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Truth And Reality

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Posted by Harvey on April 9, 2002 20:13:20 UTC

Dick,

***What I would ask is, what does the truth have to do with your description of reality.***

In my view, truth is a series of statements about reality. Truth accurately describes reality. "Snow is white" if and only if snow is white.

***That relationship is very specific. If your description of reality changes than it certainly was not true before it changed!***

Reality may be 'in flux'. There may not be any description that fully describes this flux world. On the other hand, reality may be stagnate, and there may not be any description that fully describes this stagnate world.

***So it is a defined characteristic of "truth" that it does not change!***

Truth may not be defined for all of reality. Truth is language based, reality is not. Reality is 'what is'. Truth is what can be said about 'what is'. Any defined characteristic is a human defined characteristic and it may not hold for 'what is' - including the property of not changing.

***Now, that seems to indicate that "truth" can never be found; but does it really? I say that complete truth will never be found but there exists no proof that no speck of truth can be found.***

Proof is an attribute of a formal system having axioms, definitions, rules of inference, etc. A concept of truth is needed in order to have a formal system (e.g., the identity axiom which is common to all formal systems states that A=A is 'true'). Therefore, truth is a more primitive concept than proof. To have proof you need to assume having truth. So by the fact that proofs need truth, you have truth if you have any proof at all. Since formal systems are human constructions, the term 'truth' (in this context) is only suitable for a formal system but would not apply (in this context) to the real world.

***In fact I would say there are a lot of "limited" truths to be discovered and cataloged. Logic itself, given the axioms required, can otherwise be regarded as true (that is what "proof" is all about).***

The order is reversed. First you need a concept of truth, then axioms, and then logic, and then proof. Logic can only be regarded as true as part of human convenience. We cannot say that logic is true in terms of reality (which truth references) since we do not know if reality is as it appears or is as an approximation to how it appears. So, logic may be 'true' (i.e., accurately describes reality) or it may be a human approximation as to how reality appears to us. We have no way of deciding which is the case.

Warm regards, Harv

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