What is truth?
January 31, 2007 12:41am CST
What is true, I mean really? Take a look at everything you believe, and everything you see or seem, and tell me if you know what is truth? Can you ever be certain that those around you are telling the truth? Is anything true? And, what makes a lie not true?
7 Feb 07
If there is such a thing as truth, then we should be able to find it. If truth cannot be known, then it probably doesn't exist. But, it does exist. For example, we know that it is true that you are reading this. Is there such a thing as something that is always true all the time? Yes, there is. For example, "Something cannot bring itself into existence." This is an absolutely true statement. In order for something to bring itself into existence, it would have to exist in order to be able to perform an action. But if it already existed, then it isn't possible to bring itself into existence since it already exists. Likewise, if it does not exist then it has no ability to perform any creative action since it doesn't exist in the first place. Therefore, "Something cannot bring itself into existence" is an absolute truth. The preceding example is a truth found in logic. But, there are truths that are not logical by nature. It is true that I love my wife. This isn't logically provable via theorems and formulas and logic paradigms, but it is, nevertheless, true. Therefore, we can say that truth conforms and affirms reality and/or logic.
7 Feb 07
What is truth?" is a very simple question. Of course, answering it isn't so simple. We can offer definitions like "Truth is that which conforms to reality, fact, or actuality." But this basic definition is not complete because its definition is open to interpretation and a wide variety of applications. What is reality? What is fact? What is actuality? How does perception effect truth? We could offer answers for each of these questions, but then we could again ask similar questions of those answers. I am reminded of the paradox of throwing a ball against a wall. It must get half way there, and then half way of the remaining distance, and then half of that distance, and so on. But, an infinite number of halves in this scenario never constitutes a whole. Therefore, it would seem that the ball would never reach the wall if we applied the conceptual truths of halves. The ball-against-the-wall scenario simply illustrates that defining and redefining things as we try to approach a goal actually prevents us from getting to that goal. This is what philosophy does sometimes as it seeks to examine truth. It sometimes clouds issues so much, that nothing can be known for sure. In order for truth to be defined properly, it would have to be a factually and logically correct statement. In other words, it would have to be true. But, perhaps we could look further look at truth by determining what it is not. Truth is not error. Truth is not self-contradictory. Truth is not deception. Of course, it could be true that someone is being deceptive, but the deception itself isn't truth...
• United States
11 Feb 07
Dude this was a really good post, but I think you took it from: http://www.carm.org/relativism/whatistruth.htm I'm sorry but I'm giving you a negative for this post. Had you cited your source and stated that you were intentionally using someone else's words to get your point across it wouldn't have mattered. But, this looks like you might be trying to put someone else's words off as your own. Very good points none the less. I agree with defining and redefining as a cause of trouble when trying to reach a goal. On the other hand if you are testing an idea experimentally and then redefining to correct mistakes and testing again then you can reach the goal. So this post isn't specific enough IMO. If I don't know how to achieve a goal but I try something that I think might work, then when I am done I can look back at how I failed or not and redefine what I think needs to be done. Also comes the analogy of the elephant in a dark room. Several people in there are touching the elephant at different parts and each think the elephant is the part they are touching. This is the way it is with reality perhaps. But, on the other hand if those people were smart they would coordinate their efforts. One would yell to the other, this is what I "believe" is the elephant, but I know that I may not be right (this is a big problem with this issue is people who are so convinced that what they believe is true that they will not look outside that) so tell me what you are experiencing. Then someone else will say what he feels and it will go around till everyone has said something about the elephant. Then they must come to a bigger picture from their combined views. This may go on till they have felt every inch of the elephant. While they are in there they can devise ways to prove or disprove themselves to be right or wrong. In part just communicating with one another will help with this. In science peer-review and the scientific community in general helps with this. Gradually each persons "part"(using the ball against the wall "half") when combined does help them define the whole. Still the picture is not perfect because each person will have his own unique interpretation...
• United States
11 Feb 07
I can go with that. Though isn't there more forms of truth than this. In other words certain things truly exist and are not dependent up on what we agree with or not, correct? Like the chair I am sitting on if I believe it is false that does not make it false, right? Or is reality, i.e. what is real i.e. what is true dependent upon what we believe? In other words if I stop believing in it will it cease to be? Maybe it would be better to say that it seems to me that what is true must correspond with what is real. In other words if I see that 2+2=4 then I know that this is true. This doesn't have to correspond with my established body of beliefs or not it simply has to correspond with the way things actually work in reality. So to know truth we have to know reality and our beliefs don't matter, unless you believe that your beliefs create reality. What do you believe?
• United States
13 Feb 07
I know the difference between fact and opinion. I know the difference between facts and lies. I know what is true of my own life. But as for the Truth, or maybe the Meaning of Life - I can't pretend to know, o even have any idea. I don't think the "Truth" is for us to know.
13 Feb 07
Truth goes way beyond what is a learned concept. It's not about beliefs but is more beyond beliefs. Beliefs are conditioned understandings and goes with what you are brought up to believe but just because someone told you something is true, doesn't mean it is true. Real truth comes from you knowing your Self, and not what has been stamped on your psyche. Truth in many cases is a radical departure from what you see as right and wrong, true or false.
11 Feb 07
well..there's a sayin here..something like..dont believe what you see or hear, but just what you have confirmed wih evidence..thats what you can call true..we sure will not know if anyone's saying the truth..if we ever care about it..then mayb we just have to do a little investigation..ofcourse..there are others whom we can definitely trust also..lol
11 Feb 07
Hi Surfin ! This discussion touches on that discussion about the difference between objective and subjective we had (or rather your post about the subject) I am reminded of a direction of philosophy called "solipsism" or something like it , that teaches that the whole world is actually contained in the one person who is percieving it , for example :: from my point of view ,tere is no real hard evidence that anyone else exists other than myself , because everything I know and interact with is ultimately just a group of chemical and electrical impulses in my brain , so for all I know , I can be the only person in the world , while all I ever saw or knew were rather like a dream , I.E. "only in my head" .This is an extreme view on our ability to assess "truth" or "facts" outside of the limitations of our "perception apparatus" ,making EVERYTHING ,even the most objective agreed upon standard entities ,actually subjective . . The ultimate distinction between what is true and what is not IS WHAT A PERSON KNOWS OR BELIEVES !! For example , if I knew apples were red , and I said they were purple then I would be lying .If, on the other hand,I never seen an apple,hence I dont know what it is , or if I saw something I believed was an apple ,then if I say apples are purple (same phrase,different circumstance)then I would not be lying ,although what I am saying might not be FACT . .AHH., now we see there must be a difference between TRUTH and FACT , because what is TRUE can sometimes be a FACT , but NOT ALWAYS , so they must be 2 different things .