Comment on “What is Truth?” on philosophynews.com

In preparing to write a larger blog post, I came across an article called What is Truth? on philosophynews.com.  I posted part of this in the comments section on that blog.  I hope the discussion can continue.

Thank you for this post. I want to understand your view of Community Agreement better. On your explanation of the post-Kantian denial of the noumenal world, I don’t see how Community Agreement helps escape radical skepticism. After all, on this view, the community who agrees with you resides in your own mind. As you stated; Kant’s view was that we can literally know nothing of the noumenal world and so post-moderns naturally deny its existence. Is not the consequence Solipsism? The community who agrees is in your own mind not external to it (noumenal).

Also, as I understood it, your working definition of truth was:

Simply, we can define truth as: a statement about the way the world actually is.

Any statement at all about the way the world is? I think this statement qualifies as truth under your definition:

The world actually is a giant basketball stuck between a cosmic backboard and rim.

I’d say that is false and is, by tautology, not truth.  Maybe you weren’t trying to offer your definition there.  Correct me if this is the case.  I’m not trying to belittle you.

You said that postmodernism was founded on Kant. Though I don’t disagree, there are marked similarities between the postmodernism (which makes reality equivalent to man’s experience), and the old sophism of Protagoras who is thought to have said: “Man is the measure of all things.” The post-moderns can say in similar form: “Man’s experience is the measure of all things.” If you follow Kant’s argumentation, remember that he shows that man’s experience is completely useless apart from innate categories; his self. The self imposes reality on experience. Therefore the reality is innate in man.  Man is the measure of reality (i.e. all things).

Plato showed the foolishness of this approach centuries ago in Theaetetus and it’s a shame to think we’ve regressed so far.  There are many good objections that Plato gave but, to me, the most entertaining was this:

If Protagoras says that each man’s beliefs determine reality, then whatever Socrates believes is reality.  Socrates believes Protagoras is wrong, therefore, Protagoras is wrong in reality.  Therefore each man’s beliefs do not determine reality.  Reductio ad absurdum.  Kinda fun isn’t it?  But it is a sad irony that man is willing to accept such absurdity so that he can believe whatever he wants.

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