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Epistemology question

 
 
Reply Mon 2 Jan, 2012 02:58 pm
Can there be reason without truth? If so, how can we identify what what reasons with and without truth are?
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Lustig Andrei
 
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Reply Mon 2 Jan, 2012 03:23 pm
@surfaceair,
It's possible to excercise reason in perfectly valid ways and still not necessarily arrive at the "truth" or even at justifyable facts. Exercising perfectly good reasoning and judgement, based on observed phenomena, Aristotle came to the conclusion that a body at rest will remain at rest. Today we accept that a body in motion will remain in motion unless something stops it. Perfectly sound reasoning was used in both cases.
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fresco
 
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Reply Mon 2 Jan, 2012 03:44 pm
@surfaceair,
In abstract terms, "truth" is an aspect of set theory and standard mathematical necessity. For example if A contains B and B contains C, the A contains C. We tend to model reasoning about the world on such abstractions as in the syllogism. But the assignment of "truth values" for set membership (i.e the choice of axioms) is a social or paradigmatic convention, (Barack Obama could have red hair as far as syllogistic logic is concerned). Nor, can we ascribe universality to many statements about "reality" because unknown contextual variables can delimit the application of axioms We therefore pay lip service to the models, and settle for probabilistic reasoning and induction, rather than truth/certainty. This has led to the pragmatists concept of "truth" as "what works subject to revision".

So "reason" is the tentative application off fruitful mathematical models, but with "consistency" replacing "truth" as an epistemological criterion. I am fond of the example of Clerk-Maxwell's equations for electromagnetism which were axiomatically based on the assumption of an elastic medium called "the luminiferous ether". Later rejection of the existence of the ether did nothing to mar the "success" of the equations in predicting electromagnetic observations. Indeed, as far as "consistency" is concerned in physics,the properties of symmetry and elegance have proved to be more epistemologically fruitful than "truthful axioms".


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joefromchicago
 
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Reply Mon 2 Jan, 2012 10:44 pm
@surfaceair,
surfaceair wrote:

Can there be reason without truth? If so, how can we identify what what reasons with and without truth are?

How is that an epistemology question?
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Procrustes
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Jan, 2012 05:46 am
@surfaceair,
Quote:
Can there be reason without truth?

I think it's possible... It's called lying. Wink
Quote:
If so, how can we identify what what reasons with and without truth are?

It may be just me but I have trouble understanding that question. Could you reprhase?
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