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Posted by Aurino Souza on September 19, 2002 13:19:17 UTC

Hi Harv,

This forum is a lot better; the other one has gathered some momentum but the downside of that is the scrolling.

I agree that language has it's pitfalls.

I think everyone knows that. What most people don't seem to know, or acknowledge, is that the pitfalls of language become pitfalls of any argument, including one's own, and including the points I'm trying to make here. But there are ways around that, at least to some extent. Not only can we agree to disagree, it's often possible to agree to agree. For instance, we can agree to always be logical.

More later.

All we have is reason, beyond that we cannot say.

I'm not sure what you mean here. I would say all we have is Experience, and reason places constraints on what aspects of Experience can be communicated. This is related to the above.

It sounds like some minimalist theory of truth.

Well, terminology is not my strength...

My view is that disagreement about truth is often a conflict of conceptual schemes.

It can be sometimes, but most of the time it is a conflict of the conceptual scheme involved in our Experience of a Theory, not in our Experience of the Object of the Theory (I'm capitalizing to remind you I'm talking about my definitions)

Since the world can tolerate many different conceptual schemes, it also tolerates many versions of 'truth'.

I think I disagree with that. The world can in fact tolerate many different conceptual schemes, but these can be classified in two types and two types only, wrong and isomorphic. Wrong conceptual schemes can be, at a minimum, understood as a social convention and therefore attributed to consistency problems in Experience. For instance, many conceptual schemes of a schizophrenic person are wrong, but if you're cynic enough and ask me to prove it (I know you won't but some people will), I can say that my definition of wrong is "that which is not socially acceptable". That must do.

The other type of conceptual scheme is the one I'm really interested in. I maintain that all conceptual schemes which are not wrong must necessarily be isomorphic, for the simple reason that they refer to the same reality. So, for instance, a description of any Object in German can be fully translated to English or Japanese without change in meaning.

It's not that there is many versions of 'truth', it is rather our access to the best conceptual scheme as it relates to the universe as a whole is rather limited.

Ah, but why do you need to relate to the universe as a whole in order to have a conceptual scheme that is isomorphic to any other (except the wrong ones). The fact is that for most practical purposes you don't.

I'll give you an example of a Theory: "tomorrow will be September 20, 2002". The conceptual scheme required for understanding that Theory involves many things, such as knowing the date I wrote this, that I'm using the Gregorian calendar, and that I'm writing in the English language as spoken in North America. But the fact is that what I gave you is a perfect example of a Theory which is true by any sensible definition of truth. It can be translated to Hebrew, the date converted to their calendar, and it would still be true. It can be translated to Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, and their respective calendars, and it would still be true. I find that amazing and worth investigating. I believe everything we call knowledge should be like that.

As we know the universe better (e.g., through science, through debate of ideas in a philosophical discussion, etc), we can limit the number of viable conceptual schemes (i.e., restrict 'truth' to something more specific), but we still cannot reduce the number of feasible conceptual schemes to one. I think this is why 'truth' is seen differently by so many.

You are making the problem unnecessarily complex. "The universe as a whole" is as much an Object as "tomorrow", exhibits exactly the same properties as far as Theorizing about it goes, and as such only supports two types of conceptual schemes: wrong and isomorphic.

If you agree on classifying schemes that way, and to ignore wrong schemes, then we can explore isomorphism and, most important, the cause and consequences of its absence in most Theories.



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