Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder
Adam and I, as you may have noticed, have lunch…
Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2002 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.
Adam and I, as you may have noticed, have lunch together about twice a week. I enjoy our conversations, but sometimes he's just patently wrong. Unfortunately, today he wasn't; I was. Yes, Adam, you're right, most of the important aspects of conversations for most people don't depend on whether sentences are true or false, partly because so many sentences in conversation don't have objective truth-values, and partly because even false sentences contribute to other conversational processes, and I'm sure you could say this better than I and with more evidence to boot.
But I hesitate to say "truth isn't important in conversation," because untrue sentences -- as I've seen -- obstruct at least one purpose of conversation, viz., helping people understand each other. And I'm not going to create more interference, foul the signal with more noise, by lying just because it's convenient.
I'm glad I can have these discussions with friends and stay friends with them even when the argument gets con spirito.
So I've referenced Logic, Linguistics, and Music...quick! a Russian ref! K chyortu! There, that should do it.