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The sole purpose of the "English Kinda Thing" is to document my attempts to correct my own mistakes in standard English usage and to share the resources I find. In no way do I attempt to teach nobody English through these blurbs--just as I intend not to teach nobody to be a neurotic and psychotic handicap in Ratology Reloaded or Down with Meds! :-)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Russell, B. (1921). Truth and falsehood

Given time constraints, this post shall benchmark the end of my exploration with Bertrand Russell's notions.

Russell, B. (1921). Truth and falsehood The Analysis of Mind (pp. 253--278). London: G. Allen & Unwin.

Reminds me of "the confusion of interpretations."
"A belief is rendered true or false by relation to a fact, which may lie outside the experience of the person entertaining the belief.  Truth and falsehood, except in the case of beliefs about our own minds, depend upon the relations of mental occurrences to outside things, and thus take us beyond the analysis of mental occurrences as they are in themselves." (p. 253)

Four views of knowledge Russel discussed
"I. We may regard knowledge, from a behaviourist standpoint, as exhibited in a certain kind of response to the environment.
"II. We may hod that the beliefs that constitute knowledge are distinguished from such as are erroneous or uncertain by properties which are intrinsic either to single beliefs or to systems of beliefs, being in either cases discoverable without reference to outside fact.
"III. We believe that some beliefs are true and some false.  This raises the problem of verifiability: are there any circumstances which can justifiably give us an unusual degree of certainty that such and such a belief is true?
"IV. Finally, there is the formal problem of defining truth and falsehood, and deriving the objective reference of a proposition from the meanings of its component words." (p. 254)

As psychotics, we as the instruments are deemed to yield inaccurate measure given the nature of our condition.  As a result, we have to use the others to provide the accurate measure albeit with our intrinsic doubts about their response, given that what they provide are deemed to be different from results of our own assessment.
"I... we may say that an instrument is accurate ... when
(a) It gives different response to stimuli which differ in relevant ways;
(b) It gives the same response to stimuli which do not differ in relevant ways.
What are relevant ways depends upon the nature and purpose of the instrument." (p. 256)

Can't agree more... how otherwise did I end up in the psychiatric ward? lol
"a person who always believes falsely is just as sensible an instrument as a person who always believes truely.  The observable and practical differences between them would be that the one who always believed falsely would quickly come to a bad end." (p. 261)
" This illustrates once more that accuracy of response to stimulus does not alone show knowledge, but must be reinforced by appropriateness, i.e. suitability for realizing one's purpose.... if the purpose of the answer is to deceive, their falsehood, not their truth, will be evidence of knowledge." (p. 261)

Establishing that no intrinsic criterion suggested will suffice to distinguish true from false beliefs
"(1) Self-evidence.-- Some of our beliefs seem to be peculiarly indubitable.... such beliefs have some recognizable quality which secures their truth, and the truth of whatever is reduced from them according to self-evident principles of inference."(p. 262)
"[concerning judgment of perceptions, our] subjective certainty is usually a result of habit, and may lead us astray in circumstances which are unusual in ways of which we are unaware.
For such reason, no form of self-evidences seems to afford an absolute criterion of truth." (p. 266)
"(2) Coherence... nowadays most men admit that beliefs must  be tested by observation, and not merely by the fact that they harmonize with other beliefs.  A consistent fairytalbe is a different thing from truth, however elaborate it may be." (p. 268)

The major plight of psychotics... lol 8-X
"III. Many difficult problems arise as regards the verifiability of belief." (p. 268)
Let me know when someone figure this out.  That would help me big time in living with psychosis.
"The question of verifiability is in essence this: can we discover any set of beliefs which are never mistaken, or any test which, when applicable, will always enable us to discriminate between true and false belief?" (p. 268)
Oops... shit out of luck...
"the answer must be negative.  There is no way hitherto discovered of wholly eliminating the risk of error, and no infallible criterion." (p.269)
"If the occurrence, when it comes, gives us the feeling of expectedness, and if the expectation, beforehand, enabled us to act in a way which proves appropriate to the occurrence, that must be held to constitute the maximum of verification.: (p. 270)

How we delusionals learn our delusions etc...
"We can gradually discover what kinds of beliefs tend to be verified by experience, and what kind tend to be falsified; to the former kinds we give an increased degree of assent, to the latter kinds a diminished degree." (p. 271)

"IV. Just as a word has meaning, so a proposition has an objective reference.  The objective reference of a proposition is a function (in the mathematical sense) of the meanings of its component words.  But the objective reference differs from the meaning of a word through the duality of truth and false.  You may believe the proposition "today is Tuesday"... when today is Tuesday, your belief that it is Tuesday points towards the fact, whereas when today is not Tuesday your belief points away from the fact.  Thus the objective reference of a belief is not determined by the fact alone, but by the direction of the belief towards or away from the fact." (p. 272)
"This mode of stating the nature of the objective reference of a proposition is necessitated by the circumstance that there are true and false propositions, but not true and false fact." ( P. 272)
"it is better to adopt a slightly different phraseology, and say: The "meaning" of the proposition "today is Tuesday" consists in pointing to the fact "today is Tuesday" if that is a fact, or away from the fact "today is not Tuesday" if that is a fact... By this hypothetical form we are able to speak of the meaning of a proposition without knowing whether it is true or false.  According to this definition, we know the meaning of a proposition when we know what would make it true and what would make it false, even if we do not know whether it is in fact true or false." (p. 273)

What has been discussed:
"(1) Positive and negative facts;
(2) Image-propositions, which may be believed or disbelieved, but do not allow any duality of content corresponding to positive and negative facts;
(3) Word-propositions, which are always positive facts, but are of two kinds: one verified by a positive objective, the other by a negative objective." (p. 276-277)

I like the concluding words for this chapter
"I do not believe that the above formal theory is untrue, but I do believe that it is inadequate. It does not, for example, through any light upon our preference for true beliefs rather than false ones.  This preference is only explicable by taking account of the causal efficacy of beliefs, and of the greater appropriateness of the responses resulting from true beliefs.  But appropriateness depends upon purpose, and purpose thus becomes a vital part of theory of knowledge." (p. 278)

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