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Posted by Paul R. Martin on January 8, 2002 17:00:30 UTC

Hi Harv,

Not being educated in philosophy, I don't know the officially accepted philosophical definition. But my understanding of the mathematical answer is that 'self-consistent' means that there exist no two contradictory true statements.

Self-consistency is an attribute of a collection of statements in some language. What it means for a statement to be true differs among contexts. In a philosophical context, I think truth means a correspondence between the statement and elements of reality. In mathematics, truth simply means that the statement conforms to some arbitrary criteria on which we have agreed.

The way I see it, science cares nothing about the truth of either philosophy or mathematics. But they don't hesitate to use the "truths" of mathematics to suggest how to make predictions of phenomena. In the cases where they are successful, the only claim of truth they make is that a particular prediction will have a particular probability of coming "true".

Those are just one old man's humble opinions.

Warm regards,

Paul

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