Re: Fuzzy Logic (Was Tarsky)

Mark Crosby (
Wed, 27 May 1998 09:53:42 -0700 (PDT)

As Warrl kyree Tale'sedrin just put it, "our ability
to perceive and measure the truth is fuzzy". And, I
believe this is always so except for tautologies and
axiomatic truths such as "I think therefore I am" and
"there are other minds" and "there really is a world
of objects out there that I can bump into".
Stringing these together, we might even come up with
the 'Absolute Truth' that "I think there are other
minds out there that I had better be careful about
bumping into".

If you pressed them, I doubt that even the most
relativistic radical would argue with these 'truths'.
So, everyone has an ontological sense of truth, even
if they don't always admit it. The part that people
argue about is when it comes to epistemology and that
particular slice of Reality they happen to be focused
on (the sky is blue, you say, well, define sky...)

What I really wanted to mention, though, was that
there's currently a discussion on another list that
is mentioning some of the same topics that have come
up here, in a slightly different context; namely,
F.Hayek's theory of mind and liberty.

In particular, Erik Davis (whose "thesis has proposed
a Hayek-Jung synthesis"), mentions Chris Sciabarra's
_Marx, Hayek and Utopia_ and claims that "'bootstrap'
theories of mental processes--which Hayek often
associates with vulgar Marxism and which tend to
antagonize or neglect the tacit dimension--go hand in
hand with totalitarian-utopian political theories".
Davis adds:

"For example, Marxists of various sorts have tended
to see unintended/unconscious (and therefore tacit)
social-systemic processes as something to be
overcome--something unfavorable. This is why in the
New Left one finds a synthesis of Marxism and
Freudianism, because Freudians also saw the
unconscious (and its tacit dimension) as something
to be overcome--something unfavorable."

Michael Polanyi explained how tacit knowledge was
essential to personal knowledge. Hayek explained how
this kind of "fuzzy truth" was also essential to the
functioning of a free society. As Hayek puts it in
"The Use of Knowledge in Society":

"The peculiar character of the problem of a rational
economic order is determined precisely by the fact
that the knowledge of the circumstances of which we
must make use never exists in concentrated or
integrated form but solely as the dispersed bits of
incomplete and frequently contradictory knowledge
which all the separate individuals possess...

"Today it is almost heresy to suggest that scientific
knowledge is not the sum of all knowledge. But a
little reflection will show that there is beyond
question a body of very important but unorganized
knowledge which cannot possibly be called scientific
in the sense of knowledge of general rules: the
knowledge of the particular circumstances of time and

This is why the notion of Absolute Truth seems
dogmatic and counter-productive to me.

Mark Crosby
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