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Hamilton Porter

Mormon Stories trying to expand its market.

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17 minutes ago, Kevin Christensen said:

I have noticed that one clear difference between me and Dehlin and others like him, is that when I run across something I did not expect, that I was not prepared for, I asked myself, "What should I expect?"   And that bit of self-reflection, and the subsequent explorations, discoveries, and enlightenment, has, like Frost's divergent paths in the woods, made all the difference.

I can't speak for him but is it not possible that Dehlin also asked himself that question but still arrived at different conclusions than you?

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31 minutes ago, rockpond said:

I can't speak for him but is it not possible that Dehlin also asked himself that question but still arrived at different conclusions than you?

Did Dehlin plant the seed in different soil, and produce an entirely different harvest? 

Yes.  And my personal experience with Dehlin is that when I tried to share my reasons for my different conclusions about a number of specific issues regarding the Coe interview is that he unceremoniously deleted all my comments, all of which were snark free and supported by specific references.  

And I also listened to his self-interview podcast years back.  That made it clear that we processed the issues in very different ways.   Another clear example of different processing of the same questions was Dehlin's interview with William D. Russell, whom Dehlin cites as an intellectual role model.  After I listed to the interview, I tracked down a few of Russell's essays, and that led to me writing this:

https://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1467&index=7

That essay, notice begins with this quotation from Thomas Kuhn:

Quote

Every problem that normal science sees as a puzzle can be seen, from another viewpoint, as a counterinstance and thus as a source of crisis.

We process the word very differently, and consequently, produce very different harvests.  Dehlin was going to interview me back in 2011, claimed he really wanted to do it, but didn't.  And then  in 2012 erased me from his community.

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

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3 hours ago, Tacenda said:

And here, I present the LDS Philanthropies....

https://www.ldsphilanthropies.org/gift-planning/how-to-give/split-interest-giving-tools/charitable-remainder-unitrust So the rest of the money ends up with the church, but not the children, grandchildren, or great grandchildren.

https://www.ldsphilanthropies.org/gift-planning/what-to-give/assets/farm-or-ranch So the land goes to the church and not to the family.

https://www.ldsphilanthropies.org/gift-planning/how-to-give/family-directed-giving-tools/donor-advised-fund-daf Why do you need the church to donate to charities for you, I think this is a way that someone might just feel overwhelmed and just donate the whole sum back to the church.

https://www.ldsphilanthropies.org/gift-planning/what-to-give/assets/unimproved-property The problem with this one, is the person may not know the extent of the land's true value.

https://www.ldsphilanthropies.org/gift-planning/how-to-give/testamentary-giving-tools/revocable-living-trust *Has assets beyond those intended for heirs. (this bullet, is all you need to know about this one!)

https://www.ldsphilanthropies.org/gift-planning/what-to-give/assets/personal-residence Gives up their personal residence. Okay, like the church needs it. I can think of many people needing it worse.

https://www.ldsphilanthropies.org/gift-planning/what-to-give/assets/securities Once again, I guess the church is destitute and needs your securities and assets! Oh and if your children aren't faithful, let them have it with a one-two punch that they get zip, zero for an inheritance!

https://www.ldsphilanthropies.org/gift-planning/what-to-give/assets/commercial-real-estate Oh, and they would love to take over your commercial assets, but it better be debt free!

https://www.ldsphilanthropies.org/gift-planning/what-to-give/assets/art  Sure they'll take your art once they go over it and make sure it's worth it!

https://www.ldsphilanthropies.org/gift-planning/what-to-give/assets/patents--royalties--or-copyrights And gas and oil interests can have significant value, hint-hint!

https://www.ldsphilanthropies.org/gift-planning/what-to-give/assets/collectibles-or-other-tangible-property "You can keep this collectable to enjoy with your family, but once you're gone, it's ours!"said the church. ;)

https://www.ldsphilanthropies.org/gift-planning/what-to-give/assets/retirement-plan-assets Once again, this is for the very wealthy, and they want to make sure some go to the heirs too. Oh, good for them! :nea:

 

You got the Church's philanthropy arm mixed up with the Church's core operations. OSF doesn't even have a philanthropy arm.

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3 hours ago, bdouglas said:

I find your love of John Dehlin and your claim you are active believing LDS to be odd. Frankly I don’t believe it. I think you are a fraud.

Way out of bounds.  See board rules for bannable behaviours

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Judging others worthiness, questioning sincerity, mind reading or psychoanalyzing

 

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2 hours ago, Calm said:

Way out of bounds.  See board rules for bannable behaviours

 

I apologize to rockpond and to any other members of the board I may have offended.

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10 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

So truth only exists in the infinite future.

Useless.

Peirce's point is just to explain what we mean by truth arguably by applying his pragmatic maxim. I'd say the explanation is rather informative and thus not useless. It's like saying knowledge that the sun will one day turn into a white dwarf is useless. Perhaps it is, but that seems an odd criteria honestly. To say "useless" implies a specific task it's for. Not knowing your task I can't say much. I'd just say that for logic I think it's exceptionally useful. It also clarifies that assertions that are true should persist through inquiry conducted far enough. That implies that in most cases truth will be what survives moves of context through continued inquiry. That seems a imminently useful thing to know and explains a lot (IMO).

However I think we must also keep in mind the distinction between truth and knowledge. They simply aren't the same thing and it's unhelpful to conflate them I think.

10 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

The ultimate goal is stasis and Greek perfection in completeness, yet to be achieved. It is otherworldly and defacto Cartesian dualism.  Things as they are will only be known in the future intellect, what we know now or simply appearances, not things as they are.

Not sure how you got that. I'd say it's the exact opposite. Indeed I'd say your critique of "things as they are will only be known in the future intellect" presupposes that knowledge is always completeness and stasis. Move away from that presupposition about knowledge and we can know when we are incomplete. Further there's no dualism involved at all since knowledge isn't correspondence between two different sorts of things but just two assertions that match. Again that avoids a lot of the problems of the correspondence theory and philosophers who make "reality" somehow mysterious. Reality is just this representation in assertions that arise from continued inquiry. Nothing mysterious at all. Just as I can compare my assertion today with an assertion I might make tomorrow I can here. It completely collapses the problems of truth such as representation, coherence or more. It even explains disquotation such as in Tarski.

Quote

Sounds like eternal progression to me. That's why we need prophets. That's why we need personal revelation. More LDS than Cartesian.

Doesn't this also explain the divine, who is able to conduct infinite inquiry of a sort many presume? If we say something is true because God said it, how is that really different from what Peirce outlines? Indeed I think a Peircean who's also a theist might easily just say that what is true is what God would assert out of his knowledge. That too avoids all the Cartesian problems that I think your position is actually trapped within.

Edited by clarkgoble

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8 hours ago, Hamilton Porter said:

You got the Church's philanthropy arm mixed up with the Church's core operations. OSF doesn't even have a philanthropy arm.

Touche! I did post without looking at all the good the church does with these donations which was bad on my part. Hadn't realized I guess. In my head I envision the tithing slip that says at the bottom that the church will try to put it towards whatever line you put the amount on but it may go elsewhere as well. But enough of that, I do need to say the church provides quite a lot for the needy, thank goodness. 

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9 hours ago, Calm said:

Way out of bounds.  See board rules for bannable behaviours

 

I don't find rockpond believable, sorry.

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10 minutes ago, Hamilton Porter said:

I don't find rockpond believable, sorry.

And you can certainly accuse him of lying, but the mods might view things differently about whether it is acceptable board behaviour if someone reports...and .I do still report that if it registers with me (I am not the most attentive reader these days...skip posts even!!!)  Accusing people of lying is a big button for me.

I have seen plenty of people with behaviours that appear very contradictory from the outside, some who even say their behaviours are contradictory when viewed from the inside...I have a few of my own I see that way, things I want out of life that can't be both had at the same time, big things too for me (current example:  wanting my mom to be very well taken care of and that is done best by me, not wanting to see her in her 'lessened' condition with dementia, not wanting to give up time to take care of myself).  Some people find ways to balance the contradictions so they work for them, others don't.

I find rockpond to be a very believable human with all his contradictions.

Edited by Calm
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18 hours ago, bdouglas said:

Why? Because John Dehlin is an enemy. He didn't start out as one, but he was always trending that way. And now he is an enemy.

To deny this points to a certain naivety, or perhaps innocence, on your part (if you are, as you claim, active believing LDS).

Perhaps Rockpond takes Jesus' words seriously. Is that so incomprehensible?

"But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you"

Not that JD is cursing or hating Mormons, but even if he were...

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I'm eager to play devil's advocate for these essays.  I'll start with the treasure digging one.  I hope this becomes a fruitful exercise that either exposes or confirms the essays that Dehlin's amateur has written. of course I welcome participation on all fronts.

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Upstate New York and Vermont were meccas of treasure-digging. Poorer families were infatuated with stories of buried wealth, while treasure quests occasionally attracted even prominent and wealthy participants. The Smiths’ Palmyra home was approximately three miles from the Erie Canal. Public intrigue was such that a boat would “move up and down the canal, bearing the riches of science as well as the gifts of fortune” claiming to result from the digs (Wayne Sentinel, Palmyra, NY, June 23, 1824). 

Oak Island, the site of a tremendous amount of treasure speculation, lies just off the coast from New York, not far from the Smith’s Palmyra roots. A treasure lore developed around the infamous Captain William Kidd, a former pirate hunter who turned pirate in the late seventeenth century. Captain Kidd adventure novels were popular in the day, and the Smiths are documented to have enjoyed them. Palmyra resident Ann Eaton noted that Kidd was Joseph’s “hero,” whose work he “eagerly and often perused” (Vogel, Early Mormon Documents 3:148).

If Joseph was not heavily involved in money digging, if, for the most part, the story of his digging is made up after the fact by his hostile and perhaps in some cases friendly or neutral neighbors, then it is a pretty convenient story to tell, after the fact, that he was a con because he was heavily involved in money digging.  Indeed, it seems all the stories that involve him are years after it happened.  Take, for instance, his neighbor, quoted above---Ann Eaton.  Who was she?  How did she know what Joseph perused or that Joseph considered Kidd his hero?  The problem here is if someone wanted to tell Joseph's story as having been a con or fraud from his early days, then tying him to the commonly known stories of Kidd, and treasure digging lore is rather convenient, no?

This is the direction I'm going to head for this essay, going forward.  Are all the stories that build Joseph up as a treasure digger, hoaxer, really just after the fact convenient stories or exaggerations to debunk him after he claims to be prophetic?  

More to come.  I can't post much, and can't start a thread, because the mods put me on limited for never breaking the rules or causing problems, so I won't be able to post much.  If someone wants to start a trhead discussing the essays that'd be best.  But I"m me and can't.  Thanks.

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25 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

I'm eager to play devil's advocate for these essays.  I'll start with the treasure digging one.  I hope this becomes a fruitful exercise that either exposes or confirms the essays that Dehlin's amateur has written. of course I welcome participation on all fronts.

If Joseph was not heavily involved in money digging, if, for the most part, the story of his digging is made up after the fact by his hostile and perhaps in some cases friendly or neutral neighbors, then it is a pretty convenient story to tell, after the fact, that he was a con because he was heavily involved in money digging.  Indeed, it seems all the stories that involve him are years after it happened.  Take, for instance, his neighbor, quoted above---Ann Eaton.  Who was she?  How did she know what Joseph perused or that Joseph considered Kidd his hero?  The problem here is if someone wanted to tell Joseph's story as having been a con or fraud from his early days, then tying him to the commonly known stories of Kidd, and treasure digging lore is rather convenient, no?

This is the direction I'm going to head for this essay, going forward.  Are all the stories that build Joseph up as a treasure digger, hoaxer, really just after the fact convenient stories or exaggerations to debunk him after he claims to be prophetic?  

More to come.  I can't post much, and can't start a thread, because the mods put me on limited for never breaking the rules or causing problems, so I won't be able to post much.  If someone wants to start a trhead discussing the essays that'd be best.  But I"m me and can't.  Thanks.

I think the essays should be discussed here but I'd recommend starting that discussion in a separate thread for each essay.

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9 hours ago, Hamilton Porter said:

I don't find rockpond believable, sorry.

Maybe it's because you rarely show yourself around these parts!! ;) ETA: Rockpond isn't who you think he is, so glad he gave some history to his journey, always a very honest man IMO, and I'm sure the bishops he's served know of his beliefs. He's the real deal, I believe.

Edited by Tacenda

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20 hours ago, Hamilton Porter said:

You got the Church's philanthropy arm mixed up with the Church's core operations. OSF doesn't even have a philanthropy arm.

Just a suggestion.

Presume that a lot of your audience are converts who don't live in Salt lake City and are not acquainted with what goes on in the church office building. 

I'm interested in the topic but I have no clue what you're talking about. :)

 

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2 hours ago, rockpond said:

I think the essays should be discussed here but I'd recommend starting that discussion in a separate thread for each essay.

As I said, I can't start a thread.  I also said it would be best to start a new thread on it if anyone can.  

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2 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

As I said, I can't start a thread.  I also said it would be best to start a new thread on it if anyone can.  

I'm sorry @stemelbow I missed that note in your post.  I'll start a thread and you can move your comment there.

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3 hours ago, rockpond said:

Why?  (Serious question)

Thanks, @Calm.  And I certainly can't argue that I have what many would view as some serious contradictions.  Ultimately, I'm just trying to live as authentic a life as possible.

Somewhat for Hamilton's sake (and recognizing that I shouldn't be the subject of this), I'll give my brief bio -- maybe that will make me seem more believable:

I'm a 6th generation member of the Church, descendant of a couple who converted in Wales and ultimately sailed across the ocean and then up the Mississippi and shook the Prophet's hand upon arriving in Nauvoo.

I grew up in a strong LDS family.  Had a great testimony of the truthfulness of the restoration.  Served an honorable mission.  Graduated from BYU.  Married in the temple.  Spent the vast majority of my early married years serving with the youth and was ultimately called to serve as an early morning seminary teacher.  I mention the these callings because they are what led to my faith transition, two main things --

1.  I had a couple YM who I served with who were gay.  I began systematically researching everything the Brethren had ever taught about homosexuality in an attempt to help these YM.

2.  I believe I was a dedicated seminary teacher, I spent hours every night preparing.  I bought extra books to study and learn the material better so that I could be a better teacher.  Old Testament and D&C/Church History years opened my eyes to a lot of things I didn't know/understand before.

Ultimately, the testimony of the restoration that I had was left in ruins.  I searched and prayed to be able to put it back together.  And, for some time I wasn't sure if the Church had a significant place in my reconstructed faith.  In 2012 a man that I had immense respect for asked that I be called as his counselor in the bishopric.  Out of love for that man and the members of my ward I accepted and served with him and then the following bishop for over four years.  It was a tremendous experience and served to solidify the place of the church in my spiritual journey.

When released, I was called back to serve with the YM again, I accepted and I love the great youth we have in this church.  Unfortunately, that calling only lasted for a couple of years and now I am back serving another great bishop - this time as his executive secretary.  But I cherish the opportunity to support these amazing men who take on the tough mantel of bishop.  And it's an honor to have a front row seat to all the incredible service that is done in a ward.

I'm sharing this because I realize that many here disagree with (and some may be offended by) those things in the church that I oppose and refuse to accept.  But perhaps in reading this short bio you can get a sense for my love of and dedication to the church, much of its doctrine, the members, and the leaders for all the beauty and good that lies therein.

I really am trying to live with integrity in the spiritually dichotomous life where I've found myself.

I would say a life of authenticity and integrity would entail saying and supporting the same things outside a message board as within it.

Granted, one might justify compromising such a level of authenticity and integrity to protect other priorities (the innocent, relationships, livelihood, etc.), work out personal issues privately (“Anonymous groups”), or further one’s higher priorities, beliefs or needs (“lying for the Lord”).

For these reasons I think message board posts need to be taken at face value and for what they are worth.

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7 minutes ago, CV75 said:

I would say a life of authenticity and integrity would entail saying and supporting the same things outside a message board as within it.

And I do... within reason.  I'm not going to intentionally create discord in church meetings by bringing up controversial points.  Not the right time and place.

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2 hours ago, rockpond said:

And I do... within reason.  I'm not going to intentionally create discord in church meetings by bringing up controversial points.  Not the right time and place.

I understand your post was personal, and mine more reflective of general principle. I also believe there are "Church-centric" settings where we can discuss concerns authentically and with integrity, and approaches we can take without creating discord and controversy. I believe that what we discuss in those councils and private conversations with family, church members and leaders can help our exchanges on message boards, and vice-versa. There are all sort of challenges with trust in either venue (e.g. the anonymity of the message board and the intimacy of face-to-face communication), and trust is the life-blood of authenticity and integrity.

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On 1/23/2019 at 3:19 PM, hope_for_things said:

Accurate in a scholarly & scientific sense.  I thought I made that clear.  

I don't believe there is a way to eliminate bias with 100% confidence, no.  But I also recognize there is a wide range of what is clearly biased and what is closer to unbiased perspectives.  Thats where the tools of critical thinking, peer review, and carefully crafted methodology come in handy.  

Funny that I'm having a conversation with Clark Goble in another thread right now, and I'm essentially arguing that there is no way to establish religious truth as truth, and he's the one arguing for this idea that there is a religious truth in some objective sense that we need to align ourselves with.  Then you on the other hand are criticizing me for even using the word truth at all.  Crazy how I get caught in the middle of these debates sometimes.  :lol:

 

The article below totally agrees with my perceptions of the difference between Rorty and Peirce and my understanding of the progression of philosophical theory.  Rorty is clearly a step above in progression from Peirce who still speaks of correspondence in terms of objects being represented.  

Perhaps this is why some still believe that there can be "objective" observation of "objects"- religious or otherwise.  

As do you.  :)

I would differ with that idea, as the below article explains somewhat.

The article also shows the general progression in philosophy since those two figures and best of all shows that I am not a wacko nut job Matrix psycho, but quite in line with accepted theories. ;)

Underlining added.

https://www.britannica.com/topic/truth-philosophy-and-logic

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Truth, in metaphysics and the philosophy of language, the property of sentences, assertions, beliefs, thoughts, or propositions that are said, in ordinary discourse, to agree with the facts or to state what is the case.

Truth is the aim of belief; falsity is a fault. People need the truth about the world in order to thrive. Truth is important. Believing what is not true is apt to spoil a person’s plans and may even cost him his life. Telling what is not true may result in legal and social penalties. Conversely, a dedicated pursuit of truth characterizes the good scientist, the good historian, and the good detective. So what is truth, that it should have such gravity and such a central place in people’s lives?

The Correspondence Theory

The classic suggestion comes from Aristotle (384–322 BCE): “To say of what is that it is, or of what is not that it is not, is true.” In other words, the world provides “what is” or “what is not,” and the true saying or thought corresponds to the fact so provided. This idea appeals to common sense and is the germ of what is called the correspondence theory of truth. As it stands, however, it is little more than a platitude and far less than a theory. Indeed, it may amount to merely a wordy paraphrase, whereby, instead of saying “that’s true” of some assertion, one says “that corresponds with the facts.” Only if the notions of fact and correspondence can be further developed will it be possible to understand truth in these terms.

Unfortunately, many philosophers doubt whether an acceptable explanation of facts and correspondence can be given. Facts, as they point out, are strange entities. It is tempting to think of them as structures or arrangements of things in the world. However, as the Austrian-born philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein observed, structures have spatial locations, but facts do not. The Eiffel Tower can be moved from Paris to Rome, but the fact that the Eiffel Tower is in Paris cannot be moved anywhere. Furthermore, critics urge, the very idea of what the facts are in a given case is nothing apart from people’s sincere beliefs about the case, which means those beliefs that people take to be true. Thus, there is no enterprise of first forming a belief or theory about some matter and then in some new process stepping outside the belief or theory to assess whether it corresponds with the facts. There are, indeed, processes of checking and verifying beliefs, but they work by bringing up further beliefs and perceptions and assessing the original in light of those. In actual investigations, what tells people what to believe is not the world or the facts but how they interpret the world or select and conceptualize the facts.

Coherence And Pragmatist Theories

Starting in the mid-19th century, this line of criticism led some philosophers to think that they should concentrate on larger theories, rather than sentences or assertions taken one at a time. Truth, on this view, must be a feature of the overall body of belief considered as a system of logically interrelated components—what is called the “web of belief.” It might be, for example, an entire physical theory that earns its keep by making predictions or enabling people to control things or by simplifying and unifying otherwise disconnected phenomena. An individual belief in such a system is true if it sufficiently coheres with, or makes rational sense within, enough other beliefs; alternatively, a belief system is true if it is sufficiently internally coherent. Such were the views of the British idealists, including F.H. Bradley and H.H. Joachim, who, like all idealists, rejected the existence of mind-independent facts against which the truth of beliefs could be determined (see also realism: realism and truth).

Yet coherentism too seems inadequate, since it suggests that human beings are trapped in the sealed compartment of their own beliefs, unable to know anything of the world beyond. Moreover, as the English philosopher and logician Bertrand Russell pointed out, nothing seems to prevent there being many equally coherent but incompatible belief systems. Yet at best only one of them can be true.

Some theorists have suggested that belief systems can be compared in pragmatic or utilitarian terms. According to this idea, even if many different systems can be internally coherent, it is likely that some will be much more useful than others. Thus, one can expect that, in a process akin to Darwinian natural selection, the more useful systems will survive while the others gradually go extinct. The replacement of Newtonian mechanicsby relativity theory is an example of this process. It was in this spirit that the 19th-century American pragmatist philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce said:

The opinion which is fated to be ultimately agreed to by all who investigate, is what we mean by the truth, and the object represented in this opinion is the real.

In effect, Peirce’s view places primary importance on scientific curiosity, experimentation, and theorizing and identifies truth as the imagined ideal limit of their ongoing progress. Although this approach may seem appealingly hard-headed, it has prompted worries about how a society, or humanity as a whole, could know at a given moment whether it is following the path toward such an ideal. In practice it has opened the door to varying degrees of skepticism about the notion of truth. In the late 20th century philosophers such as Richard Rorty advocated retiring the notion of truth in favour of a more open-minded and open-ended process of indefinite adjustment of beliefs. Such a process, it was felt, would have its own utility, even though it lacked any final or absolute endpoint.

Tarski And Truth Conditions

The rise of formal logic (the abstract study of assertions and deductive arguments) and the growth of interest in formal systems (formal or mathematical languages) among many Anglo-American philosophers in the early 20th century led to new attempts to define truth in logically or scientifically acceptable terms. It also led to a renewed respect for the ancient liar paradox (attributed to the ancient Greek philosopher Epimenides), in which a sentence says of itself that it is false, thereby apparently being true if it is false and false if it is true. Logicians set themselves the task of developing systems of mathematical reasoningthat would be free of the kinds of self-reference that give rise to paradoxessuch as that of the liar. However, this proved difficult to do without at the same time making some legitimate proof procedures impossible. There is good self-reference (“All sentences, including this, are of finite length”) and bad self-reference (“This sentence is false”) but no generally agreed-upon principle for distinguishing them.

These efforts culminated in the work of the Polish-born logician Alfred Tarski, who in the 1930s showed how to construct a definition of truth for a formal or mathematical language by means of a theory that would assign truth conditions (the conditions in which a given sentence is true) to each sentence in the language without making use of any semantic terms, notably including truth, in that language. Truth conditions were identified by means of “T-sentences.” For example, the English-language T-sentence for the German sentence Schnee ist weiss is: “Schnee ist weiss” is true if and only if snow is white. A T-sentence says of some sentence (S) in the object language (the language for which truth is being defined) that S is true if and only if…, where the ellipsis is replaced by a translation of S into the language used to construct the theory (the metalanguage). Since no metalanguage translation of any S (in this case, snow is white) will contain the term true, Tarski could claim that each T-sentence provides a “partial definition” of truth for the object language and that their sum total provides the complete definition.

While the technical aspects of Tarski’s work were much admired and have been much discussed, its philosophical significance remained unclear, in part because T-sentences struck many theorists as less than illuminating. But the weight of philosophical opinion gradually shifted, and eventually this platitudinous appearance was regarded as a virtue and indeed as indicative of the whole truth about truth. The idea was that, instead of staring at the abstract question “What is truth?,” philosophers should content themselves with the particular question “What does the truth of S amount to?”; and for any well-specified sentence, a humble T-sentence will provide the answer.

Deflationism

Philosophers before Tarski, including Gottlob Frege and Frank Ramsey, had suspected that the key to understanding truth lay in the odd fact that putting “It is true that…” in front of an assertion changes almost nothing. It is true that snow is white if and only if snow is white. At most there might be an added emphasis, but no change of topic. The theory that built on this insight is known as “deflationism” or “minimalism” (an older term is “the redundancy theory”).

Yet, if truth is essentially redundant, why should talk of truth be so common? What purpose does the truth predicate serve? The answer, according to most deflationists, is that true is a highly useful device for making generalizations over large numbers of sayings or assertions. For example, suppose that Winston Churchill said many things (S1, S2, S3,…Sn). One could express total agreement with him by asserting, for each of these sayings in turn, “Churchill said S, and S,” and then asserting, “And that is all he said.” But even if one could do this—which would involve knowing and repeating every single saying Churchill made—it would be much more economical just to say, “Everything Churchill said was true.” Similarly, “Every indicative sentence is either true or false” is a way of insisting, for each such sentence (S), S or not S.

Despite their contention that the truth predicate is essentially redundant, deflationists can allow that truth is important and that it should be the aim of rational inquiry. Indeed, the paraphrases into which the deflationary view renders such claims help to explain why this is so. Thus, “It is important to believe that someone is ill only if it is true that he is” becomes “It is important to believe that someone is ill only if he is.” Other broad claims that appeal to the notion of truth can likewise be paraphrased in illuminating ways, according to deflationists. “Science is useful because what it says is is true” is a way of simultaneously asserting an indefinitely large number of sentences such as “Science is useful because it says that cholera is caused by a bacterium, and it is” and “Science is useful because it says that smoking causes cancer, and it does” and so on.

While deflationism has been an influential view since the 1970s, it has not escaped criticism. One objection is that it takes the meanings of sentences too much for granted. According to many theorists, including the American philosopher Donald Davidson, the meaning of a sentence is equivalent to its truth conditions (see semantics: truth-conditional semantics). If deflationism is correct, however, then this approach to sentence meaning might have to be abandoned (because no statement of the truth conditions of a sentence could be any more informative than the sentence itself). But this in turn is contestable, since deflationists can reply that the best model of what it is to “give the truth conditions” of a sentence is simply that of Tarski, and Tarski uses nothing beyond the deflationists’ own notion of truth. If this is right, then saying what a sentence means by giving its truth conditions comes to nothing more than saying what a sentence means.

As indicated above, the realm of truth bearers has been populated in different ways in different theories. In some it consists of sentences, in others sayings, assertions, beliefs, or propositions. Although assertions and related speech acts are featured in many theories, much work remains to be done on the nature of assertion in different areas of discourse. The danger, according to Wittgenstein and many others, is that the smooth notion of an assertion conceals many different functions of language underneath its bland surface. For example, some theorists hold that some assertions are not truth bearers but are rather put forward as useful fictions, as instruments, or as expressions of attitudes of approval or disapproval or of dispositions to act in certain ways. A familiar example of such a view is expressivism in ethics, which holds that ethical assertions (e.g., “Vanity is bad”) function as expressions of attitude (“Tsk tsk”) or as prescriptions (“Do not be vain!”) (see ethics: Irrealist views: projectivism and expressivism). Another example is the constructive empiricism of the Dutch-born philosopher Bas van Fraassen, according to which some scientific assertions are not expressions of belief so much as expressions of a lesser state of mind, “acceptance.” Accordingly, assertions such as “Quarks exist” are put forward not as true but merely as “empirically adequate.” If some such views are correct, however, then an adequate theory of truth will require some means of distinguishing the kinds of assertion to which it should apply—some account, in other words, of what “asserting as true” consists of and how it contrasts, if it does, with other kinds of commitment.

Even if there is this much diversity in the human linguistic repertoire, however, it does not necessarily follow that deflationism—according to which the truth predicate applies redundantly to all assertions—is wrong. The diversity might be identifiable without holding the truth predicates responsible. “Vanity is bad” or “Quarks exist” might contrast with “Snow is white” in important respects without the difference entailing that the first two sentences are without truth value (neither true nor false) or at best true in other senses.

Simon W. Blackburn

 

 

 

 

Edited by mfbukowski

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1 hour ago, CV75 said:

I understand your post was personal, and mine more reflective of general principle. I also believe there are "Church-centric" settings where we can discuss concerns authentically and with integrity, and approaches we can take without creating discord and controversy. I believe that what we discuss in those councils and private conversations with family, church members and leaders can help our exchanges on message boards, and vice-versa. There are all sort of challenges with trust in either venue (e.g. the anonymity of the message board and the intimacy of face-to-face communication), and trust is the life-blood of authenticity and integrity.

I mostly agree but, as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve witnessed my current stake president take away the recommends of a couple friends of mine when they discussed their concerns.  So there is an element of leadership roulette to this as some leaders have strong and specific ideas about what it means to sustain the Brethren.  And it is unfair to dismiss that as a valid concern of a parent with kids who are soon going to marry in the temple.  (I’m not speaking of me personally on this one, just the idea that what you can discuss anonymously, you could also discuss in church settings.  I don’t believe that’s true in every stake.)

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17 hours ago, rockpond said:

I mostly agree but, as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve witnessed my current stake president take away the recommends of a couple friends of mine when they discussed their concerns.  So there is an element of leadership roulette to this as some leaders have strong and specific ideas about what it means to sustain the Brethren.  And it is unfair to dismiss that as a valid concern of a parent with kids who are soon going to marry in the temple.  (I’m not speaking of me personally on this one, just the idea that what you can discuss anonymously, you could also discuss in church settings.  I don’t believe that’s true in every stake.)

From my experience, what you are describing is not so much roulette, but the Lord’s servants addressing individual needs in the manner best suited for them and those around them under changing circumstances (D&C 88:46-61).

From the standpoint of maintaining one’s authenticity and integrity in a setting of opposition, when I was a teenager and converted to the Restored Gospel but prohibited by my parents to have any contact with the Church (baptism, attendance, missionaries, etc.), I hid my scriptures and Church books under a floorboard and studied them in isolation when they were not around. I did not discuss the Church with them, but often with my friends. In a more regretful, anti-social vein, I sabotaged their efforts to have me participate in another church. As circumspect as I was in (not) sharing my views with my family, they were no secret and I lived the lifestyle quite openly. They knew where I stood.

Had the message boards existed then, I would have found them to be a nice outlet for expressing my views, though I’m not sure I would visit an Episcopal site to anonymously express my concerns about the failings of the Reformation with regards to that church (though on second thought, lacking a developed frontal lobe I just might well have!), even if I loved it or wanted to remain in it for family reasons while awaiting baptism into the one true and living Church I was advocating for.

Perhaps it can be said on one hand that as a teenager I didn’t have anything to loose by being more open about my faith and that I should have been; and on the other, that keeping the peace (or from a more selfishly, maintaining relationships to get what I wanted out of them) was a wiser strategy.

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