Tuesday, November 08, 2011

A thought whose being consists in its being true?

The question being discussed here about truthmakers has some affinity with a question discussed by Frege in his late essay “Negation”. He compares grasp of a thought with understanding of a question. And, just as we can understand a question without understanding the correct answer, so he argues that there cannot be a thought ‘whose being consists in its being true’
The content of a question is that as to which we must decide. Consequently truth cannot be counted as going along with the content of the question. When I raise the question whether the Sun is bigger than the Moon, I am seeing the sense of the interrogative sentence 'Is the Sun bigger than the Moon?' Now if this sense were a thought whose being consisted in its being true, then I should at the same time see that this sense was true. Grasping the sense would at the same time be an act of judging; and the utterance of the interrogative sentence would at the same time be an assertion, and so an answer to the question. But in an interrogative sentence neither the truth nor the falsity of the sense may be asserted. Hence an interrogative sentence has not as its sense something whose being consists in its being true.
[...]
And since the sense of an interrogative sentence is always also inherent in the assertoric sentence that gives an answer to the question, this separation must be carried out for assertoric sentences too. It is a matter of what we take the word 'thought' to mean. In any case, we need a short term for what can be the sense of an interrogative sentence. I call this a thought. If we use language this way, not all thoughts are true. The being of a thought thus does not consist in its being true. (Negation, from Translations from Philosophical Writings of Gottlob Frege, ed. Peter Geach, p.125).
I wonder if a ‘truthmaker’ as understood by the advocates of truthmaking is the same sort of thing as Frege’s marvelous but impossible thought. Something that if we perceived it for what it was, would simultaneously communicate to us the truth of what it includes.

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21 Comments:

Blogger Anthony said...

Are there any advocates of truthmaking (specifically, people who believe that, for *all* propositions, a truthmaker exists) who are nominalists?

I mean, it's one thing to say that one can perceive that the watch is on the table. It's quite another to say that one can perceive that 777+555=1332.

1:56 pm  
Blogger Anthony said...

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2:05 pm  
Blogger Anthony said...

In fact, even nominalists, I would think, agree that there are things which exist which cannot be directly perceived.

2:10 pm  
Blogger Edward Ockham said...

>>In fact, even nominalists, I would think, agree that there are things which exist which cannot be directly perceived.
<<

Certainly, and many nominalists vote Republican, I am sure.

3:04 pm  
Blogger J said...

In fact, even nominalists, I would think, agree that there are things which exist which cannot be directly perceived.

you were arguing just the opposite like yesterday. Must have been Russell's example of the conjunction (contra--empiricist-nominalists..from "Scope"). Maybe finish Lord Russell's Problems of Phil. and start over.


And..what is your take on Russell's "and" chestnut Sir Ock.

5:29 pm  
Blogger Anthony said...

Was I arguing the opposite-like yesterday, or was I arguing the opposite like-yesterday? I don't remember doing either. Maybe you misunderstood me.

2:06 am  
Blogger Anthony said...

To wit, and perhaps to raise a strawman, yesterday I said we can perceive particular instances of watch-on-tableness. So yes, yesterday I said that we can directly perceive some things that exist. I didn't say we can directly perceive everything that exists. In fact, "everything that exists" is a good example. Can we directly perceive existence? Not part of existence, but existence?

2:20 am  
Blogger J said...

You did say all knowledge was a matter of empiricism--ie observation-- a few days ago-- like your denial of the pythagorean theorem (though I don't think you understand the realism/nominalism debate).

2:29 am  
Blogger Anthony said...

I said that observation is the base of all knowledge. That is not identical to a claim that everything can be directly perceived.

Also, I did not deny the Pythagorean theorem. I said that it was contextual (like, for instance, Newton's laws of motion). I denied that math holds an advantage over science in being absolute/non-contextual.

12:10 pm  
Blogger Anthony said...

All this being said, I think we were led astray by the blog owners statement that "A truthmaker is something that makes a proposition true at a given time." This makes it sound like something reasonable. But so far as I can tell, it is not.

Armstrong says that a truthmaker "is just some existent, some portion of reality, in virtue of which that truth is true". And even that makes it sound reasonable. But it hinges on what he means by "in virtue of", which seems to be where we go off into the fantasies of "possible worlds".

Before "J" points out the fact that I don't understand truthmaker theory, I'm going to state it right now. I don't understand it. So far as I can tell, it doesn't make sense.

12:24 pm  
Blogger Edward Ockham said...

>>I don't understand it. So far as I can tell, it doesn't make sense.

I'm in broad agreement here.

3:12 pm  
Blogger J said...

A says do you know Al, Al the guy who runs the pizza joint? B--say a courier who must contact Al--says
No. A says "Al is fat, real fat".B says, like obese,300 lbs ormore? A says "yes". B says, "OK, Ill look for him". So..A and B have some notion of obesity don't they (as does say the AMA)?--a universal of sorts, however basic. And they have an idea (or concept) of a particular, "Al". Or, a human named Al, who falls in the class of Obesity (and other things--pizza guy for one). He could be "01010100" as well (say he has an employees # "01010100"-- so as to avoid the naming issue).

So B drives across town, and locates the joint, and the fat guy is in there. "Are you AL" says B. Al says, yeah. "This is for you" and hands him the package--on new ovens or something.

Returning to the courier office, A says "did you find Al"? Yes, says B."That is true. I found Al". A say, "he's real fat right." S says, Yes, says B, "Al is fat".

Now, you deny Al is the truthmaker, of "Al is fat"? Any other details about Al are not relevant (except perhaps to finding him). And of course like about imaginable object fat Al is in space. We don't have to say Al-behind-counterness, or Al-in-the office,etc. A spatial location is given (ie, Al exists somewhere in the coordinates of the shop). And that is the case with most factual statements. Subject and predicate. The rest is just description (in the shop, at the office,etc) Syntactically as well, the prepositions are "secondary"to noun and verb (or adjective predicate--and often adjectivals are universals of sort--fat/skinny, hot/cold, red/blue, "beautiful/ugly"-- even if informal in a sense).

Cognitive realism if you will.

7:15 pm  
Blogger Anthony said...

>> Now, you deny Al is the truthmaker, of "Al is fat"?

That's an interesting question. Is the fat guy who runs the pizza joint the truthmaker of "The fat guy who runs the pizza joint is fat"?

7:42 pm  
Blogger Anthony said...

A: You know Al?
B: No, who's Al?
A: Al is the guy who runs the pizza joint.
B: Which one? There are two people who run the pizza joint.
A: Al is the fat one.
B: Oh, okay, the fat one, yeah I know who you're talking about.
A: Al is fat.
B: He sure is.

7:52 pm  
Blogger Anthony said...

A: Hey, B.
B: Wassup?
A: You know Al, right?
B: Yeah, the fat guy who runs the pizza joint.
A: Turns out Al is not Al, and Al's not a guy! Al is actually Linda, and Al's a girl.
B: Wow, I'd never have guess that. So Al is not Al, huh?
A: Yeah, it's pretty crazy, but it's true.

8:02 pm  
Blogger J said...

In that case you confirmed the fact- statement (or proposition, or "sense" of the statement per Frege). So you say something made the statement true (ie, confirmation,verification, correspondence etc).

Or per Russell--"Al the pizza guy is fat":

∃x[(Px & ∀y(Py → x=y)) & x ="Al" & Fx]. Mo' or less.

8:11 pm  
Blogger Anthony said...

A: Hey, B.
B: Wassup?
A: You know Al, right?
B: Yeah, the fat guy who runs the pizza joint, who's actually a fat girl named Linda.
A: Al lost weight! It all happened the week before we first spoke about Al.
B: Wow, so Al is not only not Al, and not a guy, but Al's not fat either!
A: Exactly... Actually, it turns out Al isn't even human.
B: No way! How can Al not be human? Isn't Al necessarily human? Isn't Al human in all possible worlds?
A: Nope. As it turns out, Al's not even human in this world. Al is the result of a top-secret government program. Al is a robot.
B: Wow. So Al, the fat guy who runs the pizza shop, is a skinny girl robot named Linda. And here I thought that ∃x[(Px & ∀y(Py → x=y)) & x ="Al" & Fx]. Mo' or less.

9:03 pm  
Blogger J said...

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9:12 pm  
Blogger J said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:18 pm  
Blogger Anthony said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:25 pm  
Blogger J said...

Yes,your non sequiturs, and clueless, nihilist writing. You're the perp here, Byro (and being traced).


Actually it's the hypothetical--Billy Mav's fave tactic-- that frightens the nominalist (or pseudo-nominalist in Ayn's case). What of..."Limbaugh is fat"??? A truth , and...to someone--a foreigner-- who didn't know it..they merely look at him, and confirm it.


To reiterate: So you say something made the statement true (ie, confirmation,verification, correspondence etc). Ie, the object "Al" (or Rush) belongs in the class of the obese.

Or per Russell--"Al the pizza guy is fat":

∃x[(Px & ∀y(Py → x=y)) & x ="Al" & Fx]. Mo' or less.

maybe google for a few days, until you get it, "Aynthony" (again, the stupid, derailing response--looks exactly like the MO of the thug I mentioned, Ock)

10:39 pm  

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