RE: virus: maxims and ground rules

TheHermit (
Thu, 13 May 1999 04:53:19 -0500

/me claps gently. Ludwig Josef Johan rocks. But the rest of the Viennese School (Austrian School) did not do half badly either... Of course his interaction with Russell was of huge value to both of them... And to my mind Russel's "On meaning and truth" is definitive and seminal to Godel (Please add the dieresis). All three of them determined that truth requires a meta system to detect. All three, it strikes me, took a distinctly pragmatic view. And I generally attempt to do the same. Perhaps I am just becoming prone to dithering. I hope not.

I thought of all this yesterday morning when I started down the line of considering that a truth may also technically be true without being useful, or without appearing to be useful. Sometimes difficult to tell the difference - as Prof. Tim's example of the finger showed. To my mind, all truth is useful to a thinking mind, but I begin to suspect this might be a minority position :-) For example, my "Blue=Blue" example. Says more about the nature of equality than it does about Blue. So if my interest is focussed on Blue, is any inherent usefulness in the equality marginal? Except to define Blue as a thing upon which the equality operator may function. What happens if the use is marginal to me, but it inspires somebody else? Does that affect the truth value to me? And then there was the moment that I understood why a truth which is based upon an untruth has to be an untruth - irrespective of whether it is either "absolutely true" or if it is useful. Of course, there are many occasions when a "simple" untruth can be preferable to the complexity of "reality" - which is how the addition to the model I proposed - that the "truth" of a model relates directly to the usefulness of the model - came about. It is a little loose but I think doable.

Hermit. < Having fun with some really quool questions - suggesting that all you "ideas in the mind of dave" move over here... this is fun :-) >

> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> []On Behalf
> Of Robin Faichney
> Sent: Thursday, May 13, 1999 3:38 AM
> To:
> Subject: Re: virus: maxims and ground rules
> The truth of a statement depends on its meaning. Where do we go for
> meanings? A dictionary, which is made up of statements.
> Seems to me the only way forward on truth is through meaning. And the
> only good definition of meaning I know, which wholly avoids the
> foregoing circularity is Wittgenstein's: meaning is use in a given
> context. In which case, I think: truth is usefulness.
> --
> Robin