#TSOT (The Structure Of Truth, October 04, 2015):
Is 2+2 inevitably 4? Is it grue? Is it true? Is it true that facts do not live on their own? What is The Concept of Truth in Formalized Languages? How logic chases truth up the tree of grammar? Is truth the same across languages? If we used different languages would the facts be different? What comes first: truth or meaning? Is every sentence true or false? Does truth always have the IF-THEN structure? What can computers not prove, & why? What the nature of logic and probabilities does to the notion of truth, & how there need not be one logic? Can there be heuristics of ‘interestingness’ when forward chaining for a proof? Might all mathematics be done by proof checkers and Automated Theorem Provers (ATPs)? What is a candidate for a conjecture? Why is logical contradiction the ultimate no-no? Why is stock market news more difficult to write than Shakespeare, for a ‘Bayesian-monkey’? ‘Tell me what you are interested in, and I will tell you what the truth consists in’. Do (?) counterfactuals change the world by a very small amount of information? Or, does nature provide the regularities, and we provide the causal theories? SynTalk thinks about these & more questions using concepts from philosophy (Prof. Simon Blackburn, ex-University of Cambridge, Cambridge), computer science (Prof. Paritosh K. Pandya, TIFR, Mumbai), and mathematics (Prof. Rajat Tandon, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad).
SynTalk is pleased and privileged to have hosted the following SynTalkrs (in alphabetical order) on its #TSOT show.
Prof. Simon Blackburn (philosophy) retired as the Bertrand Russell Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cambridge (UK) in 2011, and is a Distinguished Research Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, teaching every fall semester. He is also a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, and a member of the professoriate of New College of the Humanities (London). He received his bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 1965 from Trinity College, Cambridge & his doctorate in 1970 from Churchill College, Cambridge. From 1984 to 1990 he edited the journal ‘Mind’. He was elected Fellow of the British Academy in 2001 and Honorary Foreign Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2008. In philosophy, he is best known as the proponent of quasi-realism in meta-ethics and as a defender of neo-Humean views on a variety of topics. His other areas of interest include philosophy of language, value theory, epistemology and pragmatism. Some of his selected books are: ‘Reason and Prediction (1973)’, ‘Spreading the Word (1984)’, ‘Essays in Quasi-Realism (1993)’, ‘Think (1999)’, ‘Truth: A Guide (2005)’. Together with Keith Simmons he edited the Oxford Readings in Philosophy volume ‘Truth (2001).
Prof. Paritosh K. Pandya (computer science) is a Professor and Dean at the Theoretical Computer Science Department, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in Mumbai, where he has been working since 1988. Prof. Pandya completed his M.Tech degree in Computer Science at IIT Kanpur (1982), and a Ph.D. in Computer Science at Bombay University / TIFR (1988). He also worked as a researcher at the Oxford University Computing Laboratory in England during 1989–91, undertaking research with Jonathan Bowen, Jifeng He, and Tony Hoare, amongst others, as part of the ESPRIT ProCoS project on “Provably Correct Systems”. Prof. Pandya’s main research interest is in the area of formal methods, including real-time systems. He has been especially involved with research concerning Duration Calculus, including the DCVALID model-checking tool. Prof. Pandya has been a member of the Editorial Board for the Formal Aspects of Computing journal published by Springer.
Prof. Rajat Tandon (mathematics) is currently a National Board of Higher Mathematics Professor at the University of Hyderabad where he served for 34 years before retiring in 2012. After completing his undergraduate honours degree from St. Stephen’s College in Mathematics, Economics and Philosophy, he did his Ph.D. from Yale University working in an area which came to be known as the “Langlands’ Program” (in the general area of Number Theory). He has been a National Associate of the UGC and visited Oregon State University, the Institute of Advanced Studies, the University of Sydney and ICTP, Trieste. He held positions at TIFR and North-Eastern Hill University before moving to the University of Hyderabad in 1978. He also has an interest in the Number Theoretic aspects of Cryptography. Whilst at Yale he took several courses of Abraham Robinson and has subsequently had a lifelong interest in the Foundations of Mathematics. What he finds most attractive about mathematics is that when mathematicians meet they talk a common language which is independent of culture, religion or gender.
Note: Any & all errors in the brief profiles above are SynTalk’s own.
#TSOT mentions: Pontius Pilate, David Hume, David Hilbert, Alfred Tarski, Kurt Gödel, W. V. O. Quine, Ludwig Wittgenstein, David Lewis, Richard Réti, Nelson Goodman, Timothy Gowers, Judea Pearl, Karl Popper, & Vladimir Voevodsky, among others.