On 12/30/2013 3:39 AM, Edgar L. Owen wrote:

In response to the discussion of the possibility of a "Final Theory" I'm starting a new topic on the Nature of Truth since this is an important and separate issue from previous discussions.

1, it is impossible to directly know the external fundamental reality, we know external reality only filtered through the structures of our own minds. What we really know is only our own mental model of external reality which is provably very very different than actual external reality.

I'm not sure this is right. If our mental model includes our best and most fundamental scientific theories, then we don't *know* they are very different from reality. And we only say we know this about our naive, inbuilt model of the world (which is more Newtonian) because we compare it with the scientific models; yet the latter is derived from the former. "Science is just common sense writ large."

2, However we can easily prove that we do know external fundamental reality to an extent sufficient for us to function reasonably effectively within it. If we didn't have some actual true knowledge of external reality we could not even function within it and thus could not exist. So our very existence in actual reality demonstrates we do have some true knowledge of it. (This true knowledge consists of snippets of logical structure rather than the physical world we believe it to be.)

3. External reality is a consistent logical structure. It is computed, and for it to be computed it must follow consistent logical rules.

4. Therefore the only real test of truth is its internal logical consistency over the entire scope of knowledge. We can not directly compare our knowledge to the external world because it is filtered through the structures of our own senses and minds, but we do know that our knowledge is truth to the extent it is internally self-consistent over maximum scope.

5. In fact this is the actual working basis of scientific method, forensics, our successful functioning in daily life and in all human endeavors that seek truth. Namely is the body of knowledge in question internally consistent. If it is not then something is UNtrue.

This is the Consistency Theory of Knowledge. Consistency over maximum scope IS truth, the only truth possible to know.

There is and can be no direct knowledge of truth, there is only consistency.

This applies to all types of truth, from the logical structures in daily life moment to moment, as well as to knowledge of a "Final Theory".

There is however one important exception. Our mental model of reality is part of the actual external reality, and we do have direct knowledge of that. The truth of that is the thing itself. But its truth is an internal mental model of external reality, not the external reality it pretends to be.

OK, except I think your terminology is confusing because you use "truth" as a noun, and write thins like "truth of our mental model is the thing itself". If you would stick to "true" as an adjective applying to sentences the above could be a lot cleaner.


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