June 2, 2020

Knowledge and reality

What is knowledge? Does it mirror reality, or is our idea of reality dependent on the way we ourselves are? Epistemological conflicts Epistemology offers lots of theories of knowledge as well as their refutations. These theories practically all focus on knowledge as private. This far, definitions of knowledge as residing in private minds have been rather disappointing. One of the […]
June 9, 2020

Knowledge and facts

In Knowledge and Truth, I wrote that knowledge is supposed to refer to facts. But what are facts? Possible meanings of “fact” In ordinary language, the word fact has a strong connotation of truth. Sentences like “it is a fact that p” or “p is true” seem to mean the same – p stands for a proposition.  But “p is true because […]
June 13, 2020

Coincidence, determinism and free will

A man leaves his office, unsuspectingly walks past a house where a roof tiler accidently drops a tile, killing the man. Fred sits quietly in his room when a sudden gust of wind slams his window shut. That evening they call to tell him that his best friend has had a fatal car accident. In the course of some party […]
June 23, 2020

Truth and history

History has been called “more or less bunk”, “fluid prejudice”, and “a version of the past people decided to agree upon.” History’s only lesson is said to be “that we never learn very much from it.” Whence history’s dubious reputation? Identity Even in prehistoric times there was history. The classical emphasis on history as written largely obscures its most original […]
July 11, 2020

Truth and identity

Trying to understand the world, we enter into a complex network of representations, both of ourselves and of the outside world, of relations between our self as we perceive it and as perceived by others and of differences across time. Since reality is not as it is, but as we humans see it – see Knowledge and reality – our […]
August 4, 2020

Truth-makers, truth-bearers, truth-breakers

Intuitively, a world where a proposition is true differs from a world where it is false. But how to express the relation between ‘truth-bearers’, e.g. propositions, and their ‘truth-makers’, the aspects of reality they refer to? The idea to single out truth-makers for specific truth-bearers and express them in one to one truth-making relations has shown to be a dead […]
August 11, 2020

Negative truths

“There is no cat on the mat.” Most philosophers consider truth-makers for negative facts to be problematic. In 1919, Bertrand Russell wrote: “There is implanted in the human breast an almost unquenchable desire to find some way of avoiding the admission that negative facts are as ultimate as those that are positive.” Indeed, our truthopathy is equally strong for both […]
August 21, 2020

On the analytic-synthetic distinction

Already Immanuel Kant, investigating the foundations of knowledge in his 1781 Critique of Pure Reason, distinguished between analytic and synthetic truths, for him the latter being the most interesting. While in later days ‘analytic’ became almost a synonym for a priori – before experience – Kant argued that some a priori truths, such as 7 + 5 = 12 are […]
August 22, 2020

God as a stopgap

An awkward, yet a frequent argument for the existence of God is that science is unable to explain everything. In this view, God is complete knowledge minus science. As scientific knowledge grows, God is confined to a constantly shrinking, mystic leftover territory. In this article, I shall argue that the supposed contrast between science and religion is of a much […]
Buy now