More Wikipedia Posturing

8 Jul

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pragmatism#Pragmatist_theory_of_truth_and_epistemology

The linked section is mostly an appeal to common sense.  Some of it is compelling, but some of it makes me cringe.  Notice the unjustified attachment to long-term viability over short-term expedience.  How do you justify that over short-term viability except by some arbitrary edict of common sense?  It’s a hanging assumption.  If philosophy is just about stating the obvious and/or analyzing the obvious, then why would it even exist?  Think about it(maybe even philosophize a little).  This type of ‘glory by decree’ behavior contributes to philosophy’s bad reputation with scientists.  I like scientists, and I’m not interested in flinging wizepoop at them.

My considerations of truth involve taking the role of accessibility seriously.  This implies a deflationary view of the ideal god-view knower.  That’s why I talk about the limits of ‘Platonism’.

Basically, truth is not ‘just there’ to be ‘known’.  Knowing(and so determining and even defining T/F) involves specificity, context, interpreters, instrumentation, complexity, surplus(and so the supporting infrastructure thereof..which would include values), organization, sorting, public/private dynamics, temporal concerns, gauges, considerations of scale and symmetry, etc.

While I’m well-aware that nearly all of us have this toy-model “God-view” Platonist idealization of the total situation/world-state(which seems to be what the author(s) in question are alluding to…that placeholder of the imagination that represents ‘the world’ which is out of view)…what I’m implying is that this toy-model is probably invalid when taken too seriously/absolutely.  Also, just because we perceive a ‘history tracer’ as human beings via our memories does not mean that ‘history is real’ in the idealized sense we commonly perceive and imply.  I’m not implying that history is irrelevant or unreal.  I only mean to suggest that we can’t always take our common sense at face value if we want to do serious philosophy.  That’s all.  Science has had to learn that difficult lesson time and time again.

The whole notion of ‘truth’ is far too idealized in the entry.  There is probably such thing as ‘intratruth'(in complex systems).  Scales of verification and being.  Blah blah blah.  It’s frustrating to see all of this hand-waved over with this sort of glib treatment.

The use of common sense examples in this case, such as a true or false belief about a cheating spouse, only courts further embarrassment.  After all, recognizing and defining such a thing as a ‘cheating spouse’ requires a very complex brain, excess energy to dissipate in service of consideration of these domestic intrigues, social context and history(probably including a certain value set), ideals about what it is that one does with ‘truth'(namely, acts on it for some imagined advantage/personal optimization[what of the construct of the Self, then?  Why not also consider these assumptions!  What of the role of stability, games, strategy, yadda ,etc, so forth and so on….?])

In summary:  good lawd!  It’s just not that simple, and we’re just not that special.  I believe it will be philosophically minded scientists who do the heavy lifting on these topics.  Eventually, much of our remaining common sense will be hung out to dry.  Can’t wait.  

Now, who doesn’t have such ticklish assumptions?

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