Glen - this is technical philosophy - the junction where epistemology, metaphysics and philosophical logic meet. Its related to the search for reality and our mapping of it - what can we know and how can we come to know it. There must be at least one other person here who enjoys studying and doing western philosophy?
Originally Posted by glennac
There might be, but you'd do better playing copy&paste on a philosophy forum.
Originally Posted by thermophysics
Are you saying this is not a philosophy forum or are you saying that on this particular philosophy forum the practice of philosophising tends to be mostly copy & past. If the first then the title description is out of date. If the second then I guess we would have to consider the balance of arguments for and against copying and pasting. I think copying and pasting is quite all right so long as the author is clearly credited and then as long as the material is contextually relevant.
Originally Posted by syndicated
For anything said - even claims made in a constitution - they are only relevant under a certain context and if the context no longer applies then the constitutional term becomes redundant.
I'm saying "Hasta la Vista" BABY.
Originally Posted by thermophysics
Do you believe there are any absolutes? Any absolute truth?
Hugh, I believe there are, in principle absolute truths, though how could we possibly know them. In principle there is one true answer to the question of how many people sneezed today, but in practice it would be very difficult for us to determine which is the true answer.
There are the facts out there and then in here in my mind is the judgement regarding the facts. We cannot step outside of the universe in order to look back at our judgements and the facts judged to determine whether the judgements are true.
Truth is also one of the words which we treat as either all or nothing. Half truths are pretty much not truths - if you know what I mean.
In the realms of western and analytic philosophy we say that only propositions are true. Propositions are the abstract meanings of declarative statements comprising subject and predicate.
Objects cannot be true or false and nor can facts be true or false. Facts are comprised of objects.
A fact = a state of affairs = aRb
Object.a ---> Relationship ---> Object.b = Fact = State of Affairs
Whether object (b) stands in a certain relation to object (a) is a fact that either obtains or does not.
Matters of facts are attempted explanations for the occurrence of particular facts. Matters of facts are declarative statements. They are either true or false. One may know of an appearance of a particular fact but any explanation would always be subject to:
1) the fallibility of observation statements,
2) underdeterminancy and
3) whether the conceptual framework maps to reality i.e is true,
and of these we do not have access to a transcendental view point from which to judge all three and so of matters of facts it seems we can never claim knowledge.
However, we judge the the truth of concluding propositions by whether or not the proposed facts appear to obtain. Empiricism is the means by which rational intuition regarding matters of fact are judged.
Questions, Promises, Commands, Exhortations, Emotions, Moods etc are not propositions though they do have "meaning" and since these cannot be said to be true or false in accordance with some empirical test we say they are what lies outside of logical space. For instance, the command "close the door" cannot be true or false but the proposition "The door is open" is true or false.
However, the meaning of "fact" is quite ambiguous, it can refer to a statement that expresses the fact and it can also refer to the state of affairs referred to by such a statement.
When we ask for the "facts" typically what we have in mind are statements in the form of propositions making some claim about the world in the form of subject and predicate. Such "facts" admit of truth and falsity whereas facts in the sense of states of affairs can neither be true nor false but instead can only ever merely obtain.
Knowledge is said to be comprised of Justified True Beliefs yet there are enormous philosophical problems with both the notions of Justification and Truth. We all accept that if we are to grant someone knowledge of something then it must at least be something they believe. The typical problem with Justification is the Gettier problem. The typical problems with truth are those with judgement - such as common illusions and the theory-ladeness of adopted and inherited conceptual frameworks - different peoples, sexes, periods and languages etc all cut the world at different joints.
Perhaps you can break this down a little for those of us not so educated. Do YOU believe there are absolutes? Absolute truths? And if so could you provide an example.
I could have sworn you had in the past bragged about all the philosophy classes you had taken.
Originally Posted by Hugh B
Well geer, I can see you are not bright enough to recognize my argumentation technique. Watch and learn geer, watch and learn.
Originally Posted by geerair
Hugh, I do not believe there are any absolute truths in the Platonic sense. That is to do with his theory of forms. Platonists have this very odd belief that there is some absolute single truth somewhere out there if only we could sense it. To me this is like looking for the ultimate proposition in subject predicate form - it makes no sense.
aRb = a stands to b in the relation R = A state of affairs obtaining between the objects a and b is called a fact.
My computer stands in relation to my desk "computer on top of desk".
It makes no sense for me to point to my computer on my desk and shout "True". You would look at me funny wanting to know exactly what is true.
Now the sentence "My computer is on top of my desk" said by everyone in the world simultaneously right now is not everywhere true. Not everyone's computer will be on top of a desk that they own all right now. So it is neither the sentence that could be true or false either. What is true is what is being claimed by the person using the sentence at a certain time, place and in a certain way. That is what we call a proposition. It is the abstract meaning of a declarative sentence used at a certain time, place and sense.
Now - is it absolutely true that my computer is on my desk right now? Yes, it is absolutely true at the time of the typing of this text. But it is not the sentence that is true, or the objects (computer and desk) or the fact (the relation aRb) but it is the proposition as in what is abstractly meant by the use of that sentence.
Imagine a potential employer writes to a professor about one of his students asking about his employability - He asks whether the student has good employee potential, works hard, is knowledgeable and endeavours to learn and does indeed learn, communicates well etc etc and in reply the students Prof merely writes "Dear sir, Johnny has always arrived for classes on time, thank you, Prof Einstein." You would not think the Prof meant that literally, would you, you would consider the reference a damning one. But the reference is indeed true or false but by conversational implicature. The truth or falsity lies not in the sentence but in the proposition implied by the choice of that particular sentence under that particular contextual framework - the Prof does not approve of the student - end of.
Truth is a very tricky philosophical notion. Simon Blackburn, a renowned philosopher from Cambridge University, UK, wrote a book called Truth and when you put it down you will find yourself in a whole new world - especially regarding that question.
At the end of the day - we try to map the world - Newtonian Mechanics or Einsteinian Relativity etc are all attempts to map the world. Philosophers say that the math formula they employ are neither true nor false in themselves just like sentences are neither true nor false in themselves - instead what is true or false is whether the use of the formula maps to the world as intended under those particular circumstances at that time, place and sense.
Only claims made by conscious beings can be true or false. When a cat springs up into a tree it believes the tree exists and that its claws in the bark will bare its full weight and acceleration up the tree. Beliefs have propositional form and content and so the cat's belief is either true or false.
I certainly am no relativist if that is what you mean.
An argument has a logical form and then is decorated with propositions. And argument can neither be true or false. The form can be valid or invalid and if there is a transition between the informal or non logical components called propositions then the argument can be called deductively sound or inductively forceful.
Originally Posted by Hugh B
But it doesn't make sense to talk of argument technique unless we are talking about classical forms of Rhetoric popular once with the Greeks but these days after the likes of Frege, Russell and Wittgenstein those old methods are found incapable of standing steady against modern philosophical methods.
Hugh, if you consider my second to last post you might appreciate what I mean by the last post. Any question too, then, will have many varied meanings depending on the context and the context cannot be assumed - it must be made explicit.
Originally Posted by Hugh B
So for "yes or no" answers to be given in reply to a question the background context of the question must be made evident. I have answered your question generally because no particular contextual background can be discerned - I would have to make the arrogant mistake of assuming a context for you - which I believe would simply be being impolite.