Re: MD Undeniable Facts

From: Matt the Enraged Endorphin (
Date: Sun Apr 13 2003 - 22:36:31 BST

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    Steve asked:
    Platt, do you disagree with the statement "truth is context dependent"?
    Matt, can something be "absolutely true" within a given context?

    Nice. Trying to get Platt and I to square on some middle ground. Very
    tricky of you ;-)

    But, yes, something can be "absolutely true" within a given context. I
    have absolutely no problem whatsoever with that statement. Whenever I've
    used the word "absolute" in the past, I can always hear Platt giggling in
    my head because he thinks I'm contradicting myself. But, as you are
    bringing to light, I'm not. Within a traditionally defined context, the
    statement "All bachelors are single" is absolutely true. Anglophone
    philosophers used to call "All bachelors are single" an "analytic," as
    opposed to "synthetic," statement because it depended solely on the
    definitions of the words, rather than having to "look out into the world"
    to be proven true or false. Quine helped blur the distinction between the
    analytic and synthetic by pointing out that (to mix my Heidegger with my
    Quine) you have to be a being-in-the-world for any sentence to make any
    sense. You have to be in touch with the world, in a sense "look out into
    the world," for even analytic sentences to be true.

    Once you get rid of the assumption that there are true essences to words,
    fixed, discoverable definitions, True-to-the-World contexts, you get rid of
    the philosophical notion of Absolute Truth, because our imaginations can
    always come up with contexts in which an "absolute truth" is made
    false. But, while on the one hand getting rid of Absolute Truth, you don't
    get rid of something being absolutely true. Despite Platt's protestations,
    post-moderns never said they got rid of truth and falsity. To continue to
    say that we do is to rely on a caricature, a strawman, that has been proven
    false time and time again here.


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