# Thread: The Varieties of Truth

1. Originally Posted by reason
What kind of answer would you like? An answer that corresponds to the facts? An answer that is useful for some purpose or other? An answer that is coherent? Maybe an answer that the people of Typology Central can reach a consensus on? Perhaps you're a paraconsistent logician, in which case my answer is both yes and no. Oh what fun!
An answer that you consider to be true.

2. Originally Posted by Nicodemus
An answer that you consider to be true.
But what do you mean by 'answer' and 'consider'? Maybe by 'answer' you mean express through interpretive dance and by 'consider' you mean toss a coin. Besides, who am I? I mean, really, what does 'I' even mean? Maybe I am actually you. So maybe you can just do the random interpretive dance in the mirror and leave me out of it, eh?

Anyway, where 'true' is interpreted to mean correspondence to the facts, my answer is no: I'm not a scientific realist. If 'true' means something else, then my answer is only when the jelly is facing eastward on the second Sunday of May.

3. Originally Posted by reason
But what do you mean by 'answer' and 'consider'? Maybe by 'answer' you mean express through interpretive dance and by 'consider' you mean toss a coin. Besides, who am I? I mean, really, what does 'I' even mean? Maybe I am actually you. So maybe you can just do the random interpretive dance in the mirror and leave me out of it, eh?
Your annoyance is duly noted.

Originally Posted by reason
Anyway, where 'true' is interpreted to mean correspondence to the facts, my answer is no: I'm not a scientific realist. If 'true' means something else, then my answer is only when the jelly is facing eastward on the second Sunday of May.
My whole problem with the classic conception of truth is that what we call facts are merely fractions of the best explanation(s) of the world we have at a given time. Yet we call them facts and consider propositions that 'accurately' describe them true. Everybody likes the old idea. I suppose it is evolutionarily useful for us to believe that what we think is true is actually true. But we know that what is considered true later often turns out false. So why not be honest and concede that even the surest assertion of truth is but correspondence with the world as we understand it?

4. Originally Posted by Nicodemus
My whole problem with the classic conception of truth is that what we call facts are merely fractions of the best explanation(s) of the world we have at a given time. Yet we call them facts and consider propositions that 'accurately' describe them true. Everybody likes the old idea. I suppose it is evolutionarily useful for us to believe that what we think is true is actually true. But we know that what is considered true later often turns out false. So why not be honest and concede that even the surest assertion of truth is but correspondence with the world as we understand it?
We may be mistaken about the facts; we may think something true that is not actually true. This is an issue of epistemology; this is not an issue with truth itself. Besides, people can only be mistaken about the facts if there is some truth about which they are mistaken. Like I said before, in my 'textbook answer':

True propositions exist independent of our beliefs about which propositions are true. We may be right or we may be wrong. Whether a proposition is true and whether we know it to be true are separate issues; the absence of certainty or knowledge does not entail the absence of truth.

The statement 'Jupiter is larger than the Earth' is true if and only if Jupiter is actually larger than the Earth. When we think a proposition is true, then we think it describes the facts, because that's just what it means for it to be true. Might we be mistaken? Of course, and we spend a great deal of time and resources testing for such errors.

5. The point of contention seems to be that we disagree about the importance of words. I think if we use the word 'apple' to describe camels, then it actually means 'camel', while you think that, however useless the word 'apple' becomes when we are misapplying it most of the time, we should still interpret it as describing apples - whatever they may be.

6. Originally Posted by Nicodemus
The point of contention seems to be that we disagree about the importance of words. I think if we use the word 'apple' to describe camels, then it actually means 'camel', while you think that, however useless the word 'apple' becomes when we are misapplying it most of the time, we should still interpret it as describing apples - whatever they may be.
Truth is a regulative ideal. We may be wrong most of the time, but wrong about what? About what is true. How do we discover that we are wrong? We search for contradictions. Falsity is retransmitted from conclusion to premises in a successful refutation. Criticism itself depends on appeal to necessary truths, i.e. propositions which must be true given what it means for a proposition to be true.

The notion of truth is far from useless because we are wrong most of the time. It would, rather, be useless if we were right all of the time, because then we'd have no use for the distinction. Ideals are useful even if they are never realised, because they provide a point to orientate our efforts. You're doing it right now! Do you think it's true that our point of contention is about the importance of words? I don't: I don't think that corresponds to the facts. But maybe it's merely a useful proposition to you; maybe it doesn't matter if its actually "true". I doubt that; you care about correspondence to the facts just as I do, even if, or especially because, you're wrong most of the time.

7. Originally Posted by reason
Truth is a regulative ideal. We may be wrong most of the time, but wrong about what? About what is true. How do we discover that we are wrong? We search for contradictions. Falsity is retransmitted from conclusion to premises in a successful refutation. Criticism itself depends on appeal to necessary truths, i.e. propositions which must be true given what it means for a proposition to be true.

The notion of truth is far from useless because we are wrong most of the time. It would, rather, be useless if we were right all of the time, because then we'd have no use for the distinction. Ideals are useful even if they are never realised, because they provide a point to orientate our efforts. You're doing it right now! Do you think it's true that our point of contention is about the importance of words? I don't: I don't think that corresponds to the facts. But maybe it's merely a useful proposition to you; maybe it doesn't matter if its actually "true". I doubt that; you care about correspondence to the facts just as I do, even if, or especially because, you're wrong most of the time.
By unnecessarily lecturing me on the notion of truth rather than talking about 'truth', you tacitly proved my assumption or, let us say, justified my belief in it.

8. I look inside and think there is a fire of passion glowing.

9. Originally Posted by Nicodemus
By unnecessarily lecturing me on the notion of truth rather than talking about 'truth', you tacitly proved my assumption or, let us say, justified my belief in it.
'Truth' is a five letter word beginning with 'T' and ending with 'h'. Do you want to talk about that? I doubt it.

10. Originally Posted by Nicodemus
Welcome!

The purpose of this thread is to survey the various conceptions of truth that are ingrained in your minds. In order to participate and win a rabbit, please go by the following steps:

1. Look into yourself.
2. Feel, think about, grasp at the idea of truth that you find in there.
3. Ponder the best way to put it into words.
4. Put it into words.
5. Submit it.

It is neither necessary nor requested that you think about how truth should be, could be, or is defined by others. It is all about you.

I hope your answer will in itself answer the following question; if it does not, however, please answer: According to your conception of truth, what is required for statement 'x'* to be true?

* 'x' could be anything, for instance, 'Yeshua of Nazareth died on the cross'.
Truth is conceptual understanding of reality. When the intellect and when reality correspond, truth is formed. We are all experiencing our own truths right now.

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