Enough truths to cope with already

Posted on by rarelyreality and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Tarksi wondered how we could tell whether snow is white. We have more challenging proposti0nal conundrums.

Extreme possible worlds

Bin Laden sprang out of bed with an AK47 in each hand. A millisecond before squeezing the triggers, a Navy SEAL shot him in the eye. “Shit!” exclaimed the US shooter, realizing the democratic West was in trouble. There’ll be no fair trial, no hope for justice. One of his comrades patted him on the shoulder, “There’s nothing we could have done.” Back in DC, Hilary Clinton covered her face, realizing immediately the repercussions – who would believe them when they said that he slept with guns?

Bin Laden was lying asleep, naked, in bed, with no sign of guns or explosives. His wife woke first and started to scream on seeing the SEALS. She was shot in the leg: “Shut up bitch.” As Bin Laden woke up, he was shot in the head as the US assassin screamed, “YEEEE HAAAW!” “Mission accomplished,” said the SEAL with a smile, waving to President Obama via the video hookup.

We must know the truth

There’s an enormous space of possibilities consistent with what we hear from the news for just about every news event. The first to come was whether the SEALS were really engaged in a gunfight. There’s the issue of sovereignty in Pakistan: is it possible that Pakistan secretly welcomes the drone attacks? That Pakistan knew the SEALS were coming but couldn’t admit this for fear of civil war when the locals discovered?

Then there’s the videos of Bin Laden watching himself. News of his porn stash. Could all be true and not fabricated. Could be a cheap PsyOp.

It’s of crucial importance that we work out how to uncover the real truth. What really happened? What were the motivations?

Well, actually, it’s not important. If even a fraction of what is probable, is actually true, e.g., that the US is executing people without trial in Pakistan using remote controlled drones, we have a major problem. The obvious truth is bad enough. The details and conspiracies don’t matter – they just distract from what we already know.

So, of all the scary news, what’s most likely to be true? And what should we do about it? 

Related posts:

  1. Osama bin Laden is dead. Now what?
  2. Bin Laden is Dead and the Youth are Still Pessimistic

8 Responses to Enough truths to cope with already

  1. BluegrassJack says:

    Full truths, partial truths. It doesn’t appear to make much of a deal to me. In the second World War, we did not know about all the deaths that occurred..and on a daily basis. Could we have done anything about it, if we did know? No.

    Even tho we are kept informed and misinformed 24/7 now, the public’s ability to “do something” is irrelevant. And that, I consider the end of it. We are in a one-sided war: al quaida declared war on the United States in the 1990s; we declared war, well we didn’t really anytime.
    I’ll let people who know how to do things do things.

  2. operator says:

    [W]hat’s most likely to be true?

    The table is tilted, folks. The game is rigged and nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care. Good, honest, hard-working people: white collar, blue collar, it doesn’t matter what color shirt you have on. Good, honest, hard-working people continue — these are people of modest means — continue to elect these rich cocksuckers who don’t give a fuck about them.

    – George Carlin

    And what should we do about it?

    We might have a shot at improving this track record with technology (24/7 video/audio/data surveillance on all publicly-elected officials streamed free to any citizen who wants to watch, for example – only fair when the government has granted itself the same powers over its citizens, right?) – but the most meaningful action that can be taken is probably education and the furtherance of critical thinking amongst those whom the propaganda is directed towards.

    … but, barring some radical evolution of our species, the likelihood that the extant freedom/complacency/abuse/revolution/freedom cycle will be broken seems highly unlikely.

    Perhaps it’s best to take after BluegrassJack and accept that you are being lied to by people you’re supposed to trust – for now, anyway.

  3. claudius says:

    “Bin laden is dead” if and only if Bin laden is dead.

    Not really clear on how you’re invoking Tarski here. Tarki’s theory deals with semantics of language and was not intended to be used for natural language (it is a truth theory, not a theory of meaning although Donald Davidson attempted to use Tarski’s theory as a theory of meaning).

    E.g., even if Bin laden were not dead, the truth condition stated above would still be true.

    Perhaps you are referring to a theory of meaning?

    • rarelyreality says:

      Thing is, would you trust someone who can’t spell “propositional” to tell you about Tarski?

      • claudius says:

        Sometimes people make little mistakes. It’d be myopic of me to reject an entire argument based on a spelling mistake. That sounds like something a politician or the modern media would do.

        Basically, I’m curious to know what your point is about Tarski. How are you connecting Tarski’s theory to what you know about the Bin Laden situation?

        • rarelyreality says:

          It was a throwaway remark, generated by an association with the word “true”. But now that you ask…! What could I have done with this?

          One issue is that I think we are fixated with working out truth values, or probabilities. We are driven to do the best we can to fill in the blanks. If we can’t fill in the blanks, we just make assumptions.

          There are infinitely many truths out there. We could just fix on a small formal system and crank the handle to see what are implied by various premises. Most of the results, though following from the premises, would be irrelevant to any goals we wanted to achieve.

          It’s very difficult to sit back say, look, it doesn’t matter. There’s already enough information to deal with. A lot of the detail is a distraction. I guess that’s what I was getting at.

          That’s not to say that formal philosophy is a waste of time – different domain, different goals…

          I’m not sure that answers your question. But maybe I can think of a few more dozen instances of the problem.

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