Oh, so you're claiming that I'm shouting all the time, simply because I use a larger font than others. Cal, that's hilarious! I use a larger font, because I find it easier to read and more pleasing to the eye -- at least to mine. I certainly don't use it as a form of shouting. If I wanted to shout at some point in the discussion, I'd use larger letters selectively, not uniformly, and they wouldn't be a larger font, but caps, which is the rhetorical convention.
I wasn't shouting at you. I was simply expressing a skeptical question, combined with an exclamation for emphasis. You also claimed in an earlier post that I "shouted" at you "in capital letters," which I never did.
Uh oh, I never wrote that. Your quotation marks suggest literal quotes, but that is misleading. I'll refresh your memory, I wrote '...his last resort is to tell them that their ideas are "corrupt" and that all in big letters, as if shouting makes an "argument" more convincing.' Big letters are not the same as capital letters; you always use bigger letters than other people, which is the visual equivalent of shouting.
I understand that that's your position, Cal. Do you understand that I am arguing against that position and what my argument against it is? It sure doesn't look that way.
But, don't you see, you're then saying that there is a final verdict -- a conclusive demonstration. The qualification "to the best of our current knowledge" is unnecessary. Either you know it or you don't. If you know it, then saying that you know it "to the best of your current knowledge" is redundant.
It seems as if my previous messages were written in Chinese... but let me try again: when we use words like "true", "certain", "know" etc. with reference to empirical knowledge they don't have the absolute meaning that we assign to them when we use them in purely logical or mathematical arguments, they indicate high probabilities, not absolute certainties, as we would have to be omniscient for that.
Words can have different meanings in different contexts, you know. Yes, I'm aware of that, but it's not a counter to my argument, which you evidently are not seeing.
Normally the addition "to the best of our current knowledge" is redundant, as most people understand this implication. Only Objectivists seem to think that we can have 100% certainty in our theories about the physical world. But there's a good reason for such a view, which I've tried, apparently unsuccessfully, to explain.
But this reply is non-responsive; you're not addressing the gist of my argument.
On the contrary, you can exclude it if you have no reason to believe that it exists. In order to say that you could be wrong, you need some evidence to doubt the truth of your conclusion. Lacking such evidence, you have no rational grounds on which to say that you could be wrong. The fact that you were wrong in the past is not evidence that you could be wrong now, any more than the fact that your reasoning was mistaken in the past is evidence that it could be mistaken now. You never bothered to reply to my rejoinder.
I did reply to it when I wrote: "Have you any idea how big the graveyard of discarded theories really is?" It's really silly to think that while we in the past have been mistaken millions of times, we now can be sure that we're not mistaken. I find such hubris really astounding.
No, the meaning of "truth" is correspondence with reality. A proposition is true if and only if it corresponds to reality. Ask any decent philosopher. Its correspondence is eternal, because it doesn't change with a change in our knowledge. If a proposition is discovered not to have corresponded to reality, even though we thought that it did, then it never did correspond. It didn't suddenly fail to correspond when we discovered that it failed to. Similarly, if it's discovered to have corresponded to reality even though we thought that it didn't, then it always did correspond. It didn't suddenly come to correspond when we discovered that it did.
Ignoring your attempt to compare Objectivism to dogmatic religion, let me stress that a truth, if indeed it is a truth, is necessarily eternal.
See above. The meaning of "truth" depends on the context in which it is used, and in the "physical" context it's certainly not eternal. Ask any decent scientist.
I agree, but then aren't you saying that truth really is eternal, if it doesn't change with the change in our knowledge?
So would you say that Young and Fresnel definitely falsified Newton's theory or that they simply thought they falsified it? You say they falsified it until it was "discovered" that light also consists of particles. So, does that mean that Newton's theory actually was false (i.e., did not correspond to reality) until it was "discovered" that light also consists of particles, at which point it became true? Does the correspondence of a proposition to fact depend on our awareness of its correspondence, such that if we don't know that it corresponds, then it doesn't, but that if we do, then it does? Does reality change as our knowledge changes? Does our knowledge determine reality? If so, then we have a primacy-of-consciousness metaphysics, which is what you're defending, without actually naming it.
Let me note first that I was only talking about one specific aspect of Newton's theory, namely that light consists of particles. As far as we know now (I won't repeat that phrase every time, consider it implied in my statements) that particular aspect was not false. That doesn't mean that it was first false and then became true; it only means that at that time the conclusion that it was false was warranted.
The scientists didn't have to state explicitly that their conclusion was tentative, just as they don't have to do it now - it's simply implied in every scientific endeavor. Is it now really that difficult? I think this anwers also the rest of your post. Here I don't agree. If all the evidence supports a scientific conclusion and none contradicts it, then there is nothing tentative about the conclusion. The term "tentative" implies that the conclusion is provisional -- that it awaits further confirmation. But if all the evidence supports the conclusion and none contradicts it, then no further confirmation is, or can be, forthcoming. In that case, the conclusion is not tentative but certain.
Only one last point: Not that I am aware, in which case, they could not in logic have recognized the possibility that they were mistaken.
But if they have no evidence that they could be mistaken -- if they have no reason to doubt the truth of a proposition -- then they cannot, in logic, recognize that possibility. This is not dogmatism; it is non-contradictory identification. So what do you think: did the scientists at the time of Young and Fresnel have reason to doubt the truth of their proposition?