Epistemology, Philosophy, Reason, Truth

Are Non-Predictive Propositions Neither True nor False?

I wonder if there can be such a thing as a true, but non-predictive proposition?  Basically, that’s what the proposition, “God exists”, is sometimes claimed to be — a true but non-predictive proposition.

A proposition such as, “The sun will rise tomorrow”, obviously makes a prediction.  So does a proposition such as, “The sun rose yesterday”, although many of us might be a bit confused about using the word “prediction” to refer to something that has already happened.  But that’s OK — we’re just using “prediction”  in the special way it is sometimes used in logic.  In logic, a proposition’s “prediction” is sometimes defined as whatever a proposition asserts to be true.   So, even though it might not be the smoothest way to say it, you can indeed speak of “predicting past events”.

Sometimes when people say things like, “God exists”, they do not mean to make any predictions and yet they feel their proposition is true.  Yet how can you say that a proposition which makes no predictions is true or not?  For don’t we judge whether a proposition is true or not by whether it’s predictions have come true?

So, can there be a true, but non-predictive proposition? I think at best we are logically required to say that non-predictive propositions can not be determined true or false.

At any rate, that’s what I’ve been wondering about today.  But now it’s time to get ready to go to the coffee shop.  Adios!

20 thoughts on “Are Non-Predictive Propositions Neither True nor False?”

  1. I suppose that it is possible to have a non-predictive, but potentially true statement, by using terms that have no (or at least, very loose) meaning (and, like you said, such statements are deemed to be neither true nor false). Make up a word, don’t give its meaning, put it into a proposition, and then you have something that could be either true or false, depending on how you suppose it to be defined. That’s how the “God exists” argument is : if “god” is existence, it is true. For a stricter definition though….things get messier.

  2. G-D(Father, Creator, Great Spirit,, etc.) exists, even if you deny HIM…….

    So there is hope!

    For Miracles do happen…….

    Peace, in spite of the dis-ease(no-peace) that is of this world and it’s systems of religion, for “the WHOLE world is under the control of the evil one”(1Jn5:19) indeed and Truth…….

  3. No.

    The need is to receive, not read…….

    And Hope is there would be those who would experience The Miracle that is receiving “the love of The Truth”…….

    Apart from Miracles, “faith” is but a five letter word, predicated on “the colored marks written on a dead tree”…….

    Such was, and is, the “faith” of the pharisee’s, the theo’ry’logicans…….

  4. A proposition is deemed ‘true’ by its ability to be used to obtain the purpose of the one doing the assessing. There are psychological effects of “belief in God” that meet some purposes (though perhaps not yours) and thereby make “God exists” and “God is all-good, all-powerful” etc. “true” for the person doing the assessing.

  5. Francisco: “Simply, it doesn’t matter for Faith defies logic…”

    Ah. A variation on the theme of “You have to have faith…” … which is the last resort of the person who has no other argument. What it usually means is “You have to buy into this bullshit.”

    No, true faith does not defy logic, nor science. Faith is the belief in a thing in the absence of corroborating evidence.

    The belief in a thing *in spite of* evidence to the contrary is something else entirely

    – M. \”/.

  6. This reminds me of the riddle about the criminal who was convicted and sentenced to death, based on whether he said something true or false.

    If true, he would be shot, if false, he would be hung.

    So he said, “I will be hung.”

    What predictive value had that? 😉

  7. “Francisco: “Simply, it doesn’t matter for Faith defies logic…”

    “Ah. A variation on the theme of “You have to have faith…” … which is the last resort of the person who has no other argument. What it usually means is “You have to buy into this.””

    Wrong again, you don’t have Faith, you receive Faith……. Sadly, you and the multitudes have let this world’s religions have their way with you…….

    “No, true faith does not defy logic, nor science. Faith is the belief in a thing in the absence of corroborating evidence.”

    Faith does indeed defy logic and science……. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen”…….

    The pagan catholic/christian whorish systems of religion have clearly left you braindirtyed to the utmost…….

    Simply True Faith is grounded in Miracles that have been received by those who “see” The Light that leads one out of the darkness that is this world and it’s systems of religion.

    “The belief in a thing *in spite of* evidence to the contrary is something else entirely”

    And you have been entirely wrong…….

    Miracles are evidence, sadly all you know are temporal shadows so all you will experience is the shadow of life…….

    As is said, “Get Real”!

    And Real Life, as all that is Real, is Forever…….

  8. Francisco: “sadly all you know are temporal shadows so all you will experience is the shadow of life…”

    Or perhaps, all you experience is hallucination.

    I’d go with “Occam’s Razor” on this one.

    @”@

  9. It’s been my observation that, often, those who feel the need to capitalize the word “truth” are expressing something entirely different.

    Francisco: “Simply, will leave you to your own self…”

    Don’t let the door… you know the rest.

    – M. ò”ô

  10. Soon you’ll be questioning the validity of modus ponens and suggesting that true causality of any kind is unprovable, untestable, and hence doesn’t exist. Logic as fun, very cool.

  11. Wow, what a dive into solipsism this is. So, right after Osama Bin Laden fled, I could say “Laden doesn’t exist” and it wouldn’t have a truth value because we didn’t find him? As your conclusion seems to argue, there is a fundamental difference between truth and determinability.

    “A proposition is deemed ‘true’ by its ability to be used to obtain the purpose of the one doing the assessing.”

    That’s the so-called Pragmatic Theory of Truth from philosophy 101, right? I happen to think it’s BS. This definition of ‘truth’ only works as a retrospective metaphor. Truth is a measure of how well a claim or representation corresponds to what is being represented.

    @Francisco: Prophet complex much?

  12. @ Brad: Welcome to the blog!

    How did you arrive at the notion that “Laden doesn’t exist” is a non-predictive proposition? It seems to me the proposition “Laden doesn’t exist” is predictive.

    When you say, “there is a fundamental difference between truth and determinability”, do you mean to say there is an adequate definition of truth that does not at least imply a means for determining what is true or not? And if so, what is that definition?

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