The March Philosophy Book of the Month is Final Notice by Van Fleisher. Discuss Final Notice now.

The April Philosophy Book of the Month is The Unbound Soul by Richard L. Haight. Discuss The Unbound Soul Now

The May Philosophy Book of the Month is Misreading Judas by Robert Wahler.

Truth

Use this philosophy forum to discuss and debate general philosophy topics that don't fit into one of the other categories.

This forum is NOT for factual, informational or scientific questions about philosophy (e.g. "What year was Socrates born?"); such homework-help-style questions can be asked and answered on PhiloPedia: The Philosophy Wiki. If your question is not already answered on the appropriate PhiloPedia page, then see How to Request Content on PhiloPedia to see how to ask your informational question using the wiki.
Post Reply
Steve3007
Posts: 5836
Joined: June 15th, 2011, 5:53 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Eratosthenes
Location: UK

Re: Truth

Post by Steve3007 » December 17th, 2018, 7:01 am

RJG wrote:Yes, the objective truths of logic/math are beyond question. For any attempt to deny them only defeats the validity of the attempt.
Are the objective truths of maths and logic simply statements of our determination to use certain symbols in certain ways? If we cite these as examples of certain truths, can we similarly cite the agreed definitions of words in dictionaries?

User avatar
chewybrian
Posts: 390
Joined: May 9th, 2018, 7:17 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Epictetus
Location: Florida man

Re: Truth

Post by chewybrian » December 17th, 2018, 10:34 am

Steve3007 wrote:
December 17th, 2018, 7:01 am
RJG wrote:Yes, the objective truths of logic/math are beyond question. For any attempt to deny them only defeats the validity of the attempt.
Are the objective truths of maths and logic simply statements of our determination to use certain symbols in certain ways? If we cite these as examples of certain truths, can we similarly cite the agreed definitions of words in dictionaries?
It seems like logic and math only give us provisional truths. If X=3, then X+5=8. But though we might have broad agreement about the value of X, and there may be an objective fact of its true value, our idea that X=3 is necessarily subjective. Similarly, if we accept meanings of words, then their use gives certain meaning (though the statement itself might still be false).

It's just my opinion that objective truth is out there, waiting to be found. Maybe we find it sometimes, yet we never know for sure, for we have nothing which is not subjective which is truly ours. Of everything else we have only impressions.
"If determinism holds, then past events have conspired to cause me to hold this view--it is out of my control. Either I am right about free will, or it is not my fault that I am wrong."

User avatar
RJG
Moderator
Posts: 1440
Joined: March 28th, 2012, 8:52 pm

Re: Truth

Post by RJG » December 17th, 2018, 3:22 pm

RJG wrote:Yes, the objective truths of logic/math are beyond question. For any attempt to deny them only defeats the validity of the attempt.
Steve3007 wrote:Are the objective truths of maths and logic simply statements of our determination to use certain symbols in certain ways?
No. Math and logic are not determined by us, nor is 'man-made' in any way. Math and logic are objective truths, that we then try to express/communicate with symbols (and words) in certain ways.

Steve3007 wrote:If we cite these as examples of certain truths, can we similarly cite the agreed definitions of words in dictionaries?
Yes. For it is the agreed upon meanings of these 'labels' (words/symbols/names/squiggle-marks), that really matter, not the 'name/label' given to represent the meaning.

chewybrian wrote:It seems like logic and math only give us provisional truths. If X=3, then X+5=8. But though we might have broad agreement about the value of X, and there may be an objective fact of its true value, our idea that X=3 is necessarily subjective. Similarly, if we accept meanings of words, then their use gives certain meaning (though the statement itself might still be false).

It's just my opinion that objective truth is out there, waiting to be found. Maybe we find it sometimes, yet we never know for sure, for we have nothing which is not subjective which is truly ours. Of everything else we have only impressions.
Logic/math gives us 'true' (objective) truths, not provisional or subjective truths. --- Analogy: A calculator is an objective tool (much like logic/math), but if we incorrectly use this calculator (i.e. push the 'divide' button instead of the 'multiply') we can get screwy subjective results (false truths).

Logic/math, and specifically hunting down 'logical impossibilities', is our best and only means to find truths (other than Descartes "clean slate" method which is severely limited), as there is nothing in this universe that we can be more 'certain' of, than the certainty of a logical impossibility. This, elimination of logical impossibilities from our contaminated pool of knowledge, is therefore the best and most appropriate path to obtaining "true knowledge".

User avatar
chewybrian
Posts: 390
Joined: May 9th, 2018, 7:17 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Epictetus
Location: Florida man

Re: Truth

Post by chewybrian » December 18th, 2018, 9:12 am

RJG wrote:
December 17th, 2018, 3:22 pm
Logic/math gives us 'true' (objective) truths, not provisional or subjective truths. --- Analogy: A calculator is an objective tool (much like logic/math), but if we incorrectly use this calculator (i.e. push the 'divide' button instead of the 'multiply') we can get screwy subjective results (false truths).

Logic/math, and specifically hunting down 'logical impossibilities', is our best and only means to find truths (other than Descartes "clean slate" method which is severely limited), as there is nothing in this universe that we can be more 'certain' of, than the certainty of a logical impossibility. This, elimination of logical impossibilities from our contaminated pool of knowledge, is therefore the best and most appropriate path to obtaining "true knowledge".
People can decide if something is true or not, but it is only subjective opinion, not objective fact. Objective facts are only theory. I have the opinion that the are out there, yet can not say 100% when (if) I have found one, even though I think that I know many of them.

Logic does not give truth. It answers an 'if...then...'. The inputs are always necessarily ifs, meaning the outputs are only true "if". I think provisional works, but contingent truth nails it down better. And, logic is only useful for argument if your opponent assents to the cornerstone premise. If you believe A, and A implies B, and B implies C, then C must be true. Nothing that follows matters if you deny A. Logical impossibilities are also contingent on the truth of the inputs (the opinion of such truth held by the person assenting to it, or not).

If you come to me with an "A" that is a load of you know what in my mind, like telling me that people can not think, then the logic that follows won't impress. Or, if your conclusion is such nonsense, then I must assume that your initial premise, or some step along the way, is faulty.

It's nice that you want to escape our real, messy universe of unknowns. Choose a different doorway, and I might go with you. But, you wish to tell me that my very essence is not just in doubt, but rather can not exist, even as I can only receive your corrupted message by putting my reason to use. The essence of man is reasoned choice. It is the foundation of our success, such as it is. I am thinking, Achilles and the tortoise paradoxes aside. The actual process of thought is an unknown, but it's existence is not in doubt. You can not receive my message nor reply without it.

Perhaps the conscious mind is the user, and the unconscious is the calculator or the spreadsheet. None of that would alter the fact that I form opinions about objects and events, and I make choices based upon my opinions. My thoughts don't randomly pop up; I form them (likely through a coordinated effort of layers of consciousness). You can see the same events and form a different opinion (clearly :roll: ). The nuts and bolts of the process of forming opinions and making choices is not known, but it is clearly happening.
"If determinism holds, then past events have conspired to cause me to hold this view--it is out of my control. Either I am right about free will, or it is not my fault that I am wrong."

User avatar
RJG
Moderator
Posts: 1440
Joined: March 28th, 2012, 8:52 pm

Re: Truth

Post by RJG » December 18th, 2018, 12:34 pm

chewybrian wrote:Logic does not give truth.
Logic gives us "logical truths".

chewybrian wrote:And, logic is only useful for argument if your opponent assents to the cornerstone premise. If you believe A, and A implies B, and B implies C, then C must be true. Nothing that follows matters if you deny A.
Agreed.

chewybrian wrote:Logical impossibilities are also contingent on the truth of the inputs (the opinion of such truth held by the person assenting to it, or not).
Most logical impossibilities are simple contradictions that take the form of X = ~X. For example "married bachelors" -- married men = non-married men" is a direct and obvious contradiction (X = ~X).

I agree with you that this is again, contingent on the agreed upon meanings of the terms.

chewybrian wrote:If you come to me with an "A" that is a load of you know what in my mind, like telling me that people can not think, then the logic that follows won't impress. Or, if your conclusion is such nonsense, then I must assume that your initial premise, or some step along the way, is faulty.
If there is a faulty premise, then the conclusion is not sound. But if the premise(s) are true, and the syllogism (math) is valid, then the conclusion is sound and therefore "logically true", regardless of one's dislike for the conclusion. -- And "dislike" does NOT mean "not-true".

chewybrian wrote:It's nice that you want to escape our real, messy universe of unknowns.
No offense chewy (at least no more offense than you show me), -- to the contrary, it is more likely that you do not want to escape your fantasy (santa claus) world, so as to avoid seeing reality as it truly is.

Chewy, these kinds of comments (yours and mine) here are totally unnecessary. These do NOTHING to further the discussion. Moving forward, I hope you (and I) can refrain from such insults, as these only highlight our 'inability' to effectively argue; and make our respective cases. Thank you.

chewybrian wrote:Choose a different doorway, and I might go with you. But, you wish to tell me that my very essence is not just in doubt, but rather can not exist...
Are you here at this forum seeking truth, or comfort?

chewybrian wrote:My thoughts don't randomly pop up…
So can you know your thoughts before they pop up into your awareness? We would all like to believe that we are the masters (the scripters/authors) of our thoughts, but this is simply not the case. Firstly, it is not even experientially detectable, and secondly, it is not even logically possible. I've already shown the logical proof (and can present it again if you wish).

We can't possibly know our thoughts before we know them. Logically, every single thought (and experience!) that we are conscious/knowing of has ALREADY BEEN SCRIPTED for us. Every thought and experience has 'content'. Without this already scripted 'content', there would be 'nothing' to know of, 'nothing' to be conscious of; 'nothing' to experience.

If EVERYTHING that we are conscious/knowing of has ALREADY been scripted, then there is NOTHING LEFT for us to consciously/knowingly script. ...so now, where do we go from here? Do we then cast stones at the person that made us aware of this truth, or do we suck it up and go on with life, but being a bit wiser.

As I said in earlier posting:
RJG wrote:Although we all seemingly accept logic as our pathway to truth ("true knowledge"), most of us do so 'only' up to a certain point. For example, as in this case of the logical impossibility of "conscious causation", most of us are psychologically unable to accept a logical truth that inevitably strips ourself of power and purpose, for fear that such an existence may not be worthy of existence. The rejection of this logic is very understandable and reasonable.

But if one's innate curiosity for truth is greater than their innate fear of existential unworthiness, then the 'acceptance' of this otherwise rejected logical truth may then be possible. When confronted with a "Danger Ahead" sign on one's path to truth, only those whose curiosity for truth is greater than their fear for safety/security, will continue on past this fearful point. Most others, will denounce this point in the pathway, and turn back around and down the previous comforting pathway, ...a very normal and expected reaction.

But for those that bravely step past this "Danger Ahead" sign (danger point), there is no need or reason to be discouraged or disillusioned of losing a power that we never had. Life's experiences, good and bad, continue nonetheless. Enjoy the good, and endure the bad. At first 'acceptance', this piece of true knowledge (logical truth) wreaks havoc on our emotions, moods, and purpose of being, much like coming off an addicting drug. But after some time, after the initial acceptance, this new piece of true knowledge yields a contentful and better understanding of reality. We feel we are no longer living in a false reality, but now we are a bit wiser, and the experiences of life, good and bad, continue nonetheless. What we've gained is a better understanding of the actions of others and ourselves. The bad guys no longer appear truly bad and deserving of punishment, and the good guys no longer appear truly good and deserving of praise. We are who we are, and we experience what we experience, ...and life is still good, (...and existence is still worthy!)

Eduk
Posts: 2466
Joined: December 8th, 2016, 7:08 am
Favorite Philosopher: Socrates

Re: Truth

Post by Eduk » December 18th, 2018, 12:45 pm

so now, where do we go from here? Do we then cast stones at the person that made us aware of this truth, or do we suck it up and go on with life, but being a bit wiser.
Your conclusion makes zero sense if your premise is true. @chewybrian cannot decide to throw stones or get on with life. @chewybrian cannot make decisions. You can't have it both ways @RJG
Also wisdom requires judgement. Judgement (good) requires considered decisions and/or sensible conclusions. If decisions are illusory then wisdom must also be illusory.
I mean I know it's logically impossible for you to think and therefore make sense @RJG because you cannot think. So I don't personally blame you. You are not free to throw rocks or get on with it as your programming dictates.
Unknown means unknown.

User avatar
RJG
Moderator
Posts: 1440
Joined: March 28th, 2012, 8:52 pm

Re: Truth

Post by RJG » December 18th, 2018, 1:12 pm

Eduk wrote:...if your premise is true. @chewybrian cannot decide to throw stones or get on with life. @chewybrian cannot make decisions.
Bingo! ...now you get it.

Eduk wrote:You can't have it both ways @RJG
Who ever said I could?

Eduk wrote:Also wisdom requires judgement. Judgement (good) requires considered decisions and/or sensible conclusions. If decisions are illusory then wisdom must also be illusory.
The 'experiencing' of wisdom (new thoughts) and judgements (feelings) are still only just experiences, nothing more. You don't 'know' it until 'after' you experience it. It is not possible to 'know' these experiences 'before' you experience them.

Eduk
Posts: 2466
Joined: December 8th, 2016, 7:08 am
Favorite Philosopher: Socrates

Re: Truth

Post by Eduk » December 18th, 2018, 2:00 pm

So you ask @chewybrian to either throw stones or get on with it. With the implication that getting on with it is the right choice. But then you also deny anyone can choose. And your programming can't give you the experience of feeling like that is trying to have it both ways? Asking someone to do something which they can't logically do is illogical. I thought your programming liked logic?
Unknown means unknown.

Tamminen
Posts: 1164
Joined: April 19th, 2016, 2:53 pm

Re: Truth

Post by Tamminen » December 18th, 2018, 2:59 pm

'Having an experience' means that the world offers its material to the subject, and the material gets organized in a certain way for the subject, depending on the disposition and history of the subject. So experiencing means interpreting, seeing something as something, just as @Fooloso4 remarked. The content of the experience is a synthesis of the material and the organizing principle, which is what we call understanding or reason. As Kant wrote, intuitions without concepts are blind. In this sense there is nothing wrong in using our ordinary language expressions and saying that we think, and also that we act, do things, choose and so on. The questions of determinism and free will are a topic of their own.

As to the question whether we cause or author our thoughts, I would say that our history and biological structure determine or cause the content of our thoughts, together with the material given to the subject.

User avatar
RJG
Moderator
Posts: 1440
Joined: March 28th, 2012, 8:52 pm

Re: Truth

Post by RJG » December 18th, 2018, 3:18 pm

RJG wrote:...so now, where do we go from here? Do we then cast stones at the person that made us aware of this truth, or do we suck it up and go on with life, but being a bit wiser.
Eduk wrote:So you ask @chewybrian to either throw stones or get on with it. With the implication that getting on with it is the right choice. But then you also deny anyone can choose.
I am certainly not implying that chewybrian, or any of us can (consciously) choose our actions. For that is impossible! - I am simply stating that we will take one of two actions, either 1) we'll cast stones, or 2) we'll suck it up.

Tamminen wrote:As to the question whether we cause or author our thoughts, I would say that our history and biological structure determine or cause the content of our thoughts, together with the material given to the subject.
Agreed (...though we still disagree on who this mystery "subject" is, himself, ...but that is another discussion for another time)

Eduk
Posts: 2466
Joined: December 8th, 2016, 7:08 am
Favorite Philosopher: Socrates

Re: Truth

Post by Eduk » December 18th, 2018, 3:31 pm

Do we then cast stones at the person that made us aware of this truth, or do we suck it up and go on with life, but being a bit wiser.
Why is it wiser to go on with life?
Unknown means unknown.

Fooloso4
Moderator
Posts: 3601
Joined: February 28th, 2014, 4:50 pm

Re: Truth

Post by Fooloso4 » December 18th, 2018, 3:32 pm

Tamminen:
As to the question whether we cause or author our thoughts, I would say that our history and biological structure determine or cause the content of our thoughts, together with the material given to the subject.
I think the whole notion of causing thoughts is misguided. I do not cause myself to walk, and nothing else does either. I do not first do something to cause me to walk and then walk. Nothing else causes me to walk and then I walk. I walk. If I cause myself to walk then I might ask what causes me to cause myself to walk? Some may think that this shows that we do not have free will, but this misses the point.

I am the author of my thoughts but many of my thoughts are borrowed. For the most part we are not original thinkers, but thinkers nonetheless. We are not ventriloquist dummies. Note, you say “I would say”. No one and nothing is saying that for you or through you. Our history and biological structure are part of who we are. That history and biology does not cause us to think but allow us to think as we do.

User avatar
RJG
Moderator
Posts: 1440
Joined: March 28th, 2012, 8:52 pm

Re: Truth

Post by RJG » December 18th, 2018, 3:38 pm

RJG wrote:Do we then cast stones at the person that made us aware of this truth, or do we suck it up and go on with life, but being a bit wiser.
Eduk wrote:Why is it wiser to go on with life?
It is the accepting/gaining of knowledge that makes us wiser.

Eduk
Posts: 2466
Joined: December 8th, 2016, 7:08 am
Favorite Philosopher: Socrates

Re: Truth

Post by Eduk » December 18th, 2018, 3:53 pm

It is the accepting/gaining of knowledge that makes us wiser.
But I can't accept anything? You said that's impossible.
Unknown means unknown.

User avatar
RJG
Moderator
Posts: 1440
Joined: March 28th, 2012, 8:52 pm

Re: Truth

Post by RJG » December 18th, 2018, 4:07 pm

RJG wrote:It is the accepting/gaining of knowledge that makes us wiser.
Eduk wrote:But I can't accept anything? You said that's impossible.
Sure you can. You can accept, and do all kinds of things, but just not 'knowingly'. ...you don't know what you do until 'after' you did it. ...the 'doing' always precedes the 'knowing-of-the-doing'.

Post Reply