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Sunday, September 04, 2016

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Hello. Good post. Did you get the later two emails with quotes from Russell and Joachim?

Yes, got 'em.

Did you get two e-mails re: your book intro?

Will you admit you don't understand truthmaking? I am not claiming that the notion is free of difficulties, but that you haven't put your mental finger on them.

Ok fab. I am in Avignon at the moment so will look at the emails when back,thanks. I have visited the remains of the place where Ockham stayed while facing charges of heresy.

I don't think you have got to the heart of my objection here, is all I can say at the moment. But I only have my wife's iPad thingy at the moment, which is not designed for serious work.

See my latest post on the same God? controversy which has busted out again!

What was the main charge of heresy against Ockham? If they threatened him with a razor, Abelard's cup would have come in handy.

Yes I just commented. I just found a computer at the hotel with one of those strange French keyboards.

Actually he was never charged with heresy, there was merely an investigation. The reason he fled Avignon was the poverty controversy, a wholly separate matter.

The thing I am puzzling about right now is Plantinga's idea of proper basicality. You must surely have come across that? Very clever.

Of course. What puzzles you about properly basic beliefs?

On the truth thing. My point was that in order to understand what a sentence says, you must grasp which fact makes it true. Yes? So the meaning of a sentence is essentially connected with the fact it names. And that is what I mean by "an assertoric sentence is true in virtue of naming or referring to or signifying a fact". For if that semantic connection exists, it must be a connection to a fact, and if the fact is a fact, it must by definition correspond to some true proposition.

For example, I understand what the sentence "it is sunny here" means, because I understand which fact makes it true, namely its being sunny. So there must be a semantic connection between the sentence and the fact. Since that fact exists, as it is sunny here, the sentence is true.

The problem is the meaning of "it is not sunny here". There is no fact that makes it true. If there is such a fact, it is not making "it is not sunny here" true, since it is sunny. If there isnt such a fact, it cant make "it is not sunny here" true either.

The way out of this difficulty is to drop the idea that we can name facts. All we can name are propositions. It is an accidental feature of a proposition that it is true or false, so we can signify them without fear of signifying something whose very existence makes some proposition true.

On the Plantinga thing, still thinking about this. My puzzle is about how we communicate conviction. Suppose you and I both know the relevant bits of the King Arthur story. I am sceptical about the existence of Arthur, but you are utterly convinced. I ask why you believe this, but you can't or won't justify or explain or give supporting evidence for your conviction. «It just is true», you say.

In such circumstances, you are unlikely to persuade me. In fact the reverse. People with some overwhelming conviction of that sort we often regard as deranged. Now Plantinga would argue that if the ghost of Arthur were responsible for your conviction, then you could be regarded as rational, is that right? OK, but we should distinguish a person being rational from their behaviour or arguments being rational. Your conviction may be rational, but your argumentative strategy is not, nor are you being rational in seeking to persuade me on the basis of your conviction alone.

Also, I wonder if you are being rational at all. I am not persuaded by your conviction. Quite the reverse. So why are you persuaded by your conviction? How often, when utterly convinced of something, but unable to justify to ourselves why so, have we stepped back and realised that we were the victim of some delusion?

Perhaps I have not understood Plantinga, however.

What of Plantinga's are you reading? Give me a reference.

I have all my notes at home and can't remember the name of the paper. "Warranted Christian Belief" is the book I want to get hold of. I'll get back to you later. In any case, do you not agree it is irrational to attempt to persuade someone based on what you recognise is merely a conviction? I.e. while the conviction may be rational, trying to persuade someone off the back of it is not?

The TM argument I gave above is rather weak. 1. To grasp a proposition is to grasp which fact makes it true. 2. One can only grasp which fact makes it true if the fact exists. 3. Ergo one can only grasp true propositions. Valid argument, but premiss 2 weak.

Today I climbed Mt Ventoux, just like Buridan and Petrarch. Actually I drove up in a car, but if Buridan had a car, he would have driven up. Hope you are well.

So you climbed Mt Ventoux while seated on your ass! (Sorry, couldn't resist)

>>Now Plantinga would argue that if the ghost of Arthur were responsible for your conviction, then you could be regarded as rational, is that right?<<

I don't think so. But I am not well-versed in Plantinga's epistemology.

He is a foundationalist who believes that some beliefs must be accepted as basic -- as not inferred from other beliefs -- and that these support nonbasic beliefs. The support can be deductive or inductive or abductive. Properly basic beliefs are those that one is justified in accepting as basic. The justification accrues from normally functioning mental faculties. So my belief that I met you in person in Prague is properly basic because memory in properly functioning humans is a source of knowledge.

Overwhelming conviction is not a source of epistemic justification.

Something like that!

I suspect Ed's argument would be effective against any theory that proposes a truth-making correspondent in the world. But suppose we say that the correspondent of sentence S is not a fact or object in the world, but a way or mode, M, in which the world might possibly be. Then what makes S true is M's being actual.

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