Author Topic: Truth Isn't Truth  (Read 1971 times)

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Offline John Albert

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Re: Truth Isn't Truth
« Reply #30 on: August 27, 2018, 11:01:38 AM »
I feel that our social and political culture is trending toward making far too much of "subjective truth," "sincerely held beliefs," etc. This is a dangerous outlook that diminishes honesty and rewards the powerful, the deceitful, and the self-righteous.

Differences of opinion do not amount to multiple truths. Merely believing something does not make it so. Each individual is entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts.

« Last Edit: August 27, 2018, 11:48:52 AM by John Albert »

Offline brilligtove

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Re: Truth Isn't Truth
« Reply #31 on: August 27, 2018, 01:35:07 PM »
This implies that differences in memory, belief, and opinions should be treated similarly in at least some respects. In the absence of external facts I'd say we are entitled to our opinions at least. Is that true for memories too? If there is no objective measure or record how do we accommodate two people who honestly remember one event very differently?

Can we assume no one is lying first? Lies are a related issue, but not central to the question I'm asking.

Note that none of this implies or asserts that beliefs, opinions, or memories should have priority over facts.
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Offline Belgarath

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Re: Truth Isn't Truth
« Reply #32 on: August 27, 2018, 03:41:53 PM »
I think you're just defining truth in such a manner as to make it indistinguishable from the term 'opinion' in it's most general sense of the word.

It's word salad.

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Re: Truth Isn't Truth
« Reply #33 on: August 27, 2018, 04:22:40 PM »
No, I won’t assume that either Rudy Giuliani or Donald Trump is ever telling the truth, as is the premise of your OP, and think it unreasonable that you should expect anyone to.  If you wish to retract your statements that Giuliani “has a point” and your attempts to explain what you think he means (in which you credit him with opinions that I believe are beyond his mental capacity), then I’d be happy to consider your post-modernist philosophy in the abstract.
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Offline brilligtove

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Re: Truth Isn't Truth
« Reply #34 on: August 27, 2018, 04:41:39 PM »
No, I won’t assume that either Rudy Giuliani or Donald Trump is ever telling the truth, as is the premise of your OP, and think it unreasonable that you should expect anyone to.  If you wish to retract your statements that Giuliani “has a point” and your attempts to explain what you think he means (in which you credit him with opinions that I believe are beyond his mental capacity), then I’d be happy to consider your post-modernist philosophy in the abstract.

It appears I am not capable of articulating my thoughts here.
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Offline John Albert

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Re: Truth Isn't Truth
« Reply #35 on: August 28, 2018, 07:15:58 PM »
This implies that differences in memory, belief, and opinions should be treated similarly in at least some respects.

Memories vary widely in reliability. Just because I may not be able to recall exactly what I had for lunch exactly one year ago on today's date, that doesn't mean my rote memory of my own phone number is equally faulty.   

Beliefs are inapt for making decisions unless they're supported with evidence or can be reliably demonstrated to serve the common good. Either way, unevidenced beliefs should never be accepted as fact.

Opinions are highly personal, but open to debate. It's unreasonable to treat mere opinions as statements of fact or actionable truths.
 

In the absence of external facts I'd say we are entitled to our opinions at least. Is that true for memories too?

Nobody in this discussion has argued that you're forbidden from believing something. You're entitled to believe whatever.

But by the same token, that doesn't mean anybody else is required to agree.


If there is no objective measure or record how do we accommodate two people who honestly remember one event very differently?

We can evaluate their individual stories for internal consistency, and by how well they match up with known facts about the situation (times, places, concurrent events, etc.). If others have witnessed the same event or can verify aspects of one individual's account but not the other's, that can support one side.

If it's just one person's word against the other's with no clear context and both stories are equally plausible, then it would be very difficult to decide which is true.
 

Can we assume no one is lying first?

If we're talking about stories told by complete strangers of unknown moral character, then I don't think it's reasonable to just assume that both are telling the honest truth. If they're describing the same exact event very differently, then chances are high that one is either lying or confabulating.

One of the first things an investigator ought to do in a case like that would be to look for potential motives that each person might have, to lie or distort the truth.


Lies are a related issue, but not central to the question I'm asking.

Note that none of this implies or asserts that beliefs, opinions, or memories should have priority over facts.

Then what exactly are you asking?
« Last Edit: August 28, 2018, 09:01:47 PM by John Albert »

Offline Redamare

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Re: Truth Isn't Truth
« Reply #36 on: August 28, 2018, 09:10:40 PM »
All Rudy was saying is that Trump shouldn't interview Mueller because Mueller will just "decide" that Trump is lying the first time he says something that contradicts what someone else said.

Of course, being an attorney, he knows full well that's not how these things work. But he needs to create an excuse for how the interview can be a "perjury trap" without admitting that Trump is a fundamentally duplicitous person.
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Offline brilligtove

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Re: Truth Isn't Truth
« Reply #37 on: August 29, 2018, 12:15:03 AM »
It appears I am not capable of articulating my thoughts here.

I haven't read responses since my earlier post. If I eventually have time, I will.
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Offline John Albert

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Re: Truth Isn't Truth
« Reply #38 on: August 29, 2018, 12:43:05 PM »
All Rudy was saying is that Trump shouldn't interview Mueller because Mueller will just "decide" that Trump is lying the first time he says something that contradicts what someone else said.

Of course, being an attorney, he knows full well that's not how these things work. But he needs to create an excuse for how the interview can be a "perjury trap" without admitting that Trump is a fundamentally duplicitous person.

The latest episode of the Opening Arguments podcast (OA204) offers an excellent analysis of Giuliani's "perjury trap" excuse.

To summarize: Andrew and Thomas' guest, attorney and Professorial Lecturer in Law Randall Eliason acknowledges that a "perjury trap" is indeed a recognized form of prosecutorial misconduct. He explains how the standard perjury trap tactic works, and says it's fairly clear that Mueller is not engaged in any such activity. Nevertheless, he also admits that while Giuliani's "perjury trap" excuse is a red herring, he agrees with Trump's attorneys' decision to advise their client not to interview with Muller. Besides Trump's well known problems with honesty, a client has nothing to gain and everything to lose by speaking directly to prosecutors when the client is a known target of the investigation.

(the interview with Eliason starts at 33:20)

Online CarbShark

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Re: Truth Isn't Truth
« Reply #39 on: August 29, 2018, 01:28:41 PM »
All Rudy was saying is that Trump shouldn't interview Mueller because Mueller will just "decide" that Trump is lying the first time he says something that contradicts what someone else said.

Of course, being an attorney, he knows full well that's not how these things work. But he needs to create an excuse for how the interview can be a "perjury trap" without admitting that Trump is a fundamentally duplicitous person.

The latest episode of the Opening Arguments podcast (OA204) offers an excellent analysis of Giuliani's "perjury trap" excuse.

To summarize: Andrew and Thomas' guest, attorney and Professorial Lecturer in Law Randall Eliason acknowledges that a "perjury trap" is indeed a recognized form of prosecutorial misconduct. He explains how the standard perjury trap tactic works, and says it's fairly clear that Mueller is not engaged in any such activity. Nevertheless, he also admits that while Giuliani's "perjury trap" excuse is a red herring, he agrees with Trump's attorneys' decision to advise their client not to interview with Muller. Besides Trump's well known problems with honesty, a client has nothing to gain and everything to lose by speaking directly to prosecutors when the client is a known target of the investigation.

(the interview with Eliason starts at 33:20)

Giuliani's mistake from the start is to try to explain why Trump won't be interviewed. Perjury trap or no, that's good advice for nearly any client in any case.

The purpose of the prosecutor interviewing Trump is to get evidence against him or his circle; to get strategic information and clues that could help them in planning their case; to intimidate him with clues to the strength of the case they're building. A perjury trap is not the foremost goal (as it was with Clinton, since without it there was absolutely no case).

As for Trump's disregard for the truth, many commenters have missed a key point about Trump. He is a frequent litigator and has actively participated, been deposed and testified numerous times. In those settings, he has done remarkably well. 

The "inability to tell the truth" criticism is probably false.

He probably knows what the truth is but chooses each time to lie. But, under oath, or in an interview with the FBI where the stakes are higher, he would most likely choose to not lie.
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Offline Redamare

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Re: Truth Isn't Truth
« Reply #40 on: August 29, 2018, 08:40:46 PM »
Right.

My suspicion is that Rudy's not saying this so much because he needs an excuse to dodge an interview, as to disparage Mueller and his intentions more generally, turning the interview into another (imagination straining) "example" of Mueller's "bias".
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Offline John Albert

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Re: Truth Isn't Truth
« Reply #41 on: August 29, 2018, 08:55:38 PM »
A perjury trap is not the foremost goal (as it was with Clinton, since without it there was absolutely no case).

Giuliani's "perjury trap" excuse is a red herring, intended to mischaracterize the Mueller investigation as a partisan witch hunt to bring down the President.

According to Randall Eliason, what Mueller is doing is not technically a perjury trap by the standard definition of the tactic. Giuliani misused the term to make Mueller sound unethical. Or maybe Giuliani just doesn't know what a perjury trap is.

The Clinton investigation was not a perjury trap either, according to Eliason.

Listen to the interview. It's a fascinating discussion that covers all these topics and more.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2018, 10:42:12 PM by John Albert »