HOW DO WE KNOW IF IT’S TRUE?
Source: What Is Truth, Paul Pardi, Philosophy News.com, March 22, 2015
My purpose is to explain how we can know if something is true.
Truth is one of the central subjects in philosophy. It is also one of the largest. Truth has been a topic of discussion for thousands of years. Truth, like knowledge, is difficult to define. It is widely agreed to be a statement about the way the world actually is. Beyond that there is disagreement.
There are many theories of truth. Religious truth has been omitted to save space. Invoking truth is not likely to be understood without explanation.
EPISTEMIC THEORIES OF TRUTH
They attempt to determine the notion of truth in terms of knowledge, belief, acceptance, verification, justification, measurement and perspective. Empiricism is verification by observation and experience, used in science.
THE COHERENCE VIEW OF TRUTH
Truth is when a belief is consistent with other things a person believes. They can strengthen an ‘epistemic’ view of truth, or falsity.
A proposition is a representation of the world or a way the world could possibly be and propositions are either true or false. e.g ‘The Moon has craters.’
It is usually based on language or symbols, and it can be either True or False
THE CORRESPONDENCE THEORY OF TRUTH
When a proposition is true, it is identical to a fact already accepted as true and so a belief in that proposition is true.
They can be either true or false, from epistemic evidence. Trueness remains in doubt, with possibility of refutation reserved.
Reality has ‘noumena’ which are unknowable, never experienced and phenomena, existing in reality. The world is phenomenally real but transcendentally ideal.
The Greek word for ‘truth’ is aletheia, which refers to ‘divine revelation’ and literally means ‘what can’t be hidden’.
Truth a product of belief. There is nothing truth can say about reality that is meaningful.
‘True’ interpretation and perspective are key ideas in postmodern thought, contrasting with simple ‘seeing’ or a purely objective view of reality.
For example, when a majority of the scientific community that have studied it, agree that it’s true, given what they currently understand. It is a ‘communal’ truth.
Armed with the above list, the truth is still daunting. Even when we know something is true, it can be difficult to know what to do: Movie, A Few Good Men, 1992. ‘You Can’t Handle The Truth.’ Perhaps ‘truth’ is a ‘weasel word’ used to evade discussion.
Speaking at a Harvard Commencement in May, 2023, the actor Tom Hanks wanted the graduates who were exiting to volunteer to seek truth throughout their lives. He said the situation was dire.
‘Truth is no longer empirical; truth is no longer based on data; truth is no longer common decency; telling the truth is no longer the benchmark for public service; truth is no longer the salve to our fears; or the guide to our actions.
‘Truth is now considered malleable, by opinion, by zero-sum end games,’ he explained. ‘Imagery is manufactured with audacity, with purpose to achieve the primal task of marring the truth with mock logic to achieve with fake expertise, with false sincerity.’
‘Now, literally, you can’t believe your eyes,’ he said. ‘Someone will report the way you wish it, full of alternative facts. Rejigging the rules of the playing field depends on where you are on the money food chain or on the moral spectrum.’
Hanks exhorted the graduates to hold TRUTH sacred, unalterable, chiselled into the stone of the foundation of the Republic, uniting it.
‘If you don’t do this, who will?’ he asked.
He didn’t say which truth, as if everyone knows how to uphold truth.
My novel Brisbane River Anti-Memoir investigates potential for reducing flooding of the river, adopting postmodern philosophy and phenomenological beliefs. The story illustrates how truth can be applied in public policy analysis. It us an anti-memoir because it de-self’s the author. The findings are surprising.
My book is available on Amazon https://tinyurl.com/24jad5ku
My blog with reviews of my books is at martinknox.com