Truth, Certainty and Language

Epistemological Nihilism – that which postulates truth doesn’t exist, at the least out of grasp by mere humans. The Enlightenment and the collapse religion, although a necessary step, has regressed in the hands of post-enlightenment cultures. The question of God’s whereabouts now lingers, devoid of an answer. The void stares at them. All hail the void then, so speaks the enlightened ones.

The lack of epistemological foundation plays a role here. But where to start better than grounding truth in the very medium it can be expressed? Language.

Degrees of Certainty

Say we have a belief p. Then we can have degrees of certainty that p is true.

Absolutely Certaintyp is absolutely true. For truth to exist, as to be perceived by a subjective being, an absolute claims doesn’t hold any value.

Uncertaintyp is maybe true. A trivial case. It can range anywhere from baseless uncertainty (“I’m not sure that p”) to even probabilistic ones, obviously valued differently.

Maximum Possible Certainty – The maximum possible certainty that a subjective being can achieve that p.

Assumed Certainty of Truth (In Language)

Consider a conversation of two agents using Language L. Assume a sign S and a signified O being used. When both agents use the sign S, they assume the other to be referring to the signified O. This is the Assumed Certainty (A.C) of Truth in Language.

There are degrees to it inside language too. For instance, consider dialects. Oftentimes, in a dialect d of language L, the assumed certainty of truth will be of greater degree than that of L.

A.C(d) > A.C(L)

More generally, any sub-culture of language has this property. Consider families where there are hidden jokes and references amongst the other. The signified becomes vastly different between the public and the private here.

Then, the Maximum Assumed Certainty in Language happens in a 2-agent relationship of the highest possible connection. Although, it could potentially not reveal itself in practical life, the highest possible certainty of the kind takes this form.

Maximum Possible Certainty Theorem

Claim: Maximum Assumed Certainty of Language = Maximum Possible Certainty

Proof. Assume there exists a method, a proposition, even an assumption of maximum possible certainty not pertaining to language. To understand the method, one must articulate it, thereby evoking language. Thus, necessitating the maximum possible certainty of not-language to be bound by maximum assumed certainty assumptions of language.

Hence, the contradiction.

The limits of my language mean the limits of my world

Ludwig Wittgenstein

Leave a Reply