Re: Postmodernism and Truth (was Re: virus: Simulacrum)

Bill Godby (
Sun, 19 May 1996 23:52:34 -0400

At 06:35 PM 5/19/96 -0600, David McFadzean wrote:
>Bill Godby wrote:
>> What is it? There at least two very distinct types of truth, those of
>> deduction which logically do not allow negation, 2-2 always equals 0, and
>> inductive truths which can logically entail negation, exp. all geese are
>> white, black geese could and do exist. How do you reconcile this with an
>> objective truth?
>What you describe are analytic and synthetic truths respectively. Both
>purport to objectively describe the way things are.

I would say they are respectively logical and ontological truths, truth of
statements and truth of signification. I don't believe both purport to
objectively describe the way things are. What can be objective or
subjective about a logical proposition? There's no point of view involved,
what your calling analytic truth are statements that have no necessary
foundation in any the "real" world, yet these statements can be logically true.
>> I think your making things difficult by examining statements and applying
>> logical deductive reasoning. I appeal to pragmatics, live as it is lived.
>I don't understand why you think making a precise logical argument makes
>things more difficult. If there is something wrong with my argument for
>objective truth, you will have to attack the argument itself. Dismissing
>the use of logical deductive reasoning isn't going to convince me or
>anyone else.

First please don't take any of this personal, I'm enjoying the discussion
and argumentation. Second, I guess I'm still haven't really seen your
argument in print. Are we very clear here about the difference between
deduction and induction? If we are I don't understand how you can defend
deduction as a way of obtaining knowledge about the world, the real tangible
physical world. The truths established via deduction will not get you
through life in one piece, that's for sure. Everyday you rely on induction
to make decisions whether you know it or not.

>> From an anthropological perspective (this is my field) I am forced to look
>> at radically different belief systems that certainly embody truth for a
>> particular culture. I have come to see very clearly that all knowledge
>> systems through time are constructed and ever changing. Isn't it clear that
>> what was seen as truth 500 years ago is not truth today and 500 years the
>> same will apply?
>I agree and I said nothing to the contrary.

This was the statement that I responded to..

At 05:02 PM 5/17/96 -0600, David McFadzean wrote:

Deron Stewart mentioned in a recent message that there is an implicit
Virian belief in one objective truth that is true for all people. I think
that is true (for all people :-). The claim that truth is subjective is
self-inconsistent. Either that proposition is an objective truth (which
obviously makes it false) or it is a subjective truth. If it is subjective
then it implies that someone else can truthfully claim that truth is
objective, which again makes the original claim false. This seems to imply
that there is indeed a way that things are: an objective truth.

You are defending some type of objective truth aren't you? If so then you
are saying something to the contrary.
>> This makes no sense to me. I steadfastly believe that theory (I speak in
>> greater terms here, i.e. cosmology, mythology, as well as ontology) reflects
>> conceptions of truth as seen by a society. Recognizing that the world is
>> made up of so many diverse ways of life I think it is unreasonable to assume
>> that there could ever be one theory that would embody truth for all cultures.
>Again I agree and said nothing to the contrary.

Same response.

>> I'm not sure I would call that a synthesis at all. Hegel argued that our
>I called it a synthesis because I've taken two seemingly opposing memes,
>namely logical positivism and postmodernism, and combined them into a new
>meme that encompasses both without denying either.

Your statement was:
Sounds like logical positivism is the thesis and postermodernism is
the antithesis. What if there is an objective truth but no theory can
even theoretically become identical to it? Because theories are necessarily
constructed of ideas, concepts, words, and memes. No matter how sophisticated
or accurate they are, theories cannot become what they describe. This allows
for pluralism: there can be many maps of the territory, all accurate but all
focussing on diffent aspects of Truth(tm). Is that a reasonable Hegelian-like

How does this combine the two with out denying either? Please describe how
this constitutes a meme?
>> concepts (memes?) are embedded in our ways of life and in our societies, as
>> society changes so do the concepts, and of course truths. The issue in a
>> Hegalian context is that every theory contains within it the anti-theory, or
>> seeds of conflict, i.e. thesis>anti-thesis>synthesis and so on. Hegel
>> accepts the idea that ultimate reality, and by inference truth, is in the
>> Mind (minds of many not just one, he speaks of "geist" or spirit) and that
>> we never get to know the "thing in itself" (physical reality) because it is
>> always mediated by the mind. I find Hegel very much on my side of this
>I would accept that the idea of ultimate reality and the idea of truth
>are in the Mind, but that doesn't mean that ultimate reality and the truth
>are in the mind. Would you agree with that?

Your sure being difficult. What I was saying was that yes they are in the
mind, the idea is all there is, ultimate realities and objective truths are
constructed. I need to know more about what your thinking to comment. You
seem to be suggesting some divine truth and reality.
>> discussion regarding truth and would be interested in how you see Hegel
>> supporting your views, since you make reference to a Hegalian synthesis of
>> religion and evolution, which apparently also entails an objective truth.
>When I called the synthesis Hegelian-like, I didn't mean to imply that
>Hegel himself would support it, I just meant I was using a process similar
>to his dialectic (at least as far as I understand it). Given that I've
>agreed with most of what you've said without changing my mind about
>anything I said, I'm not convinced we are on different sides.

Perhaps not, I'm just not clear on your position. I even went to snoop
around the Church of Virus to see if I could get a better take on it.
Enlighten me.
Bill Godby