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What is "Truth" and "Fact"...and aren't they subje

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"It may be true for you, but not for me"

 

A is A.  Existence exists, regardless of wishes, fantasies, prayers, dreams, hopes, evasions, etc.

 

My entire life I hope to use the entirety of my mind to integrate my perceptions into a mental schema that most closely reflects reality as it is.

 

This is my dedication to the truth, one of my highest values since childhood.

 

But can one ever call their own integrations "truth" or "fact"?

 

Example:

Extensible Objectivism via Branden versus Non-Extensible "Closed" Objectivism via Peikoff.

 

For Branden, Objectivism is Extensible.  Would he have considered this "reality" and "truth"?

 

Peikoff states the opposite and I'm sure holds his perspective in the same high regard.

 

Is Truth and Fact "subjective", whereas Reality can only be non-integrated perceptions?

 

Am I even making sense?

 

Help!

 

PS I am not trying to start a debate on extensible vs. non-extensible Objectivism.

 

I just want to know at what point can we call our concepts that we have created using the entirety of our minds to integrate perceptions according to reality..."Truth" or "Fact".

Edited by Reasoner

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"It may be true for you, but not for me"

 

A is A.  Existence exists, regardless of wishes, fantasies, prayers, dreams, hopes, evasions, etc.

 

My entire life I hope to use the entirety of my mind to integrate my perceptions into a mental schema that most closely reflects reality as it is.

 

This is my dedication to the truth, one of my highest values since childhood.

 

But can one ever call their own integrations "truth" or "fact"?

 

Example:

Extensible Objectivism via Branden versus Non-Extensible "Closed" Objectivism via Peikoff.

 

For Branden, Objectivism is Extensible.  Would he have considered this "reality" and "truth"?

 

Peikoff states the opposite and I'm sure holds his perspective in the same high regard.

 

Is Truth and Fact "subjective", whereas Reality can only be non-integrated perceptions?

 

Am I even making sense?

 

Help!

 

PS I am not trying to start a debate on extensible vs. non-extensible Objectivism.

 

I just want to know at what point can we call our concepts that we have created using the entirety of our minds to integrate perceptions according to reality..."Truth" or "Fact".

 

Certainly labelling a concrete or existent as qualifying with respect to a definition or concept is an objective factual exercise.

 

Certainly, when one changes the definition of the concept, certain concretes will fall out of or into the bounds of that concept.

 

Certainly, some concepts are valid while others are not, while still others are optional (as separate concepts defined by a single word).

 

 

To some degree whether Objectivism is extensible or not is the very same thing as deciding what you "mean" by the term "Objectivism" and whether that concept is still valid.

 

 

The same would apply to Platonism, Marxism, etc. 

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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Thank you! I have been frustrated when debating subjectivists and skeptics by their refusal to allow definitions which allow objectivists concepts to be laid out.

Example: Sacrifice as defined in Objectivist thought is not the sacrifice one might refer to in a book such as Sophie's Choice, because in that instance it is under threat of violence and morality can't exist under such circumstances. But my opponents refusal to allow a different definition of sacrifice destroyed the ability to further the debate productively.

Of course this is a mind destroying tactic to prevent a good faith discourse, and your post further affirms my position that agreement on definitions is a prerequisite to any Philosophocal debate.

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What you're pointing out is that getting at the truth can be hard work, that we must go about this work deliberately, that we aren't guaranteed success and that this insight needs to be applied to any particular question such as the ones you point out in #1 and #3. Objectivism doesn't dispute any of this. We all might hope rationalistically that a single breakthrough will do the job once and for all and make any further intellectual effort automatic, but this hope is in vain.

 

If you can read and write you've made these efforts yourself, and I wish you the best at your further adventures.

Edited by Reidy

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Just a minor quibble.

SL said:

Certainly, when one changes the definition of the concept, certain concretes will fall out of or into the bounds of that concept.

This applies more to conceptualizing theoretical entities and causes than concepts of a more general nature. John Lennox tried to deal with the various types of conceptual change in Concepts and Their Role and Knowledge.

Most often the redesignation of an essential characteristic for a definition is not a matter of changing the units-concretes of a concept but rather what is the distinguishing characteristic in a broader or narrower context.

Edited by Plasmatic

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Just a minor quibble.

SL said:

This applies more to conceptualizing theoretical entities and causes than concepts of a more general nature. John Lennox tried to deal with the various types of conceptual change in Concepts and Their Role and Knowledge.

Most often the redesignation of an essential characteristic for a definition is not a matter of changing the units-concretes of a concept but rather what is the distinguishing characteristic in a broader or narrower context.

 

Perhaps as an illustration of this point in particular... could you apply it to the concept

 

"Planet"

 

and in particular address the inclusion or exclusion of say "Pluto"?

 

 

BTW:  I am of the view that what I said is completely consistent with what you are pointing out.  If you are saying conceptual subspecies shift in the context of wider concepts, then the concretes remain within the broader concept but fall out of and into the two competing subspecies whose boundary has shifted. 

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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Truth and facts - Reasoner's OP laid out the path in it's first sentences.  He recognized that truth and facts (based in existence and identity) exist independent of the evaluation of consciousness.  So his question is worthy of evaluation and the silliness of "open" and "closed" issues between Rand and Branden become nonrelevent side issues.

 

He then brings in the relationship between all existence and its notice by consciousness.  He suggests that the fact of consciousness (more specifically perception as a form of consciousness) may, by its identity, modify the perception of the object and that, therefore, the result is subjective. REASONER- Find a reference for Peikoff's analysis of sense organs.

 

Reasoner's question is a really good version of a common argument.  I don't have time tonight to write a clear essay, but I can enumerate the metaphysical and epistemological issues needed for integration.  REASONER: 

 

1. Do you agree that truth and facts of reality are based in existence and identity independent of perception?

2. Do you agree that consciousness is an existent whose identity has a specific, eventually understandable nature?

3. Do you agree that human consciousness is composed of varied sense based data evaluated by a reason function that works by recognizing attributes of things in reality and can create independent (from their referents), cognitive ideas that integrate these facts into concepts?

4. Do the sense organs of conscious beings have a specific identity?

5. NOW, stop and think.  The people who gave you the idea you proposed in this thread, are asking us to overcome skepticism by expecting A MYSTICAL PERCEPTION DEVOID OF IDENTITY.  Stop and consider. They propose that perception is skeptical BECAUSE it has a specific nature.  They propose that a perception that can be described and metaphysically identified, is subjective because of its identity.  Think of biological evolution as the engine, and then ask yourself if this position makes any sense at all?

 

So, subjective or objective becomes a matter of volition not metaphysics or epistemology.  Did you get it right or not, based on the evidence of your senses and the evaluation of your reason?

 

The objective value of Ayn Rand's thoughts are, curiously, wrapped up in the idea of human fallibility.  Knowledge is not automatic or mystical, it is hierarchical through time based on the nature of discovery in a sense based environment enhanced by concept formation thru abstraction in the faculty of reason.

 

Whatever your question - you can't go wrong if you start with the facts that existence is primary to consciousness and human consciousness is composed of sense organs providing data for a mental capacity, called reason, that can integrate seemingly incongruent identities into new cognitive ideas. 

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SL

. If you are saying conceptual subspecies shift in the context of wider concepts, then the concretes remain within the broader concept but fall out of and into the two competing subspecies whose boundary has shifted.

Ok, I agree that this is the case for instances such as Pluto and now I understand what you were getting at-why you chose the words you did.

Edited by Plasmatic

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When we call something a fact is different from whether it actually is a fact. Hopefully if we did everything correctly, what we call facts actually are facts, and we have methods to check. But sometimes we fail. But if you have the right method and logic, errors make themselves known because contradictions arise.

 

When some proposition is actually a fact, and someone thinks it's a fact, then they actually know the fact. But if you can't go around thinking, 'but how do you know that you know that you know that you know.... (that you know) ad infinitum ... that it's a fact. Like Newtons laws of motion. In the context they were discovered, are facts. Now when I say, 'They are facts.' I'm making the claim that they are facts. I think they are, but me saying so doesn't make it so. And there were people who disagreed! Who thought that they weren't facts. So it's not subjective, but each person has their own set of beliefs about what are facts. You can know a fact, and you can think you know a fact. Only you don't know when you hold a false fact to be a fact that it is not a fact. If you did, you wouldn't hold it any more.

 

A fact is an objective thing in reality. The belief is in the mind of each individual. Thinking something is a fact doesn't make it a fact so it's not subjective. Being certain doesn't make something a fact either. It's irrelevant. You're muddling people's beliefs with what facts are. You're muddling calling something a fact with it actually being a fact. Those are separate things.

Edited by Peter Morris

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*** Post copied from previous version of forum software. - sN ***

 

Outside of Reidy's excellent response I will add that this is about Certainty and that it is always contextual.  Something cane be true but you also recognize that you may learn more later to update what you know to be true.   For example - Water boils at 212 degrees. Later I learn that it does not boil at the temperature on a mountain.   It does not change what I know to be true but I do learn how boiling temp changes based on position to sea level and have added additional information that expands what I know to be true.  

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As a followup to my original posts and out of respect to all those that replied...

My original post was based off of an error - that reality existed based on the sum of our knowledge, and that everyone has their own reality and those who have integrated their concepts correctly have "a more factual reality".

What I now understand more completely is that reality exists, regardless of anything else, including all the knowledge in the world.

Reality is "truth" - and, to paraphrase Mr. Reidy's response way above, it really needs to be respected and is not to be treated lightly!

Furthermore, I am learning that truth claims are contextual.  So when I, as an adherent to the concepts of a Paleo lifestyle, claim that "wheat is poison", this truth claim is in the context of multiple recent studies implicating its role in obesity, heart disease, triglycerides, tissue inflammation, etc AND my own personal experiences with wheat as causing me indigestion, bloating, constipation/diarrhea, etc AND the testimonies from others who have eliminated wheat from their diets and experienced similar positive effects - to the effect that if one were to consume a bottle of household cleaner that caused these symptoms they would have little difficulty considering the household cleaner a poison as well.

So truth claims are "subjective" - in that they are subject to context.  But REALITY is objective and exists - it is subject to nothing.

When we decry subjectivism, we aren't decrying contextual definitions, we are decrying those that say those definitions have no meaning.

What I need to say "within certain contexts, refined wheat products can be considered poisonous".  Or just not make knowledge claims that lead to arguments among friends ;)

I am still learning my fundamentals here, so thank you everyone for your responses.

 

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Reasoner said:

 

Furthermore, I am learning that truth claims are contextual.  So when I, as an adherent to the concepts of a Paleo lifestyle, claim that "wheat is poison", this truth claim is in the context of multiple recent studies implicating its role in obesity, heart disease, triglycerides, tissue inflammation, etc AND my own personal experiences with wheat as causing me indigestion, bloating, constipation/diarrhea, etc AND the testimonies from others who have eliminated wheat from their diets and experienced similar positive effects - to the effect that if one were to consume a bottle of household cleaner that caused these symptoms they would have little difficulty considering the household cleaner a poison as well.

So truth claims are "subjective" - in that they are subject to context.  But REALITY is objective and exists - it is subject to nothing.

When we decry subjectivism, we aren't decrying contextual definitions, we are decrying those that say those definitions have no meaning.

What I need to say "within certain contexts, refined wheat products can be considered poisonous".  Or just not make knowledge claims that lead to arguments among friends ;)

I am still learning my fundamentals here, so thank you everyone for your responses.

I recommend caution here. Objectivism holds that at the most fundamental level that all knowledge rests on universal-absolute axiomatic truths. That means there are no contexts where these foundational truths could fail to apply. Anyone who says elsewise (in anonymous PM or otherwise) doesn't know what they are talking about

 

 

 

Edited by Plasmatic

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I recommend caution here. Objectivism holds that at the most fundamental level that all knowledge rests on universal-absolute axiomatic truths. That means there are no contexts where these foundational truths could fail to apply. Anyone who says elsewise (in anonymous PM or otherwise) doesn't know what they are talking about.

No one did say they aren't absolutely true in any and all contexts, upon which all knowledge depends. So, it will be true in any context, while all truths are true in all contexts. For example, "This apple is a fruit" is always true insofar as it is a fact. I'm not sure what a "universal-absolute" truth is, though; I don't know what they mean joined into one adjective. To me, that sounds redundant. What we know to be true is contextual, including axioms only in the sense we need to look at the world to determine what really is an axiom. After all, the world is a context (universal usually seems to involve an ever-present context at least)! Of course, when something is an axiom in the Objectivist sense, it will never fail to apply. But contextual there isn't anything out of place when talking about knowledge.

In any case, I was going to get into it in the next post I make here that Reasoner is asking about facts as opposed to knowledge of facts, a subtle but important difference.

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I want to make something clear before I address your responses. Are you denying my statement is a tenet of Objectivism?

Not Louie. I asked.

Hard to say. Observation of the world comes before knowledge of the world, so it is more "fundamental". On the other hand, the three axioms are things we integrate from observations, even if we do it young and without understanding that we're doing so. In other words, it depends on what you mean by "fundamental".

I'll add another observation though: you seem to have responded to "Reasoner's" comment on "context" assuming he is using it the way Objectivists typically do, but his post indicates he is using the term to refer to a different concept. 

Edited by softwareNerd

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Software said:

Not Louie. I asked

Sorry, the new format when on the Iphone doesn't seem to render the post break as well.

Software said:

Hard to say. Observation of the world comes before knowledge of the world, so it is more "fundamental". On the other hand, the three axioms are things we integrate from observations, even if we do it young and without understanding that we're doing so. In other words, it depends on what you mean by "fundamental".

Perception is not true or false so it cannot fall into the category of "truths"... By fundamental I mean implicit in all cognition, with no truths logically prior. Perception precedes conception and that does not contradict what I said.

Software said:

I'll add another observation though: you seem to have responded to "Reasoner's" comment on "context" assuming he is using it the way Objectivists typically do, but his post indicates he is using the term to refer to a different concept. 

What differences would you say are present in his statements?

Edited by Plasmatic
Changed pressuposed to "implicit in"

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No one did say they aren't absolutely true in any and all contexts, upon which all knowledge depends

I didn't say that anyone did...

louie said:

So, it will be true in any context, while all truths are true in all contexts. For example, "This apple is a fruit" is always true insofar as it is a fact.

This is a nonsensical statement. We wouldn't have the concept context if this were the case.

Louie said:

 What we know to be true is contextual, including axioms only in the sense we need to look at the world to determine what really is an axiom. After all, the world is a context (universal usually seems to involve an ever-present context at least)! Of course, when something is an axiom in the Objectivist sense, it will never fail to apply. But contextual there isn't anything out of place when talking about knowledge.

The above seems to be missing the entire point. Universal-absolute was an attempt to differentiate from contextually absolute, or universal within a delimited context. Kelly used the term "acontextual" but that can be misconstrued.

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Not Louie. I asked.

Hard to say. Observation of the world comes before knowledge of the world, so it is more "fundamental". On the other hand, the three axioms are things we integrate from observations, even if we do it young and without understanding that we're doing so. In other words, it depends on what you mean by "fundamental".

I'll add another observation though: you seem to have responded to "Reasoner's" comment on "context" assuming he is using it the way Objectivists typically do, but his post indicates he is using the term to refer to a different concept. 

i as well am not clear on where my post indicates a different conception of "context"...

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The above seems to be missing the entire point. Universal-absolute was an attempt to differentiate from contextually absolute, or universal within a delimited context. Kelly used the term "acontextual" but that can be misconstrued.

I see an apple. It is a fruit. This is a fact, and no other fact will change its being a fact. Apples won't be not-fruits in another context, because it's just a matter of reality. However, our concept of fruit may change, or we might lack any concept of fruit.

I probably was missing the point, I don't know what a universal-absolute is, or if you mean a universal which is absolute. I don't know if you're saying there are truths without context, so I only wanted to say that the context is -all- of reality, and for facts, our own personal context is irrelevant. Another way to state my thought is that there is personal context, and there is context of reality itself that keeps going no matter what. "This apple is a fruit" may be a fact, and would then be true regardless of someone knowing it. Personal context here would only mean context of one's knowledge, how it was acquired, all that.

The question, once I looked a little closer, seems to be about how we know our knowledge in a personal context is a fact. Looks like we got the idea of truth being something true regardless of anyone knowing it, but we're still going to need to get at validating knowledge. My knowledge points to paleo being a wrong theory, while Reasoner's knowledge points to paleo being a right theory. Nietzsche's perspectivism is like that - truth is only determined by our perspectives. To avoid that, how does one know when knowledge is a fact?

More on that later.

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What differences would you say are present in his statements?

i as well am not clear on where my post indicates a different conception of "context"...

Scratch that part. On re-reading the post, I see I was wrong.

Edited by softwareNerd

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I decided instead of writing a new post, this article would be better. Note that it's not an Objectivist theory, but the general idea of how to know what is true is by aiming at it to the best of one's ability. That much is at least Objectivist-y, and very Aristotelian! So your little bit about paleo, Reasoner, is like that - we're not talking about "knowing" as a mental schematic, we're talking about how one creates that representation, with skill, like in like Reidy's post.

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/05/25/getting-it-right/?_r=0

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From Getting It Right

In the complacent 1950s, it was received wisdom that we know a given proposition to be true if, and only if, it is true, we believe it to be true, and we are justified in so believing.

We know a given proposition to be true—if, and only if—

  1. it is true
  2. we believe it to be true
  3. we are justified in so believing

Obviously, if we are justified in so believing, it would be true, if we believed it to be true or not.

The introduction of virtue epistemology is just . . . wow.

Virtue epistemology begins by recognizing assertions or affirmations. These can be either public, out loud, or to oneself in the privacy of one’s own mind. An affirmation could have any of many and various aims, and it could even have several at once. It could aim at misleading someone, as when it is a lie. Or it could be aimed at showing off, or at propping someone up, or at instilling confidence in oneself as one enters athletic competition.

Taking an off-the-cuff google search on 'epistemology'  yields:

the theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope. Epistemology is the investigation of what distinguishes justified belief from opinion.

As to misleading someone, fraud comes to mind. Affirmations generated with the aim of persuading someone to part with money because they think they will be getting a return for an investment which is not actually an investment. This is a contextual shift, at minimum.

As to an individual distinguishing what is justified as far as a belief goes, a virtue that comes into play is how it serves one's self to adhere to truth and distance one's self from falsehood, is touched upon in the Objectivist's virtues of integrity, honesty and justice.

 

From Reidy's post, it seems clear that adhering to an objective method of identification does not guarantee arriving at true knowledge with every attempt, but continued adherence to the method does provide the means for correction, should one discover an error at any given point along the way.

 

Edited by dream_weaver

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That part about misleading is an example of an affirmation, not of virtue epistemology. Better to think of knowing what is true by one's adherence to a method and doing it well, exactly how integrity and honesty are relevant to epistemology. It's a lot more selfish to talk about what each of us do as individuals to attain knowledge, rather than only justified true beliefs.

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According to Wikipedia,

Virtue epistemology is a contemporary philosophical approach to epistemology that stresses the importance of intellectual (epistemic) virtues. A distinguishing factor of virtue theories is that they use for the evaluation of knowledge the properties of the persons who hold beliefs in addition to or instead of the properties of propositions and beliefs.

Why this distinction is needed in conjunction with or apart from just determining the property of a proposition as either valid or invalid as the intellectual virtue is the truth or falsehood of the proposition. Isn't this an unnecessary complication in an already complex field?

Edited by dream_weaver
added link

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