[FOM] Truth and existence

Staffan Angere Staffan.Angere at fil.lu.se
Sat Jul 16 15:50:09 EDT 2011

There is no significant difference. It is quite possible to interpret Greek mythology so that it can be objectively true without there being any Greek gods. It is not unreasonable to hold it to be objectively true that Pallas Athena was the daughter of Zeus, since any historian of religion who claimed otherwise would be saying something false. On such an interpretation, the truth-conditions of statements about Greek mythology do not involve anything "referred to" by the singular terms in these statements, but are to be paraphrased in terms of historical evidence.

A more realistic example of the same phenomenon is the statement "there was a rainbow visible over London this afternoon". This may be true without there being an entity such as a specific rainbow at a specific point in space-time. Instead, it is made true by the presence of certain observers together with a specific interplay of water droplets and sun rays.

Staffan Angere

Från: fom-bounces at cs.nyu.edu [fom-bounces at cs.nyu.edu] för Arnon Avron [aa at tau.ac.il]
Skickat: den 13 juli 2011 20:11
Till: Foundations of Mathematics
Ämne: [FOM] Truth and existence

 Am 12.07.11 22:18, schrieb Roger Bishop Jones:
>It does not require any metaphysical position at all. Acceptance
>that "all possible subsets" is meaningful, like acceptance that
>the concept of natural number is meaningful, is well within the
>normal standards of mathematics, and is independent of
>metaphysical ontology. (it is true that philosophers do sometimes
>refer to the acceptance of the objectivity of truth in some domain
>as realism, but then some philosophers are unable to accept that
>one can believe in the objective truth of arithmetic without also
>believing in the existence of numbers. On that latter point I can
>assure them as a matter of empirical fact that it is possible).

I am sorry, but I do not see the difference between the claim that
one can believe in the objective truth of arithmetic without also
believing in the existence of numbers, and the claim that
one can believe in the objective truth of the stories of the Greek
mythology without also believing in the (past) existence of the Greek gods.
I certainly miss something here.

Arnon Avron

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