Debate 18 Discussion: Truth is prior to language.
Debate 18 Discussion: Truth is prior to language.

Debate 18 Discussion: Truth is prior to language.
unenlightened
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Posted Oct 21, 2012 - 6:24 AM:
Subject: Debate 18 Discussion: Truth is prior to language.
Please use this thread to discuss the debate found here. Write your reactions, comments, or suggestions at any time.

The participants are Creative and Banno.

Please observe the normal posting rules.

Thank you.
jorndoe
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Posted Oct 22, 2012 - 6:29 PM:

Read the "Debates Forum Parameters"; hopefully my posting is within the parameters.


Let me have a go, and throw some initial bait out there.. smiling face

For the sake of the below, I'll stick to propositions that are not self-referential or regarding language itself.

Usage of "true" and "false" is propositional.
Propositions can be false.
Statements can be wrong.
Thus statements cannot be prior truth.
Thus language cannot be prior truth.

a. I toss a green apple to my colleague.
b. I utter the statement "here's the red apple you wanted".
c. My statement is wrong.
d. The truthfulness of the statement in b is contingent upon non-linguistics as referred to in a.
180 Proof
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Posted Oct 23, 2012 - 3:13 AM:

It seems to me that this debate topic turns on what's meant by truth: semantic, syntatic, or intuitive. Only the latter, it seems to me, seems prior to language ... and, though often effective, is (by far) the most parochial. I think Banno has to show, at minimum, either that intuition is (also) linguistic or cannot (alone) convey knowledge.
Philosofeeder
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Posted Oct 23, 2012 - 6:00 PM:

I like truth best described simply as the way things are, compared to how things are not.

I think conscious beings that do not have language still perceive, conceptualize and exhibit conditioned responses. Because the concept of truth seems incoherent outside a conscious beings’ need to use it, it does appear reasonable to say that it is certain perceptions, conceptualizations and conditioned responses that are true. If we accept my previous two sentences, then the concept of "truth" would have come about simultaneously with any particular beings' consciousness.


Edited by Philosofeeder on Nov 1, 2012 - 11:08 PM. Reason: I rethought my position
Ginger17
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Posted Oct 23, 2012 - 6:11 PM:

If truth doesn't proceed language than people born with aphasia will never know the truth. Also, how can language be true if it precedes truth? Is there such a thing as pre-truthful language?
Pneumenon
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Posted Oct 23, 2012 - 7:27 PM:

Ginger17 wrote:
If truth doesn't proceed language than people born with aphasia will never know the truth.

I disagree. People with aphasia possess language, their use or understanding of it is just inhibited (use in the case of Brocha's aphasia, understanding in the case of Wernicke's aphasia).

Also, how can language be true if it precedes truth?

Language need not precede truth; the two can be coterminous. At any rate, "language is true" is an odd claim that I don't think anyone made.

Is there such a thing as pre-truthful language?

As I said, there need not be. But for an example of pre-truthful language, see section 2 of Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations.

Hanover
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Posted Oct 23, 2012 - 8:35 PM:

180 Proof wrote:
It seems to me that this debate topic turns on what's meant by truth: semantic, syntatic, or intuitive. Only the latter, it seems to me, seems prior to language ... and, though often effective, is (by far) the most parochial. I think Banno has to show, at minimum, either that intuition is (also) linguistic or cannot (alone) convey knowledge.
I agree with this assessment. Surely semantic and syntactic truth must have been preceded by language as those terms reference language statements themselves (the former with the meaning and the latter with the structure of the language statements). But surely in terms of chronology, the thought (any thought at all) must have occurred first and then it was followed by some public expression of that thought.

Doesn't my dog know that the cat is on the mat even if she doesn't have any knowledge skills? She acts like she knows the cat is on the mat.
Ginger17
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Posted Oct 24, 2012 - 7:00 AM:

I continue to have difficulty accepting the premise that language precedes truth. To reinforce my disbelief, I have come up with a counter example that supports the premise that truth precedes language. When a rat runs through a maze for food it eventually learns the correct path. The rat, which possesses no language, has developed a cognitive map of the maze. That is, he has gained knowledge of the true path of the maze. He doesn't possess or need language to learn a truth that existed prior to his running through the maze.

Therefore I think Creative (I just love these avatar names!) is on the correct side of the debate and poor Mr. Banno will need cleaver sophistry to win the argument. Of course, I may have missed something and could be wrong - a rare event to say the least!
Pneumenon
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Posted Oct 24, 2012 - 8:19 AM:

Ginger17 wrote:
To reinforce my disbelief, I have come up with a counter example that supports the premise that truth precedes language. When a rat runs through a maze for food it eventually learns the correct path. The rat, which possesses no language, has developed a cognitive map of the maze. That is, he has gained knowledge of the true path of the maze. He doesn't possess or need language to learn a truth that existed prior to his running through the maze.

Ah, but this knowledge is not propositional. There is a difference between knowing-how and knowing-that. The rat knows how to get to the end of the maze, but there's no evidence that the rat knows that anything is the case (the only such evidence would be if the rat could tell us that something was the case, but then it would have language). Non-propositional knowledge need not involve truth, since there's nothing there to be true (no proposition).

Hanover
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Posted Oct 24, 2012 - 11:31 AM:

Pneumenon wrote:
Ah, but this knowledge is not propositional. There is a difference between knowing-how and knowing-that. The rat knows how to get to the end of the maze, but there's no evidence that the rat knows that anything is the case (the only such evidence would be if the rat could tell us that something was the case, but then it would have language). Non-propositional knowledge need not involve truth, since there's nothing there to be true (no proposition).


So the rat knows "how to" navigate the maze, yet he doesn't "know that" he's in a maze? How do you know that?

My dog knows how to chase my cat, but he doesn't know that the cat is a cat? What does he think she is?

When I type, how do I know what I'm going to type prior to typing it? It's not like I say each word to myself and then I type it. I have a concept and then I reduce it to langauge. I don't have language and then reduce it to thought.

I read your comments, and my immediate thought was of its falsity. Falsity, in that case, preceded language.
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