a little bit about truth

No mention was made in my last entry about truth–and isn’t that what thinking is all about? Hmm, maybe–and it’s my understanding that philosophy deals a lot with the concept of truth. I actually won’t spend a lot of time with truth right now for two reasons. First, I think my use of the “most likely” principle is a generalized version of what truth means. Secondly, I think that truth usually is defined roughly as an abstraction that matches reality (eg, the statement “apples are edible” can be considered a true statement, but it is a statement, not the reality of apples being edible, even if all apples really are edible)–but the problem is that at a very deep level, an abstraction can never exactly match reality, because it is not identical with reality. Oh boy, is that splitting hairs or what! Nevertheless, seeking for truth masks or hides an implicit assumption, that at every level there is an abstraction that matches reality and that there is no set of differences between the abstraction and the reality. The problem is that part of my uncovering the meaning of reality will be exposed by thinking about this set of differences, which I have concluded is not null (my statement that the abstraction is not identical to reality). Tricky and subtle indeed. For example, to seek after truth would prevent investigation into the idea that reality (sensory input) is just someone else’s (God’s?) internal abstraction that I happen to have sensory connections to.

So, for now, I will not be concerned about seeking after truth. It’s really not that important, I think, anyway–unless you are hoping to find evidence of God in “absolute truth”, whatever that means! I certainly will go after the process of finding God, but not this way. Too many assumptions make this a path that I suspect is futile–the abstraction will have too high a probability of just being pointless. I’m much more concerned, not with truth itself, but rather with determining what kinds of useful abstractions *can* be built from my sensory input and memories. In other words, I want to go a level above just trying to find truth, but rather try to assess the *category* of abstractions that can be built and then describe the kind of *connection* that can be made to reality. Truth just becomes a subset of this set of abstractions–and shockingly enough, I suspect a not very useful one!!! This is partly because of that non-null set of differences. My alma mater’s motto was “The Truth Shall Set You Free”, but I disagree, because I think it should be reworded to “Understanding What Truth Is Will Really Set You Free”… :-). But understanding what reality and abstractions are is really important, and that’s where I’m going to spend some time for now.

In fact, I realized–that set of differences I mentioned, and probably sounds like hair-splitting? It’s critically important! An accurate set description will *define* reality. At the same time, it will define the idea of an abstraction. What is also fascinating, is that the description of this set (not the set itself) is an abstraction. The difference between this abstraction, and the actual set of differences between reality and an abstraction of that reality, composes another set. This set of sets of differences, along with the original abstraction, will eventually asymptotically approach reality, assuming that the original abstraction is accurate enough that this process doesn’t diverge. So–one conclusion that maybe could be drawn (I’m not ready to jump to this conclusion, but it’s worth thinking about) is that at some level, reality must be an abstraction, not just described by it.

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