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

David McFadzean (
Mon, 20 May 1996 15:54:13 -0600

At 11:52 PM 19/05/96 -0400, Bill Godby wrote:

>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

If there is no point of view involved with analytic truths, doesn't that
make them objective by definition? The proposition "if A then A" is a
true description of the "real" world. Maybe not the physical world of
physics and biology, but certainly the logical world of philosophy and
mathematics. "If A then A" describes one true aspect of the way things are.

>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.

Everyday you rely on deduction to get through life too. Often unconsciously:
"IF I step into the path of the car THEN I will probably regret that
decision in a big way, THEREFORE I will remain on the curb until it passes."
I have no idea where you got the idea that deductive arguments say nothing
about the real world.

>You are defending some type of objective truth aren't you? If so then you
>are saying something to the contrary.

I said:

1. Objective truth exists.
2. Individuals and cultures have a dynamic description of objective truth.

Where is the conflict?

To put it in concrete terms for illustrative purposes:

1. There is some fact of the matter about the origin of humans.
2. Cultures create narratives to explain the origins of humans, all with
varying degrees of accuracy (relative to the objective truth mentioned
in (1). From gods moulding the first couple out of clay, to the garden
of Eden story, and now the theory of evolution.

I see you focussing on point #2 above as if it was some argument against
point #1. I don't see any conflict so I guess you're going to have to
spell it out for me.

>Same response.

Same response from me too.

>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?

Logical positivism claims there exists an objective truth, and further that
false statements are meaningless.

Postmodernism claims that truth is a cultural construct and there is only
subjective truth.

My synthesis claims that there is an objective truth, but our descriptions
of it can only approximate it due to limitations of narrative. Our ideas
about what constitutes the truth evolve over time, they can't be 100% true
but they aren't meaningless either. Both LP and PoMo have right elements
which I've identified and combined into the synthesis.

The question of whether the synthesis is a meme or not is irrelevant to
the issue at hand so I'd like to defer that question to another thread.

>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.

I'm being difficult? That's funny, I was tempted to say the same thing
about you, but instead chose to believe we are just having a misunderstanding.

I'm in no way suggesting a divine truth but I am suggesting the existence
of a reality outside the mind.

Ideas about truth and reality are in the mind. Truth and reality are external.
E.g. the idea of "elephant" is in the mind, but that doesn't mean that there
are no elephants independent of minds. Maybe someone else can explain it
I can't think of a way to put it more simply than that.

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Church of Virus