IAI @philofbrains: “After the End of Truth”

A generation raised on Foucault and Derrida has learned to distrust claims to objective truth. Yet the mantra that ‘there is no truth’ is a paradox. Do we need a new conception of fantasy and reality to free us from the tyranny of truthmakers and the paradoxes of postmodernists alike?

Philosopher John Searle, post-postmodernist Hilary Lawsonand Historian of Ideas at Kings College London Hannah Dawson untangle the truth.

This video was produced by The Institute of Art and Ideas and is republished here with permission.  It was filmed at HowTheLightGetsIn 2015 alongside 200 other debates and talks, all available for free at IAI TV. Their new podcast, Philosophy for our times, is available here.


One Comment

  1. Is objectivity necessarily Platonic?
    If Searle, Lawson, Dawson are representative of the generation raised on Foucault and Derrida that has learned to distrust claims to objective ‘Truth’, it is difficult to see how they can help untangle such ‘Truth’ given the absence, in their debate, of a recognition that our development of a mechanical intelligence exposes the inadequacy—if not the fallacy—of any Platonic (can it really be termed as objective?) ‘Truth’ that implicitly reflects the classical perspective which they implicitly seem to have inherited from traditional logicians such as Kurt Goedel (a self-confessed Platonist) and Alfred Tarski.

    Both logicians were apparently predisposed (as seem the three participants of the debate) to hold that an objective ‘Truth’ cannot be evidence-based, but is an ubiquitous attribute of the panpsychistic content which precedes both the mathematical language that seeks to describe the content and its logic. For Goedel the ‘Truth’ of a proposition was essentially a discovery—eerily akin to a revelation—of an objective ‘fact’; for Tarski the ‘Truth’ of the proposition ‘Snow is white’ was also dependent on whether or not it is an objective ‘fact’ that snow is, indeed, white.

    Such perspectives fail to admit that development of a mechanical intelligence (probe) that is seeking the existence of an alter ego beyond our solar system—which would signify the presence of an advanced extra-terrestrial intelligence in our universe—mandates recognising that:

    (i) language precedes logic, which precedes both provability and truth;

    (ii) a well-defined logic of a language is merely a set of deterministic rules that can constructively assign unique, and verifiable, values of objective, evidence-based, truth and provability to the propositions of a language (such as the first order Peano Arithmetic PA) so as to ensure that the language can adequately represent and unambiguously communicate the content for which it is designed (the properties of the natural numbers in the case of PA);

    (iii) although we can conceptualise what there is within individual paradigms, of that which is common to individual paradigms we can unambiguously communicate only that which we can express in a language with a well-defined logic.

    The philosophical significance of such a perspective is highlighted in the following paper which is due to appear in the December 2016 issue of ‘Cognitive Systems Research’:

    The Truth Assignments That Differentiate Human Reasoning From Mechanistic Reasoning: The Evidence-Based Argument for Lucas’ Goedelian Thesis

    The definitional approach to ‘logic’ and ‘evidence-based truth’ offers fresh insight into how a human intelligence can consistently assign algorithmically verifiable truth values of True/False to the propositions of a well-defined language, whilst a mechanical intelligence can consistently only assign algorithmically computable truth values of True/False to such propositions.

    Searle’s Chinese Room
    A significant consequence is that whereas a mechanical intelligence would conclude that Goedel’s famous ‘undecidable’ proposition [(Ax)R(x)] is algorithmically uncomputable as true, hence False, when interpreted over the domain N of the natural numbers, a human intelligence would conclude that the proposition is algorithmically verifiable as true, hence True, when interpreted over N; thus resolving Searle’s Chinese Room Test in favour of Lucas’ Goedelian Thesis.

    The EPR paradox
    That such a definitional approach to ‘logic’ and ‘evidence-based truth’ could also offer fresh insight into, and possible resolution of, some of the philosophically troubling abstractions of the physical sciences is the subject of the following paper, presented in July 2015 at the ‘Workshop on Emergent Logics’ presented at Unilog 2015, 5th World Congress and School on Universal Logic, at the University of Istanbul, Turkey:

    Algorithmically Verifiable Logic vis a vis Algorithmically Computable Logic: Could resolving EPR need two complementary Logics?

    CSR paper: https://foundationalperspectives.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/28_human_reasoning_v_mechanistic_reasoning_update.pdf

    Unilog 2015 paper: https://foundationalperspectives.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/42_resolving_epr_unilog_2015_full_paper.pdf


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