12 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. News item: Morocco has just announced the winning price in an 850MW wind auction: $30/Mwh, with the lowest bid at $25. This in a country with no domestic supply chain. It’s astonishing news; Brazil has been steadily developing wind enegy through auctions, and still pays twice, admittedly with local content rules. The wind resource in the south is very good, on a par with Scotland – which also pays much more.

  2. News item: the EU’s Joint Research Centre has released it latest survey of geothermal energy, aiming at identifying research priorities. It include a long and detailed chapter on EGS, describing all known projects worldwide, ongoing, completed, and abandoned. A handy reference. It’s not very encouraging. Given the potential of EGS and the inherent despatchability of geothermal, it’s worth persevering IMHO on rather more than the current limited scale.

    Why aren’t the oil companies more involved? Their core competences are geology and drilling. Chevron has some hydrothermal assets in Indonesia, but does not appear to be engaged in EGS research

  3. The US electoral nomination circus is starting to look interesting. In the surge for Sanders I see the similar dynamic that propelled Corbyn. Sanders represents what the people want = Clinton represents what the establishment wants.

    If Sanders wins Iowa (as some are predicting – Huffington Post ) and New hampshire and nevada and South Carolina it will be because the American Democrat rank and file are starting to reject the dysfunctional politics represented by 2 Clintons and Obama, just as Blairism was rejected by Corbyn’s supporters.

    Unfortunately if Sanders gets the nomination the American establishment generally will savage him mercilessly and dishonestly as the devil incarnate so much that he will be doomed – for no fault of his own.

    If Trump has grabbed the Republican nomination he could gain the White House – not on his merits, but on the damage done to Sanders.

    Trump is probably praying for a Sanders victory.

  4. I am currently studying, in autodidact fashion, Theories of Truth. It seems to me that any of the professions (eg. engineering, medicine, economics), must in their pure and applied aspects follow and conform to some Theory of Truth. Otherwise there would be no consistent way to practice the profession and evaluate results. It also seems to me that following the scientific revolution, the correspondence theory of truth has gained the most weight.

    I had never heard of Charles Sanders Pierce (which shows how ignorant I am) until I found some quotes from his works the other day. This following quote made perfect “eureka!” sense to me after I have been trying to nut out various things on my own for some time.

    “That truth is the correspondence of a representation with its object is, as Kant says, merely the nominal definition of it. Truth belongs exclusively to propositions. A proposition has a subject (or set of subjects) and a predicate. The subject is a sign; the predicate is a sign; and the proposition is a sign that the predicate is a sign of that of which the subject is a sign. If it be so, it is true. But what does this correspondence or reference of the sign, to its object, consist in?” – Peirce 1906, see Collected Papers (CP) 5.553.

    I think this is brilliant and precisely to the point. Any opinions? Maybe we need a sandpit to discuss what Theory of Truth economics explicitly or implicitly adopts. I would much appreciate any comments, theories and suggestions for further reading that anyone wants to offer. But as I say maybe it needs a sandpit. Pierce’s final question is also very deep and would likely require a tome in its own right. Does Pierce go on to answer his own question? I need to check yet.

    I think this is an appropriate topic for this blog as both economics and social-democratic debate proceed from positions which involve implicit, if not explicit, theories of truth. If we can’t explicitly state and support our theory of truth and how we work from it for our profession* and practice then we are guaranteed to be floundering around. Of course, a clearly false (refutable) theory of truth would be no use either.

    * Note: I have in mind a double meaning for “profession”. It can be a profession like economics or it can be the profession of a view, opinion, belief or claim to knowledge.

  5. To say “p” and to say “p is true” must be to say the same thing. Therefore “is true” cannot have any content of its own (otherwise the two propositions would not have the same meaning). It follows that there can be no “theory of truth”, as there is nothing to theorise above and beyond ascertaining (if one can) whether or not the relevant claim (p) “say sof what is that it is, or of what is not that it is not”. (This “redundancy” account of truth owes to Aristotle and Wittgenstein).

  6. @tony lynch

    We really need a sandpit for this. But for now…

    I think that is an incomplete approach to the problem. You put forward only “p”?”p is true”. You posit a meaning of “true” limited to a formal language statement and strictly limited to the view that “true”?”absolute ontological identity” within formal language and that this is the only sense in which “true” can mean anything. You further posit implicitly that “true”, as in an isomorphic correspondence (for example) of some element of language, plan or model to some element of not-language cannot exist or be demonstrated in praxis. Another theory of truth, the correspondence theory, is that such things can be demonstrated in praxis.

    A theory of truth cannot be wholly demonstrated in language alone. That is why the approach of Aristotle and Wittgenstein fails in self-referential contradiction or falls into redundancy. The validity of the theory of truth is demonstrated in the interaction of language and not-language. It requires language to refer to not-language and not just to itself.

    You rule any correspondence theory of truth out of consideration by the initial proposition (the axiomatic identity equation plus the reasoning that supports it). Thus you rule of court, consideration and even existence, as it were, the possibility of “true” (as in reliable) relations other than relations of absolute ontological identity within language. Thus you discard, at least in theory, the possibility of successfully exploiting such relations in praxis (from language to not-language and back again) to develop theory including a functional theory of truth. The world has more relations of correspondence than the nominal relation of absolute ontological identity as truth which you expressed in language. Our ability to discover other consistent and reliable relations demonstrates this.

    To expand this to a systems philosophy level, you posit one category of true relation (absolute ontological identity) out of context (in language alone) and separated from any other relations in and between systems. These relations will necessarily and unavoidably include;

    (a) other possibilities of relation in the formal system (other term, signs (operators) and statements; and

    (b) other possibilities in the form of relations between language and not-language. (I avoid the assumption or formal system versus real system here.)

    As I contend, you have ensnared yourself in a self-reference paradox or trivial statement redundancy induced by considering the truth problem only in language and without reference to not-language AND the dynamic between the two.

  7. Iconoclast,

    If you don’t mind, I will add a comment about Charles Sanders Pierce to the sandpit, as that is where you are re-directing the discussion.

  8. Honestly can’t see a move to make. (Self referential truism is what “p is true” is. We need to find out, if we can, whether (truisitically) things are as p says. No theory of truth will/can do this.)

  9. @tony lynch

    I started the sandpit with another reply. It might be best to continue the discussion there, only if you wish of course. See my answer there where I hold that your proposition is a self-sealing argument (a kind of logical fallacy). I suspect also we may each mean something different by “theory of truth”. You seem to mean “a theory of truth of an individual, isolated truth”. I mean “a theory of truth” concerning connected phenomena as a theory of the consistent relations found. There can be different theories of consistent relation. You seem to rule (for example) the correspondence theory of truth as out of court and/or nonsensical. There are plenty of philosophers who do not do that. I align myself in their general camp.

    I can see a sense in which I agree with you but that sense revolves exclusively around the issue of the truth of a single proposition in isolation. But any general or higher truths, if such exist at all, exist in systems specifically as reliable patterns of relation between phenomena within and between systems. There can be various theories of truth about these patterns, about how and where they arise and where they might extend their relations to. Of specific importance is this regard is how language relates to non-language. This is unless one regards language as the sole existent and philosophy as a language game which relates to nothing but itself. That last is not a position I adopt.

    We could continue in the sandpit, if you wish of course.

  10. And in the continuing hunt for “leaners”, the guvm’nt gouges public servant retirees who are or will be on a defined benefit pension from their superannuation fund. Claiming that the reduction from 50% exemption of super pension from income test (when testing eligibility for the aged pension or part thereof) down to 10% is to make it fair, the question is then why are the Australian Defence Force personnel protected from this change to the rules? [Ans (rhetorical): They overwhelmingly vote for the LNP.] Why does Christian Porter go on about how someone on $120K super pension is still eligible for (a few dollars of) the aged pension, when only 120 people Australia-wide have public service super pensions of $80K or more? How about the tens of thousands who are on less than $30K per year?

    What about the double-dipping politicians?

    Ideology trumps once again.

  11. Vegetation clearing on days of total fire bans and development in guise of reducing fuel load- public should be concerned (19/1/16) by Craig Thomson

    Bearing in mind the recent Crib Point tragedy – a suspected arson attack, with wildlife loss yet to be detailed, one home destroyed and one home damaged plus several sheds destroyed, we have to be more vigilant about how and whether we develop our bushland neighbourhoods more densely. Planning laws allow property owners to remove large amounts of vegetation without permission from their land citing their reason as ‘fire protection’. After the vegetation is removed, those property owners may apply to the council for permission to intensify development on the land. Council usually does not deny permission for individual cases. But such individual cases mount up and create a danger which councils and planners may not have seen. The risk is that the granting of denser housing development in a bushland area means that, if there is a fire in the remaining bushland, there will be an increased number of residents needing to evacuate. Increasing population density means that more roads are needed to cope with a fire emergency evacuation. However, densification is being allowed to happen in an ad hoc, case by case fashion, without the building of roads in advance of significant development. No-one is overseeing the total impact.

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