STATEMENT: the floating of a verbal confrontation with the universe

A statement is an assertive sentence launched into the universe of awarenesses which aspires to be certified as true. It is a linguistic assertion about a current or previous state of affairs. It is a defiant challenge to the entire universe to dispute the meaning of its content. In its simplest form it is the meaning of a single assertive sentence. The reality of the universe, both past and present, awaits with deflationary snags.

A statement can only be made by means of a language and it is usually the case that any one of several languages could be used for the purpose. The statement... 'balloons and facts are supported by hot air'... could equally well be expressed in innumerable other written or articulated languages. To allow for this factor then, a statement should be thought of as the meaning which is common to different linguistic formulations.

The various types of statement are are all evaluated with reference to what is considered to be relevant criteria. Existential assertions, for example, usually challenge the universe to provide examples. The statement... 'dragons exist'... is evaluated by reference to 'dragon' criteria and then trying to find one. Judgements are authoritarian pronouncements which simply declare truth by deeming counter evidence as inadequate. 'The defendant is found guilty of witchcraft' is a judgement based upon the weight of evidence evaluated in terms of what the criteria of 'witch-like' behaviour are assumed to be. 'Public' statements tend to function as contrivances to obscure a deception of one form or another. The statement... 'the government had no knowledge of the matter raised'... is promoted as true, in the knowledge that government outsiders will have an almost impossible task, in both deciding what criteria to invoke when determining 'knowledge' or not, and then uncovering any evidence one way or the other. Simple predictions about future events are evaluated after the indicated time has elapsed. The forecast... 'the weather in two days time will be cloudy'... will be deemed to be true or not in 48 hours time, according to what the criteria are for being 'cloudy'. Statements about other statements... call them 'evaluations'... are an endless source of philosophical dilemmas, and avoiding discussing them is the policy suggested by topiarist societies. They discovered that brooding about the statement... 'this statement is false'... induced irresistible urges to pollard and coppice trees that had taken generations to shape. It just wasn't worth it.

Any statement aspires to have the property of truth conferred on it, but this presupposes the existence of appropriate criteria for determining exceptions. Statements cannot be evaluated without them. What actually happens is that various authorities appoint themselves to promote and administer their own criteria and hence certify or not any statements they choose to examine. Scientists use empirical criteria, religious adherents use designated sacred texts as criteria and lawyers use whatever criteria they need to win the case. Journalists usually invoke their dispensation to defer certification until public interest in the matter has faded into irrelevance. Statements are thus only certified true or false by vested interests which allow or disallow exceptions according to their inclinations.