Conjectures and Refutations

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by radarmark, Dec 9, 2012.

  1. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    Okay. This is a crash course on radar’s belief system, to include what he means by truth, evidence, reason, empiricism, reality. It focuses on how to think like a scientist or philosopher, or like de Bono or Polanyi (this is a process I focus on every day, and one of the reasons I come to this site, to learn how to do this).

    The Kosmos is everything there is, was, will be. If there is a G-d, he or she is included. The universe is the sum total (again, across time) of every entity consciousness experiences as matter-energy. The knowable universe is that part of the universe our (humanity’s) consciousness can experience. The knowable universe is a subset of the universe (the boundary of the two is where events are receding from us at over the speed of light and where singularities exist, because humanity can get no information from a singularity). The universe is a subset of the Kosmos (the Kosmos includes those kind of entities and experience usually referred to as mental or subjective vis a vis physical). Reality is then the Kosmos, and I believe in it.

    The knowable universe is modeled by physics, the universe by cosmology (remember the universe includes the knowable universe), and the Kosmos by metaphysics (remember that the Kosmos includes both the knowable and unknowable universes).

    One aspect of metaphysics is the platonic world of Penrose, mathematics-logic. Neither logic nor mathematics are formal systems, in general. They cannot (except in limited circumstances) provide “hard truth”. “Hard truth” is a provable relationship between a thought or proposition and reality (the Kosmos) whereby the thought “corresponds to reality” always, everywhere (“All men are mortal, Socrates was a man, therefore Socrates was mortal” or “1+1=2”). “Hard truth” is only obtainable via deductive logic (tautologies with no reference, in specificity, to the universe) or arithmetic (proven by Gödel) or ostensive definitions (but the truth value is not about the object being defined, but the concept being applied). Outside of these three cases, anything we know we know as a probability or possibility.

    Induction works in the world; mathematics beyond arithmetic works in the world; linguistic reasoning beyond ostensive definitions work in the world. Work so well we human beings see the requirement for stating that inductive, mathematical and linguistic knowledge are not “hard truths” but soft truths… only very, very likely.

    Early in the XXth century two of the greatest mathematical and logical minds of the time were working to prove the notion of another member of that group’s “Second Problem”. The second problem was that of Hilbert (see his 1900 presentation to the International Congress of Mathematicians or “Hilbert’s Problems” or “Hilbert’s axioms”), the two working on it were Whitehead and Russell (see their Principia Mathematica or look it up on the web). It all has to do with what is called Peano arithmetic and Zermelo-Frankel set theory s and formal systems. What Hilbert proposed it that someone could use arithmetic and set theory to deductively with mathematics the truth or falsity (in the “hard truth” sense). Whitehead and Russell were busy trying to provide that proof.

    A mathematical nobody named Kurt Gödel (later acknowledged as one of the two or three greatest mathematical and logical minds of the XXth century) showed that (in his two incompleteness theorems, look them up, wiki has a pretty good rap of them as does mathematica) the problem was ill-formed. That is, if one creates any formal system (set theory, geometry, vector-matrix-tensor analysis, calculus and so on up the line) that includes Peano arithmetic (a way to express all of arithmetic based on a few axioms), especially the notions of induction and the “successor function”, can never be complete and consistent at the same time (what was required in Hilbert’s problem and what was rigorously applied in the Principia Mathematica. In one swoop the work of three of the giants in mathematics was refuted.

    The bottom line is that any mathematics beyond arithmetic is, in terms of “hard truth”, false. That does not mean the mathematics does not work, is not logically structured, or is merely an article of faith. What it means is that mathematics is ultimately provable in terms of induction (a kind of probability requiring evidence) and not deduction (where “hard truth” is possible).

    The problem in most argumentation is that the people involved do not understand the limitations of mathematics due toGödel, the actual “probability only” notions induction gives us and the limited applicability of deductive logic. A good example comes from General Semantics: the use of “no” or “all” should be avoided. Why? If I propose “all Us are Vs”, it only takes one counter example (W is a U, but it is not a V) to invalidate the argument. Likewise if I propose “no Xs are Ys”, it again only takes one counter example (Z is a Y and an X) to invalidate the argument.

    So I always try to avoid sweeping generalizations like “truth”, “all”, and “no”. And I believe I have sufficient cause to believe the above to me (to a very high degree of confidence) to be “probably true”. Notice I do not claim “hard truth”.

    All it can be verified by looking up and reading (or reading about) the topics.
     
  2. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    Next, how to have civil discourse when evidence is contradictory.

    I believe that “hard truth” (something absolutely true in all times and places) has very, very limited applicability (see previous post). Instead, the vast majority of claims and all empirical claims (those based on experience, observation, experimentation and evidence) can never be proved true or false. That is why I like the Dine term “daatsi”, which means “maybe” or “possibly” in a very strong sense, like “yes and no”.

    I like evidence in the sense of Vieland, Das, Hodge, & Seok’s 2012 “Measurement of statistical evidence on an absolute scale following thermodynamic principles” or Edwin Jaynes’ "Probability Theory" or Hobson-D’Agostini’s Bayesian analytics (no one citation, just look up the name with “Bayesian” conjoined). It works like this: at time A I have a belief in the probability (say of a claim) of X, I gather more data B, that I turn into information Z (called evidence), when I then use to update my belief X to Z at time B. Roughly the evidence is the evidence function of Bayesianism (for a more user-friendly explanation see Evidence under Bayes theorem - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).
    In the context of this forum, what this all means is that our questions (what is G-d, what do Mormons believe, etc) the answers are never straightforward. “True” or “false” have very limited applicability, maybe none. The same is true of the terms “all” or “none” or “us” and “them”. Why? Because there will exist empirical evidence on both sides.

    It is the total; weight of the evidence and its justification (does it come from some scientific discipline. Like archeology, or someone’s opinion). Can the claim under consideration be checked for veracity (truthfulness, like “is the KJV the final d-vine revelation”) or validity (internal consistency, like “I know the KJV to be true, but do not believe it”) or verifiability (can evidence be gathered to support it, like “the KJV was based on Erasmus’ version and we have more and earlier sources today”) and, ultimately falsifiability (can the claim be disproved, like “the KJV and its revisions are a continual update of revelation”). These four simple tests—veracity, validity, verifiability, and falsifiability—have to be applied to any claim of empirical truth.

    Metaphysical notions (in the sense of Aristotle’s Metaphysics) are a different beast. The test here is limited to validity (internal consistency), coherency (external validity), logical (follows the rules of logic, including induction and abduction), applicability (is the notion related to the subject under consideration) and adequate (functionally complete in terms of logic). Notice neither veracity (truthfulness) or falsifiability are included. Why, because by definition metaphysical statements are not empirical.

    What is the bottom line? We can have civil discourse if the above notions of truth and evidence are adopted. By avoiding true-false, all-none, and us-them dichotomies we can focus on the evidence… on learning what other people, cultures, and religions believe. Thus we can revise our notions so that we can be more and more inclusive in our understanding of the Kosmos.
     
  3. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    P.S. I do fully recognize I can be abrasive and over-bearing. These posts and the one on "Ask a Spiritual Physicist" are not intended as direction or definition.

    Call this "agnostic school or truth" a strawman to rein in participants like me.

    Peace, friends!
     
  4. luecy7

    luecy7 New Member

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    False. Your "Hard truth" may be true, and may be false. Deductive logic is contingent on the underlying presumptions, often hidden. You won't really know without measurement.

    I am an educated and accomplished engineer. I tell you: Truth is a symmetry, both symmetric and anti-symmetric (True and False). You could have it and not even know it. You could know it and not really have it.

    With math and logic you may deduce that "1=1", or "true=true", but the implied symmetry in the language may be absent in realation to reality due to the gross human approximation and absence of measurement. An apple is never fully equivalent to an apple. No wave-particle is every fully equivalent to another wave-particle.

    I suggest that you study control theory and information theory, and put those languages to practice if you can. They also involve the truth, the false, and the unknown.
     
  5. luecy7

    luecy7 New Member

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    Try having a relationship with someone who lies to you 50% of the time, and then report on how civil the discourse is. :)
     
  6. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    No, I disagree. "1+1 =2". If the premises of "All men are mortal. Socrates was a man. Therefore Socrates was mortal" are true (you may think men are physically immortal or Socrates did not exist that is your choice), then the conclusion is true in a hard sense. If I take you out into my pasture, point to the horse I call "Cherokee Rose" and define her as "this is my horse, Cherokee Rose", it is true. In none of the three example is there fuzz on the truth of the statement.

    If there is any part or parcel of empirical content (that which is testable or measureable) what you say is true. But if Fermat's Last Theorem is true (which is pretty self explanatory), it was true when Fermat made the claim, Ribet made his proof, Frey postulated his strategy, and Wiles implemented that stategy the Theorem was true... period. It is a priori (free of expperience or testing). Same with the claims of Peano arithmetic, deductive logic, and ostensive definitions. No measurement required.

    Not an engineering or physics thing, but a logic thing. Language, control theory, and information theory need not be applied (and do not count, because the logic is a "pop-up" from empirical information).

    "Try having a relationship with someone who lies to you 50% of the time, and then report on how civil the discourse is." That is a problem that you need to solve. To wit: teach the individual or stop talking to them.
     
  7. luecy7

    luecy7 New Member

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    Precisely. Your examples of hard truth look like galloping gertie to me. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. A man is not necessarily defined by his genes. The horse may call itself something different. Your application of the symbols may have no relation to the reality. Surely you could come up with better examples of truth?

    Thus having no relationship or correspondence with reality. There may be symmetry on paper, or in the mind, but potentially no symmetry or relation with this world.

    Fail. If I am telling lies, then it is a problem that I need to solve. Are we each other's keeper? Do you believe you can make another person honest? A clear definition of truth and lies are easily recognized when put into practice. It takes work for a person to lie, to deceive, to manufacture conjecture or paint a story.
     
  8. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

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    I don't think you tell the truth, and I don't think you lie, I just think that you have a limited understanding of many things. Thus, there are more then one way to not speak the truth.
     
  9. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

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    If you don't want to lie, then yes, that is your problem to solve.

    BUT, if you talk to someone and you are bothered by the fact that the person is "lying", then that is your problem to solve.
     
  10. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    L7, what you say about my examples being trivial and of no applicability to the real world I believe quite correct.

    But that is the point, when I hear or read someone using the word "truth" they usually mean "hard truth"... but it is a claim of empirical "hard truth". That is a horse of a different color, so different it is the Barsoomian Ninth Ray. You gao that 100% correct.

    To put it in an electrical engineering context. The syllogism I gave about Socrates is merely a two-input and gate. The output is "1" (true) if and only if both inputs are "1", and "0" (false in all other cases). Yep, trivial.

    About lying: if one lies a high percentage of the time, the inconsistencies will mount over time and one will either find oneself questioned about it, made fun of, or exiled.

    It just works that way. This is really an issue for alcoholics and addicts. One of the huge lessons of 12-steping is that addicts are great liars (especially to themselves) and huge egotists. Not saying this is right or correct or true... but the fact is it works.
     
  11. luecy7

    luecy7 New Member

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    You accuse me of conjecture. I'd say someone who says 'we', projecting themselves upon everyone, is guilty of that.

    You believe so? I can be willing to not talk with a liar, if they wish.
     
  12. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

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    I don't understand your responses.
     
  13. luecy7

    luecy7 New Member

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    Measurement and relationship are required to establish truth or symmetry with the world. Your definition of 'hard truth' was 'a provable relationship between a thought or proposition and reality'. Rewinding the tape:

    ... which I am saying is false, by the way. In your example:
    As you say no measurement is required, if there is no relation with the real world, then there is no relation with the real world. Within the language of math and logic, within the minds of men, '1=1' and '0=0' are true. That does not fit your definition of 'hard truth'. Perhaps what you mean is, 'true within the language of math or logic'.

    Garbage relationship with the real world in, garbage computation out.

    A low percentage of the time is just as damaging, if not even more harmful. I'd say if a person is fortunate to find someone so loving, someone will suffer their method of control, yet address the behavior.

    You may not know your own addictions because you are not looking. I submit that it is an issue for everyone. I have studied and been to several 12 step meetings, though I have never taken illicit drugs, and I do not drink beyond socially. I have spent time with a couple of people who had a clear addiction. There are many, many other addictions, and many other reasons that people lie. I don't think 'egotist' is true, but I would say 'selfishness'. I find that some of the reasons that people lie, huge volumes of people do not even see. In response to government required D+A testing, I wrote a paper regarding the 'liquid stupid' that I had seen and experienced in government, and I was not referring to alcohol. I think that 12 step program may be good for everyone. Have you studied and followed the 12 step program?
     
  14. luecy7

    luecy7 New Member

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    The proof of a good recipe is not received by merely reading the recipe.
     
  15. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    L7, sorry you feel that way. But I shall stick with the classic philosophers and mathematicians. "Hard truth" is what most people mean by truth. True now, true then, true here, true there. It can apply only to things that have no empirical reference (IMHO).

    Things with an empirical reference may be false due to logic, reason, evidence, experiment, or measurement. Empirical truth really does not exist... it is always possible it can be disproven later or may not be true far from earth.

    That is the beauty of language, you have yours and I mine.

    Yes, what I mean to be "hard truth" is applicable only to a priori (deductive or arithmetic language, it has very little applicability).

    If one puts unprovable empirical statements into the syllogism, it is, indeed garbage.
     
  16. luecy7

    luecy7 New Member

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    So when you tell people,

    "You have not proven it", or,
    "You may believe that, you can post that. Does not make it true, sorry. Try using equations or scientific method.", or,
    "In empirical terms both posts are empty (except for subjective opinions).",

    then should I regard the True or Truth as requiring the empirical reference, equations, or scientific method as you have demanded and asserted as being required in those cases, handed over to you in the symbols of language, or should I regard the things as only being True if NO empirical reference was ever made?

    I see a double standard. As you demand proof, equations, scientific method, and empirical terms: If anyone answers with testimony, equations, scientific method, you have already discredited their objective measurements as being subjective. As an educated and accomplished engineer, your method does not look very scientific to me.

    I submit: The Heisenburg uncertainty principle does NOT say that truth or certainty can not be acquired. It states a limit on the certainty that can be acquired. Not everything can be measured; at least, not by man.
     
  17. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    No, if one is talking about the limited number of things which are true-in-themselves (or a priori or deductive truths or the truths of the Peano arithmetic or an ostensive definition, rather hard to do without being face-to-face).

    If, on the other hand, one is talking about a state of affair in the world (something empirical be it physical or metaphysical), which 99.99% of what I see discussed here, bring along the reasoning and evidence. I am a skeptic.

    Try this as a compromise. "Truth" with a capital t is what this "true within the language of math or logic" stuff I call "hard truth". And all empirical questions of truth are "truth" with a small t.

    "As you demand proof, equations, scientific method, and empirical terms: If anyone answers with testimony, equations, scientific method, you have already discredited their objective measurements as being subjective" if they are talking about truth and not Truth, damn right. Because I know of no exception to elevate it to "Truth".

    Now it could be true (if we believe it and have sufficient reason to believe it and it corresponds to some state-of-affairs. There are many (most) empirical claims of truth which can be falsified ("the earth is flat" or "gravity is the result of teams of tiny invisible angels pulling the heavenly spheres") but I really do not know of any that are True.

    Heisenberg has nothing to do with it. Godel does for any math any higher than Peano arithmetic. Quantum has many variants, none are provable to be true. Same with relativity. Ditto for M-theory. However some statements (like "quantum effects cannot be true", or "the speed of light is variant") can be disproven.

    The subject of this discussion is not engineering or physics, but math and logic (in terms of Truth).
     
  18. luecy7

    luecy7 New Member

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    You believe so? What is the speed of light through water? glass? air? Go measure it. I tell you False: The speed of light is variant depending on the medium.

    From my viewpoint, your argument is with yourself, whether it is Truth, truth, Hard truth, hardly truth, fuzzy truth, objectively true, subjectively true, or possibly true.
     
  19. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    Fine. I thought you logical enough to realize I meant in vacuuo.

    They are, in the literature, quite different. And you need not to believe in any truth at all.
     
  20. salishan

    salishan freesoul

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    truth ... (evolving standards , at the tipping-point)

    i like the word "truth"

    i.e. ... when not over-applied , it is a very useful word
    but it is a functional concept
    i.e. truth is always relative
    is relative to what it purports to be describing
    i.e. truth is contingent

    not quite Radarmark's "soft truth" (his "probably true")
    where "truth" is still being used in the abstract way that "hard truth" is used

    contingent truth is (instead) using "truth" in a usefully definitive way
    (i.e. "more true" , "more-or-less true when dealing with this specific problem")

    i come down on Luecy7's side , here
    i do not believe there are any "hard" (eternal/tautological) truths
    no, these are just tools (theories) which work pretty well
    (e.g. "the speed of light" , or "quanta" of energy/matter)
    subjective constructs which match external reality fairly accurately
    & thus are relatively useful for measuring things
    (mathematics & logic are also just such subjective constructs)

    the "objective" world does not exist (has a zero-degree reality quotient)
    i.e. "truth" is not "out there" to find
    no , a subjective theory is tested with subjectively gathered evidence
    & if the "testing" follows rigorous (yes "subjective") standards
    (where institutionally established procedures are ethically followed)
    then , should the evidence (more or less) match-up to the theory
    u can call the theory "true" ... (till an even better theory comes along)

    Aristotle's "theory of physics" is more true than ancient polytheistic theories
    Newton's "theory of physics" is more true than Aristotle's
    Einstein's "theory of physics" is more true than Newton's
    & on it goes

    truth is relative & evolving

    x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y

    truth is not an (idealized) end-point where everything is "understood"

    truth is provisional , good-enough for the time being
    but truth never points to an ultimate reality
    & "truth" is dishonest if it ever claims to

    truth's honesty resides in pointing to places humanity has already visited
    in pointing to beginning points (e.g. the Big Bang , the DNA-code)
    in pointing to those things which have created our mutual reality to some degree

    knowledge is earned truth
    i.e. shared (provisionally reliable) subjective "fact"
    (genuine knowledge is an intersubjective form of truth
    "u'r subjective facts more-or-less match mine")

    x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y

    facts (& lots & lots of fictions) are nerve-pathways in the brain
    neural networks

    what makes one neural-network (some fact or set-of-facts) "true"
    (& all the other pathways just arbitrary & whimsical)
    is this neural-network's "architecture"

    recent neuroscience has nailed down this architecture
    referring to it as a "small-world network"
    a network on the tipping-point between order & disorder
    (thus able to move & "process" information very rapidly)
    a network which is able to keep itself in a phase-shift state

    a "small-world network" cannot "know" the external environment perfectly
    it is only a schematic
    a "small-world network" can only approximate the details & organization of the external environment
    but like "syntax" in language , this kind of network (this schematic) is a good tool
    which can approximate reality in a very useful way

    x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y

    the pre-classical polytheistic world believed that there was
    1. an idealized celestial world of deities (pure forms)
    2. an objective terrestrial world of humans & other imperfect beings (factual substances)
    but these two realms matched each other , "as above so below"

    old-school metaphysics bought-into this "metaphysical" (dualistic) superstition
    updating it with more abstract concepts & a syllogistic logic

    however , there is no such thing as
    either ideal-reality (forms) or objective-reality (substances)
    these are just useful contrivances
    (which helped inch human knowledge forward , via nominalist & empiricist methodologies
    but in the end , these methods misrepresent how reality actually works)

    okay ... try to imagine a "language" where u speak without using syntax
    (just a huge jumble of unorganized verbal signals)
    here , the only way to make sense of anything being said
    is to use only one word (or phrase)
    like a "slogan" , or a "command" (just one simple semantic unit)
    (call "fetch" to u'r dog & throw a stick)

    along with this single command , u augment some physical action
    or some facial-expression or body-language
    so that the other creature (dog or human) gets the message
    (this is the "conceptual-language" of polytheistic peoples)

    if u string-together a batch of very similar slogans or commands
    this may work at communicating too , in a slightly more complex (more abstract) way
    i.e. magnifying simple practical concepts into (supposed) "universal principles"
    (this is exactly what metaphysics-based philosophy has done)

    this metaphysical conceptual-language is entirely semantics-based
    a language-of-ideas devoid of a workable syntax
    i.e. produces a tautological language-of-ideas , communication via "analogy" (via similarity)
    ("guilt by association" , no
    but "form" by association" , "substance by association" ... it is concept via simile or metaphor)

    an "analog" conceptual-language is semantic & meta-semantic , but not "digital"

    a digital conceptual-language (by contrast) starts binary (on/off switches)
    (like how electric-messages jump from one neuron to another in the brain)
    & thus a neural-pathway has the potential to build-up a complex connectivity
    (like an ecosystem , like molecular bonding) , i.e. in order to build-up a genuine "syntax"
    (has the ability to piece-together non-similar elements into a coherent ecology)

    & if this neural-network has set itself right at the tipping-point
    (at phase-shift state) ... what it finds (here) is immediacy
    & this immediacy is what frames the "syntax" for a digital conceptual-language

    & it is within (this kind of) syntax where "truth" is found
    not within (polytheistic) semantics , not within (metaphysical) metaphor/meta-semantics
    but in immediacy

    x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y

    the only truth (the only useable fact) is
    a truth which constitutes a coherent ecology
    (a conceptual-ecosystem containing dissimilar items)

    i.e. truth is complicated but vivid
    truth is ... subjectively ... immediate


     

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