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Back To Truth Conditions?

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Posted by Harvey on July 31, 2003 15:08:55 UTC


The only truth about death is that all you need in order to die is to be alive, and absolutely nothing else.

We are back to truth conditions, eh? In order to die the condition of doing so is to be alive. It is a truth-like condition (I say truth-like since when referring to anything that's not a formal system, the term 'truth-like' might be considered less argumentative than 'truth').

In the particular case of positivism, and in the general case of any philophical movement, the only reason it died, the only true explanation for its demise, is that it was alive. And it was alive because it was born! Had positivism never been born it would never have died.

The truth condition itself is not a cause. Conditions might tell us what qualifies positivism to die, but it does not tell us why it died. Causal relationships of course open a whole bag of metaphysical goodies, but I think we can safely rule out truth conditions as a substitute for causal relationships.

true ideas cannot be born

But, they can be derived!

Truth, in its most fundamental sense, is eternal

If you have some ontic view of truth, then it can be no other way. But, as we discussed a week ago, truth can be construed as an epistemic invention.

Any attempt to create truth, to make it come alive by force, is ultimately a game of deception which only lasts for so long.

I don't think humans are trying to create truth, rather we try to derive reductions of our experience which still meet the conditions of truth that we hold as truth indicators (e.g., 'truth' should match our empirical results, etc), and with that reduction to be able to apply our selected truth conditions to areas of human study previously outside our previous abilities. For example, quantum physics is a derived reduction of classical physics in that quantum physics appears to be more fundamental. Using our conditions of truth as it pertains to physical measurements, we are able to extend our abilities to new levels (e.g., quantum phenomena) that previously was outside our abilities.

Like our lives, philosophy is for the most part an artificial, ultimately doomed attempt to find sustenance in a hostile environment. The environment always gets the better of it. Always.

I see it as our reductions improve. As we 'test' our ideas in the 'field', we understand ways to eliminate those ideas which were 'unsuccessful' at explaining the phenomena that was tested against, and come upon new concepts that lead to better reductions to previous (shortterm) successful concepts. Aristotlean concepts, for example, were very successful for a millenia, until they came into contact with certain discrepancies that occurred in natural science (e.g., the discovery of mountains and craters on the moon by Galileo showed that the moon was not perfect for a heavenly object, but was imperfect like the Earth). This led to a more refined (reduced?) view of the solar system that these heavenly bodies were really bodies on equal pairing with the Earth, and which began the unravelling of Aristotlean philosophy in general (clearing the path for Cartesian doubt and the classical physics natural philosophy of Isaac Newton, etc).

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