Tarski’s theory of Truth: An illustration

I want to reiterate my appreciation for our reader who has taken much efforts to go through my book and have raised doubts/concerns about anything and everything he could find.

This is beneficial in many ways:

(1) It allows me to recognize where readers may run into confusion

(2) It allows me to recognize plausible weak spots of my theory and proposal

(3) It allows me to respond to these criticism (s) which in turn allow readers to comprehend minute and critical points of my theory/proposal

(4) It allows readers (and myself) to appreciate the strength of my theory/proposal

(5) It is hoped that critical readers will able to recognize numerous other attempts at dating of Mahabharata year, which, except few exceptions, can only be described, euphemistically, as ranging from ‘incompetently disastrous’ to ‘deliberately disingenuous’.

I ask readers to join me in thanking our reader, who has done a tremendous job of raising numerous objections, big and small.

Our reader wrote, referring to Mahabharata reference 7, as it appears in my book…

“It merely states that Saptarshis, Arundhati and Swati are in the north. This is said by Suparna (Garuda) to Galava and is not a contemporary observation with the war. Its meaning is also obscure. What is meant by Swati is at North, as are Saptarshis and arundhati? It does not say that swati was in the vicinity of Saptarshis. In the sky are Swati and Saptarshis close bye? If so they would always be so, assuming neither has large ‘proper motion’. Further, all stars and Nakshatras visible in north India are ‘in the north’ only.”

My Response…

Most of what our reader has interpreted is correct. We will answer some of the questions he raises and then provide the context for my stating of this observation.

It is indeed true that Saptarshi’s, Arundhati and nakshatra Swati are in the north, even from the point of view of anyone living in the northern hemisphere (or north India), as much as ‘Polaris’ can be said to be in the north.

Our readers objects to the relevance of quoting this observation, “The observation is made by Suparna to Galava and is not contemporary obsevation of Mahabharata times.” No one claimed it to be so. Of course whatever little relevance this observation may have on anything else in the book is due to the fact that the observation does appear in the same book (Mahabharata).

Those familiar with positions of nakshatra Swati, Saptarshi and Arundhati, nothing is obscure about the statement. In fact I will skip the trivially true explanation why these three would be stated to be in the north and leave curious readers, seekers, and night sky watchers to do their own observations and report back.

The statement does not say, as our reader correctly points out, that “Swati was in the vicinity of Saptarshis.” However the fact that nakshatra Swati being close to Saptarshi (and thus also Arundhati), in our times, provides that additional assurance (although not required for any scientific arugment) that the identification of Saptarshis, Arundhati and nakshatra Swati was same/similar, as is the case today, in Mahabharata times. Nothing more and nothing less is claimed/argued through the quoting of this Mahabharata reference.

Nakshatra Swati (Arcturus) has indeed finite proper motion, however, not enough to change things dramatically. On a side note, brillinat astronomer and former ISRO scientist Anil Narayanan has employed ‘proper motion’ of nakshatra Swati to determine one of the ancient epoch for that glorious astronomy text – Surya Siddhanta. His work deserves a book or books of its own and at a minimum, series of blog articles. But I digressed.

And finally a small correction…

Our reader states, “Further, all stars and Nakshatras visible in north India are ‘in the north’ only.” Our reader and many who visit my blog know that this statement is not true. Many stars – Canopus (Agasti), Orion (Mrigashirsha), Vyadha/Rudra (Sirius) can be seen from north India and still astronomers and laypeople would agree that they are in the south.

First time I read Alfred Tarski’s ‘correspondance theory of truth’, I thought someone was pulling a joke on me. Not so. The theoy is elegant and hence simple. His famous illustration is that if the theory states that ‘Grass is greener’ and you go and check and find it to be green, the theory is true.

This simple theory made a revolution in our understanding of how we undestand the truth and has many implications for our growth of knowledge.

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