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Posted by Aurino Souza on September 6, 2002 14:51:40 UTC

Hi Harv,

Just a quick comment on this post, as it does address my issue in a wicked way:

" The conventionalists were led astray by the example of the founders of modern logic into concentrating on the notion of logical or analytic truth (his emphasis and throughout), whereas precisely what they needed to fasten on was that of deductive consequence, which it is helpful to think of in terms of the metaphor of patterns. Even the simplest judgement imposes a pattern upon reality, a pattern in common between the variegated circumstances which would verify it. To make the judgement requires us not merely to attend passively to the relevant circumstances, but, deploying the concepts involved in the judgement, to discern the appropriate pattern in them. A deductive step brings about a small shift in the pattern apprehended; a series of such steps brings us to discern a pattern previously quite unexpected. When the step requires two premisses, we first superimpose two patterns on one another, to extract a third. The discerntment of a new pattern is not merely compatible with, but requires, a recognition that that in which it is discerned has not itself changed; it is this which renders the deductive argument valid, while the novelty of the pattern represents the epistemic advance. The rules of inference which govern the deductive transitions themselves consist in the recognition of a pattern; not of a pattern in reality, but of one in a set of judgements, which mediates the passage from the discernment of one simple or complex pattern in reality to the discernment of another. Certainly our ability to discern patterns depends upon the stock of concepts available to us, which we acquire with our language and to which to a very limited extent we ourselves add; be we do not impose the patterns, but discern them, and the capacity of one pattern to be transformed into another is intrinsic, not created by our ability to perform the transformation. "

This bit of reasoning sounds, to my ears, no different from anything Alan would say. But I'm sure Alan's posts make sense to him, so this must make sense to the person who wrote it. The fact remains that it makes no sense at all to me, which in the end illustrates my point. *That* is what I'm talking about.

" So, what Dummett is saying is that we are not relying on logical necessity to describe and communicate reality (e.g., Dick's approach) ... "

This seems to address the issue. Logical necessity imposes constraints on the communication process; in order to be logical you have to give up something, in order to retain that something you have to give up logic. That alone explains a lot.

" but rather we are relying on pattern discernment which is partly constrained within our language and the concepts available to us. Hence, this is the best we can do with our limitations. We can make inferences, but no further. "

Oh, we sure can go further. If I tell you the local time in Toronto as of this writing is 10:49AM, I'm sure the message will get through. Some messages rely less on inferences than others.

" Dummett maintains that saying there is nothing to truth beyond our acknowledgement of truth is totally implausible "

It's my experience that different people think of different things when they use the word "truth", so I really can't comment on this. My concept of "truth", for one, is very simple and leaves no room for philosophizing, which means anyone who philosophizes about truth doesn't think of truth the same way I do.

Is it becoming clearer now?

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