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(Text as at 12/08/2007 10:17:46)
Because we hold that no knowledge is certain, we must clarify what we mean by truth.
- A statement about the world is true if the statement correctly mirrors the world. We might denote this kind of truth by the term absolute truth.
- A deductive statement in a model (whether or not the model correctly pictures the world) is true if it correctly follows from the premises & rules of the model, logically applied. This second, more limited, form of truth we will refer to as relative truth.
- It is of fundamental importance to distinguish between absolute & relative truth. When asserting any proposition we must make clear to others and to ourselves whether we intend the proposition to be taken as true of the world, ie. true absolutely, or only true within a model or argument, ie. true relatively. Much confusion and self deceit will be avoided by obeying this injunction.
- Since we are profoundly uncertain of our knowledge of the world, we may only say of any of any statement that it is true with a greater or lesser degree of probability.
- The same remark applies to the relative truth of difficult statements within complex models. For instance, certain extended mathematical proofs may be no more than probably true.
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||219 (Truth 2)
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