Prag.:—Unquestionably common sense believes this, and so do I. There have been innumerable events in the history of our planet of which nobody ever has been or ever will be able to give an account, yet of which it can already be said abstractly that only one sort of possible account can ever be true. The truth about any such event is thus already generically predetermined by the event’s nature; and one may accordingly say with a perfectly good conscience that it virtually pre-exists. Common sense is thus right in its instinctive contention.
Anti-Prag.:—Is this then the horn of the dilemma which you stand for? Do you say that there is a truth even in cases where it shall never be known?
Prag.:—Indeed I do, provided you let me hold consistently to my own conception of truth, and do not ask me to abandon it for something which I find impossible to comprehend.—You also believe, do you not, that there is a truth, even in cases where it never shall be known?
Anti-Prag.:—I do indeed believe so.
Prag.:—Pray then inform me in what, according to you, this truth regarding the unknown consists.
Anti-Prag.:—Consists?—pray what do you mean by ‘consists’? It consists in nothing but itself, or more properly speaking it has neither consistence nor existence, it obtains, it holds.
Prag.:—Well, what relation does it bear to the reality of which it holds?
Anti-Prag.:-How do you mean, ‘what relation’? It holds of it, of course; it knows it, it represents it.
Prag.:—Who knows it? What represents it?
Anti-Prag.:—The truth does; the truth knows it; or rather not exactly that, but any one knows it who possesses the truth. Any true idea of the reality represents the truth concerning it.
Prag.:—But I thought that we had agreed that no knower of it, nor any idea representing it was to be supposed.
Prag.:—Then I beg you again to tell me in what this truth consists, all by itself, this tertium quid intermediate between the facts per se, on the one hand, and all knowledge of them, actual or potential, on the other. What is the shape of it in this third estate? Of what stuff, mental, physical, or ‘epistemological,’ is it built? What metaphysical region of reality does it inhabit?
Anti-Prag.:—What absurd questions! Isn’t it enough to say that it is true that the facts are so-and-so, and false that they are otherwise?
Prag.:—’It’ is true that the facts are so-and-so—I won’t yield to the temptation of asking you what is true; but I do ask you whether your phrase that ‘it is true that’ the facts are so-and-so really means anything really additional to the bare being so-and-so of the facts themselves.
Anti-Prag.:—It seems to mean more than the bare being of the facts. It is a sort of mental equivalent for them, their epistemological function, their value in noetic terms. Prag.:—A sort of spiritual double or ghost of them, apparently! If so, may I ask you where this truth is found.