Friday, August 30, 2013

Objective Truth

Might it be said that I do not believe in objective truth? That I don't believe that things are how they are and not how they are not.

First I say that I am a human and I only concern myself with things that concern humans. So instead ask if I believe in an objective truth in relation to humanity?

Yes, I very much do. I believe in a big, objective truth; perhaps the biggest objective truth. For most the truth is the world - state what the world is and you state what the truth is. I on the other hand recognize that there is no stating the world without concepts and axioms and that concepts and axioms come from humans. I say that there is are innumerable true statements that can be made, but their truth stems from adherence to certain rules of thought that we ourselves develop. Sentences rely on their context for their truth value.

My conception of truth is the same as most peoples, just multiplied to the point of nigh-uselessness. If someone says science is truth (or more likely that science is knowledge) then they are identifying a certain method of thought that leads to the unqualified truth. Not a truth, just the truth. Likewise for those who say revelation is knowledge or intuition is knowledge, what have you. They are identifying methods for coming to knowledge, which is no more than identifying rules for evaluating sentences. The difference between them and me is that they put their method on a throne and have sentences that they declare true whereas I collect methods in my closet and have sentences that I declare true depending on how you look at them.

And of course if you do not set up a method as the correct method, what is the point in having methods? We develop methods that they might lead us to something. But what is it that we want to be led to?

Behind all the epistemology is people living their lives. Their methods will reflect this. Methods of thought will produce models and pictures, models and pictures will produce predictions, predictions serve as phenomenological anchors. If our methods are not serving us, we will make new methods.

Suppose I deliver a model showing how the stock market works, and then I deliver a list of 500 hypothetical methods of thought and how each method would evaluate my model. Perhaps my model is true according to 150 hypothetical methods and false according to 350 hypothetical methods. People might decide ahead of time whether my model was worth considering by finding their preferred method and seeing how it evaluates (well, it looks good according to the Voodoo method, the Freudian method, and the Hegelian method, not so good according to the scientific method or the Keynesian picture of economics). But of course people might actually use the model, and they might make a lot of money or they might lose a lot of money. That will be the test of whether or not the model lingers or disappears: people living their lives and determining whether or not my model has any place in their lives. 

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