Comments

  • Realism
    That is too simple. What he rejects is the realism/antirealism distinction.Banno

    He doesn’t deny the distinction, he offers an alternative.

    It is exactly the point. Davidson maintained that "Given a correct epistemology, we can be realists in all departments" (A coherence theory of truth and knowledge).Banno


    He wrote that in 1986. 4 years later in The Structure and Content of Truth he explained why he was too hasty in using the term “realist” as his position isn’t actually realist.

    But I was still under the influence of the idea that there is something important in the realist conception of truth; the idea that truth, and therefore reality, are (except for special cases) independent of what anyone believes or can know. Thus, I advertised my view as a brand of realism, realism with respect to the "external world," with respect to meaning, and with respect to truth.44
    The terms 'realism' and 'correspondence' were ill-chosen because they suggest the positive endorsement of a position, or an assump- tion that there is a clear positive thesis to be adopted, whereas all I was entitled to maintain, and all that my position actually entailed with respect to realism and truth, was the negative view that episte- mic views are false. The realist view of truth, if it has any content, must be based on the idea of correspondence, correspondence as applied to sentences or beliefs or utterances-entities that are pro- positional in character; and such correspondence cannot be made intelligible. I simply made the mistake of assuming realism and epi- stemic theories were the only possible positions. The only legitimate reason I had for calling my position a form of realism was to reject positions like Dummett's antirealism; I was concerned to reject the doctrine that either reality or truth depends directly on our episte- mic powers. There is a point in such a rejection. But it is futile either to reject or to accept the slogan that the real and the true are "independent of our beliefs." The only evident positive sense we can make of this phrase, the only use that consorts with the intentions of those who prize it, derives from the idea of correspondence, and this is an idea without content.45
  • Realism
    What is it that you think that quote from Davidson supports?Banno

    @frank suggested that realists could use Davidson to support their position. I showed that Davidson rejected realism. He might also reject anti-realism, but that’s besides the point.
  • Realism
    He's talking about truth realism.frank

    Which, as Dummett would argue, is what metaphysical realism amounts to in the end.
  • Realism
    So how can one be a realist without correspondence theory? With a large dose of Davidson, it's possible...frank

    From The Structure and Content of Truth:

    The realist view of truth, if it has any content, must be based on the idea of correspondence, correspondence as applied to sentences or beliefs or utterances - entities that are propositional in character; and such correspondence cannot be made intelligible. — Davidson
  • Realism


    As argued previously, "objectively" is either a weasel word, or it adds nothing to the statement.Banno

    Those were Devitt's own words about what it means for him to be a realist. He clearly believes that it adds something to the statement. And it's not just him:

    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/realism/

    On what it means to be a realist:

    There are two general aspects to realism, illustrated by looking at realism about the everyday world of macroscopic objects and their properties. First, there is a claim about existence. Tables, rocks, the moon, and so on, all exist, as do the following facts: the table’s being square, the rock’s being made of granite, and the moon’s being spherical and yellow. The second aspect of realism about the everyday world of macroscopic objects and their properties concerns independence. The fact that the moon exists and is spherical is independent of anything anyone happens to say or think about the matter.

    ...

    In general, where the distinctive objects of a subject-matter are a, b, c, … , and the distinctive properties are F-ness, G-ness, H-ness and so on, realism about that subject matter will typically take the form of a claim like the following:

    Generic Realism:
    a, b, and c and so on exist, and the fact that they exist and have properties such as F-ness, G-ness, and H-ness is ... independent of anyone’s beliefs, linguistic practices, conceptual schemes, and so on.

    On what it means to be an anti-realist:

    Non-realism can take many forms, depending on whether or not it is the existence or independence dimension of realism that is questioned or rejected. The forms of non-realism can vary dramatically from subject-matter to subject-matter, but error-theories, non-cognitivism, instrumentalism, nominalism, relativism, certain styles of reductionism, and eliminativism typically reject realism by rejecting the existence dimension, while idealism, subjectivism, and anti-realism typically concede the existence dimension but reject the independence dimension.

    The notion of independence is very much central to the disagreement. You appear to have recognised as such here, where you admit to being a mathematical anti-realist. Numbers, although real, are not independent in the same way that you might say chairs are. That's why you're a realist about chairs but not about numbers.

    What I've long advocated is Tarski's analysis of true statements, together with a roughly deflationary view of truth; hence my approach does not depend on correspondence per se.Banno

    This view is insufficient. Regarding the fact that "murder is a crime" is true iff murder is a crime, does murder being a crime satisfy the existence and independence conditions of realism as described above?

    Tarski's analysis of true statements ("X" is true iff X) and the deflationary view of truth (to assert that "X" is true is to assert that X) are consistent with more substantive accounts of truth (or if you prefer, meaning), such as correspondence, coherence, or verificationism. What does it mean for murder to be a crime? Unless you're arguing for something like quietism, one of these more substantive accounts needs to be made.

    According to realists, our assertions (attempt to) refer to things and properties that have an independent existence ("the cat is on the mat"), and these things and properties determine our assertions to be either true or false. How is this anything other than a correspondence theory of truth?

    Hence the antirealist is in the contrary position of declaring that there is stuff while insisting that it is always part of our mental world, which is Berkeley's idealism, or declaring that there is stuff but it is not part of our mental word, which is transcendental idealism.

    Anti-realism is more complex than that. Returning to the ship of Theseus, that the Theseus and the Perseus are the same ship is to be understood according to anti-realism (being the same ship isn't an independent property of some independent object but a way we think and talk about the ship). That's not the same as saying that the ship is made of some mental stuff. Related to this is the view of ontological reductionists, who might claim that something like the fundamental particles of the Standard Model have an independent existence, but something like being a chair "is an epistemological phenomenon that only exists through analysis or description of a system, and does not exist fundamentally,"1 which would be an anti-realist view of chairs although not necessarily idealist.

    1 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductionism#Ontological_reductionism
  • Can physicalism and idealism be reconciled in some way?
    Hempel's dilemma

    On the one hand, we may define the physical as whatever is currently explained by our best physical theories, e.g., quantum mechanics, general relativity. Though many would find this definition unsatisfactory, some would accept that we have at least a general understanding of the physical based on these theories, and can use them to assess what is physical and what is not. And therein lies the rub, as a worked-out explanation of mentality currently lies outside the scope of such theories.

    On the other hand, if we say that some future, "ideal" physics is what is meant, then the claim is rather empty, for we have no idea of what this means. The "ideal" physics may even come to define what we think of as mental as part of the physical world. In effect, physicalism by this second account becomes the circular claim that all phenomena are explicable in terms of physics because physics properly defined is whatever explains all phenomena.
  • Realism
    Then is seems we are both realists, except that you call yourself an antirealist.

    Odd.
    Banno

    Try addressing the actual points raised in my post instead of deflecting with a non sequitur.
  • Realism
    Or if you prefer, antirealism is a theory about belief, and has little to do with truth.Banno

    Dummett's antirealism is the position that truth isn't recognition-transcendent or bivalent. It's very much about truth.

    Realism is about there being stuff.Banno

    It's about more than that. From Devitt's paper:

    I seek first a statement of the doctrine of Realism that captures its traditional opposition to idealism and phenomenalism about common-sense entities. There are two dimensions to this doctrine: first, a claim about what exists; second, a claim about the nature of
    that existence
    . To capture the first dimension we can say that it is common-sense physical entities that exist. Words that frequently occur in attempts to capture the second are 'independent', 'external', and 'objective'. The entities must be independent of the mental; they must be external to the mind; they must exist objectively in that they exist whatever anyone's opinions. We can capture both these dimensions well enough in the following doctrine:
    Common-sense physical entities objectively exist independently of the mental

    You tend to avoid committing to this "second dimension" of realism, despite the fact that it is central to the position. As I have repeatedly said, antirealism isn't unrealism. Antirealists accept that "there is stuff", and can even accept that "common-sense physical entities exist." What they deny is that "stuff" (or "common-sense physical entities") objectively exist independently of the mental.

    Whether our statements about that stuff are true or false is incidental to realism. Whether we understand things about that stuff is also incidental to realism.

    A realist might well adopt a three-valued logic with regard to statements. Nothing in realism locks the realist into a particular logical system.

    That is, it seems what is loosely called semantic realism, the view that realism must make use of a correspondence theory of truth, is a bit of a straw man.
    Banno

    As I mentioned in the other topic:

    Regardless of whether or not the metaphysical realist explicitly claims to be a semantic realist when he argues for the “objective independent existence of common-sense physical entities,” it may be, as Dummett believes, that this position entails semantic realism.

    If these independent entities are the things we talk about and the things that determine our statements to be either true or false then is this not recognition-transcendent and bivalent truth-conditions?

    Or would you say that metaphysical realism as Devitt describes it is compatible with semantic antirealism as Dummett describes it? Is the “objective independent existence of common-sense physical entities” compatible with something like a verificationist account of meaning and truth? If not then proving the latter disproves the former.
  • Devitt: "Dummett's Anti-Realism"
    Regardless of whether or not the metaphysical realist explicitly claims to be a semantic realist when he argues for the “objective independent existence of common-sense physical entities,” it may be, as Dummett believes, that this position entails semantic realism.

    If these independent entities are the things we talk about and the things that determine our statements to be either true or false then is this not recognition-transcendent and bivalent truth-conditions?

    Or would you say that metaphysical realism as Devitt describes it is compatible with semantic antirealism as Dummett describes it? Is the “objective independent existence of common-sense physical entities” compatible with something like a verificationist account of meaning and truth? If not then proving the latter disproves the former.

    Banno seemed to have recognised how the issues are tied in the previous topic. He started by saying:

    Speaking very roughly, just to get started, realism holds that ...stuff... is independent of what we say about it; anti-realism, that it isn't.Banno

    And then continued with:

    Stealing blatantly from my Rutledge Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, a realist may hold to things like that correspondence to the facts is what makes a statement true; that there may be truths we do not recognise as such, do not believe and do not know; that the Law of excluded middle holds for things in the world; and that the meaning of a sentence may be found by specifying it's truth-conditions. An ant-realist may in contrast hold that truth is to be understood in sophisticated epistemic terms, perhaps as what a "well-conducted investigation" might lead us to believe; that there can be no unknown truths; that we need include "unknown" as well as true and false in our logical systems; and that the meaning of a sentence is to be found in what it might assert.Banno
  • The Shoutbox
    We turned off registration because some twat came back 100 times after repeatedly being banned.
  • Realism
    You also have a unique genetic signature (DNA).Janus

    An exact genetic clone is in principle possible so this isn’t sufficient.

    The realist explanation is that you are a unique changing organism with a history that extends from your birth to your deathJanus

    That this physical process maintains token identity isn’t a mind-independent fact. It’s not unreasonable to say that given sufficient physical changes the object is no longer the same, e.g with the ship of Theseus or the grandfather’s axe it can be warranted to assert that the ship and axe at the end of the story are a different ship and axe from the start of the story. Neither conclusion is wrong.

    Whether or not this history of changes maintains token identity is determined by us (the way we think and talk about the object(s)). That’s antirealism.
  • Realism
    Then we are simply using the name "antirealism" in different fashions.

    SO, what is antirealism?

    ...

    So give your account - what is antirealism?
    Banno

    It is what Dummett said it is when he coined the term.

    https://iep.utm.edu/dummett/

    Dummett’s most celebrated original work lies in his development of anti-realism, based on the idea that to understand a sentence is to be capable of recognizing what would count as evidence for or against it. According to anti-realism, there is no guarantee that every declarative sentence is determinately true or false. This means that the realist and the anti-realist support rival systems of logic.

    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/realism/

    Idealism has long been out of favour in contemporary philosophy (though see Goldschmidt & Pearce 2017 for some recent discussion), but those who doubt the independence dimension of realism have sought more sophisticated ways of opposing it. One such philosopher, Michael Dummett, has suggested that in some cases it may be appropriate to reject the independence dimension of realism via the rejection of semantic realism about the area in question (see Dummett 1978 and 1993).

    ...

    A semantic realist, in Dummett’s sense, is one who holds that our understanding of a sentence like (G) consists in knowledge of its truth-condition, where the notion of truth involved is potentially recognition-transcendent or bivalent. To say that the notion of truth involved is potentially recognition-transcendent is to say that (G) may be true (or false) even though there is no guarantee that we will be able, in principle, to recognise that that is so. To say that the notion of truth involved is bivalent is to accept the unrestricted applicability of the law of bivalence, that every meaningful sentence is determinately either true or false. Thus the semantic realist is prepared to assert that (G) is determinately either true or false, regardless of the fact that we have no guaranteed method of ascertaining which.

    ....

    Dummett makes two main claims about semantic realism. First, there is what Devitt (1991a) has termed the metaphor thesis: This denies that we can even have a literal, austerely metaphysical characterisation of realism of the sort attempted above with Generic Realism.

    ...

    According to the constitution thesis, the literal content of realism consists in the content of semantic realism. Thus, the literal content of realism about the external world is constituted by the claim that our understanding of at least some sentences concerning the external world consists in our grasp of their potentially recognition-transcendent truth-conditions. The spurious ‘debate’ in metaphysics between realism and non-realism can thus become a genuine debate within the theory of meaning: should we characterise speakers’ understanding in terms of grasp of potentially recognition-transcendent truth-conditions? As Dummett puts it:

    "The dispute [between realism and its opponents] concerns the notion of truth appropriate for statements of the disputed class; and this means that it is a dispute concerning the kind of meaning which these statements have (1978: 146)."

    I'll add that realism does permit us to say things about stuff. You seem to think it can't.Banno

    Not exactly. I'm saying realism cannot account for how the Perseus (the ship that returns) and the Theseus (the ship that leaves) can be the same ship, given that the mind-independent stuff (the physical material) isn't the same. The truth of "the Perseus was once known as the Theseus" is not determined by some mind-independent fact but by the way we think and talk about the ship(s) (i.e it doesn't have recognition-transcendent truth conditions) and also that there is no one correct way to think and talk about the ship(s) (i.e. the truth is not bivalent). This differs, assuming realism in one domain for the sake of argument, from a statement like "Joe Biden is Donald Trump" which does have recognition-transcendent truth conditions and is bivalent (whatever we think and say about them, Joe Biden isn't Donald Trump).
  • Realism
    The answer is that it is up to us to choose.Banno

    That’s why it’s antirealism. We decide if the Perseus is the Theseus. Unlike, for the sake of argument, whether or not Donald Trump is Joe Biden.

    Is that picture a duck or a rabbit? It's a picture that can be seen either way. Neither is obligatory.

    Further, and more importantly in this case, it is a real picture.

    I know it’s real. Antirealism doesn’t say that things aren’t real. You seem to have a fundamental misunderstanding of antirealism if you think that this has any bearing on the discussion.
  • Realism
    It’s not just about conventions of naming. We’re questioning whether or not a token identity is maintained. We’re discussing the referent(s) of the name(s), not just the name(s).

    Do “the Perseus” and “the Theseus” have the same referent?
  • Realism
    If the verificationist hasn't verified it, it isn't trueEnnui Elucidator

    Precisely.

    knowing everything that is true (i.e. every proposition that has been verified) neatly discloses everything that is false (every proposition that hasn't).Ennui Elucidator

    Not having verified p isn’t the same as having verified not-p. You need to verify not-p for p to be false.
  • Realism
    If omniscience is knowing every true thing… .Ennui Elucidator

    Properly speaking it’s knowing the truth value of every proposition. In the case of verificationism that requires having verified every proposition (or their negative) which verificationists don’t claim to have done.

    Yet again, if the verificationist hasn’t verified the square root of 123 then he isn’t omniscient. It’s that simple.
  • Realism
    So why do you say that verificationism doesn't require omniscience? All truths are known.Ennui Elucidator

    Because under verificationism that isn’t sufficient to be omniscient. Omniscience requires having verified every proposition or their negation.

    A verificationist might not have verified the square root of 123. He doesn’t know the square root of 123 so he isn’t omniscient.
  • Realism
    So Banno's verificationism says that everything that is true has been verified and you say that verificationism permits unknown truths.Ennui Elucidator

    No I don’t. Verificationism doesn’t permit unknown truths. It permits unverified propositions.
  • Truth preserving or simply playing with symbols?
    I’m lost now. Are you objecting to something I’m saying?
  • Truth preserving or simply playing with symbols?
    I’m not really sure what you’re getting at. I’m just explaining what the technical terms “valid” and “sound” mean within the domain of deductive reasoning.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Validity_(logic)

    In logic, specifically in deductive reasoning, an argument is valid if and only if it takes a form that makes it impossible for the premises to be true and the conclusion nevertheless to be false. It is not required for a valid argument to have premises that are actually true, but to have premises that, if they were true, would guarantee the truth of the argument's conclusion.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soundness

    In logic, more precisely in deductive reasoning, an argument is sound if it is both valid in form and its premises are true.
  • Truth preserving or simply playing with symbols?
    I could if you prefer. Doesn’t really make a difference I suppose.
  • Realism
    True. I guess I’m just going along with Banno’s account of verificationism here https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/603899
  • Truth preserving or simply playing with symbols?
    If you are a realist and you wish to avail yourself of the power of logic to determine rTruth, can it do so?Ennui Elucidator

    They don’t need to. Your questions make no sense. It’s the brick hitting the window that breaks the window, not the argument “if the brick hit the window then the window is broken and the brick hit the window, therefore the window is broken.”
  • Realism
    Verificationists, as I said. Nothing unknown is true, because to be true is to be verified, but not all propositions have been verified, and so they don’t know everything.

    It differs from realism because realism argues for unknown truths.
  • Truth preserving or simply playing with symbols?
    In my mathematical understanding soundness merely means coherence, that is, freedom of contradictions. Logic can determine that a set of premises /cannot/ be true or show that the truth of a given conclusion holds under given premises and derive such already implied conlusions.Heiko

    In the type of arguments we deal with, an argument is valid if the truth of the premises entails the truth of the conclusion, and an argument is sound if it is valid and its premises are true.
  • Truth preserving or simply playing with symbols?
    The difference is that normally we use the material implication as an actual implication, as in the truth of the antecedent implies the consequent. Being a bachelor implies being an unmarried man. Being a man implies being mortal. Winning 270 Electoral College votes implies becoming the next President of the United States.

    In such occasions we don’t need to assess the truth of the conclusion to assess the truth of the premise, and so the argument tells us something about the world.

    But in your case that 2 + 2 = 4 doesn’t imply that a cat is on the mat, and so we must assess the truth of the conclusion to assess the truth of the premise. Your material “implication” makes for a useless argument.
  • Realism
    This is more concerning Dummett's verificationism, not Carnap's.
  • Truth preserving or simply playing with symbols?
    The "what makes it sound" part is what I am discussing.Ennui Elucidator

    I've said; the premises being true are what make it sound.

    If soundness is judged by reference to the world (and that includes evaluating the propositions contained in the conclusion since they must have appeared among the premises), what work is the proof doing for you viz-a-viz the rTruth of the propositions in the conclusion?

    Nothing. Your argument has no practical use. I have to evaluate the truth of your conclusion (by referring to the world) to evaluate the truth of your premise.
  • Truth preserving or simply playing with symbols?
    So how do you evaluate soundness?Ennui Elucidator

    By proving that the conclusion follows from the premises and that the premises are true. In your case to prove the second premise I must confirm that 2 + 2 = 4 (which I can do by understanding maths) and confirm that a cat is on the mat (which I can do by looking at the world to see if I can see such a thing).
  • Truth preserving or simply playing with symbols?
    That isn't how logic works. A premise is assumed, not proven. The valid conclusion is of the form "If the premises are true, the conclusion must be true".Ennui Elucidator

    It's not enough to present a valid argument. You have to show that the argument is sound, i.e. that its premises are also true.

    My name is Michael
    If my name is Michael then I am the King of England
    Therefore, I am the King of England

    This is a valid argument. The first premise is also true. But I haven't proven that I am the King of England because I haven't proven that the second premise is true (and I can't because it isn't).
  • Realism
    Anti-realism isn't concerned with explosion as a logical matter, it (the middle-way anti-realism) is concerned with how all truths are known yet some truths are unknown (anti-realism plus non-omniscience) in a meaningful (non-incoherent/useful) way.Ennui Elucidator

    There is no problem of omniscience. Using verificationism as an example, if one is omniscient then for every meaningful proposition p either p or ¬p has been verified. Verificationism doesn't argue that every p or ¬p has been verified. There are many classes of p where neither p nor ¬p have been verified.

    I don't need to be a mathematical realist to claim to not know the square root of 123, and not knowing the square root of 123 shows me to not be omniscient.
  • Truth preserving or simply playing with symbols?
    It is a premise, I don't have to prove it to assume it.Ennui Elucidator

    You have to prove your premises true to prove your conclusion.
  • Truth preserving or simply playing with symbols?
    I provided what is essentially a tautology in 1 and a claim about the world as a consequent of a conditional. The only way to show that 2 is false (and thereby show the argument is unsound) is to evaluate whether the consequent is true, which is precisely what the proof appears to be proving.Ennui Elucidator

    We can take 1 as proven to be true, but you haven't proved that 2 is true. How do you prove that if 2 + 2 = 4 then the cat is on the mat?
  • Truth preserving or simply playing with symbols?
    If we want to know if 3 is rTrue, how is a proof used as a proxy for the world?Ennui Elucidator

    It isn't. The argument is only a proof if you can prove 1 and 2 to be true. A deductive argument can have false premises after all. How do you prove 2 to be true? By proving that 2 + 2 = 4 and that a cat is on the mat. You need "the world" to do this.
  • Truth preserving or simply playing with symbols?
    But can 1 and 2 make 3 rTrue?Ennui Elucidator

    If 1 and 2 are rTrue then 3 is rTrue. But 1 and 2 being rTrue isn't what makes 3 rTrue. Rather 1 and 3 being rTrue is what makes 2 rTrue.
  • Truth preserving or simply playing with symbols?
    i.e. what it means for a conclusion to follow from its premise, and trying to contrast it with the requirements of a realist account of truth.Ennui Elucidator

    I'm not sure there's really a problem then. If premise 1 is true then premise 2 is true only if the cat is on the mat. So the realist can say that the realist account of truth is required for premise 2 to be true.
  • Why being anti-work is not wrong.
    You're forced by necessity to work, not by other people. Other people simply give you more opportunities to work.

    You need food to live, and so some way or another must put in some work, whether that work be hunting animals and foraging for plants or employment in exchange for money to purchase food. Unless you can expect welfare and/or charity.