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Moral Realism

  1. Nov 2, 2005 #1
    Moral realism is the doctrine that there are true sentences that contain moral predicates that accurately describe the real world. Perhaps the strongest argument for investigating the possibility of moral realism is that the alternative is not pleasant to contemplate. Isn’t it true that it is morally wrong that people torture babies for the fun of it? Apparently not, if moral realism is false. Indeed, the very predicate ‘is morally wrong’ becomes meaningless if there are no moral truths. At best, ‘it is wrong that p’ becomes little more than a grunt that roughly means that ‘I bemoan that p’. Without moral realism, there is little incentive to argue for a particular moral position. At best, ethics would amount to a subgenre of literary criticism. The belief in moral realism seems practically indispensable, and not something to be given up lightly.

    The main problem for moral realism is epistemological. How can we justify our belief that some sentences containing moral predicates are true? One strategy is to model moral realism after scientific realism. However, scientific realism is not without its own problems. In particular, there is the pervasive underdetermination of theory by the evidence. Nevertheless, the scientific method, as fallible as it is, remains the best epistemological technique for forming theories, however uncertain, incomplete, and logically inconsistent though they may be, about the real world “out there”, because of the link between scientific theory and empirical observation.

    Hence, it would seem that modeling moral realism after scientific realism would entail uncertainty, incompleteness, and contradiction; but at least there would be a link between moral theory and observation. Quine doubted that there was such an empirical link.

    The empirical foothold of scientific theory is in the predicted observable event; that of a moral code is in the observable moral act. But whereas we can test a prediction against the independent course of observable nature, we can judge the morality of an act only by our moral standards themselves. Science, thanks to its links with observation, retains some title to a correspondence theory of truth; but a coherence theory is evidently the lot of ethics. (Quine 1981, 63)​

    Contra Quine, I shall make a case for moral theory having an empirical foothold.

    To begin, any theory consists of a body of sentences linked by implication. Additionally, an ethical theory will contain sentences that make use of moral predicates of the form ‘It is morally right that p’, or ‘It is morally wrong that p’, where p is a content clause. I choose to write ‘It is right that p’ or ‘It is wrong that p’, rather than ‘x is right’ or ‘x is wrong’, because the latter forms tend to reify what is mere behavior. For example, the sentence ‘Murder is wrong’ apparently implies that Ex(x is murder and x is wrong). (‘Ex’ means the same as ‘there exist an x such that’.) Murder is not itself an object that exists and that may be described; ‘murder’ is a verb that describes what some objects (moral agents) do to other objects. That’s why it is better to write something like ‘it is wrong that Ex(x is murdering)’; the moral blame is where it belongs. For the sake of clarity, moral descriptions that apply to physical bodies (e.g., ‘good’ and ‘evil’) should be reserved for describing (human) moral agents (see below).

    Since the words ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ are used in various senses, and are often taken as being more or less synonymous with other words such as ‘good’, ‘bad’, ‘evil’, ‘true’, ‘false’, ‘correct’, or ‘incorrect’ we must distinguish:

    1. the moral predicates ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ as they function in an ethical theory (that is the subject of the current discussion); from
    2. the moral predicates ‘good’ and ‘evil’ that are used as descriptions of actual moral agents (as in ‘Hitler was evil’);
    3. good for and bad for (as in ‘Arsenic was bad for Napoleon’);
    4. good and bad of a thing’s kind (as in ‘A dog that hunts is a good dog’); and
    5. right and wrong answers (as in ‘5 is the wrong answer to “2 + 2 = ?”’). ​

    The first distinction is essential for constructing ethical theory: a body of observational and theoretical sentences, among some of which are sentences of the form ‘It is right that p’ or ‘It is wrong that p’, linked by a network of logical implications.

    The second distinction is predicated only of moral agents (i.e., humans) or, possibly, events caused by moral agents. Analysis of the distinction between good and evil is important for determining what moral agents desiring to be virtuous should strive to be. It is right that we strive that we be good and not be evil.

    The third distinction is important for assessing the
    consequences of various courses of action. Part of the reason it is wrong that someone tortures a baby is that torturing is bad for babies. An important question for environmental ethics is determining the range of entities for which some human actions are bad for the entities in question.

    The fourth distinction relates to what Rolston (1988, 101) calls a “good-of-its-kind”. In this sense, ‘good’ refers to an excellence at whatever it is that a thing does. Thus, a good blue spruce is an excellent blue spruce. A good can opener is an excellent can opener. Note that ‘good’ in this sense, when applied to humans, may denote morally reprehensible excellences. As Rolston (1988, 101) points out, “Jack the Ripper was a good murderer in the sense that he was clever and never caught, but being a murderer is reprehensible.” Nonhuman organisms, on the other hand, are never evil. To the extent that an organism is a good organism in the excellence sense of ‘good’, that is evidence of the intrinsic value of such organisms, and hence of their moral considerability. (Intrinsic value and its relation to moral consideration will be discussed at length in § 1.2)

    The fifth distinction is trivially relevant, in that any theory should generate true, rather than false, answers to questions.

    If we are to model ethical theory after scientific theory, then ethical theory should be built upon a foundation of moral observation sentences (cf. Quine 1992a, 2-9, 1993) that describe recalcitrant empirical experiences. A moral observation sentence would be an occasion sentence of the form ‘It is right [or wrong] that p’, where p is a content clause that states what is the case on a particular occasion. As noted above, Quine himself opposed modeling ethics after his own model of the scientific process by denying that sentences of the form ‘It is wrong that p’ rarely, if ever, count as observation sentences. The only critique of Quine’s metaethics that Quine actually responded to was Morton White’s (1986). White argued that in addition to the usual five senses we use to perceive the world, we also use feeling. According to White, we can tell that an observation sentence of the form ‘it is wrong that p’ is true based on our feelings upon witnessing the situation recounted by p. Thus, if we were to witness a man beating a cripple (Quine’s [1986, 664] example), we know that ‘It is wrong that that man is beating that cripple’ is true because of our feelings of revulsion and outrage. The trouble with this argument, according to Quine’s (1986) response, is that a wide range of possible sensory intake may prompt similar emotional feelings of outrage—including many circumstances where there is little reason otherwise to suppose that something immoral has occurred (as when one is caught in a traffic jam).

    However, the question of whether the event described by the content clause evokes feelings in a witness is irrelevant to the problem of moral observation sentences. The question is rather whether sentences of the form ‘It is wrong that p’ ever “command a verdict [of true or false] outright” among native speakers of a language who witness the event (Quine 1992a, 5). Thus, a moral observation sentence “commands the same verdict from all witnesses who know the language”—that the described event be “condemned on sight without collateral information” (Quine 1986, 664).

    Of course, the superfluousness of collateral information for observation sentences in contrast to theoretical sentences is relative and the two types of sentences grade into one another (Quine 1970, 1992a, 6-9; 1993, 108-109). We know a sentence like ‘It is raining’ is true because of a characteristic suite of surface irritations of the outer nerve endings that prompt concurrent observations of drops falling through air, wet skin, characteristic sound and smell. Such characteristic sensory intake are what Quine (1992a, 2-4) called the stimulus meaning of an observation sentence such as ‘It is raining’. The sentence is taken in its simplest form, holophrastically as one word (i.e., as ‘Rain’). The extra “[c]omponent words [(‘it is ____ing’)] are there as component syllables, theory-free” (Quine 1992a, 7).

    To be sure, people can be hesitant and even make mistakes. I might say that it is raining but someone from Seattle might quibble and assert that it is misting instead. Rather than allow the English language to fission, however, the larger society imposes uniform standards that take into account meteorological theory that in turn govern the conditioning that determines correct usage. Thus, theory infuses even simple observations like ‘It is raining’ or ‘It is misting’. Indeed, merely to posit the existence of a physical body—any body—represents a huge leap of faith (Quine 1970, 16; 1993, 113). Nevertheless, at the most primitive stages of language acquisition, there are examples of entirely theory-free observation sentences.

    There are pure cases, and they prevail at the early stages of language acquisition. Observation sentences in this pristine purity are the child’s port of entry to cognitive language, for it is just these which he can acquire without the aid of previously acquired language. (Quine 1993, 109)​

    There are, therefore, grades of theoreticity of observation sentences. A dog can learn the stimulus meaning of ‘Squirrel’ (personal observation); a chemist, that of ‘There is some copper in the solution’ (Quine 1993, 108). To assert ‘It is raining’ requires less collateral information than ‘That is a bachelor’. There might be a few people who can reliably pick out bachelors from a crowd based on such bachelorisms as a certain glint in the eye or an inordinate tidiness of appearance; but such bachelor-detectors are rare among English speakers compared to the vast majority qualified to utter ‘It is raining’ upon the appropriate receptor stimulation. So, it is neither the case that ‘It is raining’ is entirely observational, nor that ‘That is a bachelor’ is entirely theoretical. Similarly, observation sentences of the form ‘It is wrong that p’ also contain a non-negligible theoretical component; nevertheless, such sentences may also contain a recalcitrant observational component.

    For instance, imagine a man extinguishing a lit cigarette on the skin of a baby; it is my claim that the holophrastic sentence ‘Wrong’ uttered by a competent English-speaking witness would be affirmed outright by other competent English speaking witnesses, thus qualifying the sentence as observational on Quine’s criteria. No doubt, the scene would prompt other observations of cringing, wincing, screaming, physical size differences. And so, a foreigner not knowing English who wanted to write a translation manual for his radically different jungle language might be confused at first. But then the person observes some teenagers set fire to a cat, and is again told ‘Wrong’. After a few such incidents, the radical translator begins to see the common thread.

    In general, moral observation sentences tend to depict glaring examples of gratuitous harm caused by entities having a human-equivalent intelligence or better. Of course, not all harm is directly observable, and not all directly observable harm is gratuitous. However, for moral observation sentences, the harm should be blatant and there should be no obvious reason for causing the harm. Thus, we know that Quine’s (1986, 664) example of a possible moral observation sentence, ‘It is wrong that that man is beating that cripple’, is true not because of the feelings of outrage generated by the observation (although these are present), but because the harm being done is brazenly obvious, and there are no obvious reasons for such behavior. The collateral information required to utter such a moral observation sentence is perhaps more than is required to utter ‘it is raining’, but probably less than ‘that is a rabbit’—since most English speakers cannot tell at a glance the difference between a rabbit (Sylvilagus sp.) and a hare (Lepus sp.), and certainly much less than ‘that is a bachelor’.

    From a foundation of moral observation sentences, one conducts moral reasoning by considering how the implications generated by these moral observation sentences weave into the overall fabric of implications that constitutes one’s theory of the world. First, one begins to make generalizations based on the initial observations. For example, after witnessing an incident of baby torture, it would be reasonable for a budding ethicist to infer the generalization ‘It is wrong that anyone torture any baby’.

    Eventually, one will be able to utter justified theoretical moral sentences of the form ‘It is wrong that p’ that apply to circumstances far removed from the original moral observation sentences, even in cases where there is neither harm nor gratuitousness. For example, we probably want to argue that it is wrong that someone steals a ten-dollar item from a Super WalMart store, other things being equal. Such a theft would have the effect of reducing WalMart’s annual earnings by about 0.00000015%. Nevertheless, even though no practical harm was done, we still want to say that it is wrong that someone shoplifts.

    Eventually, ethical theory generates specific recommendations for particular cases that then offer an opportunity to test the theory. Of course, one contemplating the construction of an ethical experiment must be cautious. Probably, it is usually the case that it is morally wrong that someone actually tests an ethical hypothesis of the form ‘It is wrong that p’. However, this methodological problem is not peculiar to ethics. Many scientific questions cannot be ethically addressed through concrete experiments. For example, it would be an evil neurologist’s dream to have a steady supply of human experimental subjects from which he or she could selectively excise parts of their brains in order to test various neurological hypotheses. But it would be morally wrong that scientists conducted such experiments. In practice, the testing of ethical hypotheses must usually be conducted through case histories and thought experiments. One looks at actual past choices that people have made and then observes the present consequences in order to see what difference a choice recommended by a particular ethical hypothesis would have made; alternatively, one imagines the likely result of an ethical hypothesis if it were universally taken seriously, and then imagines the observation sentences that that result would likely prompt. However, this methodological problem is also not peculiar to ethics. The main data points in a science such as paleontology are primarily historical, and the use of thought experiments plays an important role in science, as in Einstein’s famous thought experiment about what it would be like to ride on a photon of light. In addition, case histories are about the only ethically permissible method of data gathering in sciences like neurology or anthropology. In point of testability, ethics and science differ only in degree, and not in kind.

    Given the pervasive underdetermination of theory by observational evidence that plagues both science and ethics, what happens is that people soberly reflect on the observational facts that are known, and then reason to the best of their ability until a stopping point is reached where no more empirical evidence is available and no more persuasion can settle an honest disagreement. Scientists will probably never agree whether quantum events are inherently probabilistic or are caused by unseen “hidden variables”—or even whether the universe splits in two every time a quantum event happens so that both alternative events actually happen. In the face of such irresolvable honest disagreements in both science and ethics, decisions about what to do practically must be hammered out democratically.


    Quine, Willard Van Orman. 1970. Grades of theoreticity. In Experience and Theory, eds. Lawrence Foster and J. W. Swanson, 1-17. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press.

    ———————. 1981. Theories and Things. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

    ———————. 1986. Reply to Morton White. In The Philosophy of W.V. Quine, ed. Lewis Edwin Hahn, 663-665. Peru, Illinois: Open Court Publishing.

    ———————. 1992a. Pursuit of Truth, revised edition. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

    ———————. 1993. In praise of observation sentences. Journal of Philosophy 90:107-116.

    Rolston, Holmes, III. 1988. Environmental Ethics: Duties to and Values in The Natural World. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

    White, Morton, 1986. Normative ethics, normative epistemology, and Quine’s holism. In The Philosophy of W.V. Quine, ed. Lewis Edwin Hahn, 649-662. Peru, Illinois: Open Court Publishing.​
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 13, 2005 #2
    :!!) :!!) :!!) :!!) :!!) Wow, I must be right on, since no one can find fault with my argument!:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
  4. Nov 13, 2005 #3
    I was waiting for you to finish it... You still need to define some stuff, like "democratic" and defend that allegation that it is best. Appeal to popularity is a fallacy... assuming that's what you meant by 'democratic' in the first place.

    Oh and I'm waiting for you to erase this: "Perhaps the strongest argument for investigating the possibility of moral realism is that the alternative is not pleasant to contemplate." and actually read some moralist arguments.
  5. Nov 13, 2005 #4
    The belief in moral realism seems practically indispensable, and not something to be given up lightly. And whose "moralist" arguments do you suggest I read? Stevenson??? :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

    I meant "democratically" in the sense where everyone votes for their preferred alternative. . . . :tongue2: :tongue2: :tongue2: :tongue2:

    As opposed to "autocratically", where one person decides what is best for everyone else.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2005
  6. Nov 13, 2005 #5
    Well that's what's wrong with your conclusion then. You're being inconsistant.

    You're democratic system ends with a "Majority Rule". While attempting to find any truth resorting to an appeal to popularity is a fallacy, that is unless what's popular is truth, in which case you are adhering to ethical conventionalism, a relativist solution. Thus, contradicting yourself in any attempt to find ethical truths.
  7. Nov 13, 2005 #6
    No, not at all. I'm merely acknowledging the underdermination of theory by observation that pervades science as well as ethics. For example, there is no known experiment that could decide between the Copenhagen model of quantum mechanics versus David Bohm's deterministic, hidden-variables approach. Does this imply that the science of physics a form of conventionalism? I don't think so.

    Uncertainties rule out the possibility of truth neither in science nor in ethics.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2005
  8. Nov 13, 2005 #7
    *shrug* I didn't actually read your whole post, and I'm not about to now, so I still don't know what you're going off about.
  9. Nov 13, 2005 #8
    *shrug" Well, that's why your criticisms didn't make any sense. Especially the one where you said I need to finish the essay--as if it isn't already too long.

    Too bad. I was actually seeking out informed criticism; and you might have actually learned something new.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2005
  10. Nov 13, 2005 #9
    if somebody else says something good about it I might be inclined to print it out and read it. but there's no way I'm actually going to read that all on the computer screen.
  11. Nov 14, 2005 #10
    Well, it's an excerpt from my M.A. thesis, so it's already passed peer review by at least 2 Ph.Ds.

    And to the PF staff: isn't there a rule somewhere that says that one must actually read a post before one is allowed to comment on it?
  12. Nov 15, 2005 #11
    "Uncertainties rule out the possibility of truth neither in science nor in ethics."

    Perhaps, but your above nonsensical statement does!

    I'm certainly glad that you mentioned this at the beginning of this interminable post, thereby eliminating any desire to read the rest. This line was part of a master's thesis and wasn't roundly denounced?

    Looking around in the street under the streetlight at night, the fellow was asked what he was doing. "Looking for my car keys." was the reply. Upon being asked if he lost them around here, he replied, "No, but the light is better."

    Perhaps your post contained the wisdom of the universe, the answer to all questions and I'll be that much poorer for not having read it, but after that innitial remark, I'd feel 'stupid' to spend the time reading further. And if you brought it to me and I was your professor, I'd have thrown it back in your face and demanded you eliminate such nonsense before I would read it.
    You present a poor impression about 'degrees and academics' these days.

    There's 'my' peer review.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2005
  13. Nov 15, 2005 #12
    Amateurs. . . . .

    Let me guess. You're another 18 year-old Canadian whose never taken a philosophy class--let alone a class on ethics.

    I could have left out that sentence entirely--it affects not a whit the rest of the essay. On the other hand, since you obviously did not understand the sentence in the first place, why should I? Sentences of the form 'Perhaps the strongest argument for investigating the possibility of x is that the alternative is not pleasant to contemplate' do not imply, prove or demonstrate that x is the case (that's what the rest of the essay is supposed to do); it merely provides a justification for thinking about x. The sentence in no way forms a premise in the arguments that follow.

    If I were to write an essay on world peace, alternative energy solutions, or space colonization, I could just as well introduce the essay by writing 'Perhaps the strongest argument for investigating the possibility of world peace [alternative energy solutions, space colonization] is that the alternative is not pleasant to contemplate [because of continual wars, $30 per gallon of gasoline, the eventual extinction of life on the planet, or whatever].

    Perhaps I present a poor impression of academics--at least I don't take willful pride in my ignorance like you and Smurf. And at least I understand the English language.
  14. Nov 15, 2005 #13
    The reason for thinking about 'x' because the thinking about 'y' is 'unpleasant (uncomfortable) to contemplate' is 'intellectual cowardice' (O philosopher king) as your 'tortured babies' might lead to a superior 'understanding'! I still find your quote one of cowardice. Otherwise one would leave no stone unturned, no matter how odious, in the search for 'truth'.
    I find intellectual cowardice repulsive and unworthy of respect. Unfortunately, there is nothing that an intellectual coward can say that I would find of value. You might be an exception, but your little emotional hissy-fit shows me otherwise.
    And you'll forgive me for ignoring the rest of your hurt ego rant.
    Have a nice day.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2005
  15. Nov 15, 2005 #14
    Give me a break! You're projecting again--an intellectual coward is someone who insults an author without reading their work because they are afraid to learn anything new. If you're going to comment on a thread, have the common courtesy to read the original post, and then try to form an actual argument.
  16. Nov 16, 2005 #15
    Shall we get past the personal BS for a moment?
    My dictionary equates 'morals' with assigning the judgement of 'good' and 'bad'.
    I think that what might have actually bothered me enough to inspire reply as I did, is that I think that I may be one of your apparently too 'unpleasant to think about alternatives'!
    I am amoral.
    I am inferring that you are, at least, in your first sentence, asserting that there is an equation of Truth and Morality and Reality.
    Even though I stand on the same gradient upon which you stand, are you dismissing my perspective here as "the alternative (that) is not pleasant to contemplate"?
  17. Nov 16, 2005 #16
    As I point out in my essay, 'good' and 'bad' have a lot of different uses that have little directly to do with ethics. Like I wrote, Jack the Ripper was a good murderer--he knew his craft and never got caught--but that doesn't imply that he was not one of the most evil men to appear in human history.

    That's why I prefer the language of 'right' and 'wrong', it's a little less ambiguous. BTW my dictionary (Random House Webster Unabridged) defines 'morals' as 'principles or habits with respect to right or wrong conduct'.

    And when you say you are "amoral", if this implies that you would deny the truth of 'Jack the Ripper was evil', then to say that the implications of your amorality are unpleasant is about the nicest possible means of expressing that fact.

    And no, I never said 'truth ≡morality ≡reality' (what's with the capital letters?). Truth is truth, morality is morality, and reality is reality--they are three different concepts.

    You're welcome to your own perspective--it's a free world. Then again, since you refuse to read my original post, how do really know that you disagree with me?
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2005
  18. Nov 16, 2005 #17
    Right/good//wrong/evil all seem equivalent (in their useless religious judgementalism.. we have all seen where 'that' goes..), so, whichever you are more comfortable with makes no qualitative difference to me.

    Calling him 'evil' is a personal subjective value judgement. Calling him a 'murderer' is not only more meaningful, but more accurate as well. As the story goes, he was also (allegedly) a doctor. He was also a man (probably). Get where I'm going?

    The capitol letters delineate between, for instance, a 'trivial truth' and a 'great Truth' (-Neils Bohr) where "the opposite of a trivial truth is obviously false whereas the opposite of a great Truth is still True."

    It is in your first sentence;
    where you relate the three terms; calling your 'sentence' with 'moral predicates' True, implies that your moral predicates are also True, and that they truly (accurately) describe some 'real world' (concept). They might be individual concepts, but your usage was such that they all became inter-referrential, ie; the 'Bible is true because the Bible says that it is true'.

    First, thank you.
    Second, my most recent reply was not disagreeing with you, I was asking for some information, a question... How well did you read MY post?

    Hand me a large platter of culinary delectables and if the first taste is 'chewy' and 'strange' (not necessarily spoiled, but might be) I might have a word or two with the cook before attempting to consume any more. If the cook insisted that his seasoning was all that was giving me that 'strange' taste, and that it was ground rubber, I probably wouldn't finish the dish as I already have found that the consumption of ground rubber is not useful for human nutrition, not 'bad', not 'evil' (religious emotional judgemental hogwash!), just not 'useful'.

    Similarly, I asked a question or two regarding your offered 'appetizer' which you seem to have neglected to answer.
    Query; have you ever, in all that writing, defined the terms of your initial definition? Such as 'real world'? This is a millennially highly debateable 'concept' and science is leaning toward the perspective that there is no such thing, no 'one size fits all' 'real world'. Are you referring to the mentally perceived 'world' of appearances and concepts?

    I wonder if you would still be able to frame you hypothesis in E-prime language?
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2005
  19. Nov 16, 2005 #18
    Religious judgmentalism??? Where in my essay is God or religion mentioned once?

    That's the whole point of the essay: that 'Jack the Ripper was evil' is not a personal, subjective value judgment; it is an objective statement of fact as true as 'seawater is salty'. And I have no idea where you are going with this. . . .

    :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
    That's like crazy, man!Groovy!:tongue2: :tongue2: :tongue2: :tongue2: :tongue2: :tongue2: :tongue2: :tongue2: :tongue2: :tongue2: :tongue2: :tongue2: :tongue2: :tongue2: :tongue2: :tongue2: :tongue2: :tongue2: :tongue2: :tongue2: :tongue2:
    :!!) :!!) :!!) :!!) :!!) :!!) :!!) :!!) :!!) :!!) :!!) :!!) :!!) :!!) :!!) :!!) :!!) :!!) :!!) :!!) :!!) :!!) :!!) :!!) :!!) :!!) :!!) :!!) :!!) :!!) :!!) :!!)

    No, no, no, NO! Only sentences can be true. A predicate (e.g., 'is evil') has no truth value.

    Again, if you had spent as much time reading my post as you have spent criticizing what you have not read, you would have seen that much the verbiage you find so objectionable is spent defining all sorts of terms. BTW 'real world' refers to the world described by naturalistic science, as opposed to the virtual "world" of mere mental perceptions.

    E-prime. . . . .:yuck: :yuck: :yuck: :yuck: :yuck: :yuck: :yuck: :yuck: :yuck: :yuck: :yuck: :yuck: :yuck: :yuck: :yuck: :yuck: :yuck: :yuck: :yuck: :yuck: :yuck: :yuck: :yuck: :yuck: :yuck:

    What a farce. You would turn every simple statement into a propositional attitude. The sentence 'I heard that Ponce de Leon believed in the Fountain of Youth' may be true, but that does not change the fact that the internal 'there exists an x such that x is the Fountain of Youth' is false.

    So, no thanks. I'll stick to ordinary English regimented by formal logic.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 4, 2006
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