For Marxist historiography… it is permanence and continuity which are the illusion, and change and struggle the reality, These 2 modes of understanding the past, reflect a kind of Gestalt alteration in which everything changes depending on whether you see history as a continuum only occasionally broken by upheavals; or as a constant working out of hidden contradictions, a perpetual but concealed violence which comes to the surface from time to time as a reminder of the nature of the underlying reality. -The very concept of continuity is of course an idealistic one, criticized from their own respective points of view by both existentialism and Marxism.

Jameson

Complaints

Having presented a definition of impartial truth (chapter 23), we can anticipate numerous objections, such as the comment by Rucker in eg. 24a given above. Before addressing the difficulties injected in the rational community by Eg. 24a, there are a host of other problems that need resolving. The following four suggest the extent of the over all problem.

Problem 1: What method do we need to answer objections?

Problem 2: How much time does it take to adequately answer even one objection?

Problem 3: How many objections we can expect to encounter?

Problem 4: Are these objections and answers interconnected?

Let’s take a closer look at each of these difficulties.

Problem 1: Method

What method do we need to answer objections?

To give an adequate answer to any objection to the plus definition of impartial truth requires some background agreement. We cannot justify any discourse concerning elemental theory until we take time to establish our method. As a minimum, we should agree on basic guidelines of sound rational thinking, core idea vocabulary, and how to apply principles to practice.

We can do this by cultivating our commonsense. It is not necessary to critically study root verities as long as the rational style of the day adequately supports the requirements of sound rational thinking.

When serious disagreement arises, we need standards we can refer to. For our present purpose, plus root theory can operate as a standard until something more polished shows up. Plus root theory sets forth terminology, basic principles and methods of application. These basics fit with our intuition and, when brought into consciousness, can use in common. Plus root theory is designed to reinforce what normally educated people already intuit in subliminal insight and have already cultivated in liminal levels of thinking.

Problem 2: Time

How much time does it take to adequately answer to even one objection?

Assuming we have agreed on method and terminology, then we can address individual objections to the plus definition of impartial truth. Each objection is a problem in its own right and, to be fair, must be given its own turn.

After we settled on procedure, forming a reputable answer to even one objection takes at least a month of research and writing. It is a tenet of plus root theory that: to make an objection takes only a couple of seconds but to give a satisfactory response takes hours and days and even years.

At a minimum, a fair answer to any objection to the given plus definition must meet two requirements. First we must take the time required to be sure we share an adequate understanding of the method we are going to use. Second, we must allow at least month research per objection. Usually more is needed.

Problem 3: Number

How many objections are there?

The plus definition of impartial truth [Chapter 23] contains 12 core ideas. Each core idea can be the source of numerous difficulties. If we count a hundred objections per term (a modest guess) and multiply by twelve, we can estimate, 1,200 objections.

If answering each objection requires a months research, that adds up to 1,200 months, which, divided by twelve, is one hundred years. Even that is not enough because, as objections are answered, people have a way of conjuring up new objections. Objections can go on and on and on. Adding problem 2 and 3 together, we have to conclude that: the number of possible criticisms of any elemental axiom or definition far exceeds the time any of us has to spend on it.

Problem 4: Connection

Are objections and answers to questions about truth interconnected?

Of course they are! In the over all picture, objections hook together in a complex network. One objection sets the stage for the next and so on. Often a whole series of objections needs to be addressed in order to adequately answer the original question. This increases the complexity of the problem.

Solution

For practical purposes, completely answering objections to problems concerning the plus definition of truth is beyond our ken. If we insist on complete, final, and absolute answers, we might as well give up now.

But the situation is not hopeless. Plus root theory maintains that: if we adequately correct a few of the worst root errors and sufficiently promote pertinent root verities we will be in a position to make the improvements we need to progress in peace. We do this by working on problems one at a time, starting with the worst first. To help us along we have our natural logical intuitions and much cultivated commonsense in the populous at large.

The way we normally solve the problem of complexity is to periodically mull over elemental problems and then go back to relying on intellectual insight, logical intuitions, and commonsense. We don’t have time to resolve every root error, but then we don’t have to. If our goal is to make rational improvements and if we adequately fix a few critical problems, we can make an enormous difference in the quality of our discourse with one another.

Private Intuition

Although we usually don’t discuss it, our private mulling time is important. Each root verity that we confirm and use, offsets a cascade of root errors and the problems they generate. Making improvements in elemental theory is valuable in developing the sound rational skills we need to form and maintain a safe and fair society.

Avoid Root Errors

Avoiding root errors is the easiest way to cultivate commonsense as we grow in understanding. If we don’t make the mistakes in the first place, we don’t have to correct them. It is a plus tenet that: promulgating an appropriate definition of truth can keep a multitude of root errors from getting out of hand.

The real clincher is that the plus definition of impartial truth works beautifully insofar as it is adopted. This is not raw preemptive pragmatism. It is commonsense affirmative pragmatism which is verification through experience, definition, experiment and right reason.

Keeping in mind the overall complications, we can make a stab at answering a few specific objections to the plus definition of impartial truth. The following suggests some hints as to how a more detailed exposition could proceed.

Change

Truth-Change Question: Does truth change? The truth-change question has many variants.

Did Darwin prove that truth evolves over time from the less complex to the more complex?

Has modern science proved that truth is relative?

Have anthropologists proved that truth varies from culture to culture?

Have linguists proved that truth changes from language to language.

Are modern radicals and Hereclitus the only people to notice that the world we perceive with our senses is ever changing?

Is there anything that is unchanging?

The simplest way to approach the truth-change question is to go in the back door and ask first, is there anything in existence that does not change? If we can discover an unchanging aspect of reality, then we can ask: is it appropriate to refer to the unchanging aspect of reality as truth?.

To help avoid confusion, in the following examples, propositions that are false from a plus point of view are in italics. When I wish to emphasize the truth of a true proposition I will put it in bold.

Without exception, absolutely every-thing changes

If 24c1 is true without exception, then proposition 24c1 holds in all cases and becomes an example of one thing that never changes.

It follows from 24c2 that: At-least-one-thing-never-changes

If 24c3 is true, then an unchanging aspect of reality actually exists in at least one case

If 24c1 is true, then 24c2 and 24c3 are true.

If 24c1 is false, then 24c2 and 24c3 are true.

Ergo: An unchanging aspect of reality exists.

Eg. 24c is an interesting argument. No matter which way you approach it, the conclusion comes out true and we discover an unchanging aspect of reality. Argument 24c establishes that: an unchanging aspect of reality actually exists.

It is important to note that the unchanging-aspect-of-existence we are discussing is intellectual, not physiological. The unchanging-aspect-of-existence is something we comprehend with our intellect. It is not something we see with our eyes or hear with our ears or imagine in the image producing region of our brain. In our commonsense mode of thinking we know the difference between intellectual comprehension and physiological perfection even though critical ideologists often do a poor job of expressing the distinction. We cannot describe it because ii is not physical. We can only describe that which has physical or imaginative existence.

Because we humans cannot reach infinite comprehension, we cannot claim any statement or any argument as absolutely true. However, we do have the ability to reach high degrees of certainty in logical arguments. In this case, the reasoning Eg. 24c strongly suggests that the conclusion is true.

You might argue that this is a trick illustration. Perhaps it is. However, to establish an unchanging aspect of reality, we don’t need this case. More common examples are abundant. Lets consider the reliability of facts.

Facts

All properly formed facts express an unchanging aspect of reality. For example, when I was raising cockatiels I would periodically weigh them. Checking through my notes, I notice that:

At xx time Sept 3, 1991 Cronus the Cockatiel weighed 85 grams on scale x. .

Cronus has now been sold and may be dead. However, that does not change the fact that on a given time on a given scale he weighed 85 grams.

This example shows that: the fact remains the same even though circumstances changes. It remains the same even though I forgot. It remains the same even if the matter is trivial or important. If my notebook, through some strange happening, was dug up in 2000 years, some future researcher could discover that on Sept 3, 1991, Cronus the Cockatiel weighed 85 grams. The future researcher might have to make calibration adjustments for time, measurement, etc. but he could do that.

In the same manner, if I went back in time and had a talk with Aristotle, I could tell him that on in the future at certain time of day on a specific scale on Sept 3, 1991 (including an explanation of calendar changes), Cronus the Cockatiel would weigh 85 grams.

Of course, if such a thing were possible, I would not waste time talking to Aristotle about the weight of cockatiels, but if I did, the fact would be the same. The fact doesn’t change. This is why facts are so useful.

Properly stated facts are reliable.

Feb. 20, 1962, John Glenn, in a spacecraft named Friendship 7 orbited the earth three times.

This is a significant fact. Nothing trivial here. It has now (2000) been 38 years since John Glenn made his historic flight. It does not get less true with time. Wouldn’t it be fun to tell Aristotle about this event?

A handful of dissenters maintain John Glenn’s flight and other space events did not happen but instead are a governmental plot to deceive the gullible. According to these few dissenters, example 24e is not true, never has been true, never will be true. From their point of view, the truth value is unchanging, but is false rather than true.

Whether example 24e is true or false, is a different question than asking does the truth value of 24e changes over time. In affirmative logic, if 24e is a governmental deception, then 24e is false for everybody, not just the dissenters. However, corroborating evidence is abundant to establish that 24e is genuinely true and, if so, is true for all.

The vast majority of us know we are thoroughly justified in accepting 24e as true and we know that if it was true when it happened it will remain true. If some political group gained power and put through an amendment to the Constitution declaring 24e to be false, 24e would remain true, if it was originally true.

A person who at one time believed that 24e was false could change his mind and come to believe at 24e was true. In this case the change is in the person, not in the truth. The truth stays the same. The person changes. The person’s knowledge either develops or shrinks.

Human knowledge is continuously developing. This is virtually a truism. Can anybody point to a philosopher who has denied that human knowledge changes. This is a null case. It is an abstract case with no actual individuals.

Those who try to prove that "truth" changes, will take an example of a change in human knowledge and then jump to the conclusion that truth changes. Chapter 12 called the process of equating human knowledge with truth as thought conceit. Thought Conceit

Richard III (1452-1485) -gained control of his 12-year-old nephew Edwards V, and had himself proclaimed king. Young Edward and his brother were imprisoned and murdered, probably on Richard’s orders. In 1485 Henry Tudor, a claimant to the English throne, landed in Wales, defeated and killed Richard at the battle of Bosworth Field, and ascended the throne as Henry VII. Richard was the last of the Yorkist kings, and his death ended the Wars of the Roses.[1]

This quote from the 1983 Concise Columbia Encyclopedia has several statements presented as facts, most of which are confirmed by trustworthy supporting evidence. However, a couple implications in the above quote are suspect. Josephine Tey has written an engrossing detective story, Daughter of Time in which she argues that Richard III was crowned king for legitimate reasons and that the two princes were still alive when Richard III was killed. The process of turning Richard III into a Machiavellian monster was a ploy of the Tudors that happened after Richard’s death. The real villains covered their dirty tricks by making the innocent Richard look evil. Shakespeare, in Richard III, set the Tudor rumor in cement, and the story of the murder of the two princes in the tower by the heartless Richard III became a legend of English history.

Historians today are still divided on the question? Was Richard III a villain or was he the victim of a villain? Here we have a case where the legend says one thing and the real happening, possibly, was something else. Do 40 million English text books make it true that Richard III murdered his nephews to gain the crown? In affirmative logic, the truth of the matter is independent of our accusations. Even the law holds that we don’t make a person guilty simply by accusing that person of a crime.

From a plus point of view, historians should work to discover the truth, not merely immortalize convenient myths. This approach to history requires study and sound rational thinking and skill in expression.

On the other hand, radical revolutionists don’t care about conscientious research. Militant manipulators care only for the effect of their words. Do the words spoken achieve the desired effect? Following this technique, manipulators invent stories to support their favorite cause. They don’t care about truth. They don’t see it as important.

Manipulation

Scientific abstraction liberates us from the slavery of facts.

Walter Kaufmann

Keith Windschuttle in The Killing of History gives many examples of a trend in modern thinking toward a manipulative use of language and the justification of this trend as the "true" way. This is an invert use of truth.

It is disconcerting to find people who do slip shod work presenting themselves as historians and enjoying some of the highest academic honors our society has to give.

Many new radicals insist that investing effort in trying to dig out the truth is an exercise in futility. They express their views in various way. The past is over and should be forgotten. We should look forward to the future and not waste our time looking back. Another view maintains that, since "truth" is a matter of personal choice ,and, since myth gives coherence to society, that myth is more than the true story, assuming that we could find the true story, which is impossible anyway. Shakespeares version of Richard III, in telling a story of Machiavellian tyranny tells a truth about politics that transcends the actual reputation of a man who has been dead over 400 years. The greater truth supersedes the lesser issue. Facts don’t matter that much anyway. They just get in the way. Walter Kaufmann says in, Critique of Religion and Philosophy

Scientific abstraction liberates us from the slavery of facts.

Walter Kaufmann

To the radical ideologist, facts are troublesome and inconvenient. The easy way is ignore facts or hate facts. At the present time, new radicals have power in the academic community in the USA and seem to be gaining more power. This presents the citizens of the USA with a major problem. Is this what we want? Do we want a "new science" that despises facts, that ridicules right reason, that idolizes effectiveness?

Should we care about the facts concerning Richard III. Obviously the vast majority say, forget it. Modern encyclopedias still prefer lending credence to the legend. However, allowing misleading legends to grow unchecked can send the wrong political message to posterity.

Kaufmann’s statement can be read at least two ways. This adds another complication.

Invert Indictment

Pointing out the dispute over Richard III provides a valuable lesson. Manipulators have a way of making the innocent appear guilty and the guilty appear innocent. In invert indictment, the relatively innocent person is smeared with mud and the light of angelic innocence is direct on the more guilty person. From a plus point of view, this is a dirty trick and is politically dangerous. When the citizens of a democracy cease to care about the quality of discourse, liberty is at risk.

The treachery of Machiavelli stems from the craft of the Prince in playing a double game. He at all times aims to appear religious without actually being so. He manipulates his friends so that they do the dirty work and if they are caught they are denounced as betrayers. This aspect of Machiavelli puts us all at risk because it takes advantage of good intuitions of the many and turns and uses it for evil purposes.

If people are alert to the hazards of Machiavellian manipulation, dirty trick don’t work. The more we understand how insidious inverse ideology can be, the more we are in a position to guard against the danger.

From a plus point of view, it is worth the trouble to dig out historical facts if we can find them. The more correctly we understand the past, the better prepared we are to safely handle the challenges of the future.

Respecting truth in small matters teaches us to demand truth in major concerns. In the same way, if we insist on justice in lesser cases, we will learn to demand justice in large issues of the day.

If Richard III was innocent of the murder of the two princes in the tower, it stays true whether posterity recognizes the fact or not. The truth of the fact does not change. If he was innocent of the double murder when he died in 1485, he is still innocent.

Our human interpretation can change. If someone wrote a best seller presenting Richard III as an innocent victim that was made into a movie that went to the top of the charts, Richard III could become a hero in the public mind. In this case, his historical status would change and our cultural interpretation would be different. Our presumed knowledge can change, but the facts remain the same.

Generalities

From collections of facts we humans educe, induce and deduce generalities. When we formulate generalities into logical propositions, they are either sound or unsound. A logical proposition, by definition, is a statement formulated in such a manner that it is either true/false or sound/unsound. Not every statement is a logical proposition. We need to learn these definitions in school so we don’t have to waste our adult time explaining such simple basics.

Having formed a generality into a logical proposition we know, using our analytical insight, that the proposition is either sound or unsound. This is one step in our comprehension. Deciding whether the proposition is sound or unsound is another step. In a good logic course, students learn to make this distinction as a matter of course. If you did not have good logic course in your education, you were cheated. However, this distinction is very easy to understand. You already know it in your logical intuition and in your commonsense thinking.

We can easily make mistakes in both accounts. In one way, if we attempt to assign a truth value to a non-propositional statement, we can create endless confusion. In another way, if we give a mistaken value to a well formed logical proposition, we also create confusion. This is true of both facts and generalities.

Before attempting to judge the truth value of a proposition, we should take the time to be sure the proposition is well formed in the first place. Also, when we make our personal evaluation of the truth or falsity of a proposition, we should keep in mind the various qualification factors as explained in Chapter 22. Learning to juggle all of these requirements is something we do as we cultivate our liminal acumen (commonsense). Most of us are skilled at weighing the many factors we must take into account as we make our judgments. When you think how complicated the process is, it is remarkable how well people do.

However, when we dig down into elemental theory and try to talk about the process, there is not enough room to take all of the ramifications into account. This is true in discussing the nature of facts. It is even more true in discussing the nature of generalities.

Our human ability to make generalities, refine them into well formed propositions, and judge their truth value with relatively fair accuracy is a remarkable skill. to find miracles to inspire appreciation of human nature, just gaze into your own mind as, day after day, you live your daily life. Each human mind is a miracle. The more we recognize the wonder of comprehension, the more we will be able to create a society where we all can flourish.

Making generalities that are accurate enough for the occasion is a common human activity. We use our own commonsense to sort a vast complexity of elemental problems with amazing success. That we humans in 2000 are able to carry on courteous discourse concerning complicated problems and reach mutually satisfactory solutions as much as we do is a miracle. Our commonsense reasoning is a wonderful gift.

It is worth studying elemental theory if we can reach the point where we recognize how well we actually do in carrying on civil discourse with one another. When we go beyond the problems of complexity to an over all view of what humans have accomplished we can offer a vision of hope for the future. Our hope can be greatly expanded if we more assiduously incorporate affirmative unbiased logic in our educational system.

By pin pointing serious root errors mistakes and adequately promoting pertinent root verities we can make remarkable improvements. This is especially true in our educational system. The basic tenets of plus root theory are simple and easy if taught in school and enthusiastically incorporated into the style of the day. Learning the requirements of sound rational thinking opens the doors and windows of freedom of thought and constructive conversation.

The above short discussion did not adequately answer the questions raised. More time and work is required to round out solutions.

Whether or not an unchanging aspect of reality actually exists, we need a word to symbolize the impartial idea of truth because this idea of truth has played a major role in the history of mankind. The word we should use to mean truth is ‘truth’, because for centuries this is what the word truth meant. If people reject the actual existence of a universal, unchanging aspect of reality independent of our knowledge of it, they should say so. It is dishonest to attempt to refute ontological truth by changing the meaning of the term truth.

And yet this is what is happening.

One of the reasons this can happen is because many philosophers of the past have not done a good job of defining truth and distinguishing truth from knowledge and both from certainty and reality. Philosophers have also not been adequately clear in distinguishing sound from unsound rational thinking. We have a vast literature that glosses over distinctions between percept & concept; image & idea; imagination & intellect; conditioned reflex and logical deduction; sound reason and unsound reason, etc.

to be continued...