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Old 08-04-2011, 12:24 AM
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Default Nature of "truth?"

Since Eltu and I managed to discuss this for 2 nights in a row on IRC, it's obviously quite interesting.

IMO, logic, as a system of formal symbol manipulation, is an absolute throughout the universe (indeed, all conceivable universes) and is, by definition, true in all cases.

Also, have an article: Yudkowsky - The Simple Truth

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Old 08-04-2011, 12:41 AM
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States of being might be absolute (Though it is interesting how quantum mechanics and the observer effect plays into this. Could a state have been different before we observed it? Schrodinger's Cat is a good example of how observation can play a role on the relativistic level of existance, same with the double-slit experiment. These are simple situations, but we may have yet to see what other situations these rules apply on), but how people choose to interpret them varies, and what value they hold in the big picture, changes. 2+2 may be 4 and the sky may be blue, but what is 4? And what is blue? How we define systems has a large part to do with the values that we apply to them in our use of them.

It's even interesting to see just how far this can go. For example, in 1984, O'Brian made Winston Smith believe that 2 and 2 made 5.

So in the end, states may be absolute, but our self-implied values to them are not, and in real-world situations, the latter is the more important. In the end, what we interpret and believe to be "truth" is all that matters. That even applies to science. All science can tell us is the absolute nature of a state, we still must interpret the data.
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Old 08-04-2011, 12:56 AM
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It just matters how objective someone is when seeking truth, based on third party perspective, imo.

I forsee this thread getting very long and complicated, and am glad I posted my tiny opinion this early on
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Old 08-04-2011, 07:29 PM
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Nature of truth is always unpleasant, and that is why we have great difficulties accepting it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tsyal Makto View Post
So in the end, states may be absolute, but our self-implied values to them are not, and in real-world situations, the latter is the more important. In the end, what we interpret and believe to be "truth" is all that matters. That even applies to science. All science can tell us is the absolute nature of a state, we still must interpret the data.
Science is about having a good enough approximation or model of something that it can be applied in practice so that it fits our small spectrum of needs. As a rather simple species, our needs and means of perception are so limited, than even the most basic models usually suit us just fine.
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Old 08-04-2011, 08:08 PM
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That's a good point. There's a lot of uncertainty in science (rounding values/significant digits, factor of error, statistical [in]significance, etc). Our means of qualitating and quantifying data can never be exact. Sure, we might be able to calculate theoretical results (still limited by digits and rounding), but there will always likely be some deviation during actual observation.

And then still we must interpret this non-exact data, and how to apply it in the real world.
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"Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy **** we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off." - Tyler Durden

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Old 08-05-2011, 02:19 AM
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Truth is what can be observed, and a hypothesis formed, theories upheld or discredited. Simple
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Old 08-05-2011, 08:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tsyal Makto View Post
2+2 may be 4 and the sky may be blue, but what is 4?
1+1+1+1. SSSS0. The successor of 3.

Quote:
And what is blue?
Pick your arbitrary constants. The wavelengths 400-500nm specify a good chunk of what I consider "blue."

Quote:
How we define systems has a large part to do with the values that we apply to them in our use of them.
This only really becomes an issue when you start trying to apply mathematics/logic to the real world. When you're operating in pure logic, "values" shouldn't come into it.

Quote:
It's even interesting to see just how far this can go. For example, in 1984, O'Brian made Winston Smith believe that 2 and 2 made 5.
You can make that work. It won't give you the same results as arithmetic where 2+2=4, but it's no less "right," assuming it's axioms hold. (Though in this case, the axioms don't reflect the boring place called reality, and so it's not as practically useful.)

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Originally Posted by Tsyal Makto View Post
That's a good point. There's a lot of uncertainty in science (rounding values/significant digits, factor of error, statistical [in]significance, etc). Our means of qualitating and quantifying data can never be exact. Sure, we might be able to calculate theoretical results (still limited by digits and rounding), but there will always likely be some deviation during actual observation.
But our quantification of data can be precise in their fuzzyness.
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Old 08-05-2011, 11:53 PM
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You can only really know the truth when you know everything. And that's unlikely. Therefore, 'truth' in both science and society can be considered relative at best, as the actual, real truth is incredibly hard to get a hold of.
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Old 08-06-2011, 12:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clarke View Post
1+1+1+1. SSSS0. The successor of 3.


Pick your arbitrary constants. The wavelengths 400-500nm specify a good chunk of what I consider "blue."


This only really becomes an issue when you start trying to apply mathematics/logic to the real world. When you're operating in pure logic, "values" shouldn't come into it.


You can make that work. It won't give you the same results as arithmetic where 2+2=4, but it's no less "right," assuming it's axioms hold. (Though in this case, the axioms don't reflect the boring place called reality, and so it's not as practically useful.)


But our quantification of data can be precise in their fuzzyness.
(I'm on a phone, so this will just be something quick.)

Blue is on those wavelengths because that is the method of quantitative analysis that we have invented, with a number system we created to grasp these quantities. An alien race might have a completely different way of quantifying states. Yes, the actual wavelengths that blue occupies may be constant, but how we quantify them can vary, and thus the value we assign to blue. The same basic logic for placing value on 3.

Oh yeah, I totally forgot about that calculus trick to make 4 = 5. My fault, but you know what I'm getting at.

And that's also what I'm getting at. Things can be pretty precise on paper, but that's not the way things work in the real world (where "truth" of any value exists), where we must apply value to them to make them useful. But that still brings in the issue of our systems of quantifying things (on paper), and possible non-precision in calculation.

I guess my view can be summed up in a word: relativity. In fact, I think the fact that something like "debate" exists is the ultimate proof of the relative nature of truth. It's all in the eye of the beholder (or a whole civilization of beholders).

Chew on that a while. I'm off the rest of the night.

Edit: A member named ZenitYerkes once posted a thread about relativity in relation to geocentrism. If someone can dig that up, it would be a good addition to this thread.
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"You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling." - Inception

"Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy **** we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off." - Tyler Durden

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Old 08-13-2011, 09:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tsyal Makto View Post
I guess my view can be summed up in a word: relativity. In fact, I think the fact that something like "debate" exists is the ultimate proof of the relative nature of truth. It's all in the eye of the beholder (or a whole civilization of beholders).
Is A=A relative? Is the excluded middle relative? (i.e. can a single proposition be both right and wrong simultaneously?) Is inference relative?

And if you're answer to the last one is "yes," why do you think that?

Quote:
Edit: A member named ZenitYerkes once posted a thread about relativity in relation to geocentrism. If someone can dig that up, it would be a good addition to this thread.
This one?
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Old 08-13-2011, 10:13 PM
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truth.. everyone is creating one's own kind of. The universe exists.. yeah, earth too.. Yeah. This is truth.

But truth seen from mankind's eyes... There simply does exist nothing like that.
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Old 08-14-2011, 04:14 AM
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I believe that truth is a matter of perspective. That is, we all form our own idea of a truth from what we believe to be the most logical explanation for something. There are many truth's out there yet some gain more ground then others because more people believe it to be true.
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Old 08-14-2011, 08:29 AM
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I think there is an objective truth. I reject the concept of relative truth because I think similar to to Ludig Wittgenstein: there are no true philosophical problems, there are only problems created by the flexibility of our language (our ability to communicate with each other in general).

Mathematics and logic is the manipulation of quantities and relationships. We can only express such things in terms of symbols

Likewise, in regards to differences in ethics/morals, such distinctions exist because people are unable to fully communicate the experiences from which they stem from. Many people who go and fight in a war often come back thinking that war is not a glorious affair. But when said person is talking to someone who thinks otherwise, a person who was raised on patriotic ideals that war is a beautiful affair, how can the veteran hope to communicate his or her viewpoint with mere words? Words are just a shadow of the experience. If he or she could fully share his or her experiences with the other somehow (and vice-versa), each would come to shared worldview. In a debate, all that exists are virtually insurmountable communication barriers.

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Old 08-14-2011, 01:22 PM
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I think Banefull put the idea of communications-breakdown very well there. I do not believe it is possible for any person to communicate or understand another, as persona experience, life experience will always dictate the lens through which things are seen. This includes every single thing you have ever experienced, ever, and every interpretation ever made in response to such events. That builds up learning, learning builds up views.

As for the 'one truth'... I really do not believe it exists. Maybe it exists from a human standpoint, through maths, through science etc... But that really is seen through our own eyes, as a singular race, using a singular (and actually generally limited) set of standardised symbols to express values of things. I often ask myself, what if another race came to this planet, but it was their own branch of mathematics or science that allowed them to do so, a language far more complex than ours that allowed them to manipulate things in ways we couldn't even concieve, that we deemed 'impossible', because our limitations of what our language could tell us. Maybe just as there is something between '1' and '3' called '2', there is also something between '1' and '1'... We just can't percieve it that way. (Mainly because the whole idea of mathematics branched off from the idea of objects and the number of objects as a physical reference. 1 apple is always 1 apple... But maybe if we built things from a non-physicalised standpoint...)

(This probably doesn't make any sense, but I thought i'd just let my mind roam, see what people thought.)
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Old 08-15-2011, 02:58 AM
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I understand what you mean Fkeu.
I especially like the idea of mathematics as being symbols and symbols can be valued differently according to whoever sees it.
One of my favourite quotes relating to truth is this:
"Nothing is true, everything is permitted" Basically it means that when you learn to understand that barriers in society are artificial and put in place according to something that is held to be "true". Once you understand that truth can be constructed then you can be somewhat free to break through those barriers and also you can be free to not be constrained into thinking about the world according to a school of thought..

There are many "truth's" out there because people interpret things differently but concrete truths are normally interpreted by the majority of people to be reasonable.
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