[ExI] What can be said to be "wrong", and what is "Truth"

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Thu Oct 2 16:01:55 UTC 2008

Jef writes

> [Lee wrote]
>> I would agree, except that in certain ways we do obviously act
>> as though certain positions or opinions were privileged. I might
>> suggest, for example, that you believe that some of your views
>> concerning the development over time of concept applicability
>> ought to be privileged  :-)
> Lee, are you arguing with a selection of my words, or what you know of
> me (my structure of beliefs?)

I'm arguing with (a few of) the things you wrote, not what I know
of your structure of beliefs, which, sorry, is very vague to me.
(I can hardly be expected to remember all belief nuances of the
many individuals even on this small forum.) So, words are important,
because, especially here, they're all we have to work with.

> I would expect that by now you would be familiar with my repeated
> point that **all** expressions of knowledge entail a subjective point of view.

Well, certainly I have criticized this view, or something similar
to it before. The word "entail" here doesn't help make anything
clear. And we may add that it's not going to be so easy to
be sure we're talking about the same things when you use
the word "knowledge", and perhaps even "subjective". 

I'll try to be clear at at least about what I mean. To me, for
example, knowledge *can* be recorded in books, and the
evidence for that is that there is so much redundancy in
what is written that even those who do not know the language
can decipher what is written. For example, if the entire corpus
of human books, from children's books to all magazines, were
made available to any evolutionarily derived race, be it 
based on silicon or carbon, that race would learn a very
great deal about us. So is all knowledge "subjective"? I don't
think so. It might help if you gave examples of what is objective
---or is that word not in your philosophic vocabulary at all?

As I think it was you who recently said, the human organism
is merely one of many kinds of devices which can store information,
and which can conceivably work to make its maps more accurate.

As for subjective and objective, I mean this: there is a sliding
scale between them, from the mostly subjective (wherein an
entity emits statements having more to do with its values than
with what is factually the case about the world), to the mostly
objective (wherein an entity emits statements that correspond
in an almost certain way with reality, e.g., "the Earth moves
around the sun". I could say much more, except for lack of
time and, on this forum, lack of space.

When you emphasize a word this strongly:

  > **all** expressions of knowledge entail a subjective point of view

it does ring alarm bells, for even when I say "all knowledge is
conjectural" I recognize that some might well-argue that for
an individual, certain facts are not merely conjectural, e.g.,
"I am thinking", or "this device is having thoughts". No statement
is 100% dependable (indeed, it is conjectural, just as our
knowledge is), but some are a *lot* more dependable than
others, e.g. "Japan lost World War II". 

So tricky are all three of those words, "knowledge", "subjective",
and the vagueness of "entail" (when you, as too often you do in
my opinion, do not adduce examples), that no, sorry, but I do
not feel myself to "be familiar with [your] repeated point". 
Indeed, I cannot say I understand it.

Suggestion: try saying "all expressions of knowledge entail
a subjective point of view" in several different ways using
entirely different words, and give examples, and be ready
---as I am---to abandon the use of any word that appears to
be causing trouble between me and my interlocutor.


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