Philosophical Morsels: Pensées on What is True

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One: What is True?

“To say of what is, that it is; or of what is not, that it is not, is true.”

I didn’t say that, Aristotle did, and what do I think?  I think that is true.

Two: Does Truth Exists?

Let’s battle an assumption head-on, if we can define truth, does that justifies that truth exists?

And what do I think?

I think our intuition can guard us here: there is a truth about anything that we can conceive – there has to be a judgement on that *thing. And a correct judgement leads us to truth.

And what is correct? Correct is that which is right.

Friends, we shouldn’t quarrel at this point.

Three: Zero Options

Can we know the truth?

Perhaps we can’t.

Even worse, perhaps we can’t know if we can know the truth.

But then we have to decide what to believe in because we have got zero options.

Four: A Little Philosophy on Papers

We can do solipsism first, but let’s do away with it – let’s just assume that things exist other than our minds.

As I am typing these words, I can see a paper just to my left side. And then something strikes me like a thunderbolt: “how the hell do you know this is a paper?” And what does it mean for something to be a paper?

If this sounds weird, that’s great! because it’s suppose to.

See, forget about the name paper for a minute and think of that which the ‘paper’ corresponds to, let’s call this thing XꞋꞋ.  Am I really seeing XꞋꞋ, or is my mind processing XꞋꞋ such that I see it as a paper?

How could we possibly test this hypothesis?

How could we be sure?

It turns out that if I can 1) perceive a paper as a paper, and 2) if I can use the  paper for what a paper is used for, then it is a paper. But does that disprove the possible existence of a XꞋꞋ ?

Does it?

Five: On Scientific Truths and Pragmatism

Okay. For now, forget about papers.

Let’s assume that papers exists as papers not as a potential XꞋꞋ ; and that science can give true description of the observable parts of the world because we are perceiving the real thing.

What about the directly unobservable parts of the world? Leptons, quarks, electrons, do they really exists as described?  A scientific realist will say, “absolutely!!!”.

The argument will go something like this: given that the theories of the directly unobservable entities had been extremely successful empirically (accurate predictions), then it has to be true. There has to be an extraordinary coincidence for it not to be true, there goes the famous ‘no miracle’ argument – to believe otherwise, is to believe in miracles (an uppercut for an instrumentalist).

Perhaps not so fast for the scientific realist, if we are going to rely on induction (which science relies on heavily), then we might have big problems: the history of science is riddled with theories that had been ‘useful’  in the past but flat wrong, take the phlogiston theory of chemistry.

Needless to say, this entire exegesis is dripping of induction.

And what is the justification for induction itself, provided we still  have circular reasoning in our logical fallacy dictionaries.

Six: Ex Falso Quodlibet

If we have all these mess now, what shall will do with the actual, real, Unobservable (with a capital U) features of the world. What are we going to do with metaphysics?

In this case, some folks have certain stringent rules, sometimes they call themselves empiricist, but what they really mean  is that they subscribe to scientism.

Let’s unpack some of these things.

Empiricism is the theory that all knowledge comes from sense-experience, and right off the bat, you see that empiricism accommodates perfectly metaphysical features of the world: arts, morality, religion, and all of those things.

However, these metaphysical features are claimed by scientism to be unreal. This exclusion on the basis of un-realness springs from an assumption, a yuggeeee (metaphysical) assumption, which itself is not verifiable (via science).

Let me explain.

The assumption (rule) goes something like this: That, the only thing that is true is what science, and only science, can pass judgement on. In other words: science is the ONLY way to truth.

Since this ‘rule’ is part of ALL things, can we then verify this assumption (rule) via science?

Using metaphysics to show that metaphysics is nonsense – you get the point.

The moment you understand that in the light of logical fallacies, I promise you, all you would see is, a man shooting himself in the foot, or  De Gea, the brilliant Manchester United Goalkeeper putting a goal right at the back of his own net.

An epistemological debacle, if you still don’t get what I mean.

Seven: And Again, What is True?

“To say of what is, that it is; or of what is not, that it is not, is true.”

I didn’t say that, Aristotle did, and what do I think?  I think that is true.

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