Posts Tagged ‘Truth’

How the Proof of the Pudding is Really in the Eating

Monday, August 25th, 2008

When you want to know the truth you are looking for facts. This seems very evident but Philosophy and especially the field of Epistemology has spend a lot of time to find out if this Statement about Truth is really True.

The first step is to look up the definition of the word “fact“. We use Wordnet to do this. WordNet is a semantic lexicon for the English Language. The database contains about 150,000 words.

Fact: A piece of information about circumstances that exist or events that have occurred.
Fact: A statement or assertion of verified information about something that is the case or has happened.
Fact: An event known to have happened or something known to have existed.
Fact: A concept whose truth can be proved.

The meaning of words changes in history. If you want to know how the meaning is changed you have to look up the Etymology of the word.

Fact: 1539, “action” especially “evil deed,” from L. factum “event, occurrence,” lit. “thing done,” from neut. pp. of facere “to do”. Usual modern sense of “thing known to be true” appeared 1632, from notion of “something that has actually occurred.”

When we combine the result of both dictionaries we see that the original meaning of the word “Fact” is-related to the word “Event”. Later around 1632 it changed into a concept “whose truth can be proved”.

To find more about the meaning of the word Event we can look for all the occurrences of this word in the sentences of English language. One of the scientists who spend a lot of time researching the meaning of the word “Event” is George Lakoff. He defined The Event Structure Metaphor.

A Metaphor Is-A Mapping. A Mapping Is-A Relation between two Domains, the Source and the Target.

The Event Structure Metaphor is one of the most widespread of all the conceptual metaphors in the world. It maps from the source domain of Space to the target domain of Events, and leads to the following concepts:

A State Is-A Location (a bounded region in space).
A Change Is-A Movement (into or out of bounded region).
A Cause Is-A Force.
An Action Is-A Self-Propelled Movement.
A Purpose Is-A Destination.
A Mean Is-A Path to destinations.
A Difficulty Is-A Blockage.
Expected Progress Is-A Travel Schedule.
A Schedule Is-A Virtual Traveler, who reaches pre-arranged destinations at pre-arranged times.
An External Event Is-A Large Moving Object.
A Long-term, purposeful activity Is-A Journey

An Event Is-A Blockage that prevents us to Move from One Destination to an other Destination in the Journey called Life. To Move from one Destination to an other Destination we are Propelling our Self. Sometimes we are propelled By something else, An External Event. If this Happens it feels like we are hit by a Large Moving Object.

When we are Hit by an External Event “things get out of hand” or “we are not able to keep a tight rein on the situation” or “we are not going with the flow” or “things take a turn for the worse“.

A Fact is an Event that Causes the Emotion of Frustration (Anger, Irritation, Sadness, Worry,..). An Event Forces us to Move Away from our Original Route, the Path that leads us to the Destination that we wanted to Reach in Life. We have to take a Detour.

What happened around 1632?

Around 1632 Francis Bacon advocated a new method for achieving knowledge, based on careful observation and eliminative induction. Bacon warned that effective reasoning must be freed from the “idolatrous” influence of human nature (Emotions & Imagination).

Francis Bacon started The Age of Enlightenment. The Enlightenment advocated reason as a means to establishing an authoritative philosophical system which would allow human beings to obtain objective truth about the whole of reality. Much later Emmual Kant dedicated his Critique of Pure Reason to Francis Bacon.

What happened?

Facts were moved from the Emotions (Judgement, Opinion) to the Level of the Mind (Truth). With the help of Logic it would be possible to Prove Everything.

According to Aristotle there are four types of truth: universal affirmatives take the form: All S are P, universal negations take the form: No S are P, particular affirmatives take the form: Some S are P, particular negations take the form: Some S are not P. Later so called contingent truths were added. They are dependent on the situation/context.

The Quest for the Eternal Logical Truth is still going on. Many very bright minds have tried to find a solution but the terrible thing is that the Truth of a logical proposition is entirely dependent on the Truth of the Facts that are put into the Proposition. We are again in a State of Infinite Regress.

One of these bright minds was Frank Plumpton Ramsey (1903-1930). Ramsey lived and worked in Cambridge and was befriended with Bertrand Russell, G. E. Moore, J. M. Keynes and Ludwig Wittgenstein. Ramsey created a theory called Pragmatism.

In his paper ‘Truth and Probability’, written in 1926, Ramsey shows that if people in their behaviour obey a set of axioms or rules, the measure of our ‘degrees of belief’ will satisfy the laws of probability. The Truth is highly related to Judgment and “if we have analysed judgment we have solved the problem of truth“.

“ is, for instance, possible to say that a chicken believes a certain sort of caterpillar to be poisonous, and mean by that merely that it abstains from eating such caterpillars on account of unpleasant experiences connected with them. … An exact analysis of this relation would be very difficult, but it might well be held that in regard to this kind of belief the pragmatist view was correct, i.e. that the relation between the chicken’s behaviour and the objective factors was that the actions were such as to be useful if, and only if, the caterpillars were actually poisonous. Thus any set of actions for whose utility p is a necessary and sufficient condition might be called a belief that p, and so would be true if p, i.e., if they are useful“.

What Ramsey is telling is that “the proof of the pudding is in the eating“.

What happened?

We are finally back to square one! After about 400 years of Enlightment we have to admit that the only way to find the Truth is to find out if what we Think is true is really True. We don’t have to use very complicated reasoning to prove what we are already experiencing in the Real World.


About the Age of Reason

About Pragmatism and Ramsay

About Truth

About the Old Egyption Concept of Justice, Ma’at

Friday, July 4th, 2008

maat_goddessofjustice1Ma’at was one of the Egyptian Neteru (a Goddess). She represented the concept of Justice. Just like Lady Justice she carries a scale in her hands. Ma’at was also the keeper of the Afterworld.

The dead person’s heart was placed on a scale, balanced by the Feather of Ma’at. If the deceased had been found not to have followed the concept of Ma’at during his life (if he had lied or cheated or killed) his heart was devoured by a demon and he died the final death and was reincarnated. If the heart weighed the same as Ma’at, the deceased was allowed to go on to the eternal afterlife.

Ma’at was an important Neteru and important Neteru are bisexual. Ma’at was created by Amon (later named Ra, The Sun) and was one of the four bisexual primal forces in the Universe. Ma’at was the Breath of Life. Through Ma’at the Cycle of the Seasons and every other Cycle was moving around. Ma’at represented the Rythm of the Universe.

Later the bisexual Neteru were split into a male and a female part. Ma’at became female and her companion was represented by a Baboon. Later the Baboon changed into Thoth, The Scribe. Thoth (or Set) was the creator of language and writing. He was also a very powerfull Magician.

Behind the many transformations lies a very important story. It is the story of the Creation of Man. Man was a creation of a Neteru and his creation was a big mistake. His creation was not according to the Plan of Amon. The Plan of Amon was to keep Ma’at, Balance, Rythm and Order.

Man was created out of the secret fusion between one of the Neteru (Seth, Thoth, Enlil) and a “Chattering” Baboon. Three times the fusion failed and in the end Enlil decided to destroy his creations by the Great Flood. The Fusions between Ape and God was creating a gigantic cosmic Unbalance.

One of the Talking Baboons (Atrahasis, Noach) and all the (not-talking) Organisms were saved by the intervention of one of the other male Neteru (Enki, The Wise, The Water God). The Words of the Organisms (Seeds, DNA?) were put into a boat (The Ark). To keep the overpopulation of Humans in balance a System of Cycles of Creation and Destruction was created.

On the level of the Soul Man is a bisexual being. The Soul is incarnated in a Male and a Female body until he is able to leave the Cycle. He is able to leave the Cycle when his heart weights the same as the Feather of Ma’at. All he has to do is to live a life of Justice. He has to act out of the Heart.

A Human is capable of Injustice because he carries the “genes” of one of the male Neteru who stood up against Amon. If his heart is Heavy Like a Stone he is taken over by the Demon and has to return to the Material World to try again and again until he has learned his lesson (Reincarnation). The Demon has many tricks to keep the Soul into the material plane. His most important trick is Language.

Ancient Egyptian law dates from 3000 BC. It was based on the concept of Ma’at, rhetorical speech, social equality and impartiality. Around the 2200 BC the first law code based on casuistic statements (“if… then…”) was developed in Persia. Around 1760 BC, King Hammurabi further developed Babylonian law by codifying and inscribing it in stone.

About 5000 years later many people believe the Ancient people were barbaric. Objective Law and its Institutions are one of the beautifull inventions of Western Culture. Western Culture was a product of the old Greek Civilizations. The Romans perfected the System of Law.

Almost nobody knows that the old Creek Scientists copied all their knowlegde out of Egypt. The Greeks named the concept of Ma’at, Logos. The early Christians adopted this concept as you can see in the first line of the Gospel of John (“In the beginning was the Logos ,and the Logos was with God”). In the Gnostic Tradition of Christianity Ma’at was called Sophia (Wisdom).

The effect of the Gene of the deficient Neter later called the Devil has increased in Time. The split of the Male and the Female part resulted in a Male Dominance in every area part of Society. The Afterworld changed into an Underworld. The Power of the Heart has diminished.

The concept of Ma’at has lost his place. Ma’at has been blinded and her Feather has changed into a Sword. The amount of Rules has increased tremendously. The Chattering Baboon has produced many Words of Justice. The Talking Baboon has taken over the Power. His Words have finally killed Amon. Ma’at is not needed anymore. The Baboons are able to Stear the Stars themselves.

Nobody knows that we are still silently governed by Ma’at. We have to move to the Dark Cycle to restore the Golden Age of the Gods. In the Golden Age the Light of Amon (The Sun) will Shine Again.

Truth, Integrity, Honesty, Goodness and Balance brings one closer to the spiritual essence that is all pervasive in the Universe. There was nothing more sacred or important to the practitioner of the Ancient Egyptian Religion. The cosmic order that is Ma’at connects everything in the ageless dance of beauty and motion giving meaning to existence on all levels.