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The truth about the truth III

25 February 2014, 08:42

Pragmatic truth: The theory

In the previous section we proved in a simple way that it is impossible to check whether the opinion is consistent or inconsistent with the absolute truth. In this situation, the criterion of compliance with absolute truth is not suitable neither as a selection criterion, nor a method of controlling whether in the quest for the truth we move in the right direction.

Therefore, the truth we're looking for and on the basis of which we make decisions needs to be defined differently. It needs to be defined in the way that we could verify the veracity of the claims. The eventual convergence so defined truth with an absolute truth is then only to be believed in. Such a faith is natural, because it would be hard for somebody to act at all, believing the truth which he/she uses to make decisions and act is contrary to the absolute truth. A person may, however, act believing this truth to be identical with absolute truth or at least to be a complete enough representation of the absolute truth, that by relying on it obtains the best available guideline.

It turns out that the truth can be defined in the way that it can be believed in (otherwise it is difficult to call this a notion of "truth") and used as a foundation of any decision. However, we need to formulate a realistic criterion to verify the claims. Let’s note that hypotheses analyzed in the chapter “Introduction: Pursuit of truth” are verifiable because we knew the actual state, and this was known simply because we knew the purpose for which hypotheses were made. I buy the tin labeled "salted peanuts" in order to eat salted peanuts. Lower Taxes Party gets my vote in order for me to pay the lowest taxes possible .The law of gravity is researched in order to be able to accurately predict the time of a falling stone. The criterion we are looking for is very simple: the truth is measured by the degree of its attainment of the objectives. Such defined truth can be called a pragmatic truth.

The consequence of the interrelation of the truth value with verifiability and verifiability with advisability results with "plurality of truths ". The plurality of pragmatic truths is, in fact, a quite natural and well- known phenomenon. There is nothing surprising about it, because this is a pragmatic truth, not the absolute one, therefore there is no reason why there should be only one.

It is not at all clear at this point if any pragmatic truth is actually suitable to make a decision either in the meadow (to pick a flower or not), or on the tram (to give my seat or not), or after waking up ( get up or not), or in all any other cases. If you, however, think of it - each decision is either made for a purpose, or is it made thoughtlessly, instinctively. A thoughtless, impulsive decision-making process shouldn’t be a model for us. So I pick a flower to give it to my wife and to make her happy, not to hurt a plant. Purpose determines the pragmatic truth: I can see my wife smiling in response to my gesture and I can see no reaction from plants as a sign that the plant didn’t suffer pain. In fact, the more stable and more broadly defined is the goal of defining the truth the more meaningful the use of a pragmatic truth as a substitute for absolute truth when making the decision. In the next two sections we will discuss two examples of worldviews that are trying to use the verifiable truth where before you had to uncritically support notions of absolute truth.


Breaking news!!!

 During a dinner Santa had a vision in which Walt Disney’s frozen pineal gland taught him a lesson. Therefore, Ingmar Bergman is fired and, as Walt’s pineal gland put it – “no more four-syllables words. Less words in general”. This is why previous plan to produce two more boring episodes is now officially abandoned and this article is only 620 words instead of planned 2564. These episodes('How scientismist does it' and 'How Santa does it' will be condensed into the final scene of each classic western – a duel. See you in a day or two.

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