A thought for Mark; Yo lo vi, verdad? LO31019

From: mmcelroy@vermontel.net
Date: 03/20/04

Replying to LO30993 --

Dear Dwig:

Thanks for your thoughts. But the correspondence I spoke of is more
than a sketch. It's a literal relationship between claims that we can
make and the objects of our claims in the real world. The point of
the question I raised (Can there be such a thing as correspondence
between a statement and a fact?) is to encourage those of us who would
repond in the affirmative to recognize that truth is a case in which
the correspondence is a perfect one. In other words, truth consists
of statements or claims that correspond perfectly with the way the
world really is.

Now I do not believe that we can ever achieve truth with certainty,
but the very possibility of correspondence can serve as a kind of
regulative ideal in our day-to-day affairs. We can at least strive
for truthlikeness, which includes testing our statements against what
appears to be false. Thus, Knowledge Management (KM), in its quest to
make organizational knowledge and related learning systems the best
they can be, should arguably focus its efforts of making it possible
for people in organizations to apply this notion of correspondence
effectively. Why? So that we can take effective action on the basis
of knowledge that may actually have something to do with the way the
world really is.

That the field of KM (and OL, for that matter) has addressed the issue
of truth so little, and more often eschews the very idea of doing so,
is scandalous. If it is effective action we all want (and who
doesn't?), shouldn't it be action taken on the basis of knowledge that
might actually be true, or which has at least been tested and
evaluated using truth as a regulative ideal? And shouldn't KM,
therefore, be concerned with creating the kinds of conditions in
organizations that more often lead to the production and use of true
knowledge, and not just information or, worse yet, falsehoods? Call
me a nut, but I think so. Truth should be 'issue number one' in our
field, but you rarely see it discussed.

Thanks again for your thoughts.



Quoting Don Dwiggins <d.l.dwiggins@computer.org>:

> Mark,
> In a recent gift that Andrew left for the list, he included the
> following quote:
> "Metaphor and simile are the characteristic tropes of scientific thought,
> not formal validity of argument"
> -- Rom Harré, Varieties of Realism, 1986
> I do believe that you're right to be concerned with the concept of
> truth as an important force in making knowledge management a more
> human discipline, but I think, purely intuitively, that
> "correspondence between statement and fact" is only a sketch, a line
> drawing, a caricature of the concept. I'm still trying to make that
> intuition clear enough for a good formal exposition, but perhaps
> that's a self-defeating effort in itself. Maybe the best thing is to
> simply 8^) say, "Yo lo vi; y tu?"
> Nevertheless, I suspect I'll keep trying...



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