Objective vs Subjective Truth

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Terrapin Station
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Re: Objective vs Subjective Truth

Post by Terrapin Station » January 29th, 2020, 6:29 am

Steve3007 wrote:
January 29th, 2020, 6:03 am
My take: Extramental phenomena are those things which we (usually implicitly) propose to exist whenever we make an objective proposition. They're the things which make the proposition objective. They're the proposed causes of the patterns in the indefinitely large set of potential and actual observations which are (often implicitly) referenced in the proposition. Note: at no point here do I say anything of the form "extramental phenomena do not exist".
You're not saying that extramental phenomena do not exist, so you're not forwarding ontological idealism, but you are forwarding epistemological idealism. I'm not an idealist. I don't at all agree that we're merely proposing extramental phenomena.

Also there's a connotation of "proposing," namely where it's something merely suggested or "offered for consideration" that's not a conventional connotation of the philosophical usage of "proposition."

We do state propositions about extramental phenomena, of course, but as I noted above, this is an issue of what the proposition is about, what it's making a claim about. That doesn't give the proposition a property of being extramental.

It's just like a proposition about an animal's fur doesn't make the proposition furry--in other words, the proposition doesn't have the property of being furry, even though the proposition is about fur.

The confusion here is a type of use/mention confusion. Things that are about something else do not automatically have the properties of what they're about conferred upon them. A film showing aliens in the Andromeda galaxy, so that it's about that, does not have the property conferred upon it of being located in the Andromeda galaxy. The film has the property of being located on Earth, in the Milky Way galaxy.

When I say that propositions are subjective, I'm talking about properties of the proposition, not what the proposition is about.
Independently of anyone thinking about it and making a judgement, it doesn't obtain. The proposition "the cat is on the mat" is a useful model for explaining the patterns in various observations.
Since you're an epistemological idealist--on your view we can only know (In the acquaintance sense, at least) our own mind, then sure, you're agreeing with my view on this, that propositions do not acquire the relationship in question extramentally, even though you might use different terminology.

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Truth

Post by Steve3007 » January 29th, 2020, 6:48 am

I take on board what you've said above and will reply specifically later. I think at some point it would be interesting to resume the conversation about experiments which purport to demonstrate what QM appears to tell us about the way the world works (the conversation that I ended with a hissy fit after you characterised my quoting of the Reverend Richard Feynman (peace be upon him) as "apologism").

I'll get around to creating a new topic about the twin-slit experiment in the Science section soon. Probably this evening (GMT).

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Truth

Post by Sculptor1 » January 29th, 2020, 9:59 am

Steve3007 wrote:
January 28th, 2020, 5:57 am
Sculptor1 wrote:...But though we can agree that these things exist, there is nothing to say that they all have the same meaning for us. And when we start to use terms like phenomena to describe the objects of the world "objectivity" breaks down. Witness statements show that the most basic facts of our perception are coloured and filled-in by our prejudices. It's all very well if the object is a white cube in white light, but descriptions of even that can break down when adjectives are employed to describe it....
I think the above (the observation that all perceptions are, to some extent, different from each other) is in fact a key part of the definition of objectivity.
LOL
I think objectivity is a property of propositions. I agree with G E Morton's understanding of objective propositions (stated several times previously) as propositions whose means of verification or falsification is proposed to be publicly available. I add that objective propositions are generally, one way or another, propositions about objects. The concept of an "object" is a thing that we propose to be the cause of an indefinitely large number of possible perceptions by ourselves and others. It is the thing that all of those potential and actual perceptions have in common.
Like Morality?

That last sentence is the key one to the point I'm making here. The concept of an "object" recognises that all those perceptions are different. None of them are exactly the same as each other. But whatever it is that they do have in common: that's the essence of the object.

I think the same principle also applies to some concepts that we don't normally think of as objects. "Time" for example is (in my view) the thing that all "clocks" have in common.
So objective truth is just about getting several people to agree to the same statement?
Such as "white people are superior", might be on the table.
Would you agree that objectivity can be more easily applied to concrete objects with material reality, than statements of moral value?

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Truth

Post by Terrapin Station » January 29th, 2020, 10:12 am

I didn't really pay much attention to this:

"I agree with G E Morton's understanding of objective propositions (stated several times previously) as propositions whose means of verification or falsification is proposed to be publicly available."

Let's see anyone attempt to show the means of verification or falsification of any proposition being publicly available.

The only way anyone could think that would be possible would be via some very confused, conflation-oriented thinking.

Take "The cat is on the mat" again. We could say that the fact that the cat is on the mat is "publicly available," but the fact that the cat is on the mat isn't verification of the proposition "The cat is on the mat."

To verify that the cat is on the mat, (a) you need to have the meaning of "The cat is on the mat" in mind (that is, you need to have the proposition in mind), (b) you need to make an observation re whether the cat is on the mat, and (c) you need to think about/you need to make a judgment about how the proposition relates to the fact that the cat is on the mat.

That thinking (about meaning)/that having a meaning in mind, those observations, and that thinking about the relation of the meaning you have in mind to what you observed, are not publicly available. But that's what it is to verify a proposition (at least on correspondence theory . . . we're ignoring other truth theories in this--coherence, pragmatism, consensus, etc.)

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Truth

Post by Terrapin Station » January 29th, 2020, 10:16 am

Oops typo --I should have written quotation marks as follows:

To verify "The cat is on the mat" . . .

The convention is to put the text representing a proposition in quotation marks. We're verifying a proposition in this scenario.

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Truth

Post by GE Morton » January 29th, 2020, 11:33 am

Terrapin Station wrote:
January 28th, 2020, 1:41 pm
Here's a good challenge for anyone who wants to take it:

Let's say we have the proposition "The cat is on the mat."

And to keep things simple, let's say that proposition is going to be (assigned) either true or false.

Now, how exactly, extramentally, does the true or false property of the proposition obtain?
I've given you the answer to that in a previous post. The proposition is true if the verification procedure implicit in the proposition is carried out and confirms the thesis asserted by it.
Just saying "It's true of there's a cat on the mat" and the like won't cut it. I'm asking how we extramentally obtain a relation between a proposition and some set of facts. You need to explain just how that's supposed to work independently of anyone thinking about it and making a judgment.
No perception, conceived relation, or known "fact" is "extramental." They are all cognitive constructs residing in the mind of some sentient creature. The moment any presumed "fact" about an external world becomes known to you it becomes "mental."

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Truth

Post by GE Morton » January 29th, 2020, 12:50 pm

Terrapin Station wrote:
January 29th, 2020, 10:12 am
I didn't really pay much attention to this:

"I agree with G E Morton's understanding of objective propositions (stated several times previously) as propositions whose means of verification or falsification is proposed to be publicly available."

Let's see anyone attempt to show the means of verification or falsification of any proposition being publicly available.

The only way anyone could think that would be possible would be via some very confused, conflation-oriented thinking.

Take "The cat is on the mat" again. We could say that the fact that the cat is on the mat is "publicly available," but the fact that the cat is on the mat isn't verification of the proposition "The cat is on the mat."

To verify that the cat is on the mat, (a) you need to have the meaning of "The cat is on the mat" in mind (that is, you need to have the proposition in mind), (b) you need to make an observation re whether the cat is on the mat, and (c) you need to think about/you need to make a judgment about how the proposition relates to the fact that the cat is on the mat.
You're having a very hard time with this. Perhaps because your trying to construe the argument as assuming a (classical) correspondence theory framework. That assumption is false. The correct framework is the "semantic theory of truth," outlined by Tarski, Kripke and others.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semantic_theory_of_truth

The proposition, "The cat is on the mat" is true IFF the cat is on the mat. You cannot define truth-within-a-language within the language; that leads to the "liar's paradox" and other paradoxes. You have to do it in another language, a meta-language. In the first sentence in this paragraph the quoted clause is in the object language, the proposition as a whole in the meta-language. That they are the same language doesn't matter.

If a language is to be capable of conveying information from one person to another the speakers and hearers must have a shared understanding of the meanings of the terms employed. Most substantive terms have two kinds of "meanings," denotations (the set of things to which the term refers) and connotations (other concepts, feelings, attitudes) aroused upon hearing the term. The latter are idiosyncratic, varying from person to person. But only the denotative meanings are necessary for communication and therefore must be common to all users of the language. Because they have a common understanding of the denotative meanings of the terms in "The cat is on the mat," persons hearing that string of syllables will be able to visualize or conceive of a certain specific relationship between certain specific things-in-the-world. Implicit in the terms employed and the relationship asserted is a verification procedure for the assertion. I.e., the professor asks, "Is it raining outside?" All eyes turn toward the window. The students know, giving their understanding of the words uttered and their experience in the world, what they must do to answer that question.

[/quote]That thinking (about meaning)/that having a meaning in mind, those observations, and that thinking about the relation of the meaning you have in mind to what you observed, are not publicly available. But that's what it is to verify a proposition (at least on correspondence theory . . . we're ignoring other truth theories in this--coherence, pragmatism, consensus, etc.)
[/quote]

No. None of those internal processes need be publicly available to verify the proposition. What must be publicly available is a cat on a mat at the (implicit) time and place asserted.

There is no structural correspondence between states of affairs in the world and the sentences constructed to describe them. There is a relationship between those, however --- given the common understanding of the terms involved the proposition enables and perhaps induces an observation. If the observation confirms the relationship asserted between the objects denoted, then the proposition is true.

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Truth

Post by Terrapin Station » January 29th, 2020, 1:56 pm

GE Morton wrote:
January 29th, 2020, 11:33 am
I've given you the answer to that in a previous post. The proposition is true if the verification procedure implicit in the proposition is carried out and confirms the thesis asserted by it.
And the extramental verification procedure is . . . ? I want you to explain how that's supposed to work, extramentally.
No perception, conceived relation, or known "fact" is "extramental." They are all cognitive constructs residing in the mind of some sentient creature. The moment any presumed "fact" about an external world becomes known to you it becomes "mental."
Then how in the world are you disagreeing with me that truth, as a property of propositions, is not extramental?

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Truth

Post by Terrapin Station » January 29th, 2020, 1:59 pm

GE Morton wrote:
January 29th, 2020, 12:50 pm
You're having a very hard time with this.
"You're having a hard time" would describe someone's mental state--a state of some distress. I have no distress over it.
Perhaps because your trying to construe the argument as assuming a (classical) correspondence theory framework.
Didn't I address that in the post you're responding to? Let's learn how to read simple things first.
The proposition, "The cat is on the mat" is true IFF the cat is on the mat.
And I already preempted this. You're simply ignoring that I preempted it.

You need to say how the relation between the proposition and the fact obtains.

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Truth

Post by Terrapin Station » January 29th, 2020, 2:13 pm

GE Morton wrote:
January 29th, 2020, 12:50 pm
If a language is to be capable of conveying information from one person to another the speakers and hearers must have a shared understanding of the meanings of the terms employed.
By the way, there's no way to know that two people have a "shared" meaning in mind. Definitions are not the same as meanings by the way.

And for one, we know that two people can not have the same (as in identical) meaning in mind because numerically distinct things are nonidentical.

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Truth

Post by GE Morton » January 29th, 2020, 2:14 pm

Terrapin Station wrote:
January 29th, 2020, 1:56 pm

Then how in the world are you disagreeing with me that truth, as a property of propositions, is not extramental?
I'm disagreeing with you re: application of the term "extramental." I consider it a nebulous, vacuous term and would never use it.

All properties applied to all things are "mental," insofar as they attach to our concepts of those things, which are mental constructs. Hence you can't use "mental v. extramental" as the distinction marked by objective/subjective and preserve the descriptive utility of that dichotomy.

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Truth

Post by GE Morton » January 29th, 2020, 2:21 pm

Terrapin Station wrote:
January 29th, 2020, 2:13 pm

By the way, there's no way to know that two people have a "shared" meaning in mind. Definitions are not the same as meanings by the way.
Of course we can. If I say, "Please pass the salt," and you hand me the salt shaker, I will know we share the meanings of the terms in that request --- the denotational meanings. That those terms may have different the connotations to you and I is irrelevant.

Your claim above descends immediately to a reduction ad absurdum --- that communication via language is impossible.

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Truth

Post by Terrapin Station » January 29th, 2020, 2:39 pm

GE Morton wrote:
January 29th, 2020, 2:21 pm
Terrapin Station wrote:
January 29th, 2020, 2:13 pm

By the way, there's no way to know that two people have a "shared" meaning in mind. Definitions are not the same as meanings by the way.
Of course we can. If I say, "Please pass the salt," and you hand me the salt shaker, I will know we share the meanings of the terms in that request --- the denotational meanings. That those terms may have different the connotations to you and I is irrelevant.

Your claim above descends immediately to a reduction ad absurdum --- that communication via language is impossible.
What happened to where I explained to you that denotational meaning still requires mental associations where we can't know if they're "shared"?

You simply ignored it because you don't have prepared material to address it.

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Truth

Post by GE Morton » January 29th, 2020, 4:01 pm

Terrapin Station wrote:
January 29th, 2020, 2:39 pm

What happened to where I explained to you that denotational meaning still requires mental associations where we can't know if they're "shared"?
Yes, we can. I say, "There is a cat on the mat." You look in the direction implied, say, "Yes, it is white Persian with blue eyes." Whatever mental associations we each may attach to those words are completely irrelevant. Your action and response are conclusive evidence that the denotational meanings are shared. Nothing more is needed. I need know nothing about what is in your head to know that; I need only observe your actions.

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Truth

Post by Terrapin Station » January 29th, 2020, 5:21 pm

GE Morton wrote:
January 29th, 2020, 4:01 pm
Terrapin Station wrote:
January 29th, 2020, 2:39 pm

What happened to where I explained to you that denotational meaning still requires mental associations where we can't know if they're "shared"?
Yes, we can. I say, "There is a cat on the mat." You look in the direction implied, say, "Yes, it is white Persian with blue eyes." Whatever mental associations we each may attach to those words are completely irrelevant. Your action and response are conclusive evidence that the denotational meanings are shared. Nothing more is needed. I need know nothing about what is in your head to know that; I need only observe your actions.
How would it make sense to observe actions without making any associative judgments about them?

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