Some Basic Observations about Two True Propositions, Two False Propositions, and the President of the United States

There has been some talk lately about truth, more specifically truth in a time dubbed the “post-truth” era. The point of the present post is to set forth what I think can be taken to be some basic data, basic givens, about truth. Students of the history of philosophy will recognize what I say as reflective of the Aristotelian theory of true and false propositions. Others, not suffering from my unbearable pretentiousness, will recognize what I say as nothing but common sense, albeit unbearably drawn out. Still, I will illustrate the point I want to make using just two sets of propositions about the President of the United States of America.

1. The First Set. The belief which some have that Donald Trump is the President of the United States of America is true if and only if he is the President of the United States of America.

That is, if Donald Trump is the President of the United States of America, then the belief which some have that he is the President of the United States of America is true. And, if the belief which some have that Donald Trump is the President of the United States of America is true, then he is the President of the United States of America.

Moreover, the belief which some have that Donald Trump is the President of the United States of America is false if and only if he is not the President of the United States of America.

That is, if Donald Trump is not the President of the United States of America, then the belief which some have that he is the President of the United States of America is false. And, if the belief which some have that Donald Trump is the President of the United States of America is false, then he is not the President of the United States of America.

(I could, but need not, continue with corresponding comments about the belief, which someone somewhere might entertain, that, say, Hillary Rodham Clinton is the President of the United States of America and corresponding comments about the opposite belief; interest in impartiality alone leads me to direct the reader’s attention to them.)

But there is a fact of the matter: Either it is a fact that Donald Trump is the President of the United States of America or it is not a fact that he is the President of the United States of America. There are not two opposed facts, one fact which renders someone’s belief that he is the President true and another, “alternative fact,” which renders someone else’s belief that he is not the President true. And vice versa.

I’ll finish with this set of propositions with the observation that there is evidence that that Donald Trump is the President of the United States of America.

2. The Second Set. The belief which some have that Donald Trump has a relationship with Vladimir Putin is true if and only if he has a relationship with Vladimir Putin.

That is, if Donald Trump has a relationship with Vladimir Putin, then the belief which some have that he has a relationship with Vladimir Putin is true. And, if the belief which some have that Donald Trump has a relationship with Vladimir Putin is true, then he has a relationship with Vladimir Putin.

Moreover, the belief which some have that Donald Trump has a relationship with Vladimir Putin is false if and only if he does not have a relationship with Vladimir Putin.

That is, if Donald Trump does not have a relationship with Vladimir Putin, then the belief which some have that he has a relationship with Vladimir Putin is false. And, if the belief which some have that Donald Trump has a relationship with Vladimir Putin is false, then he does not have a relationship with Vladimir Putin.

(I could, but need not, continue with corresponding comments about the belief, which someone somewhere might entertain, that, say, Barak Hussein Obama has a relationship with Vladimir Putin and corresponding comments about the opposite belief; interest in impartiality alone leads me to direct the reader’s attention to them.)

But there is a fact of the matter: Either it is a fact that Donald Trump has a relationship with Vladimir Putin or it is not a fact that he has a relationship with Vladimir Putin. There are not two opposed facts, one fact which renders the belief which some have that Donald Trump has a relationship with Vladimir Putin true and another, “alternative fact,” which renders the belief which some have that he does not have a relationship with Vladimir Putin true. And vice versa.

I’ll finish with this second set of propositions with the observations that (1) there is evidence that that Donald Trump has a relationship with Vladimir Putin, if we can accept as evidence the fact that he himself has said he has, and (2) there is evidence that that he has no relationship with Vladimir Putin, if we can accept as evidence the fact that he himself has said he hasn’t.

Another observation: It cannot be the case that Donald Trump both has and does not have a relationship with Vladimir Putin.

I could go on.

An Addendum: An off-blog comment by a good friend leads me to believe me that I should I have cited the source for my claim that Donald Trump both has said he has a relationship with Vladimir Putin and has said that does not have one. See:

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2016/aug/01/donald-trump/donald-trump-gets-full-flop-whether-hes-had-relati/

Until next time.

Richard

About Rchard E. Hennessey

See above, "About the Author/Editor."
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