[lit-ideas] Re: Malt, Coffee & Chuck Taylor

  • From: wokshevs@xxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 18 Jun 2006 15:37:02 -0230

Apologies for my naivete and pedantry.

I would have thought that "The coffee is hot" has no truth-value precisely
because the expression does "depend on subjective criteria" - which is to say,
no criteria or conditions at all. (At least when formulated in the abstract.)
It has no cognitive significance, as it used to be said. 

However, "The coffee was much too hot" does bear cognitive significance when
claimed in a court of law by somebody who bought and was scalded by a cup of
McDonald's coffee. That statement will be found to be either true or false - as
in, "to say of what is that it is, to say of what is not that it is not.".

Walter C. Okshevsky
Memorial University

Quoting Omar Kusturica <omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx>:

> --- wokshevs@xxxxxx wrote:
> > "Tennis is difficult." A statement that is both true
> > and false? Or: "True to
> > some extent"? 
> *You may note that I was giving this as the opinion of
> the college sophomore. (Fictional, but I have
> empirical reasons to believe that this is how lots of
> college sophomores react.) Personally, I would prefer
> a somewhat different formulation, such as a "statement
> that hasn't got a definite truth value."
> (Gimme a break. Truth, along with
> > logical validity, is like
> > pregnancy: no such thing as being "just a little bit
> > pregnant.") Where are the
> > Aristotelian philosophers when you need them?
> *It might help here to recall the Aristotelian
> distinction between contraries and opposites. Some
> terms, such black and white, or square and circle, are
> opposites, i.e. they are mutually exclusive. Others,
> like large and small, heavy and light, hot and cold
> etc. are merely contraries, they admit of degrees.
> Thus a statement like "the coffee is hot" is true or
> not depending on your subjective criteria of hotness.
> Now, some fields such as maths allow for making
> statements that are absolutely true or absolutely
> false, but many every-day statements are just a matter
> of opinion or subjective impression or preference. It
> is naive to expect them to have a definite truth
> value.
> O.K.
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