virus: Re: The essence of all soullessness

Brett Lane Robertson (
Sat, 13 Sep 1997 14:28:45 -0500

>> Here is another interesting question: What would happen if you found
>> yourself living in a community of idiots who all believed that 2+2=5?

>I am living in a community of idiots. Haven't you noticed?

>> Would you accept such a belief as being true?

>Yes. It would be true, but not mathematically accurate. Truth is
>subjective, mathematics is not... (Anonomous in response)

I think that "teleological" has been used recently to imply maintaining a
term's definition in such a way that the definition refers back to the term
without regards to the idea that the totality of "term + definition" may
not, as a whole, say anything useful about truth (or wisdom, or cheesecake,
or whatever we happen to be attempting to say something useful about).
There have been over-reactions to statements made on the grounds that they
are teleological, implying that if the definition refers back to the term
then the statement must *necessarily* be flawed (using "truth" to mean
that which is true, for example, is called into question on the grounds that
the argument is teleological and --I am assuming--on the grounds that
teleology can become tautological when a a statement refers back to itself
*and* does not tell us anything about reality. In such cases, teleology
becomes scapegoated...and meaningful relationships are sacrificed in an
attempt not to refer back to a referent).


Tautology, Repetition. There may be frequent repetitions (as in legal
instruments) which are
warranted either by necessity or convenience; but tautology is always a
fault, being a sameness of
expression which adds nothing to the sense or the sound.

Teleology is: Teleology \Te`le*ol"o*gy\, n. [Gr. ?, teleos, the end or
issue + -logy: cf. F. t['e]l['e]ologie.] The
doctrine of the final causes of things; specif. (Biol.), the doctrine of
design, which assumes that the
phenomena of organic life, particularly those of evolution, are explicable
only by purposive causes,
and that they in no way admit of a mechanical explanation or one based
entirely on biological
science; the doctrine of adaptation to purpose.

Why is "Anonymous" refusing to use the term "Truth" to refer to mathamatical
correctness? Is it because he thinks that being a tautology, it is not
teleological (saying that because it refers back to the idea of truth it is
therefore not useful)? I say that this stance is an attempt not to appear
teleological in the negative sense of being tautological; but that a
meaningful relationship is therefore sacrificed so that statements about
math and statements about truth which *do* add something to the meaning
(sense) of either or both are rendered useless.

I have no objections to discarding the term "truth" on the basis of the
tautological fact that things which are found to be true may redefine the
word true without adding anything to the sense of what is being talked
about. I do have objections to discarding the term "true" irregardless of
the teleological fact that true statements can add something to the
usefulness of themselves--can redefine themselves or refine themselves.

If "Anonymous" is refusing to use the term truth in the way it has grown to
define itself--that is "Truth is a designation which is useful for further
refining usefulness"; if he is saying that what is true is not useful...he
is mis-using the term "truth". I would agree that truth can be so defined,
tautologically speaking. But telologically speaking, if Scott wants to
refer to the idea "that there are things which are true but which are not
useful" he should posit another word to refer to that concept
('inappropriate"?) rather than using "truth" to malign "Truth"--which really
*is* tautological.


Rabble Sonnet Retort
In war there is no substitute for victory.

Douglas MacArthur