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What is the truth?

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What is the truth?

Postby Dom » Tue Nov 08, 2005 6:32 pm

My offering is that it is the expression of reality where each word has a concept and each concept has a word. I am, however, open to contrary suggestions... :D
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Postby ThomasGR » Tue Nov 08, 2005 9:15 pm

Try thinking without using words.
It's easy, and so you'll get the answer :D
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Postby Dom » Wed Nov 09, 2005 7:13 pm

ThomasGR wrote:Try thinking without using words.
It's easy, and so you'll get the answer :D


eh?
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Postby ThomasGR » Wed Nov 09, 2005 9:25 pm

What's so difficult to understand?!
You said every word has a concept, and every concept has a word.
Now get reed of the words, what remains? Only concepts.
That's the truth you are in search! True? :)
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Re: What is the truth?

Postby Emma_85 » Mon Nov 14, 2005 12:13 pm

Dom wrote:My offering is that it is the expression of reality where each word has a concept and each concept has a word. I am, however, open to contrary suggestions... :D


Well, our definition of what is true or false is tied to words, so I'm not too sure what you are talking about Thomas unless you are talking of some other kind of 'truth'. What kind of thruth are you talking about exactly Thomas?
What I mean is that we basically define words to have a certain meaning, we give a concept a name, like Dom said, and so as concept a = word that is true. If that's where we start then flase is defined as using words incorrectly basically.
Eh... I'm not too sure where this is all leading though...
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Postby amans » Mon Nov 14, 2005 1:09 pm

I suggest we distinguish between 'existence' and 'statements'. Can a thing, such as the number 7, or a dish washer, or a restaurant be true, just because it exists? I guess this is not the kind of truth referred to when talking about truth... 'Statements' are closer to the point, I suppose: '3 plus 4 equals 7', 'this dish washer did the job in 10 mins.' or 'they serve delicious food in that restaurant'. These statements may be true or not, or they may be more or less true. Just my 0.02. :)
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Re: What is the truth?

Postby ThomasGR » Tue Nov 15, 2005 7:58 pm

Emma_85 wrote:
Dom wrote:My offering is that it is the expression of reality where each word has a concept and each concept has a word. I am, however, open to contrary suggestions... :D


Well, our definition of what is true or false is tied to words, so I'm not too sure what you are talking about Thomas unless you are talking of some other kind of 'truth'. What kind of thruth are you talking about exactly Thomas?
What I mean is that we basically define words to have a certain meaning, we give a concept a name, like Dom said, and so as concept a = word that is true. If that's where we start then flase is defined as using words incorrectly basically.
Eh... I'm not too sure where this is all leading though...


I had in mind that concepts are an entity by themselves. Words are only a medium to express and share them with others. Very often, especially in abstract philosophical terms words tend not to work anymore well but are rather filtering the concepts and deform them to the point as they fit into the words. Normally it should be the other way, words to be formed as to fit into the concepts, but this is beyond our realm. Since than we cannot mold the words, but are sufficient with filtering and deforming the concepts, why not drop the words and make exclusively use of concepts? This has it's disadvantages, (though we both might live the same truth, we cannot share it anymore), but than truth is not for eveyone's digestion.
A classical example is when solving puzzles, a concept we call intuition will give us the solution spontanously. This eureka-second when one jumps and shouts "AHA", it was always infront of my eyes! Trying to decribe this process will always fail.
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Re: What is the truth?

Postby Kalailan » Wed Nov 23, 2005 8:14 am

ThomasGR wrote:
I had in mind that concepts are an entity by themselves. Words are only a medium to express and share them with others. Very often, especially in abstract philosophical terms words tend not to work anymore well but are rather filtering the concepts and deform them to the point as they fit into the words. Normally it should be the other way, words to be formed as to fit into the concepts, but this is beyond our realm. Since than we cannot mold the words, but are sufficient with filtering and deforming the concepts, why not drop the words and make exclusively use of concepts? This has it's disadvantages, (though we both might live the same truth, we cannot share it anymore), but than truth is not for eveyone's digestion.
A classical example is when solving puzzles, a concept we call intuition will give us the solution spontanously. This eureka-second when one jumps and shouts "AHA", it was always infront of my eyes! Trying to decribe this process will always fail.


I am not sure that "concepts are an entity by themselves", and that "words are only a medium to express and share them with others".
Let us examine this list, which i have taken from 'Philosophical Investigations', by Wittgenstein, #27:
"Water!"
"Help!"
"Let's go!"
"Great!"
"No!"
What concepts do they convey?
One might say that the word 'water' usually decribes a noun, and that only when used like that ("water!") does it bear a different meaning.
But is not the "primary meaning" of the word a usage in itself?
Can we not imagine a language which primarily consists of such uses of words as "water!"?
Someone who speaks that language might conclude that "Words are commands" or "Words are requests".
Obviously, it is very hard to see how such a language can exist, as our language isn't such, but i do not think that it is ruled out by this difficulty.
<must go, might come back later>
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Postby ThomasGR » Sun Nov 27, 2005 8:25 am

This topic is a real example of the limitation of language. We can write whole books and sound like old dotard academicians, but won't say anything that every person knows already.

Let us look at "apple". An apple is there without using the word. The concept "apple" is present, the word "apple" is just giving names to something already existing, with or without the word.

Than again speaking the word "apple", does it express fully the concept?
It does only deform a concept to get ready to be used in a language.
The concept "apple" is more and it's up to the user to comprehend it.
"Apple" (the concept) can be red or green, mellow or bitter, juicy or dry, soft or hard to touch, tasiting delicious or create vomits etc. "Apple" (the word) does not say anything but minimalises the concept to something very abstract that equals to nonexistence. Only when getting rid of the word one is able of fully perceptions of the concept "apple". That perception of course is restricted to every individual. It cannot be shared, not discribed, not be discussed.
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Postby Kalailan » Sun Nov 27, 2005 2:16 pm

ThomasGR wrote:Let us look at "apple". An apple is there without using the word. The concept "apple" is present, the word "apple" is just giving names to something already existing, with or without the word.


While it might be true that an apple exists without "using the word", the concept of apple does not exist on it's own.
without perception there would be no 'concept', but merely an apple.

Than again speaking the word "apple", does it express fully the concept?
It does only deform a concept to get ready to be used in a language.
The concept "apple" is more and it's up to the user to comprehend it.
"Apple" (the concept) can be red or green, mellow or bitter, juicy or dry, soft or hard to touch, tasiting delicious or create vomits etc. "Apple" (the word) does not say anything but minimalises the concept to something very abstract that equals to nonexistence.


Your description of "apple (the concept)" is not at variance with what you would call "apple (the word)".
When i say "apple" to someone they might imagine a "red or green, mellow or bitter, juicy or dry, soft or hard to touch, tasiting delicious or create vomits" apple. the word does not limit their imagination more than a concept does.
when you say the a word "minimalises the concept" i must infer that when you say 'concept' you mean a specific apple; for a general concept of apples is "very abstract" and "equals to non existence".

Conclusively,
I don't think that anyone can think about concepts without words.
It is self contradictory.
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Postby ThomasGR » Mon Nov 28, 2005 5:43 am

Whatever method you use, there is no way to expand words to cover the whole concept. Always we have to leave it to one's imagiantion, comprehension or perception.

The only case where concepts and words work nicely together is mathematics. There we have two and 2, there is no more no less, all one has to say is said. And we go two plus three equals five, 2+3=5, or we may make equations of the nth degree, still the beauty of mathematics is present (for a word cover all the concept). On the otherside, mahematics one won't find in nature. Like language, it's a human product. Something man made works well only with another man made.
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Postby primitive » Mon Nov 28, 2005 11:04 pm

The truth is that which is.
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Postby amans » Mon Nov 28, 2005 11:33 pm

[face=spionic]h( a)lh/qeia yeudh/j[/face]
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Postby ThomasGR » Tue Nov 29, 2005 8:23 am

η αλήθεια ψευδής (Truth is false)

:lol: The ultimate truth!
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Postby Cédric » Fri Dec 02, 2005 8:50 am

I kinda agree with Thomas.

To me there's no truth or thousands of thruths... each and everyone of us has his own, because of different cultural, social, linguistic, etc. backgrounds.
I advice my kids to run away from anyone who would tell them "listen, i know the truth" i.e. i try to turn them away from any kind of firm political, religious and philosophical belief.
The only reference we have is us... i know it sounds Protagorean, but at least on this he was right!

That's my truth :lol:

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...

Postby elis » Fri Dec 02, 2005 1:46 pm

hello

I cant understand how one is to think with out words. You think as 2 separate entities the visual perception of apple and the word of apple, which is true. Then you abandon the second, the verbal perception of apple, and you certify that the first one is good enough. What happens when we have to think something like justice? even if there were inside the soul a non-verbal perception of the concept of "justice", "thought", "existence" or "predication", which I highly doubt, one would be unable to communicate that concept not only to others but to his very self. I reckon language is the sine que non for thought. One thing is to say that language or reason are unable to cover the totalness of what is, and another is to completely ditch these.. let alone that nous/soul can't stay silent. [/i]

It's seems that without language we can only perceive/imagine the particulars, so abandoning language, puts away the universals. But when we do not provide ourselves with universals such as category, class, relation, type we become unable for any opinion, since truth and falsity exist only in the interwining of seperate meanings.
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Postby annis » Fri Dec 02, 2005 2:19 pm

Cédric wrote:To me there's no truth or thousands of thruths... each and everyone of us has his own, because of different cultural, social, linguistic, etc. backgrounds.


If you really believe this, why in the world did you post objecting to Episcopus' adolescent thread about Lucus? If we're all splashing around happily in our own solipsistic verities — he's got his truth, and you've got yours — what basis could you possibly have to object to him voicing his? You have no grounds on which to assert your truth over his.
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Postby Paul » Fri Dec 02, 2005 3:03 pm

annis wrote:
Cédric wrote:To me there's no truth or thousands of thruths... each and everyone of us has his own, because of different cultural, social, linguistic, etc. backgrounds.


If you really believe this, why in the world did you post objecting to Episcopus' adolescent thread about Lucus? If we're all splashing around happily in our own solipsistic verities — he's got his truth, and you've got yours — what basis could you possibly have to object to him voicing his? You have no grounds on which to assert your truth over his.


Touche.

Thank you Will, for pointing out relativism's autophagy. One wonders why the relativist even bothers to speak.

Cordially,

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Postby Cédric » Fri Dec 02, 2005 3:31 pm

annis wrote:
Cédric wrote:To me there's no truth or thousands of thruths... each and everyone of us has his own, because of different cultural, social, linguistic, etc. backgrounds.


If you really believe this, why in the world did you post objecting to Episcopus' adolescent thread about Lucus? If we're all splashing around happily in our own solipsistic verities — he's got his truth, and you've got yours — what basis could you possibly have to object to him voicing his? You have no grounds on which to assert your truth over his.


Fair point of course.

Because i am only human and that there's a huge difference between theory and practice.
Because i'm as childish as he can be, and because that's part of some "game", we both started in one direction and none of us is going to change it now.
Because i'm touchy and stubborn when talking about some stuff.
Because i'm intransigeant with people who dont think the same as i do on subjects i think - along with others - that i'm right.
Because i dont think being gay is something bad and something i should be ashamed off.

I know i sound like an arogant freak - who knows, i prolly am. I think i'm not far from Socrates on this (oh and yeah, i'm NOT modeste when it's not needed :wink: )

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There is a difference between defining linguistics and truth

Postby jpete » Sat Dec 03, 2005 7:46 am

I would like to make two points regarding this topic.

One, I feel some of the posts are mixing up linguistics and philosophy. Forgive me if I've misunderstood what was being said but it seems some have said that because words and concepts can be separated then their is no truth. If one is only speaking linguistically then this is true in a general sense. Each society assigns a concept its own word. This is why there are multiple languages. Because of this, I am called a man in English and a rojel in Arabic. This type of truth is relative- 'man' is not more correct than 'rojel' in its proper place. However, regardless of the word used, my state of existence has not changed. I am still me regardless of how I am labeled. There is a higher truth to what I am that is independent of labeling. Therefore, to say there are multiple truths because there are multiple languages is not very logical.

This leads to my second point. I cannot get onboard with the whole concept of relativism. I am no expert but I have read a variety of philosophy viewpoints and I really believe this total surrender to relativism is a modern phenomena and is poisonous to true discourse on philosophy. Granted, there are many viewpoints but that does not mean there are many correct viewpoints. What we believe to be true will depend on our perspective but there is a higher truth that is independent of all perspective or viewpoint. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to determine what the truth really is. It is this uncertainty that leads mankind to study philosophy and to follow religion (they are separate things), among other things. In these pursuits we hope to at least grasp a slight hint of the truth. In contrast, to say there is no truth or the truth is unattainable is to give into our innate human ignorance. I think that is truly dangerous. To steal from a folk song, I'd rather believe in truth and be wrong than to never believe in truth at all.
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Re: There is a difference between defining linguistics and t

Postby annis » Mon Dec 05, 2005 1:36 pm

jpete wrote: I think that is truly dangerous. To steal from a folk song, I'd rather believe in truth and be wrong than to never believe in truth at all.


But there's no need to resort to this romantic and impressionistic defense of truth.

We do not evaluate the truth of a statement by words, but by the proposition so encoded. The statements "I study Greek" and "William Annis studies Greek" have different words, but the proposition is identical. When we move on to a phrase like "colorless green ideas sleep furiously" we've got words, and words in a grammatical arrangement, but there's no proposition there - the sentence is incoherent, and there's no way we can even say if it's true or false.

Another fun is thing is "this sentence is false." It's just another language game. Some people get excited about this sort of thing, but I find it no more remarkable that language can produce incoherent utterances than I find it surprising that a hammer is a bad tool for painting. When you misuse a tool, you get trouble, but not so much trouble that the universe collapses.

So the assertion "there's no truth" is a strong truth-claim, but like "this sentence is false" it contradicts itself: it's incoherent. Relativism depends on gibberish about which it isn't even meaninful to say it's false.
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Postby ThomasGR » Tue Dec 06, 2005 2:14 am

I am a little late here, but I’ll like to reply to Elis who wonders how one can think without words. Well, I think most of the time we are acting and thinking without words. The very concept “consciousness, awareness” is the proof for that. We are conscious, though we are not thinking of it. It just happens that we know that. Trying to describe this “consciousness” to someone who does not know what’s that is impossible to do. All through history of philosophy people were trying to solve this problem, without any outcome other than it’s just there. Yet we all know what that is. How do we know that, how were we taught in our childhood what’s awareness?

In Zen tradition, there is a form of meditation where “koans” are used to get enlightenment. A koan is a sort of riddle, often a paradox one though not necessarily and the best ones sound quite like normal short stories; the most famous one is “moo”. The goal is to find what “moo” means or is and to solve that riddle. The secret of this exercise (meditation) is to get rid of the words (the language) and aim directly the concepts (awareness, consciousness etc.). It looks people are able to manage that and can do it, even if for some it takes decades even to come close. When at last this happens, concepts such reality, consciousness, awareness are understood in all their fullness and Zen speaks about the limitation of words and the language. It is as if a veil (language) falls down from one’s eyes, which was hindering our sight. In Buddhism generally words (thinking using words) are consider to be the disease of the spirit.
Last edited by ThomasGR on Tue Dec 06, 2005 2:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby jpete » Tue Dec 06, 2005 2:15 am

Annis wrote:

"But there's no need to resort to this romantic and impressionistic defense of truth."

I think a defense of the idea of their being truth in the world is necessary. Besides, that is what this posting is about, is it not? I appreciate your deconstructionist view on language. It seems we agree on their being a difference between words and ideas. I chose to keep the language simpler but to each their own. I stand by argument, even if it may be romantic and impressionistic, that there is such a thing as truth and it is independent of language differences.
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Postby Democritus » Tue Dec 06, 2005 5:33 am

A map can be true or false, even if it has no words at all. A map can represent the roads or the landscape accurately, or inaccurately.

Of course, all maps are "wrong" in the sense that are at a vastly smaller scale than the real world. But we only consider them genuinely wrong if they differ from the world in the respect that they are intended to be reliable. Ordinarily, maps are not intended to represent true scale.

It's also possible to lie with photos, for example, by juxtaposing photos to leave an impression that does not represent reality. Photos can also be faked outright. No need for words.
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Postby annis » Tue Dec 06, 2005 1:22 pm

jpete wrote:I think a defense of the idea of their being truth in the world is necessary. Besides, that is what this posting is about, is it not? I appreciate your deconstructionist view on language.


Aaaiiiieeeee! If you think I'm supporting deconstructionism, you have very badly misunderstood my intent. My feelings for deconstructionism, post-modernism, etc., lean more in the direction of contempt and hostility, not appreciation.

My point is not that truth shouldn't be defended, but that it stands soundly against relativism, because relativsm is incoherent gibberish which offers no meaninful challenge. There's no need to say "I believe it because I want it to be true" which turns truth into a matter of faith. It's relativism which demands faith in a series of unlikely assumptions (especially the po-mo varieties).
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apologies for the deconstructionist comment

Postby jpete » Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:41 am

Annis, I think I understand now your original comment against my initial post. I was not meaning to mix the concepts of truth and belief. I was merely alluding to relativism's assertion that each person's perception of the truth is really true and therefore there is no truth. My stand is that there is definitely such a thing as truth. Truth is independent of any understanding or knowledge by mankind. My point was to say that I would rather find out the things I believe to be true are false than to believe in relativism. I fully understand that my belief has no bearing on the truth.

Also, is it as cold today in Madison as it is in Appleton- I'm freezing.
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Postby liumx » Wed Aug 02, 2006 3:56 am

I am particularly interested in knowing who said "turth is false" h( a)lh/qeia yeudh/j.

I know the thread is dated Nov 2005, but it's never too late to post if one think the words are relevant, right?

This is my 1st post in the textkit, I was reading the internets's ensyclopedia on the topic of "truth" last night. My stand of "philosophy of language" cannot solve the problem of "universal" is spinning in my head.

In case anyone read my post, please pardon my not-so-good English since I live in Malaysia with a strange kind of context around. I am a Mandarin, Malay speaker with a little knowledge of English who is currently trying to learn ancient Greek, Latin, Deutsch, Sanskrit, Arab in order to assimilate my confuse mind on whether one can take such a Herakle's task so that at least the problem of using languages to "describe" truth make sense.

I have equated veritas with a)lh/qeia before and noted a word as verum exists. Is a)lh/qeia a privative concepts based on lh/qh (forgetfullness, concealment, I may not spell it correctly though)?
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Postby PhilipF » Wed Aug 02, 2006 11:35 pm

hello liumx ,
η αλήθεια is indeed the Greek word for truth and similar in meaning to 'veritas' as you say. λήθη is the term for forgetfullness and the river in the underworld that brings oblivion to returning souls. I don't know if there is any connection between αλήθεια and λήθη, it is an interesting idea and I hope someone here can answer it.

I may be wrong but as far as I can find out ,the statement
"η αλήθεια ψευδής (Truth is false) " is not a quote from a Greek philosopher but a version of the famous "liar paradox" . This is also known as the Cretan paradox i.e. " The Cretans are always liars "atttributed to the philospher Epimenides (himself a Cretan and therefore a self-contradictory statement)
A challenge to a facile notion of truth was put forward by both the 'Cynic' and 'Academic' schools of ancient philosophy and is a recurrent theme in ancient literature .e.g. John 18:38 " Pilate saith unto him, What is truth?"
There is an interesting summary of the liar paradox here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liar_paradox
regards Philip
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Postby liumx » Thu Aug 03, 2006 4:52 am

Thanks Philip. (Hmm, how to express grattitude in Greek anyway? Grasias has its Latin root right?)
I've read about the Liar's Paradox before but never come across the "truth is false" statement, absolutely contradictory, right? And the paradoxes are about contradiction if I'm not mistaken. The phrase "truth is false" seems more radical than the liar's paradox. While I'm kind of reading Hegel's dialectical historicism, contradiction is absolutely fascinating. Of course, logically (in the modern Russell's type of logical atomism) it is a doomed idea.
And I thought of the famous Chinese anecdote to describe contradiction: There was a trader of spear and shield, he claimed his spear is the sharpest while no shield can stop its penetration, and then he claimed his shield is the strongest while no spear can penetrate it. Of course, when a customer ask him what happen when his sharpest spear hit his strongest shield, he cannot answer.
Para doxa in my humble opinion, pointing to the the many faces of opinions too if judge literally!
And I don't mind tell you I get the idea of αλήθεια from that controversial German, Heidegger. :D
What is Truth? Indeed, when the missiles flying across the sky of the shore of Mediterranea.
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