virus: Maxims: the universe and truth

David McFadzean (
Thu, 20 May 1999 09:11:41 -0600

The universe consists of all and only real things. Something is real if its pattern is manifested in matter-energy embedded in space-time. This would include things like memes, but implies that there are some ideas that have referents that don't exist. We can easily conceive of and talk about things that don't exist and aren't in the universe
(e.g. galaxy-sized orange dolphins).

Truth is a property only of representations (models, assertions, maps, statements, portraits). The truth of a representation depends on its meaning. Its meaning depends on its effect. Its effect depends on the context. Therefore the truth of a representation depends on the context. Absolute or objective truth exists only if you take something as a representation of itself. I'm not sure why anyone would want to do that, but there it is. (At least it might give you some common grounds for discussion with someone that insists that absolute truth exists.)

The truth of a representation is a measure of how well it does its job as a model (correspondence theory). How well does the map describe the territory? How well does the portrait capture the essence of the subject? This is a metaphysical definition of truth. However we can only judge the truth of a representation by how well it fits with other representations we believe to be true
(coherence theory). Does the assertion contradict anything else we
think is true? What if our interpretation of the purpose and intent of the representation is mistaken? This is the epistemological definition truth. I hope I have shown that the correspondence theory and coherence theory are orthogonal, and in fact,

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Church of Virus