Re: [quickphilosophy] Re: 1.12; 1.13; 1.2 & 1.21

  • From: wittrsl@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • To: quickphilosophy@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 08 Sep 2010 09:23:14 +0100

It's tendentious to introduce foundationalism.  (Is there a coherent 
doctrine that falls under that title?  Isn't the belief that statements 
are made true by "facts" a kind of foundationalism?)

An explanation works only if it uses terms that are understood by all 
relevant parties.  This is true even if someone is a foundationalist. 
Unless you are supposing that a foundationalist must also be a 
thoroughgoing sceptic, then presumably even foundationalists understand 
some terms.

The trouble is, I don't even know what "facts" are being claimed to be, 
if they aren't true statements (which is what the dictionary tells me 
they are).  Is there a word that is generally agreed to cover what, if 
anything, makes statements true?

The deeper trouble is that the assumption of the existence of "facts" 
that are not simply true statements involves layers of philosophical 
assumptions - it can't be taken as an innocent assumption of an obvious 
neutral starting point.

As witnessed by the possibility of there being people who can't see any 
meaning to claims that "facts" make statements true.  Since the TLP 
doesn't unpack the philosophical assumptions in which it is couched (and 
indeed leaves them obscure) it is hard to know what, if anything, it 
tells us.  As witnessed by the volume of commentary and the lack of much 
agreement on major points!

If a theory is not evaluable through some kind of rational discussion, 
is it a viable theory?


On 07/09/10 18:09, walto wrote:

> My point was that for the non-foundationalist, all explanations are, in
> the end, (at least partially) circular. IMO, there is no outside vantage
> from which one can make a case for a realist theory of truth. If you
> don't think that statements are made true by facts, I don't believe
> there are any "arguments" that are likely to convince you.

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