Correspondence between map and territory.
Alfred Tarski defined truth in terms of an infinite family of sentences such as:
- "The sentence 'snow is white' is true if and only if snow is white."
To understand whether a belief is true, we need (only) to understand what possible states of the world would make it true or false, and then ask directly about the world.
'Truth' is a very simple concept, understood perfectly well by three-year-olds, but often made unnecessarily complicated by adults.
Posts by Eliezer Yudkowsky:
- Why truth? and... - You have an instrumental motive to care about the truth of your beliefs about anything you care about.
- Guardians of the Truth - Endorsing a concept of truth is not the same as endorsing a particular belief as eternally, absolutely, knowably true.
- Feeling Rational - Emotions cannot be true or false, but they can follow from true or false beliefs.
- The Meditation on Curiosity - In particular, the Litany of Tarski.
- "Truth" vs. Truth - Our society has a moral norm for applauding "truth", but actual truths get much less applause (this is a bad thing).