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Thread: On Truth

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    Default On Truth

    (1) If P is a proposition. then P is either true or false, but not both and not neither.

    (2) If proposition P corresponds to the facts, then P is true, and if proposition P does not correspond to the facts, then P is false.

    (3) If P is true, then P corresponds to the facts. However, P is not identical to the facts. The correspondence is analogous to that between a building and its blueprint i.e. the blueprint describes the building, but is not identical to the building.

    (4) If P is true, then P corresponds to the facts. However, P does not need to correspond to every fact. In other words, it is not necessary for a true proposition to describe every detail for it to correspond to the facts. For example, tautologies are always true precisely because they do not describe any details, such as the statement "the earth orbits the sun or the earth does not orbit the sun".

    (5) If P is true, then P corresponds to the facts. However, this does not mean that P corresponds to the evidence. The evidence of our senses or intellect may not correspond to the facts i.e. evidence can be false, whereas the facts cannot be false.

    (6) If P is true, then P corresponds to the facts. Whether or not we can establish that P corresponds to the facts, or justify the belief that P is true, is irrelevent to whether P is true or false.

    (7) There are some statements which are true relative to a reference point, and false for another. For example, the statement "I like pepperoni pizza" is true, at least relative to me, but may be false for another.

    (8) Every instance of such a "relative truth" i.e. a statement whose truth is contingent on a particular point of reference, can be transformed into a nonrelative truth by substituting a name for the variable, which in this case is "I". The new proposition, "nocturne likes pepperoni pizza", is now either true for everyone or false for everyone, either corresponding to the facts or not corresponding to the facts.

    [Edit: If you are interested in making useful distinctions, then (8) suggests a good method of distinguishing a proposition from other kinds of statement. In short, a proposition is always rendered in a nonrelative form i.e. the truth of a proposition is never contingent on a particular point of reference.]

    I might add more later...
    A criticism that can be brought against everything ought not to be brought against anything.

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    (9) It is the case that "truth" exists as an idea, concept, or theory in the mind of people. However, it does not follow that it only exists with in the mind of people, because if this idea or concept of truth is, in fact, true i.e. corresponds to the facts, then it is more than just an idea, concept, or theory. [Edit: Also, see (6)]
    A criticism that can be brought against everything ought not to be brought against anything.

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    (10) There are such a thing as ethical an proposition i.e. a statement which is either true or false independent of any particular point of reference. In other words, there are ethical truths which cannot be reduced to "I like..." or "I prefer..." statements. However, it is first necessary to identify the problem which ethical investigation is intended to solve, such as the problem: how can we live together peaceably despite our disagreements and conflicts of interest?

    (I choose this problem simply because anybody who does not share it would surely not be (honestly) interested in ethical investigation and discourse, which is by nature a peaceable, a noncoercive and nonviolent, way to address disagreements.)

    If we have a problem for ethical investigation to address, analogous to the problem which scientific investigation is intended to address i.e. "what are the laws which govern the universe?", then we can provide a context for the critical evaluation of competing theories. In other words, ethical theories are now either true or false, but not both and not neither i.e. it either corresponds to the facts that an ethical theory solves our problem or it does not. [Edit: again, see (6) in anticipation of objections].
    A criticism that can be brought against everything ought not to be brought against anything.

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