Pragmatic truth-seeking leads to correspondences

by Crispy Chicken and Suspended Reason

  • It’s not clear that we’ll ever have clear correspondence to a general material truth. Indeed, information theoretically, it seems unlikely that we can document enough about the universe to reveal such patterns.
  • However, there’s reason to believe we’re getting at real correspondences when we’re reliably able to get things done.
  • This is often called instrumental truth, it’s the direct output of deciding something is true” if it gets you want.
  • Imagine a situation in which instrumental truth, didn’t derive correspondences: this would imply that you’re somehow tricking yourself exactly right every time, into getting things done.
  • It would be like one of those bits in a sitcom where a stupid character, through a bunch of highly unlikely events, manages to pull off something deftly by random chance.
  • But that’s exactly it: these things can’t happen a lot because they are overwhelmingly unlikely as the heuristic continues to work.
  • The natural rebuttal is: maybe these heuristics only work in certain contexts, and fair enough!
  • But the idea that we know the absolute contexts of our statements is insane. This fact is already true about all but constructed mathematical statements.
  • Scientific theories often have more robustness, because they are put through processes that are meant to filter out indexical truths.
  • However, this leaves us in a strange situation: we call non-indexical truths and become estranged from our access to indexical truths whose scope we can’t characterize.
  • This is about information theoretic description complexity: you don’t know how to express the contexts of your instrumental truths, because you haven’t been exposed to enough diversity of cases to express the contextual variables within which they hold.

Pragmatic patterns