In Our Time: Truth. see url: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qykl/episodes/playerThis broadcast may not be available for download if your ISP registers you in a country outside of the BBC license area. It might be available legally on Pirate Bay, or some such peer to peer organisation...if it isn't still closed down...or if you have a subscription to a private network of some kind, which can bring you under the UK license area, you may be able to get access that way.
What is funny about this broadcast...to me...at any rate...is the stuttering of the guests as the host, Melvyn Bragg poses them questions which they cannot answer. And I have never seen so many philosophers get up to so many diversionary tactics and stratagems openly in such a short time, in a long time. They tied themselves up in knots or is it nots for a while, before they finally admitted that really, they hadn't a clue. Was it a relational thing rather than absolute, was it an objective rather than a subjective standard, was it better defined as part of the "redundancy" theory i.e. Santas' reindeer no longer exist because they have been declared redundant...:-) What if we changed truth to true...would missing out the th and adding an e at the end make a difference? And to think these guys get paid all that money on life long tenure, and they cannot answer such simple questions as what is truth?
Why ponder it on this mailing list? Well, one of the crucial questions in society and computing in particular is establishing peoples' identity without any ambiguity. A second reason is in preventing fraud. Another question is lie detection. At the moment, due to the Snowden revelations, I understand that intelligence services staff in the USA are getting a bit pissed because they are having to go through lie detector tests every couple of months.
It is not only the plebs who have to go through these lie detector tests, apparently. It applies to everyone in the organisation, right up to the Director. Apparently, going through a lie detector test is a very onerous and nerve wracking experience, as well as being very expensive in time and resources; and causes a lot of stress and strain in the participant; because if one fails, then one's classification qualifications and all job security is removed, and people find it difficult to accept the need to have their personal honour, trust and truthfulness tested all the time, purely for national security interests...especially when they look at reports such as that on Torture. How do the Directors of the CIA pass these tests? It is it because an inaccuracy is perhaps not a lie, and that a whole series of them merely shows incompetence rather than a deliberate practice of lying, and therefore this does not show up when they take these tests. One also wonders, if the administer of the lie detection test discovered that a Director was lying...what the procedures are for dealing with it. Not that I am making any presumption that such people in high office would lie...of course.
Now I know that they use some kind of machine to detect the lies, and that they also use other secret methods to back up their perceptions. But...the question remains, how does one tell if something is a lie, if one doesn't know how to define truth? I also noticed the other day, that a US firm which specialises in defeating the lie detector are being prosecuted by the FBI, might have even been found guilty by now. How do they and the FBI know what a lie is if they don't know the truth...or do they know sumfink we don't know?
Food for thought.