Truth & Theories: Facetious Treatment

Truth is the main regulative principle in the criticism of theories, their power to solve them or raise new ones is another. As Popper says, the quest for precision is equivalent to the quest for certainty and both should be avoided. I think that that is an undesirable activity to raise the precision of a theory/statement for its own sake (for e.g. Linguistically) as it would tarnish the clarity one is seeking. Can we ever know what we are talking about, say a proposition ‘A’, since in all its likelihoods that the successor to the above mentioned proposition may one day refute it or may even one day entail it. Because to see as a matter of fact, to know what we are talking of is an hopeless task in itself as there might be an infinite number of logical irregularities that might confront us as we propagate through ‘A’, say theory/statement. To understand the truth content of a theory, the foremost thing is to link the logicality of the theory to the existing one posed by the theory, as it is a well known fact that there is more of a room for the understanding of the theory in a much better way. As a simile, let us take the remark made by Clifford Truesdell about the law of thermodynamics,

“Every physicist knows as to what is meant by the first and the second law of thermodynamics, but no two physicists agree on the two.”


All learning is a modification or at times a refutation of the knowledge already gained or also of the so called inborn knowledge. In a great work of art, the artist does not try to impose his ambitions to the use, but merely uses the faculty to serve the purpose his art is intended to expound. So for an artist or a musician, the adage should be “from the heart may it go back to the heart.” The point is that even the most scientifically tested theory is an approximation to the truth as was evident of Einstein’s revolutionizing of the Newton’s scientific theory of gravitation.

Theories are actively produced by our minds rather than being imposed upon us by the realities and also that they transcend our experience with the expressionist mind that we possess. As with the Kantian point of view, we should all ask ourselves this simple question…”Can we really know things in themselves or are they purely entailed in the deep seas of purely hypothetical conjectures?” Universal scientific theories are not deducible from singular statements, but can definitely be refuted by them as and when clash occurs with the known or knowable facts. We always find ourselves in a kind of a problematic situation and then we deliberately choose a situation that is no doubt problematic but at the same time conducive enough for us to solve. Now the solution to this situation is/might be a tentative one which might consist in the hypothetical theorization, and a conjecture which in the course makes us to believe that that the solution is nothing more than the nearest approximation to the truth. The various resulting theories are then critically discussed and compared to check their shortcomings, the discussions in turn bring further competing theories and this recurring structure constitutes science. Thus it lacks induction and as Popper says, “we never argue from facts to theories as it is possible only through falsification or refutation.” What really matters in case of theories is not their visual understanding but the logical basis which forces its way through up to understanding a theory, its explanatory content and most importantly its discourses in understanding the problems confronted in relation to other theories. No test of any theoretical statement is final or conclusive, and that the empirical, or the critical attitude involves the adherence to some methodological rules which direct us in not evading criticisms but in accepting refutations. As a consequence, the acceptance or a refutation is nearly as risky as a temporary adoption of a hypothesis, it is surely the acceptance of a conjecture. Knowledge grows out of trial and error and its elimination at times and this knowledge is likely the scientific knowledge as it is always wise enough to conscientiously acclaim or declaim a theory in its fullest criticalities. And thus as it is said that the critical adoption of a theory is what is responsible for the growth of the knowledge by its accepted as its major tool of instrument. The rationality of man consists in taking nothing for granted. Explanation is always incomplete, by enticing us into asking new questions which in turn give birth to new theories which not only correct the older version of the theory but substantiates new breeding grounds for other questions thus entering into the vicious circle of refuting the old and accepting the new…the theory clearly underlies the fact that science can never reach completion. So rightly put, the evolution of science is going to be an endless quest of corrections and new approximations. For Gödel’s theory of incompleteness would come into picture…in view of the mathematical background of physics, at best an infinite sequence of true theories would be needed to answer the questions which in any given formalized theory would be undecidable. Science not only begins with problems but at the same time ends with problems as has been rightly answered by Popper. Truth is conceived as an absolute, timeless discourse whose effect is to suppress the narrative differand and thus to conduct an ethico-discursive wrong against anyone who fails to accept its criterion or accepts its veridical status. Without the possibility of right understanding of truth as a precondition of any communicative act, we should have no means to recognize case where understanding has just broken down, or where translation comes up with some genuine problem of localized interpretative grasp. The truth is rather that the language is a condition for having conventions. And since language in that sense of the term adequately, not just involving words, signs or vocabularies taken out of context, but also sentences or propositions and higher level forms of discourses, it follows that the conventionalist doctrine along with their relativist progeny need not carry the day. Any problems of communication on the other side of our side can best be sorted out by making an appeal to those features that are not otiose but which make up the strictly ineliminable bi of all understanding within or between theories.

So formulating a theory is a never ending myth that could give birth to a cycle of myths which are so entailing in nature that expound the very fact before us that the truth content of a theory is limited to the extent till criticisms to it or at times cynicisms to it are not raised.


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