Time is one of the necessary conditions of existence. Time envelops all existents. Without time there would be no existents. In sum, existence is inconceivable without time. But the concept of time comes into existence from life as awareness. The source of the concept of time is awareness: awareness of the past, of the present moment of awareness (which is shattered by continuity), and of possibility in the future. In fact, time and awareness could be said to be "consubstantial". Time is the essence of awareness. Awareness is the basis of time, since time cannot but come to be through awareness.
We know two versions of time: measured time and lived time. Measured time is its division into seconds, minutes, hours, days, years, eras, etc. It has a history going back to the birth of civilizations. Lived time is the memory of the past and the thought of the future. It cannot however be divided into equal, measurable lapses the way measured time is.
Lived time is usually categorized into past, present, and future, but in fact there is no present at all: it is the future going into the past. The most that can be said of the present is that it is the instant of recognition which has been measured as 1/24th of a second
(42 msecs). Beyond this, the present does not last and it seems to exist only from the sustainment that memory gives to cognition and to awareness. In sum, we think we are aware of a present because we remember clearly the passing instants of recognition, but as time continues these become less and less precise leading to the unavoidable conclusion about the relativity and fugacity of any possible present.
From the perspective of lived time, the past can be divided into more or less discrete periods of measurable time depending on the criteria use. This applies equally to the lives of individuals and to history, thus leading to the issue of the relation between time and history. History is, to put it briefly, the public and collective version of time. Our lives are historical to us in the sense that we can divide them into periods in the way that history is divided. When they have a public and collective significance or impact, they are historical in the strict sense. In other words, time is always potentially historical but it is not the same as history. If, e.g., we argued, as we will, that it is history that validates interpretations and that this is the becoming of being, we can indeed claim that history, but not time, is the basis for the refutation of the being/knowing dualism, which is the origin of all forms of dualism.
We can say that history is public and collective time. But we cannot say that time is strictly individual, because paradoxically time, much of which is excluded from history, envelops history entirely the way it envelops everything else.
From "The Enigma of Time", in NGM, v.177, no.3, March 1990
The statement that "Early people presumably first realized time passed when they saw that they lived in a world of constant change" is at best dubious, and very likely false. "The long struggle to affix numbers to the passage of time parallels our organizing ourselves in a complex, modern world" is also a suspect statement. There is no practical and/or meaningful distinction between "organizing ourselves" and measuring time, because organization presupposes time, it happens in time, it assumes time, hence the need to measure time is necessary to the task of "organizing ourselves". Another incoherent statement: "Without an event, there is no time. This means, [John] Wheeler [Princeton physicist] believes, that time may be a secondary feature of nature, not a basic one."
"In contrast, [Edward T.] Hall [New Mexico anthropologist] says, many peoples of Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and South America live in `polychronic' time. Everything goes on at once--talking. eating, reading, praying...Similarly, almost everybody may have lived this way once, since time was usually viewed as a circle, turning back or in on itself, all things possible at all times. This view of time remains central to Buddhist and Taoist belief, in which linear history is a fiction, since all things return to a former state"
[but the cycle exists, so time too exists]."
Chronological time is clock time or objective time. We
"endure" in clock time. Duration is subjective time. Duration necessarily involves affects.
Our thoughts in the present connect to both clock time and duration and they involve the categories of present and past. Both from experience and logic we know the present is the instant. What defines the instant is recognition which is discrete. The restriction of present to the instant means that the past is all of reality excluding the instant-present. The past contains the manifold of experience. Hence, it is the source and the repository of the categories of time. The categories of the past are both conventional and relatively discrete. i.e., they have boundaries which are not iron-cast. Since the instant is part of a continuity with the past, the present too is a discrete category of past. We can define the present in different ways. The present as instant is evanescent and cannot really be
categorized. In this sense it is non-existent.
Are the categories of the past arbitrary? Cognition is the source of the categories of pastness. Since the foundation of cognition is logic, then the categories of time in the past cannot be arbitrary. However, since cognition produces interpretative as well as apodictic and necessary inferences, and the inferences about time, except that it is and other such fundamentals, are neither necessary nor apodictic, then the categories of time must be interpretative. My present is not your present and to each his future. Historiography is controversial. Yet reality moves to the rhythm of clock times so that the subjectivity of time is predicated on the objectivity of time. It is time itself as history that can validate interpretations.
Contrafactual reasoning is useless for the understanding of the past, the "present", or the future. The past can only be
(a) recalled as accurately as possible, and (b) analyzed from facts as impartially as subjectivity will allow. The "present" is self-evidently the future going into the past or becoming past, but it is possible to perceive and conceive the present as "situation" in very restricted or very precarious temporal and spatial terms. For instance: the "present" of Sikkim is hardly the "present" of Germany, and the "present" of Germany, which is very different from the recent past of Germany, is quite likely a very impermanent situation, so that even its future could, from a certain perspective, seem more "solid" than its "present".
The future can be conceived as either clock-time or duration. It is the instant
"projecting" the past. Since the instant is evanescent, the future must also be nearly non-existent. But the future can also be seen as threatening and this is the contrary of evanescence or non-existence.
El futuro parecería ser indefinible, pero sólo en apariencia: aunque no sepamos nada de lo que va a pasar, el porvenir admite categorías, y sólo las cosas que existen pueden ser categorizados. El pasado ciertamente existe y sus categorías son palpables: ayer, antier, las cosas más importantes la semana pasada o el último mes, el año pasado, y así regresivamente. Las categorías del futuro se basan en el concepto de infinito, en los proyectos a corto y a mediano plazos, y en la inevitabilidad de las actividades cuotidianas. El infinito es la renuncia, la muerte, la indiferencia. El mediano plazo implica que la vida tiene que tener algún sentido. El corto plazo es la inevitabilidad del tiempo. La verdad es una función del futuro. Las actividades del ser humano surgen con relación al futuro. Los hombres y las colectividades se relacionan entre sí con relación al futuro. Es difícil generalizar, pero como norma a mayor desarrollo intelectual, científico, social, etc., mayor proyección hacia el futuro.
Time and knowledge are reciprocally implicative. Before we applied cognition to time. But time has its effects on cognition. The totality of knowledge is as temporal as it is psychological. In a sense, temporal and psychological are equivalences. Such being the case, we can only have "descriptions" of reality. We do not have reality beyond its temporal knowledge, which is pure transience. Time permits knowledge to arise. But since time and change are bound by adamantine chains, knowledge changes, and the change of knowledge inspires the distrust of knowledge. History, which is also time, must re-establish our confidence in knowledge.
Objective time plays havoc with knowledge. History is time restoring knowledge. But if history must be categorized and the categories of time are interpretative, then history is interpretative also. The dilemma of history and knowledge is that of interpretation validating interpretation. But have we alternatives?
The most extreme reification of time, as well as its highest exaltation, appears in the late Zoroastrian text known as the Persian Rivayat (Whitrow): "Except time all things are created. Time is the creator; and Time has no limit, neither top nor bottom. It has always been and shall be for evermore. No sensible person will say whence time has come. In spite of all the grandeur that surrounded it, there was no one to call it creator; for it had not brought forth creation. Then it created fire and water; and when it had brought them together, Ohrmazd came into existence, and simultaneously Time became Creator and Lord with regard to the creation it had brought forth."
The present is also reified in pain. The following quote is from the late 70's:
"Sólo existe el momento doloroso del presente. El pasado existe pero es un vacío de realizaciones. El futuro es más que todo incertidumbre aunque la conciencia se proponga los proyectos más grandiosos. Los negocios fallidos se mantienen en la memoria como acechanzas. Se trabaja y no se ven beneficios. La vida es siempre la misma lenta brega. Y encima de todo, los negocios, que no producen nada pero siguen haciendo sus reclamaciones impostergables, le roban tiempo al trabajo intelectual. El sexo es un dilema particular. El amor es un mito, una conveniencia y nada más. El libertinaje es un fuego fatuo en el que más se pierde que se gana. El saldo final es la traición de lado y lado, la desconfianza y el resentimiento. Lo que queda es una soledad abrumadora. La paradoja más grande es que cada pensamiento tétrico es como un mordisco a un queso distinto: suizo, camembert, reblochon, pimiento. Es una tragedia comoda, hasta grotesca. Casi se diría que la conciencia herida no merece ser tomada en cuenta: es la nada de la nada."
Pain, or pleasure, would seem to affirm the present. Yet the text contains the refutation of the premises.
J.R. Lucas, in The Future: An essay
on God, temporality and truth (1990), has another concept of present:
"Time is the passage from possibility through actuality to unalterable
necessity...Whereas the present and past are real, the future, as long as
it is still future, is not; only by becoming present is it actualized into
reality: hence the passage and the direction of time."
Circularity and circularity
"Our account of the truth of `snow is white' in terms of facts has come down to this: `snow is white' iff snow is white.
"Here, as Tarski has urged, is the significant residue of the correspondence theory of truth. To attribute truth to the sentence is to attribute whiteness to the snow. Attribution of truth to `snow is white' just cancels the quotation marks and says that snow is white. Truth is disquotation. An ignominious end, one may feel, to the correspondence theory of truth."
Flew: "Any interpretation affords a way of describing the set of true sentences of a language. But if it is to count as a truth definition, an interpretation has to satisfy the constraint that it assigns the value `true' to all those sentences which are already, intuitively, regarded as true, and to no others. Tarski expressed this constraint by saying that we want to assign `true' to the sentence `snow is white' iff snow is white. In general, `p' is true iff p. This last formula expresses the condition that any adequate truth definition must satisfy, and is called by Tarski, `the material adequacy condition' .(It is also known as `convention T')."
"The disquotational account may be said still, in a sense, to define truth. It intelligibly demarcates all our intelligible truths, by rendering the truth of each sentence as intelligible as the sentence itself...But in a stricter sense it does not define truth. It does not tell us how to eliminate the adjective `true', by paraphrase, from every context in which it can grammatically occur. It only tells us how to eliminate it when it is attached to a quotation."
"There is no independent inquiry into the nature of truth other than one into what it is to say that something is true".
Deflation means that it suffices to say "S knows p" rather than "S knows that p is true".
But all this is saying is that if we can attach the word true to a statement it is because the statement is true and therefore this account of truth presupposes that truth is known and it applies only to
propositions that we know already, or can know as self-evident. It does not contain a criterion for qualifying propositions as true.
It is therefore perfectly circular, and the problem is that truth is not tautological: it does not contain its own definition.
According to Putnam, there is a is a distinction to be made between "truth conditional semantics" and "assertibility conditional semantics"
"But the notions on which causal theories of knowledge and reference depend--the difference between a cause and a mere background condition, the legitimacy of counterfactuals--are precisely what is called into question by the `inference-licence' interpretation of causal statements and counterfactuals"
Thomas Baldwin on Gerald Vision,
Modern Anti-Realism and Manufactured Truth
in TLS, March 3-9 1989, p.227
"The traditional objection to the correspondence theory--that, in order to accomodate non-physical truths it requires non-physical states of affairs (mathematical, modal, ethical, etc.) of a kind that we find it intrinsically difficult to countenance and to fit into a theory of reference"
"We say of some utterances that they are true, of others that they are false...The realist holds that something about the state of the world, independently of our view of it or the concept with which we grasp it, accounts for the difference."
"In fact, a minimal description of Correspondence says very little more, if anything at all, than does global realism. I shall use these terms interchangeably throughout this work; for Correspondence--the view that truth-bearers are true by virtue of their relation to a situation in a mind-independent world, save for truths about minds, their states and properties--is virtually the only option for fleshing out the global realist doctrine...Correspondence..is a theory of truth. And it contrasts primarily with other traditional theories of truth, such as Coherence and Pragmatism, and with various deflationary theories about truth, such as Redundancy. Global realism contrasts not with other theories of truth--at least, not directly--but with various views that impose adequacy conditions on truth for any theory of it to satisfy, and which rule out Correspondence by virtue of the conditions imposed."
We do not in fact doubt that we see what we see, but since it is not a question of whether this is true or not, but of how we define truth from this fact, we need to set up a model for truth as correspondence from this fact of perceiving something. In this model, we must have, from the meaning of correspondence, three elements if we wish to sidestep the sceptical, internalist perspective: a perceptor, the thing perceived, and a verifier that the perceptor and the perceived are the same. The question of absolute identity could come up, which would from the start invalidate the model. Let us simply suppose that correspondence does not imply identity but an indubitable facsimilar relation. But once we set up this model, we right away encounter two difficulties. One difficulty is that there is no way for the model itself to work, for we cannot look into any mind at all to determine correspondence. And the other difficulty is that, even if we could have someone look into another mind, some else would have to look into his mind to verify the correspondence, and so on, again and again.
Truth as correspondence is not a relation of identity (x = x), but of near similarity or close resemblance (x = x'). As such it cannot be apprehended or verified. We can have an apparently true representation in our mind. But in order to perceive or verify correspondence on its own terms, we would have to verify our own perception or representation. But we cannot verify correspondence even if we stand as an external observer to another's claim. Some believe that it will be possible in the future to express the physical condition that denotes a specific perception, but even if this were to be so, it will not be an image that we as an external observer perceive but most likely a computerized encoding of the physical condition, and therefore, not even a relation of similarity.
But even if we accept that x = x', the verification of correspondence requires not only the observer that relates the image or its code to the tree, but a third observer that actually relates correspondence to the evidence for it, and so on ad infinitum. In brief, the truth of sensory data cannot strictly speaking be defined as correspondence. Correspondence simply does not work as a definition of truth, and it doesn't work because of the difficulty in verifying the veracity of perception itself. It is, in sum, a circular proposition. We could arguably make it a foundational statement, but this would be stretching the application of foundationalism since we do have alternatives to the concept of truth.
Correspondence, in the final analysis, is nothing but a metaphorical definition of truth. A metaphor in the epistemic sense tries to cover the hiatus between a concept and the justification of a concept. In this case, we posit truth as perception. But the contents of mind are different from the things outside of mind. Therefore, we appeal to the concept of correspondence.
What do we mean when we think "correspondence exists" or "there are correspondences in the world or in mind"? Do we mean that an image always "corresponds" to some external reality? But this is not the usual meaning of correspondence. We mean that, e.g., Bloom's movements in Dublin "correspond" to Ulysses' travels (Webster), and this is a rather loose relation. We also mean that this washer "corresponds" to this screw. Correspondence implies similarity, agreement, and analogy (Webster again). But is this the relation that the correspondence theory of truth pretends to establish between mind and reality? Truth is then similarity, agreement, or analogy?
My perception is similar to the things I perceive. Hardly!
My perception agrees with the things I perceive. Again hardly!!
My perception is an analogy to the things I perceive. Hardly and hardly and hardly!!!
We are back to the metaphorical sense of correspondence.
Predictability is also a fundamental reason why science cannot give substance to the theory of correspondence, for truth cannot be said to consist in what has yet to be verified, which could very well be true, unless it is assumed that science is infallible and that like effects will always submit to the same explanation.
As in other areas of knowledge, truth in science is not absolute and unchanging. A set of propositions that fulfill the criterion of predictability, e.g. Ptolemaic astronomy or the Julian calendar, can lose explanatory or predictive efficacy as evidence accumulates, all of which suggests a possible relation between the "density" of knowledge and the production of truth, somewhat in line with the belief that technological progress has to do with cultural or social "density" or economic development with population density. In the knowledge of the universe, truth has moved from creationism to Newton's laws to relativity and quanta to the search for a unified field; and the center of the cosmos has shifted from the Earth to the Sun to the original Big Bang of a virtually inconceivable fist-sized ball of matter (in fact, expressible only in mathematical terms, although that does not make mathematics the necessary source of the concept). On the changing vistas of truth, today it could be argued that, since we do not know for certain where the center of the cosmos lies, the Earth has rationally as much right to that position as any other astronomical reference. We have been assuming that predictability is the only criterion for truth, but science can also be descriptive, in which case the applicable criteria are closer to those of formal truth than to those of physics, and natural history involves probability and yields quasi-truths, which can never be more than partially verifiable.
A thought experiment about correspondence that affects the concept of a realist definition of truth starts with the proposition that the year 2030 will arrive. Suppose the Earth disappears on the year 2029. Will the year 2030 arrive? If the year 2030 means a certain imagined disposition of matter, then it will not arrive. Yet we know that the year 2030 as a moment in the future will arrive. If we suppose a Twin Earth which will not be destroyed on the year 2029, all the arguments against identity and identicals apply: it is another Earth, another disposition of matter. If time is a perfect universal clock somewhere, then 2030 will indeed arrive, but it will not be the year 2030. Finally, therefore, we can only say something as simple as that there is something that can be called "future time", but we cannot specify it any convincing way. And if no future, what?
A truth as simple as that is not a truth at all.
The ultimate and non-reducible, basis of knowledge is perception. But this claim invalidates itself for it has no basis in perception.
The inherent un-demonstrability of perception and apperception is proof that truth is not demonstrable.
In the sense that a metaphor intervenes at a hiatus between a concept and rational talk about that concept, correspondence as a physical relation is a valid metaphor for truth. We cannot verify any proposed mind/world correspondence and there certainly cannot be correspondence in any practical or realistic sense between ideas about ideas, but the idea of correspondence conveys the "texture" of one fundamental area where truth is applicable, and it could even be appealed to (in some instances) as a paradigm of what truth must be about in general.
If we define correspondence in terms of sense-data, i.e., without bothering to demonstrate it by its own standard, we will be assuming a solipsistic stance. However, I am not alone in believing that there is a tree in my backyard--although admittedly all those that have never been in my backyard could have a logical basis for not believing that there is a tree in my backyard--and it is not unreasonable to say that my statement is true and that truth can indeed be defined as the correspondence between a mental state and some external reality. But this argument configures a definition of truth as consensus in that it claims that correspondence is ultimately a matter of agreement, i.e. it is accepted that I have the image of a specific tree and that others besides myself have, or can have, an image of the same tree. Truth then can involve correspondence, but correspondence per se is a metaphor, and the truth of sensory-data requires the consensus of language. We cannot say that correspondence is a foundational claim, but we can claim for it that it reduces complexity and that it is rational enough to serve as a metaphorical expression of the character of truth as sensory data. However, its rationality stops at its being non-reducible, which means that the epistemic uses of this or any metaphor are limited.
I believe that the world is independent of perception, but also that truth is a concept of awareness. Truth about reality is "S knows R". S has truth through the knowledge of R. But, as we saw, we cannot know that S knows R. How about
"I know R"? True, but then truth is un-demonstrable, hence solipsistic. Solipsism in this sense is equivalent to a proposition about the world that we cannot justify, e.g.,
I firmly believe that there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. And ultimately what is R? It is an instant ago of perception: it is never fixed. It cannot be known. There is R but it never stands still in time for us to establish a definition of truth. R is R only from memory and other cognitive processes. And cognitive processes justify and validate propositions.
Barry Stroud on Ralph S.Walker,
The Coherence Theory of Truth: Realism, Anti-Realism, Idealism
(Routledge), in TLS, July 7-13 1989, p.741
"For those beliefs which cohere with enough other beliefs in the right way, there can be no logical gap between their being accepted and their being true...The question then is how to identify that special class or system of beliefs with which a given belief must cohere in order to be true and which its being true requires that it cohere with." Walker refutes coherence theory from the fact that belief founded on belief is tautological.
Certainly, there is no way or form or manner that we can apply perception or correspondence as paradigms of truth to logic and mathematics
Mathematics is applicable to all of the physical world, yet it can never pass itself off as any part of it. If it is true that mathematics are needed to construct ziggurats, it is no less so that a mud hovel can be built without any sort of calculations, and mud hovels and ziggurats have more in common with each other than they have individually with numbers.
Unless we simply define truth as proof-theory, i.e., truth is what we can prove with the rules of logic and math, there is no reason why we should not say of logical inferences and of mathematical derivations that they are valid, and in fact this is perhaps the most common usage of the qualifier.
Mathematics is a formal system whose rules have nothing to do with mental events and only instrumentally with the natural world. In contrast with language, where definitions are frequently moot, mathematics is the perfect embodiment of consensus.
However, mathematics is in general reliable for its uses, and if it does not provide a good basis for an absolutist definition of truth, it is because numbers exist principally (though not exclusively) as means.
But even as an epistemic system--rather than as an end in itself--mathematics cannot help us in defining or grasping scientific truth, because it is not adequate in dealing with the crucial historical question of the
"degradation of truth".
There is the concept of truth, i.e., truth exists. Truth must be defined as the totality of true propositions. The definition of truth is not the concept of truth, but the propositions "Factual propositions are true", "logical and mathematical derivations are true", and so on. None of these individual propositions by itself is truth. If truth is the totality of true propositions, the concept of truth cannot be identical to truth. Truth itself is not true.
Alternatively, truth is the same as the totality of
true propositions. True propositions are of different types. Of necessity, then, the definition of truth is the totality of truth-types. Since the concept of truth is identical to the definition of truth as the totality of truth-types, but the totality of truth-types is not identical to the totality of true propositions, then truth is not the totality of truth-types and
the concept of truth does not include the concept of truth.
Truth is the
totality of true propositions.
The totality of true propositions must include the definition of truth. But the definition of truth is not identical with the totality of true propositions, and truth cannot be the totality of true propositions. Therefore, the concept of truth is contradictory.
Truth is not true! However, "truth" does exist and necessarily then it is true that truth is not true.
To define truth we can say that truth comprises factuality, logical and mathematical inferences, and self-validating propositions. These are types. If the types cover all instances of truth, then we can indeed say that such is a definition of truth. However, all we have done here is to appeal to the typology of propositions.
Underlying this typology are basic-cog's and the use of basic-cog's. Basic-cog's are processes and processes involve a constant intermingling of basic-cog's.
To define truth we would have to involve all the processes of cognition. if this criterion were met, then we would have a definition of truth. But this criterion cannot be met. No definition of truth covers all instances of truth. And all the instances of truth do not justify a univocal definition of truth. Our definition of truth is never the same as truth.
Truth is correspondence which cannot be proven. There are shades between truth and falsehood. If a proposition is not true, it doesn't follow that it is necessarily false. A proposition need not be true to be valid.
There is a "natural" relation between
cognition and truth. It is natural to assume that knowledge is truth. Since knowledge is what cognition is all about, it is generally supposed that the products of cognition are truth. However, cognition also yields propositions which cannot be said to be true yet cannot be said not to be knowledge. We can know for sure that some of our beliefs are true because they are reliable, and from this, e.g., that we see that wall, we can deduce the concept of truth. But since we rely on propositions which are not false but less-than-true as if they were true, i.e., probabilities, we are faced with the ambiguity of truth. If knowledge can be less than truth, how do we find a definition of truth that covers both categories, i.e., factual and probabilistic propositions? Nevertheless, from this we cannot at first deny that truth exists.
[We are here doing a clarification of language to arrive at truth.
There is of course language-usage which assumes "truth", as in the expression "tell me the truth".
This can be translated as "tell me what you believe to be true" and this could elicit a true or a false proposition: it does not involve the actual knowledge of what "true" is.
In other words, it does not justify the proposition that "truth can be defined univocally".
It can be described as "elliptical truth", or mere "usage" of the term "truth".]
Our awareness of the propositionality of knowledge means that we know propositions to be true or false, but not that truth does not exist. But our awareness of the existence of truth and that some propositions cannot be qualified as either true or false, means that propositions can be true and less-than-true, and again we are faced with the problem of the univocality of truth. But the denial of the univocality of truth does not imply the denial of true propositions, true beliefs, and so on.
Less than true propositions can be termed probable or likely, and we can restrict truth to strictly or rigorously true propositions. How true are strictly true propositions? The example we gave of a true proposition, e.g., there is wall there, is based on perception, i.e., a proposition based on perception, perception itself in fact, which is propositional. Is our claim that perception is true indefeasible? What is the basis of our claim? For perception to constitute a definition of truth, it would have to involve perception alone and not any other cognitive process, but as we saw perception involves memory and logic and other criteria. Therefore, we cannot say that perception as such can be the paradigm for defining truth.
Given the difficulties in defining truth itself--without, however, having solved the problem of true propositions--and given the category of propositions which are not false but are less than true--which are useless for a definition of truth--we have to find some alternative to the concept of truth, or an equivalence without the conceptual problems of truth, and this is the use we have been making of the concept of validation. Instead of "true statements", we can speak of "valid statements", and instead of "false statements", we can say "invalid statements". In this way, we cover true and less-than-true propositions and we need not bother trying to find a valid, undefeasible definition of truth. Additionally, we lose nothing for we can claim that the function of truthful propositions is totally covered by that of valid propositions, i.e., valid for deriving other valid propositions, valid as in reliable, etc.
Finally, are justified propositions valid? We know that some justified propositions are not knowledge but we also know that all valid propositions are justified. It is merely a question of adjusting our "estimate" of propositions, i.e., ours and others as justified or valid, to their degree of reliability, or conversely, to their degree of controversiality, from an external perspective.
What, in the final analysis, we are claiming is that we have no indefeasible truth criterion, we have only the processes of the propositionalty of mind, but these are adequate for justification and for the qualification of propositions as valid or invalid, with the necessary proviso that, whereas justification is universally applicable to knowledge from an internalist perspective, validation cannot be applied to all propositions from an internalist perspective, and, though not necessarily in all cases, it generally involves the transactional aspect of cognitive processes, hence the externalist perspective on knowledge.
To speak of knowledge implies truth. When we say that cognition yields knowledge, do we mean truth? The critique of the concept of truth leads to the concept of validity.
validity? Validity involves reliable propositions. Valid propositions are such that we can use them to obtain other valid propositions.
reliability is a vague notion. Perception is reliable. Interpretation can also be reliable and there are significant differences between perception and interpretation. Validity implies universal consensus. This means that cognition in toto is reliable. This needs to be argued. For the moment we shall proceed on the assumption that validity does imply reliability.
The concept of validity admits the possibility of partial validation. This derivation is useful when we come to the question of interpretations. Truth does not admit the concept of "partial truth", i.e., propositions, for the concept of truth and its derivations, e.g., truth-value et al, are either true or false. But it is possible to have propositions which are neither demonstrably true nor demonstrably false. Such propositions can be said to be partially valid. And such being the case, where knowledge can be defined in an abstract, imaginary sense as the totality of valid propositions, it cannot be defined solely as the totality of true propositions. The latter definition would, e.g., disqualify much of historiography as knowledge.
Knowledge must be understood in terms of valid propositions rather than in terms of the concept of truth. All truthful statements are valid, but there are also statements which are neither true nor false but which can be valid. Valid and validity cover a greater number of propositions than truthful and true.
There is no univocal definition of truth. Is there an univocal definition of validity? Validity covers what people consider true on a basic level. But since truth is equivocal, then so must validity be. Therefore, we need to have a definition of validity equivalent to truth which eschews the problems involved in the concept of truth. A simple approach would be to say that valid is what is true without the need to specify truth. In other words, something to this effect: whereas truth requires specification, validity is truth without the requisite of specification. Does this imply some sort of intuitive knowledge? If truth is an absolute, validity is a relative concept. True propositions are valid without qualifications whereas valid propositions can be absolutely and relatively true. If absolute truth is self-evident to mind, e.g., perception and logic, then relative truth is not self-evident to mind and involves the idea of consensus. Validity then is the concept that applies to propositions that run the gamut from absolute truth to the consensual, which is certainly not known intuitively. Valid and validity can always substitute for true and truth, although it is not necessary to suppose that they displace entirely the concept of self-evident, absolute truth.
Now let's take another tack. If something is true it cannot be false. Truth is the opposite of falsehood. But something can be not necessarily true yet not be false. In such cases, validity is the appropriate designation. In sum, validity is a linguistic usage which allows us to overcome certain semantic difficulties which arise when we restrict the qualification of propositions to either true or false. How large is this area cannot be said with accuracy. Probably we deal mostly with truths in our everyday lives, but we are also frequently dealing with propositions that are are neither true nor false, and it is in this vast grey zone that validity is justified and needed, i.e., where validity is valid, i.e., correct usage. This suggests that validity is contextual as well as consensual and this may very well be so. Since what we are having to do with are matters of usage and valid can do the role of the self-evident true without inaccuracy and without misleading, then valid and validly can substitute for true in all possible cases. Despite all our strictures concerning truth and knowledge as truth, what the distinction between truth and validity in the end represent is the purely verbal claim that "validity" is a more flexible and more comprehensive term in the sense that it can be used more often and more accurately in connection to propositions that "truth".
Justification is the elaboration of propositions. It is possible to establish a distinction between justification and validation. Validation can only be defined in the circular sense of the processes that validate propositions. To explain this circularity it is necessary to reach the universal consensus argument about knowledge, i.e., knowledge is knowing how to use basic-cog's. Validation is not infallible. The definition of knowledge as the totality of valid propositions is abstract and bloodless and does not do away with the difficulty of the validation of propositions.
We have just seen that any that the historicity of propositions means that all propositions are knowledge. Similarly, it can be argued that all awareness is knowledge, even if this knowledge is interspersed with erroneous propositions, e.g., I know this belief and I know that I have this belief whether it is valid or invalid. Language in itself is knowledge, or at least, the basis on which to build propositions, both valid and invalid. There is an evident inconsistency in these definitions of knowledge that include the possibility of error and the definition of knowledge as only valid propositions, i.e., the specification of knowledge either takes or does not take into account what is not knowledge. Strictly speaking, knowledge is knowledge and the knowledge of what is not knowledge is a paradox.
Awareness does not tolerate false belief, i.e., it cannot knowingly have false belief, yet it can have a false belief. Since awareness cannot knowingly have false belief, how can false belief arise in awareness? Evidently, through faults in cognition, assuming that interpretations can be validated, i.e., that all justification is
validating. This is an "internalist" perspective on knowledge. From this perspective we can only say: I believe or I do not believe that p. However, we can also say: I believe that p although it is possible that p may not be a valid proposition. The proviso implies that I am not the only believer, and this proposition points to an external perspective on knowledge. The external perspective on knowledge necessarily involves intersubjectivity, which means that just as I am a believer, so it is reasonable to presume that others too are believers, and it may be that the beliefs of others are perhaps valid and mine are not. It is at this juncture that transactionality--another feature of the external perspective--kicks in: my belief either yields to or is modified by the beliefs of others, or simply ceases to be my belief, and of course the opposite results are also possible.
From the externalist perspective, I can know that some beliefs are not valid. In other words, then, if knowledge is the totality of valid propositions, we can only define it from an externalist perspective, i.e., from the operation of basic-cog's in conjunction with inter-subjectivity and transactionality. Since valid belief requires transactionality, knowledge must be transactional, and without transactionality there can be no knowledge. Nevertheless, since our awareness of propositions includes many valid propositions, the internal perspective of knowledge cannot be entirely disqualified. And if we cannot disqualify the internalist perspective, we cannot disqualify that my knowing my belief, whether my belief is true or false, is knowledge. But since my belief may be false, then we cannot define knowledge as the totality of valid propositions. This paradox can only be solved through the full development of the propositional theory of knowledge. The solution involves the tricky and subtle distinction between propositional bases and propositions content. This corresponds, approximately, to the distinction between cognition and reality excluding cognition.
The best approach to knowledge is through the concept of process rather than through the results of process. The process itself is knowledge. Process implies that knowledge tends to expand, but we cannot discount that it could diminish if only on the margins or in certain specific areas, e.g., politics. If it is indeterminate and variable but expansive, then it is like any historical process, the course of which cannot be predicted or defined with precision and which often takes wrong turns but appears to be "progressive", e.g., there is no immediate perspective of a political dark age,
The wrong turns both of society and science become part of knowledge, so that in a sense science is also the knowledge of what is not science and social progress includes periods of political obscurantism, e.g., fascism. What this means is that all propositions, whether valid or invalid, become knowledge in becoming part of history. History at each moment in time--assuming, of course, a distinction here between history and time--embraces an imagined territory of knowledge which includes propositions which are not knowledge. If such is the case, then knowledge is what history at any one point "categorizes" as knowledge. In this appeal to history, all that we are doing is substituting the definition of knowledge as the totality of valid propositions with the proposition that history is knowledge, i.e., that each moment of history contains the totality of knowledge, assuming that we have already specified how history does this. But isn't this as bloodless and abstract as the other definition? No, because when we say history we are referring not to an imaginary concept, but to the real world and to real propositions, to those in reified forms of knowledge, i.e., books, articles, etc., to actual producers of knowledge whether individuals or centers of learning, to congresses and gatherings and all forms of communication and inter-communication, in brief, to the historical concreteness of knowledge. It is the substitution of a robust, concrete, world-oriented concept of knowledge for the imaginary and inaccessible concept of the totality of valid propositions.
Now, supposing that the invocation of history does get us somewhat closer to the understanding of knowledge, that still does not provide us with some really copper-bottomed means to avoid justified but erroneous propositions. What we need to explore is if this appeal to history, which does seem to have some strength in relation to the concept of knowledge itself, can be transposed or applied to the wider question of the validation of propositions. And what this means in essence is applying the proposition that history validates to the propositional theory of knowledge. Can history, in sum, strengthen our theory of knowledge? Some of the propositions that we have considered so far--logico-mathematical, factual, probable, etc.--can be validated without recourse to history. Therefore, what we must start by doing is to specify the sorts of propositions that would require such an appeal. In other words, where does this appeal to history become inevitable? Additionally, can we find some "intimacy" between knowledge and history? One basic argument is that we cannot go very far in the exploration of cognition if we do not start by considering the temporality of knowledge. Time is also the essence of history. Therefore, we can already perceive that there is an intimate connection between history and knowledge across the bridge of the concept of time.
Once we have solved the paradox of awareness as knowledge--which consists in explaining how false belief can be knowledge--can we claim that knowledge is indeed the totality of valid propositions? By then such a definition will not be needed, for we will have in place the propositional theory of cognition and the universal-consensus argument. However, the definition of knowledge as the totality of valid propositions is the clew that leads to the arguments about the historicity of knowledge. And historicity is, with propositionality and universal consensus, one of the foundations of our theory of knowledge.