Yeah, but doesn’t truth matter? Of course! Bear in mind that “the truth matters” is not a well-formed formula. Matters requires an indexical, i.e. matters-to or matters-for. The truth of some things matter for me, notwithstanding they don’t matter to me. I don’t give one whit about whether the roof of the movie theater will bear the weight of snow falling on it while I watch the show. But if the roof starts to heave and sag, whether it will hold up matters very much to me. That the load-bearing capacity of the roof matters to someone else is good for me, and that it matters to the builder and architect because their income and reputations are on the line for their assurances is also good for me. But I don’t stop to think of the truth of all the things that are good for me, like that people are enforcing safety regulations or learning how to build a strong roof. I couldn’t, and probably shouldn’t. If I stopped to think about how I know roofs will bear weight, I’d lay awake at night looking at the ceiling. Sure, I can assure myself that I’ve seen rooftops my whole life, not a one caved-in. Not that I’d even think about roofs caving-in until asked. But once asked, I’ve the idea that roofs can cave in. (And perhaps confirm my fears on You Tube.) And if they can cave in, what makes me so certain that this particular roof (points up) won’t cave in?
Categories: Rhetoric and Epistemology