6 September 2020 / Metaphysics A Novel Approach to Metaphysical Truth The issue of metaphysical truth is one of finite debate and eternal consequence. Generally, it is accepted as a colloquially philosophical question, as most people never discover the need to consider it formally. Yet, I believe that if one adopts a singular, or at least unified approach to epistemology, then they will benefit from it at many times in their life. By the very nature of understanding anything at all of metaphysics, our reflection upon our own existence is granted clarity. When it comes to the metaphysical question of truth, this benefit is especially manifest. Our very souls desire the answer here - what is actually real? What is truly true? Yet the difficulty here is also manifest: Can we even know, truly know, anything of metaphysics-- much less find a solution for truth itself? In this essay, I will be developing an approach which may be used to understand a novel metaphysical conception of truth. There are at least two main terms in this conversation: That of truth, or, what is correct, real, actual, right, ETC. and the issue of epistemology, which asks mainly how (or, if) we can know or determine truth.By the etymology of the word metaphysics, we see that it is defined by an exclusion of physics, or "the natural", rather than by inclusion of something specific. As a title to a collection of Aristotle's writings, tà metà tà physikà biblía, would eventually come to be called metaphysics, the shortened form of the word itself being coined in Latin. The Greek meaning is simply, the books after physics, which refers to Aristotle's tome called Physics. This context provides clarity. While it was likely his editor, Andronicus of Rhodes, who titled this metaphysics collection, Aristotle himself calls these concepts, "first philosophy", referring to their underlying nature in a very similar way to how we use the phrase, "first principles". Likewise, the topics covered in Aristotle's Metaphysics, such as: being, essence, deity, and the philosophy of mathematics, are all getting at those underlying causes by which existence is. While the term metaphysics has been interpreted in many ways, I will do my best to hold onto this idea that metaphysics is simply those things which are more fundamental to existence than the physical nature of the world which is typically studied within physics.So, when we use the term "metaphysical truth", what do we mean? Certainly, we are directly differentiating from the colloquial uses of "truth" when we prepend "metaphysical", while obviously still getting at the particular quality of something to which we can assign the term "true" in a fundamental sense. It is important to begin this attempt at definition by affirming that something cannot rightly be called true unless there is some conceivable different thing of the same essence that be called false. Already we dive headlong into the pit of metaphysical ambiguity! I will attempt to clarify what I mean by "same" (the issue of sameness is also a metaphysical question) by a discrete illustration from Computer Science. While the world may not work in binary states, our minds can interpret it in such modalistic ways, so I believe this illustration is properly illuminating. Imagine we have an object, (for those who are familiar with programming, consider this in the technical sense) wherein there are several attributes. Among these attributes is one called "trueness". Additionally, we have a function within the context of this object called "true" which performs some computation on the other attributes of the object, and assigns a value, "true" or, "false" to the "trueness" attribute of the object.Already I have delineated one of my controversial views - that metaphysical truth is a binary state. Yet is "trueness" truly an attribute for all objects? For the sake of philosophical soundness, I see no reason why we cannot consider all things - even, all possible permutations, combinations, or composites of all things if you prefer not to look at things in such a discretized way - as eligible candidates. Let us leave every possible thing open for "trueness", not only the common category of physical things, but also of the common category of those things which are abstract.With this framework for the concept of metaphysical truth complete, let's start with an example of an idealized situation to show the usefulness of epistemology, before properly proposing the theory of truth. Please imagine this scenario with me: A friend has told you something to be the case. Another friend has told you that the opposite is true. They do not even know one another, yet both claim to be first-hand observers of this truly questionable event. The event was one-time, and past, leaving no practically observable residue. While this scenario may seem unlikely, we can see it as a sort of archetype of a plethora of potential situations which happen at high frequency, wherein we must determine what is true and what is not. That is to say, if you can imagine scenarios that have parts in common with the described scenario, even if they are to a much, much lesser degree, then you will discover the uses of epistemology. For example, imagine that the friends are, rather, different faculties which you possess. While they may generally report reliably, and typically in corroboration with one another, they are never perfectly the same report - at a minimum, they are different in the nature of their report (be it, for example, taste and smell). From these differing reports, we may attempt to determine the truth through epistemological approaches. And this is exactly my point: we are describing an abstract way of observing the world through faculties, be them friends, words, senses, and no doubt, always in a multitude from instant to instant. We must somehow make sense of this by some epistemology.So, with these frameworks in mind, consider this microcosm as well: What if there was only a singular, snapshot report from a singular faculty. What can be known from that? I assert that what can be known as truth is exclusively the data within that snapshot (imagine an analogue or lossless digital representation of this data, be it from whichever faculty - that is all that can be known). Now, assuming tachyons as literal, or, more generally, a Hilbert space which can exactly represent the current state of the universe exists, let us consider what happens when we combine the data from multiple faculties (it matters not if faculties are discretized or composite, so long as snapshots of data are consecutively formed) at multiple, discrete moments. Take a moment to consider this.Yes, it's as simple as this: The data - in order to be of use - must be combined into a composite and must be taken into some sort of repository. Strictly speaking, this composite is like an unstructured database. Functionally, there must be some method by which data is retrieved from the composite, and mathematical operations on these data to make sense of it. Specificity is not needed here, as I do not assert that the trueness is maintained, beyond the actual snapshot data itself within the composite. While trueness may be maintained into reports on the composite, it is beyond the scope of this essay to prove which operations are permitted to maintain trueness. Regardless, such operations on reports from the composite repository may be composed into what we could call information. Such information is not, strictly speaking, true, beyond the trueness of the actual snapshot data. While it may seem perilous to form and discretize information in this way, consider that it is fine to permit mathematical operations on the snapshot data from faculties - in effect, forming new snapshot data within the composite repository. For completeness, we are merely giving the opportunity for interactions between snapshot data to occur and the results to thereby be included in the composite repository. While we could imagine some infinite composite repository which includes every possible interaction between data, this is not necessary since the very conception of the composite repository is a practical one - a necessary structure by which multiple discrete snapshots can be combined into information. Both these snapshot data, and information as described above, is possible to be known, but very impractical for the human mind. The above description does not take into account the absurdity which is the process by which our mind actually receives data from our faculties, stores it, and recalls it. While it is doubtless true that this process is lossy, we need not consider such realities in our philosophical discussion. In other words, metaphysical truth can only exist in flawless composites which receive data from flawless faculties.I say this: That what is true is merely the data and information which is described above. The notion of resolving the original thought-experiment is merely that of stating that the reports from different friends are both true: in that they both reported whatever it is that they reported. The reality of the event is unknowable by you given the information presented.So, then, what remains is to consider the concept of truth and reality. I do indeed believe that there is such a thing as reality. I do not believe that it can be "truly" known. As I showed above, I believe that only our observations or, rather, reports from faculties, can be known, and even then, in the human case of flawed faculties, composite repositories, and retrieval from such composites, the case is hopeless– We are separated by several degrees from the truth. At best, when a sufficient amount of these reports correspond, we call it reality with some certainty. Until that occurs, we are in doubt. It is just that simple. In summary: The reports are true. Reality is true. Both are practically impossible to know. By faith we may be granted beliefs of reality which we have not had reports of. Epistemology, then, is the process by which we understand reality, based on these reports. My process is straightforward - believe nothing except by faith, but act in accordance with the most likely report of reality based on information formed from the composite.Now, let's review various historical approaches to the first topic. These are various approaches which do not at all approximate my above description. For instance, the correspondence theory of truth addresses the idea of "true" and "false" statements, as whether or not they correspond to reality. I do not see it as sensible to conceive of truth at this level. A statement is unlikely to precisely correspond to the data which I described above as true, much less with reality itself. Furthermore, it assumes that words have data-like meaning. This obvious absurdity causes me to move on without regret.The coherence theory asserts that a statement is true within the context that it coheres within. Again, we have words with literal meaning, and a difficulty in correspondence with reality. To be fair, both of these methods are attempting to take an approach which is at a higher-level of abstraction than my own. That is why they directly fail. I will say that this theory is important in the context of systems of beliefs. We all want to be consistent, unified people who do not hold contradictory beliefs, after all. So then, in my construction, a proper reading of the composite takes into account all beliefs simultaneously, making sure that none of them are contradictory in that each belief is based off of the same information. But this is a frivolous side-point.There are various more complicated views of truth based on the above two, which add additional categories, descriptors, or contexts to the notion of truth. They are dizzying and typically pragmatic and heuristic in nature. For the concept of metaphysical truth, they are totally lacking and I don't see the need to list them here.Next, there are various sorts of approaches to truth which are based on symbolic mathematics and logic. These approaches fall short in the same way as the above, in that there is dubious connection between these symbols and reality, just as there is dubious connection between words and reality. The way that these theories get around the connectivity issue is by calling these symbols, words, or sentences which are sometimes taken as the appropriate unit for carrying truth, "fully interpreted". This notion provides meaning to words. However, none contest the reality that there may be different correct interpretations, depending on context. To get around this, they call these sentences "eternal sentences" which means that they have transcendent meaning, regardless of context. From my perspective, this removes all potential for practicality from their theories– while attesting that they can find truthfulness in words, they divorce words from their fundamental nature. They are talking about symbols which mean nothing or mean arbitrary things. This problem has no parallel in my above, lower-level approach.Another approach is that of "realism and anti-realism". These approaches describe our own interaction with the world around us. Specifically, realism claims that we may think true or false thoughts about the world. Again, I believe the issue of symbolism not reflecting reality happens here, since we tend to think in words, or at least symbols of some sort. This theory is slightly comparable with my formulation, but rather than limiting truthfulness to the actual snapshot data as I do, which is impractical to hold in our minds, they somehow assert that our thoughts themselves can be true or false in reference to the world. Further notions of verification occur with anti-realism, which once again has no direct correspondence with reality.Lastly in this section, I will mention Deflationism, which is primarily a construction against correspondence. This is the method by which we remove metaphysical aspects from the notion of truth. However, this approach still takes sentences or predicates as truth-carrying units. In essence, Deflationism merely asserts that these truth-carrying units are not actually true or false. I don’t understand this emphasis since I have already disposed with the correspondence theory. In a way, I agree with it, or rather, I would say the opposite: predicates and sentences can be taken as data, which is true – they exist in their contexts and can be decomposed into data as described in my model.This leads directly to my last point: what is language? Words are, truly, data. Like the reports in my theory, they may be integrated into the composite of information. Their place in the composite differs according to their context. There is no need for further explanation concerning language.