would also apply to individuals presently assigning meaning onto statements inscribed on some medium in the past.

    Your view is unreasonably narrow, and it seems as though you've purposefully made it that way, because making it that way will give you your desired conclusion.Sapientia

    Maybe. Do you think you could be wrong about that, or that there might be other explanations?

    What you're doing seems to be fallacious along the lines of begging the question or moving the goalposts.Sapientia

    I think a lot of what's going on is that we obviously don't share similar views about how to use terms conventionally. But more than that, a lot of these views are based on implicit ontological beliefs that influence our explicit views and understandings. It's not necessarily a fallacious issue.

    Let me try to clear this up. In my ontology, all existents/events are facts--they're actual/real. There are non-mental facts, like trees, rocks, stars, and so on. There are mental facts, like thoughts and perceptual experiences. "Truth" is a type of mental fact. — numberjohnny5


    But that's just wrong. Why would you do that?
    Sapientia

    Err...because I think I'm right?

    Okay, but then your view is wrong.Sapientia

    Or not.
  • Sapientia
    5.6k
    If a cat has been classified as feline, then, accordingly, a cat is feline, and that's that.Sapientia

    A cat is thought of as feline always to someone.numberjohnny5

    Yes, but that's changing the topic from when a cat is feline to when a cat is thought of as feline. And, obviously, if you change the premise by inserting some kind of subjective activity, like being thought of, then that's going to necessitate a subject. You won't get any disagreement from me there. I'll just note that that doesn't address the topic. To make it on topic, you'd have to bring out a hidden premise to connect what I've said with what you've said, and that's where I suspect your form of idealism would come in. It's a variation of the old chestnut, "to be is to be perceived". But the perception part is an unnecessary addition which Occam's razor can cut out. A cat is a feline because it has been classified as such, and that's a sufficient explanation.

    There is no view-from-nowhere.numberjohnny5

    That's a kind of nonsense phrase that idealists tend to bring up. I don't recall ever seeing a realist actually posit a so-called view-from-nowhere. I certainly have not done so. There doesn't need to be a view at all. It's the idealist who thinks in those terms. I'm just telling you what's the case, or what it would be.

    A cat's classification is reinforced by others thinking about a cat as feline.numberjohnny5

    This so-called reinforcement is not necessary. It suggests some sort of post hoc confirmation. But, of course, if a cat is feline, then a cat is feline. That's logical and indisputable. And what determines whether or not a cat feline? Why, whether or not it has been classified as such, of course. There's no additional step required for a cat to be feline. There's no timer, no expiration date, and no need for confirmation. That's entirely in your imagination, and it's illogical. It's a result of misapplying psychology to matters of logic. This isn't an enquiry into human understanding. It's about an objective logical relationship.

    Classifications don't make sense outside of mental events.numberjohnny5

    Oh yes they do. On the contrary, they wouldn't make sense without the "outside of". It's your idealist reductionism which turns it into something which clashes with good sense. Whatever appeal there is to this view is deceptive. Just as things like rocks and trees don't depend on mental events, and just as facts of the kind under discussion - such as that Earth preexisted us - don't depend on mental events, nor do logical relationships like those implied by classification.

    We assign/impose concepts upon things.numberjohnny5

    What does that mean? We come up with concepts. They're conceived by us. An act of conception. But they're no more attached to us than you or I are attached to our respective mothers by umbilical cord. We are independent, as are they.

    And it's a similar thing with classifications. Things don't classify themselves. We classify things. But once a classification has been made, we're no longer necessary. We can step back. Job done. You'd need a cause for the situation to change.

    That's just weird to me.numberjohnny5

    But it's just logic. It's weird to me that it's weird to you. The classification was, remains to be, and - all else being equal - will be going forward, that cats are feline. In light of that classification, if there's a cat, then it's feline. Now, why would that require actual cats or people, bearing in mind that the classification has already been made? The answer is that it wouldn't. That's not how logic works. But you need it to be otherwise for your argument to work, so you posit a fake requirement, and hey presto!

    Again, that's just a bizarre thing to me. Interesting to know though. I'm curious what "concepts" are ontologically for you?numberjohnny5

    Again, I don't like that question, because I'm not quite sure what it is you're asking. It's vague and unspecific. If, on the other hand, you were to ask me whether they're this or that...?

    Also, hypothetically, or for the sake of argument, if concepts are thoughts, do you think that thoughts "pop in and out of existence"?numberjohnny5

    I think that "thoughts" is ambiguous. So, it depends. In a sense, yes. In another sense, no. My thoughts on the ethics of the death penalty haven't changed for quite some time. I'm still against it, and I remain against it, even when I'm not thinking about it. There's a sustainability there, and a kind of transcendence. Yet, nevertheless, it seems as though there's another side to thought, whereby thoughts just pop in and out of my head, like what shift I'm working tomorrow, or what to have for dinner. There's more of an instantaneity there, and a proximity to thinking.

    Well, as we all have different ontologies, I'm sure it doesn't make sense to you. In my view, things are happening/being in some way, some more dynamic than others. Nouns and verbs can be useful, but are just ways of parsing and organising experience. Remember that old thing you said? The map ain't the territory.numberjohnny5

    But the act of conceiving is distinct from the concept conceived, yes? Like the act of production is distinct from the product produced. I presume that you'd agree that a product, once produced, no longer depends for it's existence as a product on the process in which it was produced, yes?

    There is a relationship between statements and facts. What makes that relationship is individuals/minds using statements to refer to facts. Objective facts don't literally make that relationship, because they aren't individuals/minds--they don't have things like intentions or will. That's the purpose of propositional statements: they refer to things; and minds judge whether those statements accurately refer to facts or not. What else is going to judge whether a statement is true or not? The non-mental objects/events/facts can't, can they? If there was no one around to observe facts and to make judgements about them in the form of statements, the facts would still obtain, but there would be no true or false because truth is a property of propositions only. No minds, no truth.numberjohnny5

    Sigh... I feel like this is going around in circles to some degree. It might be time to just agree to disagree and move on.

    To be clear, I don't agree that there would be no truth-values, because truth-values are properties of meaningful statements, and there would be meaningful statements, which is to say that there would be statements, at least some of which would have a meaning, even if no one were there to understand it; and that, if there were someone there, then they could, with a sufficient understanding of the language, understand it. Just because someone is required for the creation of a meaningful statement, and to understand it, and to judge its truth-value, it doesn't follow that someone is required for it to exist and to exist as a meaningful statement. That's the sort of fallacy that crops up in idealist thinking.

    Note that I reject any interpretation of "statement" that would necessitate someone being there at the time making any kind of judgement about it. That would be to confuse what's required for understanding with what's required for existence, which is in essence the fallacy that idealists make. And that would also be begging the question, as the conclusion would be inherent within the premise. Your argument would be trivially true and unpersuasive to anyone who doesn't already share your view.

    This is a statement: "Earth preexisted humanity". It is displayed on a website. If we all suddenly ceased to exist, then, all else being equal, the statement would still be there, and it would of course still be true, because it would of course still be the case that Earth preexisted humanity.
    Q.E.D.

    And I don't agree that there would be no truth or falsity either, as truth and falsity would correspond accordingly with what is or is not the case, which, as I've demonstrated, does not depend on us or our judgement

    If no minds, then no minds to judge, comprehend, ascertain, perceive, conceive, understand, think about, know, etc., etc., the truth. But, nevertheless, the truth would be there, with or without us, and with or without our minds, or those of anyone else for that matter, and with or without our judging, comprehending, ascertaining, perceiving, conceiving, understanding, thinking, knowing, etc., etc., anything at all, because the correspondence between truth and fact does not require us, or our minds, or those of anyone else, or any judging, comprehending, ascertaining, perceiving, conceiving, understanding, thinking, knowing, etc., etc., to take place - again, as I've demonstrated. The show would simply go on without us.

    These minds of ours are seemingly capable of deceiving us into thinking that their place in the world is more important than it actually is. Fortunately for me, I'm a wise old owl who can see things as they are. You jelly?

    Question: Are some people better than others?

    Answer: Yes, I'm better than all of you.
  • iolo
    29
    If you want to make any absolute comparisons between people, surely, you have first to decide what people are FOR. In the long run, what is there to be perfect AT, except rotting?
  • numberjohnny5
    139
    Sir2uSir2u

    I've been pondering about our debate to try and understand it more clearly. I think we're talking about different things.

    I think you're basically saying that we can't make verifiable claims about events/circumstances if we haven't experienced those events/circumstances.

    I'm saying that the kinds of things that objective events are ontologically doesn't hinge on subjective mental states (like experiencing those events, making claims about them, etc.) for them to be the kinds of things that they are. They are the kinds of things that they are whether we experience them or not. So I'm saying that "facts" as objective events are mind-independent. That's a different claim than the one you're putting forward, which is based on a different definition of "fact" I think you're using.

    I'm using the standard philosophical definition of "fact". I think you're using a general or non-philosophical definition of "fact", like this one: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/fact

    I would agree that we can't make (provisionally) verifiable (or falsifiable) claims about events/circumstances if we (a) haven't experienced those events directly, or (b) haven't experienced/learnt about those events indirectly. But that's not a claim against what I'm saying about objective facts being mind-independent.
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