Since a statement is a generator of predictions,
it is true if it generates only true predictions. A statement that
does not produce any predictions is, by this definition,
true -- vacuously.
Most important statements can produce infinitely many predictions;
we call such statements theories. We cannot directly verify such
a statement -- we have to believe that it is true. Karl Popper
stressed that we can never prove a theory, we only can reject it
when it gives us false predictions. Creation of theories is, essentially,
an evolutionary process. They arise as products of the creative
human mind and compete for survival. Those producing more important
predictions (and promising to give even more) are selected for usage;
the others perish. (See Evolutionary approach to Epistemology
and Epistemological Constructivism.)
There is no criterion of truth other than its power to give
predictions. Since powers, like multidimensional vectors, are hard to
compare, there is no universal and absolute criterion of truth.
Proclamation of any truth as absolute because of being given
through a "revelation" is sheer self-deception.
It is natural to test the validity of this approach to knowledge,
meaning and truth in the field which does not allow imprecision
and vagueness but requires a complete formalization and inambiguity,
-- in mathematics. This is done in V.Turchin's Cybernetic foundation of
mathematics. This approach gives answers to the century
old questions about foundations of mathematics;
in particular, a new and constructive interpretation
of the full set theory is proposed there.
Copyright© 1997 Principia Cybernetica -
Referencing this page
Oct 6, 1997 (modified)
Sep 1991 (created)