• Banno
    15.7k
    @fdrake

    Here's a link:

    https://www2.southeastern.edu/Academics/Faculty/jbell/conceptualscheme.pdf

    This is the salient bit:

    In giving up dependence on the concept of an uninterpreted reality, something outside all schemes and science, we do not relinquish the notion of objective truth -quite the contrary. Given the dogma of a dualism of scheme and reality, we get conceptual relativity, and truth relative to a scheme. Without the dogma, this kind of relativity goes by the board. Of course truth ot sentences remains relative to language, but that is as objective as can be. In giving up the dualism of scheme and world, we do not give up the world, but reestablish unmediated touch with the familiar objects whose antics make our sentences and opinions true or false.

    What detail should we go into?
  • bongo fury
    1.2k
    his homey task assumes — Davidson

    I thought "did you mean 'homely'?", while Google thought "did you mean 'homie'?".
  • Harry Hindu
    4.4k
    No, Rousseau, I use words. These are a subset of the scribbles and sounds.Banno
    Not much different than what said. What makes a subset of scribbles and sounds words and not just scribbles and sounds?

    You use scribbles and sounds. HOW you use scribbles and sounds is what makes them words or not. Are you writing or drawing? Depends on how you use the scribbles.
  • Banno
    15.7k
    HOW you use scribbles and sounds is what makes them words or not.Harry Hindu

    Oh, look - Harry answered his own question. Good.
  • neomac
    51
    I tend to agree with @creativesoul and disagree with @Banno. The latter claims: "beliefs are always about what can be put in propositional form. And this can be rephrased as that the content of a belief is propositional."
    The second statement sounds a sloppy way of render the first one, for the simple reason that the actual content of a belief is the "what" (the possible state of affairs?) prior to being put into propositional form (by means of a statement?). The content of a glass is not water just because you can pour into it water!
  • Banno
    15.7k
    If you can't put it into propositional form, your belief is not a belief that such-and-such; hence it is not a belief.

    As if one might have a belief that is not a belief about something.
  • neomac
    51
    @Banno perceptual beliefs are not identical to beliefs that such-and-such, yet they can often be more or less broadly rendered as beliefs that such and such. The possibility of having perceptual beliefs is not grounded on the linguistic capacity of rendering perceptual beliefs in linguistic terms. Briefly, while I can concede the first part of your statement "If you can't put it into propositional form, your belief is not a belief that such-and-such", the consequence "hence it is not a belief" doesn't follow unless you stipulate it. And yes beliefs can be about something (like all perceptual beliefs which refer to possible state of affairs through sensations), without being beliefs that such and such.
  • Banno
    15.7k
    What are perceptual beliefs? Give an example.
  • neomac
    51
    perceptual beliefs are the ones your cat has while staring at the window. And you form when looking at the road while driving your car and listening to some songs on the radio.
  • emancipate
    356
    What exactly do you believe your cat to be believing when it's staring at the window?
  • neomac
    51
    @emancipate exactly? I don't know. Broadly speaking I might render the cat's belief as "my cat believes there is an intruder in our yard" or "my cat believes that my wife is coming home" etc.
  • emancipate
    356
    Yes and those would be propositional statements. Your proposed pre-rendered belief states are impossible to communicate without language. So can they even be determined as such?
  • neomac
    51
    @emancipate yes indeed, I put my cat's beliefs in propositional form. That doesn't mean that my cat's beliefs were originally in propositional form nor that they wouldn't be beliefs if we couldn't render them in propositional form.
  • neomac
    51
    @emancipate
    > Your proposed pre-rendered belief states are impossible to communicate without language.
    So what? You can have it backwards, without perceptual beliefs you couldn't even learn a human language for communicating anything, since to learn a language you need to rely on the ability to detect perceptual patterns and reproduce them e.g. phonetically without being able to render the related perceptual beliefs in linguistic terms (since you are still learning the language).
  • emancipate
    356
    Beliefs are potentially either true or false. Propositions are the bearers of these truth values. The perceptual non-linguistic beliefs you describe have no capacity for truth or falsity, unless there exist non-linguistic propositions. I don't know if I agree about the language acquisition. Been a long time since I learned mine.
  • neomac
    51
    @emancipate I disagree with the following statement: "Propositions are the bearers of these truth values." And therefore with what ensues. I'm reluctant to give "propositions" the role you attribute to them for reasons related to the ontology of propositions and to the nature of language. To sum up my view (without arguing further), I'd say that "perceptions" have truth-conditions, they can be accurate or not, effective or illusory without being propositional (one might recall here the distinction between "seeing" and "seeing as" suggested by Wittgenstein).
  • sime
    690
    I'm inclined to reject the idea that truth is a predicate for similar reasons as to why Frege, Hume and Kant rejected the idea of existence as a predicate.

    Suppose that a belief is a truth-apt mental state. If the truth of beliefs is identified with either their mental content or their material causes, then all beliefs must be necessarily and vacuously true. For example, i believe i am tying at a desk which i see before me. If "desk" is considered to refer to my experience directly, or to it's perceptual causes, then the truth of my belief is vacuously true in expressing nothing over and above the fact i am seeing something i call "desk" as a result of whatever caused me to say such a thing.

    On the other hand, if the truth criteria of beliefs is considered to be independent of their mental content, as is normally considered where the truth of beliefs is regarded as being future-contigent, then the truth of beliefs is divorced from their mental content and material causes. In which case truth is no longer attributable to beliefs in themselves, but refers to an external convention for classifying belief-behaviour.
  • creativesoul
    10k


    Banno and myself have very similar views, but there are crucial differences. He is more Wittgensteinian than I. Much more actually. However, although I am quite confident that where we disagree I am correct and he's not, I must admit that Banno is remarkably efficient at making his points. I admire his brevity.
  • neomac
    51
    @creativesoul
    Could you pls elaborate more on this "He is more Wittgensteinian than I. Much more actually"?

    Would you be able to briefly clarify how you understand the following concepts and their relation: "sensation", "intentionality", "representation", "perception", "concept", "belief", "proposition"?
  • Banno
    15.7k
    Would you be able to briefly clarify how you understand the following concepts and their relation: "sensation", "intentionality", "representation", "perception", "concept", "belief", "proposition"?neomac

    Yeah, come on, @creativesoul, write us an explanation of how the whole world works. Preferably in less than a hundred words.

    :lol:

    I disagree with the following statement: "Propositions are the bearers of these truth values."neomac

    What this shows is that you have not understood how the word "proposition" is used. Disagree all you like, you are just wrong. If perceptions have truth values, then perceptions are propositional.

    The only out you might make would be to vacillate between propositional truth and "true" as in "accurate", which you verge on. That might be philosophically interesting. However I expect that accuracy is ultimately parsed in proposition terms. The plank is true if it conforms to specifiable criteria.

    So it seems your case is lost.

    But it's good to see you setting simple challenges for folk like Creative. He's been a bit slack of late. :wink:

    What exactly do you believe your cat to be believing when it's staring at the window? ↪neomacemancipate

    Yes, that'd have been the next question. Nice catch, but it was straight to silly mid-on.
  • creativesoul
    10k
    Could you pls elaborate more on this "He is more Wittgensteinian than I. Much more actually"?neomac

    He is much more averse to metaphysics than I. He places higher value upon propositional logic than I. He places propositions in a more fundamental role than I. He holds that all belief content is propositional. He holds that we cannot get 'beneath' language. He does not draw and maintain the actual distinction between belief and thinking about belief. He does not draw and maintain a distinction between the content of our accounting practices and the content of what's being taken into account, particularly, to keep in line with the debate topic, when talking about language less creatures' belief he does not discriminate between his account and what's being taken into account. He also leans on speech act theorists as well as Davidson more than I.

    Would you be able to briefly clarify how you understand the following concepts and their relation: "sensation", "intentionality", "representation", "perception", "concept", "belief", "proposition"?neomac

    Well, sure I could, but why ought I here? I will say this, the question itself is based upon the belief that all those things mentioned are concepts. I do not share that belief. Rather, much of the time regarding many of the aforementioned things, and I are in agreement regarding historical use of these terms. We're much the same amount of Wittgensteinian, in that regard.

    You and I do seem to agree on one salient point. Banno conflates his account of the cat's belief with the cat's belief. Not sure if that is a consequence of unstated premisses underlying his reasoning here, or a personal shortfall, but he's not alone.
  • creativesoul
    10k
    Beliefs are potentially either true or false. Propositions are the bearers of these truth values. The perceptual non-linguistic beliefs you describe have no capacity for truth or falsity, unless there exist non-linguistic propositions. I don't know if I agree about the language acquisition. Been a long time since I learned mine.emancipate

    Upon what ground are you stating that language-less creatures' belief has no capacity to be true or false, unless there are such things as non-linguistic propositions?

    What reason is there to hold that there need be such things as truth bearers(propositions) in order for language-less creatures' belief to be true or false?

    It's true if it corresponds to the way things are.

    If the ducks outside hear the food bin lid being removed, they will immediately go to where it is, all the while displaying all sorts of different behaviours that are put on display during feeding or when they are pleading to be fed.

    What reasons are there for us to believe that the ducks cannot form, have, and/or hold belief about being fed unless there are such things as non linguistic propositions, unless we've already placed the fate of our own position into the idea that all belief content is propositional?

    That's a common view, quite common actually, given all the work regarding the belief that approach, such as the one Banno relies upon at times. However, you've presented but one set of options here, both resting their laurels upon a premiss that I do not share. It is only if we first hold firmly to the notion that all belief content is propositional, that we come to later find that we must propose such things as non linguistic propositions if we are going to admit that language less creatures can have true and/or false belief.

    That's the problem in a nutshell.
  • Banno
    15.7k
    You and I do seem to agree on one salient point. Banno conflates his account of the cat's belief with the cat's belief. Not sure if that is a consequence of unstated premisses underlying his reasoning here, or a personal shortfall, but he's not alone.creativesoul

    This is your present rendering of this dead horse? You've gone back to thinking of beliefs as magical items of mental furniture? That "The cat believes it's bowl is empty" is the name for a specific individual item within the mind of the cat?

    No. That the cat believes it's bowl is empty is not one thing int he cat's mind, because that belief is the cat meowing and leading you to the food bowl and feeling hungry and getting under your feet and so on; a long, flexible and indeterminate list. A belief is an account of the cat's behaviour in intentional terms. It's a linguistic convenience.

    You see, what Creative attributes to the cat, that is not propositional, is also not belief. It instead is actions or perceptions or some such.

    Creative's is a grammatical error.
  • jamalrob
    3.7k
    A belief is an account of the cat's behaviour in intentional terms.Banno

    So if we asked the cat, "do you believe the bowl is empty?", we're asking the cat for its account of its own behaviour in intentional terms, rather than asking it to express something inside (a thought, perception, or attitude)? Is this the same sense of "belief" as when I ask the cat "do you believe in God?"
  • creativesoul
    10k
    When I'm heading towards the shed out back, the ducks about my residence can and most certainly do believe that they are about to be fed. They do this not as a result of the existence of some non linguistic proposition, but rather they form such belief solely by virtue of the sheer amount of prior correlations repetitively drawn between directly perceptible things such as eating food, my presence near the food bin, the sound of the lid being removed, etc. The notion of a language less proposition is itself a contradiction in terms, a meaningless nonsensical use of language. There quite simply is no need for us to posit language less propositions in order to make sense of language less true or false belief.


    It's not a mystery, or all that complicated. When the ducks do end up eating soon thereafter, their expectation about what's about to happen is met/satisfied, and thus the belief becomes or 'ends up' being true solely by virtue of corresponding to what happened. If they do not eat soon after thinking they were about to eat, the belief becomes or ends up being false... solely by virtue of a lack of correspondence to what happened.

    So, my question has been and remains...

    Where is a need for language here, aside from the ability for us to be able to take the ducks' belief into account? There are no propositions contained in the correlations drawn by the ducks. We certainly need language to know that and say as much, but surely we can all agree that the ducks' belief is neither equal to nor existentially dependent upon our knowledge or account thereof?

    Right?
  • creativesoul
    10k


    Have I misrepresented the position you argue for/from? You most certainly have just misrepresented mine. Misattributing all those uses of language to me is quite unacceptable. Anyone can see for themselves that I've said none of those things you've attributed to me.

    But to answer the question you asked...

    No. What you quoted was not my current rendition of our decade long disagreement.
  • creativesoul
    10k
    A belief is an account...Banno

    That verifies the conflation charge.

    So, no such a thing as an account of a belief then?

    :brow:

    Better tell Gettier.
  • neomac
    51
    @Banno

    > Yeah, come on, @creativesoul, write us an explanation of how the whole world works. Preferably in less than a hundred words.

    Your sarcasm is understandable but there is a specific reason for my request. Indeed in the literature these notions can be all related in a way that it is not possible to understand one without reference to others: e.g. the notion of “proposition” and that of “concept” are related if one understands proposition as a mental representation made of a combination of concepts, the notion of “proposition” and that of “belief” too are related if one understands proposition as a mental attitude toward propositions, etc.
    I wasn’t looking for arguments but more for some terminological coordinates to better understand his exchange with you.

    > What this shows is that you have not understood how the word "proposition" is used

    I can admit it was just poor phrasing. My skepticism is more related to the metaphysics of propositions e.g. fregian propositions. For me propositions are just abstract representations resulting from metalinguistic analysis on the truth-functionality of our descriptive statements. So there are no “propositions” as mind-independent entities, nor as original bearers of truth values. Since propositions for me require developed human linguistic skills then they can not constitute the content of perceptions.

    > The only out you might make would be to vacillate between propositional truth and "true" as in "accurate", which you verge on.

    Indeed, I think that perceptions have mind to world “accuracy” conditions.

    > However I expect that accuracy is ultimately parsed in proposition terms. The plank is true if it conforms to specifiable criteria.

    Whatever you think you are parsing in proposition terms: 1. Either that content wasn’t a proposition before that parsing, but if that content wasn’t already representational without being a proposition, the parsing would be arbitrary, and there would be no criteria for establishing if the parsing was correct or not. 2. Or it was already a proposition then there is no need for parsing.

    Besides, can you clarify what you mean by proposition? There are different ways of understanding it.
  • neomac
    51
    @creativesoul

    > I will say this, the question itself is based upon the belief that all those things mentioned are concepts. I do not share that belief.

    In this context I used the term “concept” as equivalent to “notion” so not in theoretically loaded terms as to categorize the type of referents of those notions. And therefore I see this use in this context as philosophically neutral and harmless.

    > Banno and I are in agreement regarding historical use of these terms.

    Well I don’t know much about your reciprocal knowledge and terminological agreements. And I didn’t mean to interfere. I was just curious to understand better what these terminological agreements amount to, because I found your exchange stimulating.

    > We're much the same amount of Wittgensteinian, in that regard.

    Well I'm not sure yet what you mean by that, I don't k now if you are referring to some Wittgensteinian approach (in this respect we can say at least that there is the Wittgenstein of the Tractatus and the Wittgenstein of the Philosophical Investigations [1]) or stance on specific topics, in this case which ones and how you would understand that stance. Anyways this is a marginal issue wrt the current topic so let's just drop it.

    [1] In both cases I don't think e.g. that Wittgenstein believed in fregian propositions
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