• Janus
    8.5k
    Although, I reject the conventional Correspondence Theory.creativesoul

    On my view, correspondence with/to what's happened and/or is happening(reality/fact/actuality/the world/the way things are, etc.) is what makes thought, belief, assertions, propositions, and statements true. Truth is correspondence.creativesoul

    On the face of it you seem to be contradicting yourself, as I can discern no difference between the 'conventional" account and what you write here.
  • frank
    3.4k


    Sometimes correspondence is close to what's meant by truth, but that doesn't bear up to close inspection. Corresponds how?

    Truth as actuality also makes sense until we think of the truth of an if/then statement. All of science could be thought if as a massive if/then statement.
  • creativesoul
    6.2k


    It's the nuanced account of what correspondence consists of in the conventional account that I disagree with. The explanation as it were.
  • creativesoul
    6.2k


    Those are all different senses of the term "truth".
  • creativesoul
    6.2k
    What sorts of things can be true and what makes them so?

    That question gets somewhere.
  • frank
    3.4k
    Drill bits.

    I'm familiar with the notion that truth is a property of propositions. It gets dualistic.

    Think outside the dualistic box (without losing your mind).
  • creativesoul
    6.2k


    No need to step off into irrelevancy.

    That's not the sense of "true" or being true that we're concerned with. Although, it could be argued that a true drill bit corresponds to conventional quality standards. It would make no sense to call one that fails to meet that standard "false". "Sub-standard"... sure. "Inferior"... sure. "Low quality"... sure. "False"?

    No.

    Drill bits aren't the sort of things that can be true/false. I think convention calls those things truth-bearers. Thought. Belief. Assertions. Statements. Propositions. Etc. Truth-bearer allows us to continue to talk about what makes those things true(or false) without getting sidetracked. It remains neutral. I like the notion for that reason.
  • creativesoul
    6.2k


    Just briefly glanced through the SEP article. There's much to be agreed with.
  • creativesoul
    6.2k
    ...truth is a property of propositionsfrank

    Yes. That is the conventional standard I reject.
  • creativesoul
    6.2k
    Think outside the dualistic box (without losing your mind).frank

    One must first have a mind prior to being able to lose it.
  • TheMadFool
    4k
    "All things are subject to interpretation. Whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth." -- Somebody other than Nietzsche

    But shouldn't the truth, by virtue of being the truth, exert some power of its own? We can only reside in fiction for so long, right?

    Or not? Maybe we're always in a fictional world even when the shit hits the fan.

    To what extent does truth have power?
    frank

    Every issue is many-sided. Each side has its own truth. While truth can't be chosen , for it's undeniable, we can choose the side or interpretation. This choice maybe based on power but one could easily say that power was/is derived from the truth that a particular interpretation yields.
  • csalisbury
    2k
    I'm late to the thread, and apologize because I may be repeating some things that have already been said. I've read the OP and I've skimmed some of the early responses, but haven't read a large portion of it or adequately digested what I have read.

    So, with that caveat :

    I think there is one aspect of truth - summed up in the 'correspondence theory' - where affinity with the truth is something like 'capturing' the truth. You have a 'picture' of the truth, which is a proposition. Like where early Wittgenstein goes.

    There is an element of this view of the truth that makes sense to me. Say, you're a general, leading a military campaign. True statements - statements that correspond with the reality of what's going on - are very important. You can't launch an assault or a defensive maneuver effectively without having a good model of the state of things. And 'true statements' are a major element of that (I don't really know military stuff well, but hopefully this makes sense or works despite being very naive sounding to people who know military stuff.)

    But, I think importantly, this proposition/correspondence thing is only one part of what's going on - the part that builds 'models' of the world, and tries to make the model correspond to the situation as much as possible. It relies a lot on fixity, and macro-perspectives. This all changes quickly when the battle begins and then you need a

    Pragmatic theory of truth. Which is: what's true is what works. You're not trying to represent the world anymore, but react, moment to moment, by seeing which of your ideas meant resistance. They don't work because reality stands firm, and (what you thought were) truths crash up against it. Your truths are shown to be false when acting upon them fails. Resistance, rather than noncorrespondence, becomes the test of truth. You're not testing a model against the world (conceived as that 'state of affairs' which the model represents). You're constantly updating your sense of how to act based against what doesn't yield to those actions. This doesn't mean merely that the exigencies of the moment are preventing you from attaining the true perspective of the model, of correspondence - That whole sphere relies on fixity. Reality is constantly moving, and can't be captured moment to moment. This is a different, equally valid conception of truth.

    Deflationary theories of truth fit formal systems. They're true enough, they just outsource truth-making to something outside the system. That's a fair move. It helps highlight characteristics of formal systems (that affect real life, and are affected by it.) To take an analogy: You can probably, I'm guessing, do a whole bunch of economic analysis about the formal structures of a delimited economy without considering what sustains that economy. Of course, those conditions are important to the total picture, and need to be understood. But that doesn't mean that the systems don't develop a semi-autonomous logic of their own.

    And then there are a class of 'truths' - moral, aesthetic, etc - which can only be realized by accepting your situation and knowing what things impel you to act and perceive in certain ways. These truths can only be realized through acting on them or through letting them act upon you. This is where 'radical immanence' and the collapse of subject-object and 'no view from nowhere' or 'not totality' stuff comes into play. That stuff, as well as meditation, presence, being-in. None of the above three theories can substitute for this embedded truth, though they can play a part in it.

    Relativism -which Nietzsche wasn't (tho maybe sometimes)- plays on a discrepancy between Moral Norms and the Universal Absolute. 'Everything is an interpretation' is scandalous, only if that means everyone is a monad transcendent to the world, rewriting the entirety in its own way. If not, the truth is still there - it just works through all actors, who can only partially access it. It's not necessarily denying truth. It's just saying there is no way that a particular actor can wrap it all together in a satisfying whole that they can possess. You can keep truth, while ditching the idea that any finite being can lay full claim to it. the idea that things really are the way they are is fully compatible with the idea that we can't make a fixed picture of how those things are.
  • creativesoul
    6.2k
    But, I think importantly, this proposition/correspondence thing is only one part of what's going on - the part that builds 'models' of the world, and tries to make the model correspond to the situation as much as possible. It relies a lot on fixity, and macro-perspectives. This all changes quickly when the battle beings and then you need a

    Pragmatic theory of truth. Which is: what's true is what works.
    csalisbury

    I do not understand this at all. Before battle, we need true belief to know how to plan. Battle begins. Sometimes what we predicted would happen does not. So, our belief about what was going to happen ended up being false.

    Falsehood works very well for getting people to believe something that is not true. According to what you've just said... falsehood is true because it works.

    Something is wrong there. Wouldn't you agree?
  • csalisbury
    2k
    I do not understand this at all. Before battle, we need true belief to know how to plan. Battle begins. Sometimes what we predicted would happen does not. So, our belief about what was going to happen ended up being false.

    Falsehood works very well for getting people to believe something that is not true. According to what you've just said... falsehood is true because it works.

    Something is wrong there. Wouldn't you agree?
    creativesoul

    It may be true that certain that certain people are liable to believe a certain falsehood. That doesn't mean the falsehood is true. It means it's true that some people are liable to believe that falsehood.

    Of course there is a real, and important, ethical question of whether someone should willfully lead others to believe falsehoods (even if in pursuit of a noble end.) But that's a separate question.

    is 'working' a sufficient condition of truthood? No, the pragmatic conception of truth is a negative one -constraint, falsifiability. The truth's working is a necessary condition though.
  • creativesoul
    6.2k


    That doesn't look like a good way to go... at least not from here. I mean, what's the sense in invoking working as a necessary condition. Whether or not something works is goal oriented. Whether or not something is true is not. A true statement may not work to convince another. It does not work for that. It's true nonetheless.
  • csalisbury
    2k
    Though we may have different guiding concerns, I think we both agree that the pragmatic approach doesn't exhaust truth. In my initial post I tried to show how it has a (non-dominant) place, as part of a greater whole.
  • creativesoul
    6.2k


    Realizing where we went wrong(after the war begins) and/or adjusting our plan according to day to day activities doesn't require pragmatism or the pragmatic notion of truth.
  • simeonz
    78
    I think that some opinions stated here assume that acquisition of beliefs by the subject is through remote observation of consequences. That the facts do not affect the subject itself. But from my experience, the truth can and will (by all means) harm you, disable you, kill you if it can. You are forced to adapt or suffer, whether through your genetics, your cultural heritage, or your personal experience. You or your species will learn from adversity eventually (in a million years if necessary), or will part ways with nature. Truth earns meaning by enforcement, not gentle conviction. More than that - this compels it to consensus - sharing adversity.

    I agree wholeheartedly with csalisbury, that for sentient beings seeking self-preservation (which is essentially given for sustained and independent sentient life form), the truth is both a relation between the personal view and the matter of fact, as required for correct decision making, and is also rejection of the penalty of living inefficiently and against the conditions of the environment.

    Some caveats have to be addressed. There is difference between "the truth" and the quality of "being true". This is similar to the usage of "the world" and "worlds". To my understanding, we use "the truth" synonymously to the matter of fact. The latter doesn't need witnesses in order to be, at least in principle. For example, billions years ago, we were supposedly pieces of rock in the earth's crust. The precise details have no accounts by sentient species. The environment left traces, which we use to partially retrodict it, meaning that something was defined in detail, but the detail is not subject to experience. However "true" statements and ideas, or representations of reality used by intelligence of any kind (primitive or artificial one), can only qualify when there is a degree of purposeful behavior, determinism, interactivity, and pursuit. Otherwise, there is no meaning to calling the internal state of some system truth representative.

    The second caveat is that without speculations regarding the universality, intransience, or at least statistical significance, the quality of truthfulness of statements and ideas can be very limited in scope. A person attached to reality simulator has to maintain correspondence and efficiency, but the limit to the representational and pragmatic aspects of their comprehension is set by the extent of the simulation. In a more realistic sense - a person's views are a product of time, culture, social class, etc. Their ideas and beliefs are reduced to this scope, somewhat ironically, by natural necessity. However, critical analysis of someone's personal belief in some extended scope, tentative as it might be, is justifiable as attempt at self-improvement. The concept of lasting, universal truth is similar to the projections of an architect for infinite maintenance and operation of the bridge they built, even though the bridge and the species that use it are likely to both have an expiration date.
  • frank
    3.4k
    And then there are a class of 'truths' - moral, aesthetic, etc - which can only be realized by accepting your situation and knowing what things impel you to act and perceive in certain ways. These truths can only be realized through acting on them or through letting them act upon you. This is where 'radical immanence' and the collapse of subject-object and 'no view from nowhere' or 'not totality' stuff comes into play. That stuff, as well as meditation, presence, being-in. None of the above three theories can substitute for this embedded truth, though they can play a part in it.csalisbury

    Seeing these truths is a matter of coming to know yourself (which may involve living enough to grow into who you are)?

    Once a moral truth comes into view and it seems like the leaves on a growing plant, is it a mistake to feel downward toward its roots? To see whether it comes from within or without? And if its within, is there a collective unconscious down there?

    Are you saying there are just different myths for what's at the root of these truths?
  • simeonz
    78
    I will abuse the thread just once more, because I didn't notice csalisbury remark on moral truths, which is also interesting. I wanted to state that I don't consider moral truths as truths in the same sense at all. They are rather akin to personal directives. They are however important for survival as well.

    Having to be a responsible citizen is not "true". Society being adversely affected by irresponsible behavior is "true". Therefore, being a responsible citizen is an imperative to aid the group (whether the subject realizes it or not). Affections, morals, ambitions, all have this pragmatic dimension. They also carry self-expression, which is not less important for the individual. (That is, we have character, which is part of our reality as well, albeit on a personal level.)

    Finally, conceptualizations, like cause and consequence, space and time, quantification, approximation, etc, are not truths, but methods of reasoning. They can be validated, but only in so far as they affect the decisions of the subject. They do not exist independently of the subject's interaction with the environment.
  • frank
    3.4k
    I will abuse the thread just once more,simeonz

    I appreciate your comments. :)
  • Banno
    6k
    Corresponds howfrank

    That's the question. As if there could be one sort of correspondence that fit every true statement; the statement s"2+2=6" corresponds to 2+2=6 in the same way that the statement "My foot hurts" corresponds to my foot hurting.

    As an explanation the correspondence theory doesn't tell us much at all.

    But then, correspondence isn't wrong here. Perhaps it is right but inadequate.
  • Janus
    8.5k
    Sometimes correspondence is close to what's meant by truth, but that doesn't bear up to close inspection. Corresponds how?frank

    I'm not sure what you mean by "corresponds how". Don't you understand how, for example, an account of events can correspond or fail to correspond to what happened?

    Truth as actuality also makes sense until we think of the truth of an if/then statement. All of science could be thought if as a massive if/then statement.frank

    I don't think of truth as actuality as being really any different than correspondence; it's just a simplification. Truth corresponds to actuality becomes truth is actuality. Of course statements are not literally the actualities they are stating, but nor are they the truths they are stating. To state an actuality just is to state a truth. (I might be speaking nonsense here, but I'm trying to pay attention to it).

    It's the nuanced account of what correspondence consists of in the conventional account that I disagree with. The explanation as it were.creativesoul

    I'm not sure what you're referring to: can you explain what you think it is about the conventional account that is wrong?

    As an explanation the correspondence theory doesn't tell us much at all.Banno

    As I see it it tells us exactly as much, and exactly the same as the T-sentence tells, or shows, us; that the inherent logic of our notion of truth is that it consists in the correspondence of beliefs, propositions or accounts with actuality; with what is the case.

    But then, correspondence isn't wrong here. Perhaps it is right but inadequate.Banno

    Where do you see the inadequacy?
  • Janus
    8.5k
    Yes. That is the conventional standard I reject.creativesoul

    I don't think it is incorrect to say that truth is a property of propositions; but I do think it is wrong to say that it is merely that.
  • Janus
    8.5k
    That's the question. As if there could be one sort of correspondence that fit every true statement; the statement s"2+2=6" corresponds to 2+2=6 in the same way that the statement "My foot hurts" corresponds to my foot hurting.Banno

    That they may not correspond in the same way is not that they do not both correspond.
  • frank
    3.4k
    But then, correspondence isn't wrong here.Banno

    It's dualistic, though.

    I'm not sure what you mean by "corresponds how". Don't you understand how, for example, an account of events can correspond or fail to correspond to what happened?Janus

    This is an old objection to correspondence: that all we have is a vague intuition about what it's supposed to mean. How exactly does a statement correspond to ...whatever it's supposed to correspond to? What is supposed to be matching up to what?

    With a formal language, we might be able to work out something, but with natural language, it's not likely. Meaning has a holistic aspect. Meaning is often use. Sometimes behaviorism is an accurate assessment. So yes, I get the intuition. I don't see any rigor to it.

    To state an actuality just is to state a truthJanus

    Again, I understand what you're saying. Devil is in the details.
  • Banno
    6k
    Dude, the equivalence in t T-sentence is defined truth-conditionaly. the "corresponds" in correspondence theory is pretty much undefined.
  • Banno
    6k
    It's dualistic, though.frank
    There are two of them?
  • Janus
    8.5k
    So yes, I get the intuition. I don't see any rigor to it.frank

    The point is that the intuition is all you're going to get. All accounts rely on intuition, it's not the other way around. For example how would you know an account or explanation of correspondence gets it right apart from simply seeing that it does?

    If truth is irreducible, like actuality, then we are committing a category error in demanding an account of it. All we can do is produce something like the T-sentence which shows the inherent logic of correspondence.

    Wrathall argues that (even) Heidegger endorses the correspondence account (not theory, mind) of truth. According to Wrathall Heidegger disagrees with the theory that involves the notion of representations corresponding to objects (against early Wittegenstein?). See here:
  • Janus
    8.5k
    Dude, the equivalence in t T-sentence is defined truth-conditionaly. the "corresponds" in correspondence theory is pretty much undefined.Banno

    Are you referring to the "iff"? If so, I would respond that the correspondence theory also affirms that statements are true iff they correspond to actuality. Or are you wanting to highlight a difference between "equivalence" and correspondence? If so, what is the difference in your book?
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