Truth Vs Promise : Some Examples

—“It is worthy of notice that the sentence “I smell the scent of violets” has the same content as the sentence “It is true that I smell the scent of violets.” So it seems, then, that nothing is added to the thought by my ascribing to it the property of truth. “—(Frege?)

I disagree.

“I smell the scent of violets” has the same content as “I attest that I smell the scent of violets”or “I promise to you that I smell the scent of violets.” Whether it is true or not has nothing to do with your utterance.

–“The snow is white, if and only if the snow is white”–

The snow can’t ‘be’ anything. It cannot act, nor perceive the passage of time, which gives rise to the ability to determine changes in state.

Instead the operationally correct statement is “I observe that the snow appears white in color. I promise that if you observe the snow, that you will also agree that it appears white in color. If both of us observe that it appears white in color, then we can agree that all observers of the snow will also observe that appears white in color.”

[N]ow, this is extremely burdensome language. That’s why we don’t use it. But it is a mistake to take an aggregate “the snow is white in color” and attribute the same logical meaning to it as “I observe that the snow appears to be white in color, and I promise that if you observe the snow that you will also agree that it appears white in color.”

All aggregates launder (lose) information. That’s the problem with aggregates. It’s not only a problem when we create a category, or when we add numbers together to create a sum, or call the square root of two a ‘number’ when it is a function, but it’s also a problem when we summarize informationally dense statements for the sake of brevity.

Operational language is burdensome. But it prevents the evolution of what appear to be complex problems, from that which is merely a byproduct of aggregation (laundering).


–“Other philosophers believe it’s a mistake to say the researchers’ goal is to achieve truth. … When they aren’t overtly identifying truth with usefulness, the instrumentalists Peirce, James and Schlick take this anti-realist route, as does Kuhn. They would say atomic theory isn’t true or false but rather is useful for predicting outcomes of experiments and for explaining current data. Giere recommends saying science aims for the best available “representation”, in the same sense that maps are representations of the landscape. Maps aren’t true; rather, they fit to a better or worse degree. Similarly, scientific theories are designed to fit the world. Scientists should not aim to create true theories; they should aim to construct theories whose models are representations of the world.”–

[T]his is a wordy paragraph that simply states that better theories correspond to and explain reality, than less good theories. But theories can never be identical to reality, since they are always representations (I would call them ‘aggregates that exclude information’).

I can promise you that I followed the scientific method, and that my theory is internally consistent, externally correspondent and falsifiable (and perhaps a few other things). If you agree that my theory is useful, internally consistent, externally correspondent, and falsifiable, (and perhaps a few other things) then you can say that I spoke the truth. You may, for sake of manners and brevity say that the theory is then true. But that is merely an abbreviation for the fact that the theory is true, and useful.

As far as I know this is the limit of our ability without entering the fantasy world of platonism.

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