Truth vs. Paradigm

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Wyman
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Re: Truth vs. Paradigm

Post by Wyman »

uwot wrote
I think it is a necessary truth that there are some possible statements about the world that are true. They don't follow from anything, they just 'are'. Apart from contingent truths, 'my name is uwot' for example, and analytic truths, 'all bachelors are unmarried' and so on, I am not convinced there is much we can know beyond Parmenides' "Being is" and Malebranche's tidying up of the Cogito, 'there are experiences'.
Now that's a mouthful.

1) 'There are possible statements about the world that are true' is necessarily true.

2) Those statements do not follow from anything (they just are true).

3) Those statements consist only of (statements like) 'being is' or 'there are experiences' as well as analytic statements and contigent truths.

You sound like a thorough going foundationalist; not only a Cartesian, but a logical positivist (not that there's anything wrong with that!)

Are there two logical positivists on this forum, or are you in fact Arising_UK's alter ego?
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WanderingLands
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Re: Truth vs. Paradigm

Post by WanderingLands »

Your definition : " 'Absolute Truth' as I defined it, is the One Truth that binds all other truths of the world, and from where all truths emanate from." seems to me to be entirely fictional. It is not compatible with the general understanding of what is meant by 'absolute truth'.
Yes it is. It is called a "Universality" in philosophy, and it is present in metaphysics as well as logic. See Plato's philosophy, Neoplatonism, and even Aristotelianism.
What makes you think that all truths emanate from absolute truth?
It's emanated from absolute truth when it is all interconnected with each other and so has things in common with other truths. I know that there is an absolute truth because of that: looking into different religions, philosophies, and looking deep into history as well.
How could you detect an absolute truth if you came across one? Or even an ordinary truth for that matter?


By means of deductive (taking all facts and molding them down to a conclusion) and/or even inductive (testing an axiom to see that it is true), that is, if you want to check your facts. It's also good to use your intuition, too, as having intuition especially 'from the inside' (either a sudden thought or a feeling) is accurate as well.
uwot
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Re: Truth vs. Paradigm

Post by uwot »

uwot wrote:I think it is a necessary truth that there are some possible statements about the world that are true. They don't follow from anything, they just 'are'. Apart from contingent truths, 'my name is uwot' for example, and analytic truths, 'all bachelors are unmarried' and so on, I am not convinced there is much we can know beyond Parmenides' "Being is" and Malebranche's tidying up of the Cogito, 'there are experiences'.
Wyman wrote:Now that's a mouthful.

Yes; not my best work. I blame a London rush hour stream of consciousness.
Wyman wrote:1) 'There are possible statements about the world that are true' is necessarily true.
I think so; I cannot imagine a world could exist about which any statement was necessarily untrue.
Wyman wrote:2) Those statements do not follow from anything (they just are true).
I think it is possible to deduce any number of conclusions from a set of propositions, they may even be true, but the premises are almost all contingent.
Wyman wrote:3) Those statements consist only of (statements like) 'being is' or 'there are experiences' as well as analytic statements and contigent truths.
Well, no. 'Being is' or 'there are experiences' are special cases. They are contingently true facts, there is no reason I can think of why there is necessarily being or experiences, but they are necessarily true statements; they cannot be uttered without their being true.
Wyman wrote:You sound like a thorough going foundationalist; not only a Cartesian, but a logical positivist (not that there's anything wrong with that!)
I think the foundations are also the roof; Parmenides and Descartes were right about the foundation, but wrong to believe anything could be found to follow, I'm a fairly crude Humean, in that respect. I've very little interest in language or logic, that's much more ArisingUK's field.
Wyman wrote:Are there two logical positivists on this forum, or are you in fact Arising_UK's alter ego?
I haven't the discipline to be a logical positivist and I'm fairly certain Arising isn't one either, although he did his masters in something to do with logic; my eyes always glaze over whenever he tells me. We graduated together and we are friends, but you will have to take my word that we are different people.
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A_Seagull
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Re: Truth vs. Paradigm

Post by A_Seagull »

Wyman wrote:Seagull wrote
'Absolute truth' is a label that denotes certainty of the certainty of the belief.
OK, then, why not 'certainty of the certainty of the certainty of the belief?' Is there a word you use for a state in which you have 'no doubt' (which is what I take 'free from doubt' to mean in you quote of the defintition). I mean, if you had absolutely no doubt of something, then you wouldn't need to go back and make sure that you were certain of your certainty, would you?
The point I was making is that 'absolute truth' is a label just as much as 'truth' is a label.

There are various grades of 'truth' such that if one finds them to be false....
at the lowest grade one just shrugs and moves on..
at a medium grade one is shocked and has to re-evaluate ones analytical processes..
at the highest level one's whole world falls apart and one is left bewildered..
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A_Seagull
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Re: Truth vs. Paradigm

Post by A_Seagull »

Felasco wrote:By "true" we usually mean an idea which accurately represents reality. .
And the difficulty with that is that there is no means of determining whether an idea 'accurately represents reality' or not, as all one has is a representation of reality. This is where paradigms come in. One sets up a paradigm such that one proposes that ones representation of reality is pretty much accurate.
Wyman
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Re: Truth vs. Paradigm

Post by Wyman »

By "true" we usually mean an idea which accurately represents reality. However no idea, whatever it's content, can accurately represent reality because all ideas are fragmentary, and reality is whole. Ideas can only be more or less useful for some particular practical purpose.

Generally speaking, philosophers are not interested in truth or reality. They may think they are, but what they are really interested in are symbols, something else entirely.

Symbols can never be true or real by their very nature, just as a photo of your dog can never be a true dog, or an accurate representation of the reality of a dog, no matter how good of a photo it might be. Taking thousands of photos and arguing endlessly over which one is true does nothing to solve this.

The paradigm of philosophy is a collection of widely shared, largely unexamined, assumptions that we can grasp the truth of a whole real world using a symbolic medium that is fragmentary in nature.

The main obstacle to otherwise quite intelligent philosophers seeing beyond this paradigm is the emotional attachment they have to the control and power they experience within the realm of symbols.
I agree and couldn't have put it better. The only caveat is I'm not sure that no philosophers are interested in truth. The reason we 'do' or read philosophy is that we either 1) will not accept that truth is an impossibility (because of what we think that entails) or
2) we like to show off our esoteric knowledge of the history of philosophy and show off our mastery of philosophical jargon.

I like to challenge philosophers and the philosophically inclined who accept too blandly 1) - that truth is impossible, but say 'ehh, so what.'
I ask them 'Then why are you going through the motions?' I also think that acceptance of 1) entails moral relativity and I think I am with Nietzsche and Dostoevski on this.
Wyman
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Re: Truth vs. Paradigm

Post by Wyman »

Yes; not my best work. I blame a London rush hour stream of consciousness.
Wyman wrote:
1) 'There are possible statements about the world that are true' is necessarily true.

I think so; I cannot imagine a world could exist about which any statement was necessarily untrue.
I guess I'm with felasco here and would say that truth as accurate representation is impossible. This is truth in the absolute, certain sense. The only possible truth is truth agreed upon on pragmatic grounds, such as scientific consensus.
Ginkgo
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Re: Truth vs. Paradigm

Post by Ginkgo »

WanderingLands wrote:
Your definition : " 'Absolute Truth' as I defined it, is the One Truth that binds all other truths of the world, and from where all truths emanate from." seems to me to be entirely fictional. It is not compatible with the general understanding of what is meant by 'absolute truth'.
Yes it is. It is called a "Universality" in philosophy, and it is present in metaphysics as well as logic. See Plato's philosophy, Neoplatonism, and even Aristotelianism.
What makes you think that all truths emanate from absolute truth?
It's emanated from absolute truth when it is all interconnected with each other and so has things in common with other truths. I know that there is an absolute truth because of that: looking into different religions, philosophies, and looking deep into history as well.
How could you detect an absolute truth if you came across one? Or even an ordinary truth for that matter?


By means of deductive (taking all facts and molding them down to a conclusion) and/or even inductive (testing an axiom to see that it is true), that is, if you want to check your facts. It's also good to use your intuition, too, as having intuition especially 'from the inside' (either a sudden thought or a feeling) is accurate as well.


Plato's theory of Forms deals with universals and can be interpreted as a means of dealing with definitive truths in some type of absolute way. Ideas or Forms are 'more real' than the particulars. Aristotle on the other hand treats universals and particulars with equal care.

Plato provides us with a good reason to doubt the value of his theory of universals. In his famous "Third Man Argument" Plato provides us with a criticism of his theory of Forms. In other words, Plato is showing us that a theory of universals can be both coherent and incoherent at the same time. This is a problem that has plagued metaphysics throughout its history. As Kant would argue that the use of universal concepts in abstraction from the particular conditions under which they are found cannot provide us with any useful knowledge of these objects.
uwot
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Re: Truth vs. Paradigm

Post by uwot »

Wyman wrote:I guess I'm with felasco here and would say that truth as accurate representation is impossible. This is truth in the absolute, certain sense.
That's pretty much what I said. We cannot know in an 'absolute, certain sense' that the causes we attribute to our sensations are what is causing them. It is true that something exists, as Parmenides pointed out. It is also true that sensations exist, as Descartes pointed out. Anything else that is true is contingent or analytic.

Wyman wrote:The only possible truth is truth agreed upon on pragmatic grounds, such as scientific consensus.
A_seagull makes the point
A_Seagull wrote:
Felasco wrote:By "true" we usually mean an idea which accurately represents reality. .
And the difficulty with that is that there is no means of determining whether an idea 'accurately represents reality' or not, as all one has is a representation of reality. This is where paradigms come in. One sets up a paradigm such that one proposes that ones representation of reality is pretty much accurate.
A paradigm is ultimately a pragmatic scientific consensus, but some of the best scientists, even though they know this, will defend their own chosen paradigm for essentially aesthetic reasons. Max Planck, himself instrumental in paradigm shifting Relativity, said that new ideas don't replace old ones, it's just that old scientists happen to die and their ideas with them.
Science does not depend on ontology, you can do science perfectly well without knowing what the 'truth' is about what the universe is made of, or why x causes y. It's hypotheses non fingo time again. Over to you Isaac Newton:

“Hitherto we have explained the phenomena of the heavens and of our sea by the power of gravity, but have not yet assigned the cause of this power … I have not been able to discover the cause of those properties of gravity from phenomena, and I frame no hypotheses [hypotheses non fingo]; for whatever is not deduced from the phenomena is to be called an hypothesis; and hypotheses, whether metaphysical or physical, whether of occult qualities or mechanical, have no place in experimental philosophy … To us it is enough that gravity does really exist, and acts according to the laws which we have explained, and abundantly serves to account for all the motions of the celestial bodies, and of our sea.”

Newton was pretty hardline, at least publicly, privately he had some bonkers religious beliefs and spent a lot of time on alchemy; it is not to say that scientists are not interested in ultimate truths, but the truths they deal with professionally are empirical truths: do planets go round the sun? Well without getting too smarty pants about it, yes they do. Does that mean that spacetime is warped? Not necessarily. There are objective 'facts' and there is our interpretation of them, the context or paradigm we place them in.
Wyman
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Re: Truth vs. Paradigm

Post by Wyman »

uwot wrote:
A paradigm is ultimately a pragmatic scientific consensus, but some of the best scientists, even though they know this, will defend their own chosen paradigm for essentially aesthetic reasons. Max Planck, himself instrumental in paradigm shifting Relativity, said that new ideas don't replace old ones, it's just that old scientists happen to die and their ideas with them.
Science does not depend on ontology, you can do science perfectly well without knowing what the 'truth' is about what the universe is made of, or why x causes y. It's hypotheses non fingo time again. Over to you Isaac Newton:

“Hitherto we have explained the phenomena of the heavens and of our sea by the power of gravity, but have not yet assigned the cause of this power … I have not been able to discover the cause of those properties of gravity from phenomena, and I frame no hypotheses [hypotheses non fingo]; for whatever is not deduced from the phenomena is to be called an hypothesis; and hypotheses, whether metaphysical or physical, whether of occult qualities or mechanical, have no place in experimental philosophy … To us it is enough that gravity does really exist, and acts according to the laws which we have explained, and abundantly serves to account for all the motions of the celestial bodies, and of our sea.”

Newton was pretty hardline, at least publicly, privately he had some bonkers religious beliefs and spent a lot of time on alchemy; it is not to say that scientists are not interested in ultimate truths, but the truths they deal with professionally are empirical truths: do planets go round the sun? Well without getting too smarty pants about it, yes they do. Does that mean that spacetime is warped? Not necessarily. There are objective 'facts' and there is our interpretation of them, the context or paradigm we place them in.
I am not nickpicking (I hope), but trying to make sure I have an understanding of how you and seagull are using terminology.

I understand 'ontology' as consisting of the objects (and relations of objects) of a deductive system or worldview or paradigm. So, I would say that physics does have an ontology. Newton takes gravity as an element or object of his system. Elements are not defined, they are 'posited' as part of an axiomatic system. In being posited, he does not further define it - he tells us he cannot.

Similarly, points and lines in geometry are undefined terms. Representing them as lines and dots on paper is called an 'interpretation.'

F=MA, is an axiom of Newton's physics. Force, Mass, Acceleration and the objects described by them are posits and part of his ontology. The posited objects of his ontology are interpreted, but not defined.

In mathematics, if the interpretation of the axioms (think simple geometry with points and lines) is true, then the interpretation is called a 'model.' This is important when we talk of 'counter examples.' If a theorem is proposed and it can be shown that it would contradict the model, then the theorem is necessarily false .

Physics tries to be a deductive system. But unlike geometry, it's sole purpose is to support a model of reality (not to entertain eggheads and torture high school students). And unlike geometry, the 'axioms' are not taken as true by fiat. If a 'counter example' is produced, then the theorem is false. But rather than stopping there, as we can do in geometry, scientists are free to tweak the whole system if the 'counterexample' is important enough - all the way down to the axioms in some cases (as in what is called by Kuhn a paradigm shift, I think), or in a fundamental shift in the interpretation of that system, or both.

So Newton's system and its interpretation is useful in a limited context. But it is not a model of reality because of its (implicit) misinterpretation of time as absolute. His paradigm was flawed.

Now, is your idea of a 'paradigm' and 'ontology' the same as mine - i.e. the deductive system (and its interpretation) of physics along with its posited elements?

I wanted to get this terminology straight so as to be able to meaningfully ask the following question: am I correct in my impression that you and seagull maintain the following:

that, although no one proposition within a paradigm (such as a physical theory) could be said to be 'absolutely' true, nonetheless, it is possible for the whole paradigm to be an 'accurate representation of reality' and therefore true with a capital 'T'?
uwot
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Re: Truth vs. Paradigm

Post by uwot »

Wyman wrote:I am not nickpicking (I hope), but trying to make sure I have an understanding of how you and seagull are using terminology.
Well, as I said above, I have very little interest in language or logic, so I'm not sure how much fun this will be for either of us, but what the hell?
Wyman wrote:I understand 'ontology' as consisting of the objects (and relations of objects) of a deductive system or worldview or paradigm. So, I would say that physics does have an ontology.
That's one way of looking at it. It's a very broad definition of ontology and a very broad definition of physics. I think if you look at fundamental particles, what you say is true; there clearly are relations of objects, that have been measured to mind boggling accuracy. In that sense, the forces by which fundamental particles are identified a very real. However, as to what particles are made of, there is no consensus, nor, for the sake of physics, any need. In that specific interpretation of ontology, physics doesn't have one.
More generally, and more nit picky, 'physics' is not a thing in itself that has or hasn't anything; it is in essence 'what physicists do'.
Wyman wrote:Newton takes gravity as an element or object of his system. Elements are not defined, they are 'posited' as part of an axiomatic system. In being posited, he does not further define it - he tells us he cannot.

What do you mean by Newton's 'system'?
I think define gravity is exactly what he did do. It is the force any massive object exerts on any other and the action is described very accurately by his inverse square law. That is what gravity is, regardless of what causes it.
Wyman wrote:Similarly, points and lines in geometry are undefined terms. Representing them as lines and dots on paper is called an 'interpretation.'
Maths. I'm afraid you've lost me.
Wyman wrote:F=MA, is an axiom of Newton's physics. Force, Mass, Acceleration and the objects described by them are posits and part of his ontology. The posited objects of his ontology are interpreted, but not defined.
I don't know what you mean by 'the objects described by them'.
Wyman wrote:In mathematics, if the interpretation of the axioms (think simple geometry with points and lines) is true, then the interpretation is called a 'model.' This is important when we talk of 'counter examples.' If a theorem is proposed and it can be shown that it would contradict the model, then the theorem is necessarily false .
If you say so.
Wyman wrote:Physics tries to be a deductive system.
Again: no 'it' doesn't
Wyman wrote:But unlike geometry, it's sole purpose is to support a model of reality (not to entertain eggheads and torture high school students).
Different physicists have different models of reality that some so driven, will try and find supporting evidence for. Many people think Einstein wasted the latter parts of his career chasing shadows and Newton's interest in alchemy is well documented. If physics can be said to have a purpose, it is to discover how the world works. What the world is, is a topic for ontology.
Wyman wrote:And unlike geometry, the 'axioms' are not taken as true by fiat. If a 'counter example' is produced, then the theorem is false.
That's a very brutal interpretation of Popper. It's rarely such a clean break. If a model has been successful, there is usually a reluctance, at least among some practitioners to abandon it. Newton's laws of gravity is good enough for many applications and is still good physics and until the world starts behaving radically differently, it will remain so. Unlike Newton, Einstein did propose a physical model that is supported by General Relativity, a substance called spacetime that is warped in the presence of matter/energy. Spacetime is the case or it isn't, either way, it makes no difference to the efficacy of the field equations.
Wyman wrote:But rather than stopping there, as we can do in geometry, scientists are free to tweak the whole system if the 'counterexample' is important enough - all the way down to the axioms in some cases (as in what is called by Kuhn a paradigm shift, I think), or in a fundamental shift in the interpretation of that system, or both.
I'm not convinced science is axiomatic in the way you appear to believe. True, we have to interpret the data and put it into a meaningful context or paradigm, but the final arbiter is the data; science is fundamentally empirical.
Wyman wrote:So Newton's system and its interpretation is useful in a limited context. But it is not a model of reality because of its (implicit) misinterpretation of time as absolute. His paradigm was flawed.
So is it just absolute time that is flawed?
Wyman wrote:Now, is your idea of a 'paradigm' and 'ontology' the same as mine - i.e. the deductive system (and its interpretation) of physics along with its posited elements?
No.
Wyman wrote:I wanted to get this terminology straight so as to be able to meaningfully ask the following question: am I correct in my impression that you and seagull maintain the following:

that, although no one proposition within a paradigm (such as a physical theory) could be said to be 'absolutely' true, nonetheless, it is possible for the whole paradigm to be an 'accurate representation of reality' and therefore true with a capital 'T'?
Well, I wouldn't presume to speak for A_seagull, we too are different people, but for me, absolutely not.
uwot
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Re: Truth vs. Paradigm

Post by uwot »

Felasco wrote:Every time we put our focus on our ideas about reality, we are turning our backs on the actual reality which is supposed to be the cornerstone of our investigation.

Baba Bozo, if you see a chocolate eclair in front of you, what do you actually see? A patch of various shades of brown, that is the reality. Until we gain some ideas about what those various shades mean, it's just patches of colour. Same with the rest of the world, the reality is meaningless.
Wyman
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Re: Truth vs. Paradigm

Post by Wyman »

Wyman wrote:
Now, is your idea of a 'paradigm' and 'ontology' the same as mine - i.e. the deductive system (and its interpretation) of physics along with its posited elements?

No.
Oy, I'll say. Chalk that up as a failure on my part in explaining myself. Most of your 'disagreements' with my points are things I agree with, which means - as I suspected - we have different terminology (like model, interpretation, paradigm, system, physics, ontology) which is why I don't understand many of your claims earlier in the thread. Oh well, not the first time or the last time I will misunderstand or be misunderstood.
Felasco
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Re: Truth vs. Paradigm

Post by Felasco »

Baba Bozo, if you see a chocolate eclair in front of you, what do you actually see? A patch of various shades of brown, that is the reality. Until we gain some ideas about what those various shades mean, it's just patches of colour. Same with the rest of the world, the reality is meaningless.
Try some observation, and find out for yourself. Find out if it's meaningless.
uwot
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Re: Truth vs. Paradigm

Post by uwot »

Felasco wrote:Try some observation, and find out for yourself. Find out if it's meaningless.
What do the patches of colour that we are currently observing mean unless:
Felasco wrote:we put our focus on our ideas about reality?
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