Thursday, November 20, 2008

Distant Past Wonder

This may be more timely for next time, but I wanted to ask it anyhow.

It seems that for truth we need correspondence. So we have a fact-in-the-world bit on the one side, and a representation-of-a-fact bit on the other. So:

(1) •Snow is white• is true iff it is the case that snow is white.

Or, it seems,

(2) •It was temperature d at time t• is true if it is the case that it was temperature d at time t.

It seems that we can still have the fact-in-the-world bit going on in the absence of propositions. Propositions are just going to be the representation-of-a-fact bit. So the left-hand side bits of (1) and (2) might not be there. But this seems consistent with the right-hand side bits may still have obtained.

Doesn't it seem plausible that something might be the case, even though it fails to be represented as being true or false?


Dan said...

I think your point is a good one, it's one King mentions at one point as well (the chapter eludes me, probably ch 3).
Anyway, I think the intuition against this notion goes something like this:
T) All it is for P to be true, is that the world is as P represents it to be.
Under King's view it's true that we still have the fact-in-world going on where there are no propositions. Consider a location (in time, place, modality, whatever) L at which Adam is tall but there are no propositions. It's still the case that there's the fact-in-world going on there that has Adam being tall. That's enough for it to be the case now that the proposition that Adam is tall at L is true. However the objection still holds that it's not true at L that Adam is tall (since there is no proposition at L to be true). This goes against (T). At L the world IS the way P represents it to be, but it isn't the case that P is true there.
I don't think that this is a knock down argument (for the very reason you gave). However it points out a deviance in our common sense view of truth from what King says is truth.

Wes McPherson said...

I suppose the middle ground might be: when there was no language, there were truths; but they were not taken to be true.

I'm not sure if this middle ground would really make anyone happy.

Maybe 'true' is ambiguous between 'representings' and 'representeds'. I guess King wants 'truth' to be a representing, but someone else might take it to be what is represented.