Is It True What They Say About Tarski?

Tony Hollick (
Thu, 21 May 98 22:23 BST-1

(Apologies to Susan Masterman for 'borrowing' her title).

I'm mildly surprised that more readers of this list are not fully familiar
with logician Alfred Tarski's reconstruction of a commonsense
Correspondence Theory of Objective Truth, utilizing a metalanguage,
whereby we evaluate the truth content of formal statements concerning
objective reality.

This following example is a bit more complex than first appears -- it's
deceptively simple -- sometimes there is more to the obvious than is
obvious... >:-} ).

Following Tarski, we may say:

'The statement "le ciel est bleu" is true if --

and only if --

the sky is, in fact, blue.'

Thus, we can examine and test the correspondence of statements with
objective reality, with the metalanguage serving to avoid tautology,
among other things.

Readers of Popper will be fully cognizant of Tarski's wonderful
breakthrough, which provides unbreakable logical foundations for the
commonsense idea that there exists a truth directly related to reality,
without all the subjectivist errors and pitfalls.

Bayesian Probability is worth a look too -- it's extensively favored by
the intelligence community, which is why my friend Admiral Gayler says
"Intelligence work is a probabilistic kind of thing." But Tarski's
method is superior in that it is exact, not probabilistic.

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PS: Someone on this list, whose address I alas mislaid, asked me if
I'd ever met William Warren Bartley, and what I thought of him.

Yes, I met Bill Bartley in London in the early Eighties, in the company
of my great friend Jeremy Shearmer (for eight years Popper's Research
Assistant) who knew him well. I thought he was a bit 'stand-offish'
(he _did_ say "I don't care what anyone thinks.'). This seemed a bit
odd for a philosopher and an acolyte of Werner Erhard's 'est'! The
world (and I mean 'the entire world') is however permanently indebted
to him for his rescuing some of Popper's unpublished writings.

Bartley wrote a lovely book on Lewis Carroll's Logic. It's such a
shame to lose people like Bartley and Feynman so young.

I think his (prize-winning) book on Erhard and 'est' is very brave (he
expected it to ruin his academic reputation, instead of which it won
eleven prizea! >:-} ) but is badly flawed by its failing to identify
the origins of the various elements of the 'est' training, foremost
among which are Mind Dynamics and Silva Mind Control.

Feynman (Richard) knew Werner Erhard too, BTW. I've been to meetings
with Erhard, but never met him personally. He's very funny, and a
brilliant raconteur. I haven't done his 'Forum' training, so I can't
say whether it has the flaws (or the brilliance) of 'est.' I'm wary of
things with Roman titles -- I'm with Greece against Rome (and Athens
against Sparta).

I'll always remember thinking, early on in the 'est' training: "This is
the most brilliantly clever, intricate and powerful thing I've _ever_
seen in all my life." (I'd already toured NIMROD at Harwell, the
Atomic Energy Research Establishment) when it was under construction.
The big accelerators are truly _awesome_). With all its faults, that's
still true. I work on a CD-ROM based Human Potential Skills Evocation
Programme which will (I hope!) be _more_ brilliant, _more_ intelligent;
and _staggeringly_ powerful.

[ FX: <derisive snort - 'Huh!'>: "More; better; different..." ]

[ FX: <smiles>: "No -- _inspired_..." >:-} ]

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PPS: Nanci; do you know the 'Light Doodler' gadget? Comes from
Chatsworth, California -- It's really beautiful. A spinning 4"
polycarbonate ring has wired multi-coloured micro-LEDs set into the
circumference which switch on and off under microprocessor control to
create polychromatic light patterns on the described surface of a
sphere. It has pattern controls, and a microphone to enable it to
'play along' with music, voices etc.

Very Extropian! Around $50 retail.

/ /\ \

Tony Hollick, LightSmith (LA-Agora Conference) (Agora Home Page, Rainbow Bridge Foundation) (NorthWest Coalition Against Malicious Harrassment)

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