Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Proof Criteria

I have my concept, and as a part of my concept I must include a Proof Criteria. Now, in life, concepts are not defined so intentionally, but we who live in a world thoroughly saturated in human creativity can look at what we created naturally and attempt to create artificially as well. So consider the way that we talk about 'proof,' and 'evidence.'

Suppose we knew a man named Jack and we asked for proof that his name was, in fact, Jack. What would be the Proof Criteria here? This is written into the concept of a Name. Jack could point to several people who call him Jack, and it is the nature of Names that they are what one is called. Jack is called Jack; Jack responds to the name Jack; if you asked people where Jack is they would direct you to the man being questioned. This is proof that his name is Jack.

Perhaps one would object that this is evidence, not proof. Perhaps they object that people calling this individual Jack would lead one to believe that his name is Jack, it hints at it, but it may very well not be. Maybe his name is actually Clive.

But then one must look at the concept of a Name. Is a Name the thing written on your birth certificate? Is a name your full and proper title?

We define the concept of the Name. If I were a government agent trying to discover a fugitive, then for me the concept of a Name is the name written on the birth certificate - the name in the eyes of the State. It would not matter to me that this man is called Jack if the name his parents gave him is Clive. That people call him Jack is evidence - evidence that may lead me away from the actual truth.

If I am Jack's friend, I do not care what his parents called him. For me a Name is what I use to address my friend, the name I use to refer to my friend, the name I write on gift tags to my friend, the name I use to find his phone number in my contacts list. If I call him Jack and he responds this is not evidence that his name is Jack, it is proof. By my concept of a name, this is what a name consists of.

To ground a concept in the world of phenomena we must define the appearances that must appear to us for us to evaluate the concept as True or False. This is what we mean when we say that a concept is verifiable.

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