• creativesoul
    8.8k
    We don't know how things really are, we only know how we believe them to be...Isaac

    Isn't this just a rehashing of Kant?

    In order to know that we do not know how things are, we must already know both... how things are and what we believe about how things are. We must perform a comparative analysis between the way things are and what we believe about the way things are. But if we do not know how things are, we cannot possibly perform this comparison.

    It's untenable.
  • creativesoul
    8.8k
    Truth is presupposed in within all thought and belief. This is shown by the redundancy of adding "is true" to statements of thought and belief.

    Meaningful correspondence between what is thought and/or believed about what has happened and/or is happening, and what has happened and/or is happening is existentially dependent upon belief formation. That is not to say that in order for a statement to be true, it must also be believed by anyone in particular. Rather, it is to point out that all statements are existentially dependent upon belief about what has happened and/or is happening and what has happened and/or is happening. Statements are statements of belief(assuming a sincere speaker of course).

    Truth is correspondence 'between' thought and belief about the world and/or ourselves(what has happened and/or is happening), and the world and/or ourselves(what has happened and/or is happening.

    That's only the half of it though. Talk of truth without meaning is nonsense.

    All thought and belief are meaningful as well. All meaning is attributed solely by virtue of drawing correlations between different things. Drawing correlations between different things requires a plurality of things, at least one of which is capable of detecting, perceiving, and/or drawing a distinction between different things.

    All thought and belief consist(s) of the aforementioned correlations. Across the entire gamut, from the simplest to the most complex... each and every thought and belief consists of correlations drawn between different things.

    Thought, belief, meaning, and truth...
  • Isaac
    2.9k
    In order to know that we do not know how things are, we must already know both... how things are and what we believe about how things are. We must perform a comparative analysis between the way things are and what we believe about the way things are.creativesoul

    No. If we have no reasonable grounds or mechanism by which the two could be assumed to be the same then we must conclude that they would only be so by chance. A perfectly reasonable default hypothesis therefore, is that they aren't. Put that to some experimental testing showing overwhelmingly the extent to which our experience of the same object differs and you have, what is currently the leading theory on perception. We do not perceive reality directly. Not even close.
  • creativesoul
    8.8k
    Now it's Stove's worst argument?

    The leading theory of perception? Is it physicalist? Does it include notions like perception that is informed by language as well as perception that is not?

    Meh.

    Gibberish.
  • Janus
    9.3k
    It's possible the answer to all these questions is actually in your last paragraph, but if so, I'm afraid I couldn't make any sense of it, so I'd be grateful for a re-wording.Isaac

    Interesting. So you're saying that 'believing' is one attitude we can have toward a proposition's content, but there's some other attitude we can have toward it which you're saying is the one we use to apply the label 'true'? Do you have a name for this other attitude? When does it kick in?Isaac

    It doesn't matter that I might not know what the actuality is. When I make a statement about what is true, my intention is to say what is true, not merely to say what I believe is true. On a "meta-level" what I am saying may be merely an expression of my belief (it also may happen to be an expression of the truth, even if I can never be certain that it is). But that "meta-caveat" is not the same thing as the logic that is inherent in the intention underlying truth-statements. You are conflating the two.Janus

    Apologies if my wording is not clear to you. The name for the "other attitude" is 'acknowledgement that my belief could be wrong if it happens not to accord with reality'.

    If I could be wrong in believing that Donald Trump is POTUS, then this possibility is contingent upon there being an actual state of affairs: Donald Trump being or not being POTUS at the time in question, that would make my belief true or false.
  • Janus
    9.3k
    We do not perceive reality directly. Not even close.Isaac

    This assumes that there is a reality to be perceived or not perceived directly, no?
  • Isaac
    2.9k
    If I could be wrong in believing that Donald Trump is POTUS, then this possibility is contingent upon there being an actual state of affairsJanus

    Not necessarily. It depends if you take a pragmatic definition of 'wrong' or not. Being 'wrong' can amount to nothing more than having a theory which is superseded by a more useful one. I'm not saying that there is no state of affairs, by the way, I think there is. I'm just saying that being 'wrong' need not be contingent on there being one.

    Donald Trump being or not being POTUS at the time in question, that would make my belief true or false.Janus

    So, if 'true' is a property of a belief, and a belief is a state of affairs in the brain, a 'true' belief should be distinguishable from a 'false' one one, no? For a belief to have the property of being 'true' (unless we're invoking dualism) it would have to have some physical difference from a false one.

    Better, I think, to have 'true' as a category of beliefs, not a property of them. Far less problems with dualism. But if 'true' is a category of belief, then nothing about the real world determines what goes in that category, it's a human-made one. We decide what's in and what's out. Like 'blue'.

    This assumes that there is a reality to be perceived or not perceived directly, no?Janus

    Yes. I make that presumption. I don't think we could provide much by way of justification, but I also don't think we're capable of doubting it.
  • Gregory
    1.7k
    "Of course , innerworldly beings in the sense of what is real, as merely objectively present, can still remain covered up. However, what is real, too, is discoverable only on the basis of a world already disclosed. And only on this basis can what is real still remain concealed." Heidegger
  • creativesoul
    8.8k
    ...a belief is a state of affairs in the brain...Isaac

    This is dead wrong.
  • Banno
    9.3k
    It's a planet we can't in principle know about, in the past or during the heat death of the universe where it's expanded to the point that it's impossible to travel there. Or it's cloaked by the Romulans.frank

    So it's like the chairs at the end of the universe.

    But that debate disappeared long ago.
  • Gregory
    1.7k
    People are allowed to inflict pain on someone to give them sexual pleasure,.But up to a point because there is a discrete difference between enjoying sex and being suicidal. There is no soul though because truth is relative, coming from within since it is unsubstantial
  • Banno
    9.3k
    Thank you for sharing, Gregory.
  • Baden
    10.7k


    To my next party, you are invited.
  • frank
    5.2k
    So it's like the chairs at the end of the universe.

    But that debate disappeared long ago.
    Banno

    Did it? Ok then.
  • fdrake
    4.2k
    If truth is a property of statements, and there were no statements prior to the advent of humanity, how could there have been truths prior to the advent of humanity?Janus

    Let * be [ (y is true => there exists a human x that can express y)]
    * is equivalent to "if there is no human x that can express y, y is false" - the antecedent is true whenever there are no humans, so if * holds an arbitrary y is false (when there are no humans). Implications of trivialism aside, the interesting thing is:

    The counterintuitive thing about "There were dinosaurs before the advent of humanity" isn't that there were no human languages capable of expressing a truth about dinosaurs at the time; which is obviously true when there are no humans capable of language; it's about the falsehood of there being dinosaurs before the advent of humanity. There really were no dinosaurs before humans existed if * holds. It's less about human language, and more about the dinosaurs winking into existence in the past if * holds. The truth conditions of claims regarding dinosaurs existing come to depend on the existence of humans, not just whether the articulability or expressibility of the truth of those claims requires humans.

    We know the dinosaurs didn't wink into existence in the past when humans became capable of expressing "Dinosaurs existed in the past", so * does not hold.
  • Janus
    9.3k
    I wasn't suggesting there were no dinosaurs prior to the advent of humanity. There being dinosaurs would be an actuality, not a truth (in a context where truth is considered to be a property of propositions or statements).

    On the other hand I tend to think of truth as simply being actuality; its propositional "face" so to speak. So there actually and truly were dinosaurs prior to the advent of humanity, but there was no human there to see the truth's propositional face (or the actuality for that matter!).
  • Janus
    9.3k
    Yes. I make that presumption. I don't think we could provide much by way of justification, but I also don't think we're capable of doubting it.Isaac

    Right and all we're talking about here is the inherent logic in the human understanding of truth. I say that the primary feature of that logic is the ineliminable idea that there is an actuality to which true propositions would correspond, even if we don't (always or even ever) know exactly which propositions those would be.

    Also I think once you start talking about physical differences between beliefs you have gone seriously astray.
  • creativesoul
    8.8k
    If we have no reasonable grounds or mechanism by which the two could be assumed to be the same then we must conclude that they would only be so by chance.Isaac

    This is rubbish.

    We need not assume that our thoughts are true. We can often check and know for sure. Chance has nothing at all to do with it.

    Besides that, the criticism levied has been ignored. Your claim that our perception of reality is not reality means nothing. That's trivial. Of course, our perception of reality is not equal to reality, nor need it be.

    In order for you to know that we cannot and/or do not perceive anything as it is(or that we cannot perceive reality directly), you must know the difference between the two. Knowing that requires knowing both, and then performing a subsequent comparative analysis between the two. That cannot be done, of course, by your very own admission.

    It's untenable.
  • creativesoul
    8.8k
    Truth - as correspondence that is prior to language acquisition, and as coherence within language use - emerges within thought and belief. Thought and belief begins simply and grows in it's complexity, as it must, according to the tenets underwriting my viewpoint. In evolutionary terms, thought and belief must evolve and they clearly do, as can be readily ascertained by careful poignent observation.

    ...if 'true' is a category of belief, then nothing about the real world determines what goes in that category, it's a human-made one. We decide what's in and what's out. Like 'blue'.Isaac

    We very well may decide what we choose to place into such a category, but our criterion for what counts as being true will show it's inherent weaknesses in the process, under careful scrutiny.

    If "true" is a category of individual beliefs, all of which meet the criterion of being true, and true belief does not require our taking account of it in order for it to be so, then either truth is prior to language, or true belief does not require truth.

    I put it to everyone participating here that true thought and/or belief is not existentially dependent upon being reported upon. In other words, some true thought and/or belief does not require language; some true thought and/or belief does not consist of language; some true belief is prior to language.

    That says something important about truth, as well as something important about the different senses of the term "truth". Accompanied by the earlier post, we have thought, belief, meaning, and truth... all of which emerge simultaneously within the simplest of true thought and belief. Falsity emerges during this timeframe as well, but it is not until we come to realize our own fallibility that we become aware that we have false belief or true ones.
  • fdrake
    4.2k
    I wasn't suggesting there were no dinosaurs prior to the advent of humanity. There being dinosaurs would be an actuality, not a truth (in a context where truth is considered to be a property of propositions or statements).Janus

    Do you believe in a modified version of * where

    [y is actual => there exists a human x that can express y]

    ?
  • Mayor of Simpleton
    471
    #1 How can one know what truth is, without knowing what truth is in the first place?Monist

    Perhaps it's just me, but I'm not sure if truth in this question is being used to mean the same thing in both mentions.

    Truth is (perhaps pun intended) I'm not sure which way to think of this question.

    That probably made no sense (not a first for me), so I'll try to expain what I mean (which usually makes it far worse).

    Are we refering to truth, as in what is infered from fact or are we refering to truth as the same thing as fact?

    These are the possible option that are muddling around in my thoughts:

    a) How can one know what truth (infered from facts) is, without knowing what facts are in the first place?

    b) How can one know what truth (facts infered from facts) is, without knowing what truth (facts infered from facts that makes up those aforementioned facts?) is in the first place?

    c) How can one know what facts are, without knowing what truth (facts that makes up those aforementioned facts) is in the first place?

    d) How can one know what facts are, without knowing what facts (leading to those facts) are in the first place?

    e) Something else.

    I know this probably seems silly, but when I read the OP all that popped into mind was the lawyer speak from Rudi G * stating "truth isn't truth". It was a wonderful example to misdirection for whatever reasons he might have had at the time, but what he said was "someone's interpretation of the truth isn't always fact". His use of the same word twice in a sentence, but with two different means next to each other caused confusion (and quite a bit of comedy). Since then I have noticed this tendency more and more; thus my asking before making any further commentary.

    Meow!

    GREG

    * The Rudi G reference is not a means to drag this into such a political deathpit, but rather an example of what may or may not have occurred with the question in the OP.
  • Janus
    9.3k
    No, I would say that actualities abound absent the human. It would take a human or equivalent to say what any actuality is, though. So, in a sense 'there were dinosaurs' is always going to be spoken from a human perspective. We could say that what would appear to us as dinosaurs (if we had been there) were there prior to human life.
  • frank
    5.2k
    Let * be [ (y is true => there exists a human x that can express y)]
    * is equivalent to "if there is no human x that can express y, y is false" - the antecedent is true whenever there are no humans, so if * holds an arbitrary y is false (when there are no humans). Implications of trivialism aside, the interesting thing is:
    fdrake

    P is the proposition that there were dinosaurs during the Triassic. Even if a sentence that expresses P was never uttered at any time, P would still be truth-apt.

    This is realism. Notice the cost of it.
  • fdrake
    4.2k
    We could say that what would appear to us as dinosaurs (if we had been there) were there prior to human life.Janus

    That's quite different from being able to say "There were dinosaurs before there were humans", which is true. Why do we need (if this is the point you're making) to change from "There was X before there were humans" to "There was what would appear to humans as X before there were humans" to get a meaningful statement when "There were X before there were humans" means something and doesn't mean the same thing as "There was what would appear to humans as X before there were humans". The first statement is about X, the second statement is about a human in relation to X.

    Though, I think that so long as we agree that there really were dinosaurs before humans (not just counterfactual "things which would appear as dinosaurs"), we're in agreement.

    Even if a sentence that expresses P was never uttered at any time, P would still be truth-apt.frank

    I don't see the problem? We can interpret "What would there be without humans?" and "What was there before humans?" questions unproblematically; the Earth would orbit the sun even if there were no humans.
  • frank
    5.2k
    don't see the problem? We can interpret "What would there be without humans?" and "What was there before humans?" questions unproblematically; the Earth would orbit the sun even if there were no humans.fdrake

    You just end up with these eternal abstract objects, some if which are false.
  • fdrake
    4.2k
    You just end up with these eternal abstract objects, some if which are false.frank

    Why? "The Earth would orbit the sun even if there were no humans" is about the real Earth, the real sun and real humans. It's a stipulation, but it's not about the stipulated content (the content isn't merely possible, it's actual, and we stipulate about it). If there were no humans, the Earth would orbit the sun - are the Earth and the sun eternal abstract objects there?
  • frank
    5.2k
    The proposition is the abstract object.
  • frank
    5.2k
    It's a fascinating and frustrating aspect of philosophy that no path leads to something complete. Every path has its unpalatable consequences, no matter how good the rest of it feels.

    We get by with focusing on the problems of the paths we don't like. We avoid turning and seeing the problems we've adopted.

    Even when we think we've outsmarted philosophy by way of someone like Heidegger, new unsolvables await.

    The trick to seeing the situation is to become emotionally neutral. Emotion is the thing that binds me to my precious view and blinds me to its flaws.
  • fdrake
    4.2k
    The proposition is the abstract objectfrank

    Why is it necessary to believe that a truth condition of a statement, considered as a state of affairs, is an eternal abstract object when all that it concerns are contingently formed material particulars or events or generalisations thereof? "There were dinosaurs before there were humans" is true, because dinosaurs existed before there were humans is a fact.

    Counterfactuals are more difficult, "The Earth would still orbit around the sun even if there were no humans" is true because what drives Earth's orbit around the sun is not existentially or causally dependent upon the existence of humans; because it works in a way indifferent to our existence it would work the same way without us.
  • fdrake
    4.2k
    The trick to seeing the situation is to become emotionally neutral. Emotion is the thing that binds me to my precious view and blinds me to its flaws.frank

    Am I to read this as a suggestion that I'm blinded to the flaws of realist intuitions because I'm emotionally attached to them?
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