(English philosopher, b.1945)
Haack's thesis is that there is one truth, but also many truths: i.e., one unambiguous, non-relative truth-concept, but many and various propositions that are true.
1. There is one truth-concept: to say that a claim is true is to say simply that things are as it says - not that anyone, or everyone, believes it, or that it follows from this or that theory, or that there is good evidence for it. Any plausible definition of the truth concept must simply take for granted the Aristotelian insight that "to say of what is that it is, or of what is not that it is not, is true".
2. But there are many propositional truths: particular empirical claims, scientific theories, historical propositions, mathematical theorems, logical principles, textual interpretations, statements about what a person wants or believes or intends, statements about grammatical, social, or legal roles and rules, etc., etc.
Therefore one should say that there are truths of many kinds; but of course there are not rival, not incompatible truths. Haack's thesis is that the heterogeneity of true propositions doesn't require a plurality of truth-concepts.
She argues against those who think that there is more than one truth-concept because they think that "true" must have different meanings as applied to different kinds of proposition, the empirical, the mathematical, the ethical, etc. She refutes the view of those who think that truth is relative to the individual, or to culture, community, theory, or conceptual scheme. Even more she rejects the opinion of those who profess that the concept of truth is nothing but rhetorical or ideological humbug (Rorty).
Haack rejects also the view of those who deny that there are many different kinds of true propositions. Most often those who apparently deny that there are many true propositions are really maintaining that there is only one kind of true propositions. This may be the case with idealists - like F. Bradley - committed to an idealist picture according to which the only genuine truth is about the Reality behind the Appearances. It is also the case with those who are committed to a strong reductionism according to which the only true propositions are found exclusively in their particular and exclusive field of knowledge such as science only, or religion only, etc.
*Haack, Susan ,Evidence and Inquiry,?Towards Reconstruction in Epistemology,,Basil Blackwell, 1993
(Contemporary freelance writer)
Perception is our belief and not the total or real truth
Truth is difficult to define. There are scientific truths which can be proven. There are moral truths which require acceptance by the majority of people. And there are personal truths. These tend to be more beliefs. And it is in the area of personal truths that we see the use of perception. Maybe one good way to explain perception is to use an old saying: "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." So, what you may see as beauty is not necessarily the same for me. That, basically, is perception. It is a personal point of view.
Perception has to do with one or more of the senses....smell, taste, touch, and so on. I found one interesting quote which really sums up the meaning of "perception": "the human being is essentially an "eye". Sometimes we see only what we want to see. Sometimes we see something we do not understand. Sometimes we see something we do not want to see. In all cases, what we see is perception. But perception is within us. Truth may not be exactly what we see. So sometimes perception is our belief and not the total or real truth. So, the real answer to the basic question is that perception can lead to some truths. Perception cannot always lead to the exact truth.
Truth is absolute. Perceptions of truth are relative. Therefore, facts, which are perceptions of truth, are relative. That is why truth is singular and perceptions plural. No scientist goes on to claim that science is the final and total "truth": A 'scientific fact' is therefore a fact only by consensus of the scientists, which means that a scientific fact or "truth" is only an approximation of what is. It represents our best understanding of reality at this moment and is constantly subject to change as we learn..
*See Internet Haas Werner
(German philosopher, 1929- )
A “realist” consensual notion of truth
1. Habermas is known for having worked out what a consensus theory of truth involves: the claim of truth can only occur in a social setting which is also characterized by freedom and justice. According to him truth is a social construct that must be explicated by reference to the social circumstances under which assent is justified. Truth may be ascribed only to those statements and theories capable of commanding unforced consensus. “Truth means the promise of attaining a rational consensus.”
He makes the distinction, important for him, between life-praxis and discourse. In action-contexts, experiences of the world are shared with others through statements in which the truth-claims are taken for granted. Truth is not the explicit topic of such statements. In discourse, on the contrary, there is no sharing of information but arguments about the validity-claims of world-views. It is in the sphere of discourse, outside the context of action and experience, that Habermas locates the truth of statements. Experiences can only support truth-claims, but a truth-claim can be established only through argumentation. Experience alone can never be the ground of truth. Truth cannot consist in the agreement of a statement with a corresponding fact. Habermas rejects the correspondence theory of truth.
It is only in discourse that the validity-claim of an assertion can be debated and found redeemable. Statements are true if we are able to substantiate them in argumentation with others. It is sociologically only that truth can be justified. The condition for the truth of statements is the potential agreement of everybody. But as such a situation can never be realised, Habermas endorses the ‘fallibilist’ view according to which one can never be certain to have attained the truth.
From all this it is clear that Habermas is not so much concerned with the meaning and definition of the word “true” than with the pragmatic meaning of the act of making truth-claims. He is more interested with the method for arriving at true statements. What he proposes is not so much a theory of truth as a theory of justification.
2. But this is not the whole story because Habermas has made many significant modifications to his considered views on epistemology during the last three decades. His main new contention is that the pragmatic approach of his consensual theory does not require an anti-realist understanding of knowledge. If he rejects the correspondence theory of truth (because in any case one cannot get “outside of language”), he insists that the correspondence theory of truth is able to retain a fundamental aspect of the meaning of the truth predicate, and that is the notion of ‘unconditional validity’. Habermas wants to keep the idea of unconditionality that is part of the correspondence idea of truth. He admits now that one cannot simply identify truth with justifiability or rational acceptability. Reaching understanding cannot function unless the participants refer to a single objective world. Habermas does not want to obliterate the distinction between the intersubjectively shared lifeworld and the objective world. Habermas rejects a non-realist understanding of knowledge in maintaining a notion of truth that transcends justification.
• Habermas, The Theory of Communication Action, Beacon Press, Boston, 1984; see Campbel, Richard, ibid., p.349 sq.
(Canadian philosopher of science, b.1936)
‘Entity realism’: agnosticism about the truth of scientific theories
The ‘entity realism’ of Hacking (who is its main proponent) is a philosophical position within the debate about scientific realism. Whereas traditional scientific realism argues that our best scientific theories are true, or approximately true, or closer to the truth than their predecessors, entity realism does not commit itself to judgments concerning the truth of scientific theories.
For Ian Hacking it is essential to make a distinction between entity realism and theory realism. Entity realism asserts the reality of unobservable entities discovered by science. Theory realism asserts that scientific theories may be true or have a truth-value. Traditional scientific realism combines entity realism with theory realism. However, Hacking notes that the two doctrines are logically distinct. The entity realist may allow that there are unobservable entities of which scientists possess knowledge, but of which no current theory provides a correct description. By contrast, the theory realist may assert that a theory is true though none of its terms denote unobservable entities, but refer instead to logical constructions out of experience.
Hacking claims that one can be a realist about entities without being a realist about theories, similarly, one can be a realist about electrons without believing that any of our present theories of electrons are true. He contends that while we have good evidence that many of the entities discussed in science are real, we do not necessarily have the same kinds of evidence for our theories. Hacking contends that while there are different theories that all claim to aim at the truth, there is no such thing as a theory of electrons. As he states, "There are a lot of theories, models, approximations, pictures, formalisms, methods and so forth involving electrons, but there is no reason to suppose that the intersection of these is a theory at all." His point is that while we know many of the properties of electrons, there is no single theory that captures all of this information.
Hacking contrasts the situation of theories with that of entities. Hacking claims that for entities, we can have clear and convincing evidence that they exist. He contends that the threshhold of evidence for claiming that an entity exists is a demonstration that we are able to manipulate the entity in a systematic, predictable manner. He claims that in the case of electrons, this test has been passed because scientists have repeatedly constructed instruments that rely upon the existence of electrons to function. The reality of an entity is assured, he claims, when we are able to manipulate that entity to alter the causal processes in which it exists.
*Hacking, Ian, Representing and Intervening, Cambridge University Press 1983
(German zoologist and philosopher, 1835-1919)
Truth unadulterated is only to be found in 'the temple of the study of nature', and the only available paths to it are critical observation and reflection - the empirical investigation of facts and the rational study of their efficient causes . He writes: "The goddess of truth dwells in the temple of nature, in the green woods, on the blue sea, and on the snowy summits of the hills - not in the gloom of the cloister, nor in the clouds of incense of our Christian churches. The paths which lead to the noble divinity of truth and knowledge are the loving study of nature and its laws, the observation of the infinitely great star-world with the aid of the telescope, and the infinitely tiny cell-world with the aid of the microscope - not senseless ceremonies and unthinking prayers. The true revelation - that is, the true source of rational knowledge - is to be sought in nature alone. Every intelligent man with normal brain and senses finds this true revelation in nature on impartial study, and thus frees himself from the superstition with which the "revelation" of religion had burdened him".
Haeckel argues that pantheism teaches that God and the world are one. The idea of God is identical with that of nature or substance. This pantheistic view is sharply opposed in principle to all possible forms of theism, although there have been many attempts made from both sides to bridge over the deep chasm that separates the two. There is always this fundamental contradiction between them, that in theism God is opposed to nature as an extramundane being, as creating and sustaining the world, and acting upon it from without, while in pantheism God, as an intramundane being, is everywhere identical with nature itself, and is operative within the world as "force" or "energy". The latter view alone is compatible with our supreme law - the law of substance. It follows necessarily that pantheism is the world-system of the modern scientist. There are still a few men of science who contest this, and think it possible to reconcile the old theistic theory of human nature with the pantheistic truth of the law of substance. All these efforts rest on confusion or sophistry - when they are honest.
The truth of pantheism lies in its destruction of the dualist antithesis of God and the world, in its recognition that the world exists in virtue of its own inherent forces.
* Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919) The Riddle of the Universe, 1900.
( Swedish philosopher,1868-1939)
Axiological nihilism: norms are neither true not false
Hägerström’ scholarship focuses on the gnoseological nature of norms that are, in his words, «neither true, nor false». This approach came to be called axiological nihilism. Since truth, according to Hägerström, is defined by logical determination (the absence of contradiction) and corresponds to the reality of the object, there can be no knowledge of values whatsoever. He argues that values are only expressions of feelings, and not judgments about reality. His argument is that if values were judgments about reality, their emotional content could be separated from the feeling itself, which is obviously not the case. Hence, in our judgments about values we are not really judging anything. Rather we are just expressing, in the linguistic form of a judgment or assertion, an emotion connected by association to a representation of some kind.
The belief in the objectivity of values arises from the habit of associating emotions with specific ideas. In turn, this habit is grounded in education and depends on two factors. The command needs to be derived from some kind of authority (parents, teachers, public authorities or statesmen) which has, in some fashion, a symbolic grip on the individual. And the different commands have to overlap to some extent in society. The idea that a certain action really is good, for instance, is accentuated in the single person by the fact that he finds similar ideas about the rightfulness of that specific action in the social environment. All in all, the belief in the objectivity of values derives from the so-called “suggestive effect” authority has upon the individual due to its symbolic dimension. Therefore, value-predicates (good, evil…) are simply expressions of emotions.
In his moral philosophy, Hägerström argues that there can be no teaching in morals, but only about morals. In other words, the moral phenomenon in human life can only be studied from a historical, genealogical (in Nietzsche’s sense) and/or sociological perspective. Such studies would then focus on how the values of a specific morality came to be, rather than on a theoretical standpoint aiming to compare different sets of values. This assumption also implies that no knowledge is really possible about rights and duties.
Still he claims that axiological nihilism does not lead to practical nihilism, but rather entails a new (and, according to him, more scientific and thus nobler) way of thinking about norms. Obedience therefore will no longer depend on the fear of punishment, or on “superstition” (i.e. in his own vocabulary, “metaphysical beliefs”), but rather on a shared comprehension of why norms are necessary for social life and a deeper understanding of how society really works. Consensus thus plays an important role in the Hägerströmian conception of law, even though its origin is often unclear and buried in past times.
Natural law theories for Hägerström are nothing more than primitive metaphysical beliefs. Nonetheless, just like the more classical theories of natural law, Hägerström presupposes some kind of “common sense of justice” although he maintains that legal norms certainly do not derive their binding force from such a “common feeling”. Indeed, the binding force depends on the effectiveness of law and, more generally, on social institutions. What Hägerström calls the “suggestive effect”, caused by the overlapping moral claims of authorities in a society, is precisely a common sense of justice. The main difference between natural law theories and Hägerström’s idea of such a common sense depends on its basis. For Hägerström, there is no need to refer to any supreme being, to the ontological structure of the Universe, to any phenomenological necessity etc. since the common sense of justice can be adequately explained in genealogical terms. The common sense of justice should appear as self-evident to whoever realizes that norms, and thus rights and duties are not objective, but they are necessary.
* Hagerstrom Axel, Inquiries into the Nature of Law and Morals, Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell, ed. Karl Olivecrona,
(Contemporary American philosopher of science)
Truth is neither the goal nor the product of science
Many people believe that science is the best route, if not the only route, to truth about the natural world. Other people, including many scientists, believe that scientific knowledge may not be perfectly true, but it is closer to the truth than other sources of knowledge and belief. Halwes argues that totally correct knowledge -- "truth" -- is neither the goal, nor the product, nor any part of the process of scientific work.
According to him, the history of the concept of truth as applied to scientific knowledge shows that to regard scientific knowledge as true, or even as approaching truth, is actually quite suspect. The situation with the idea that scientific knowledge is true, or should be true, is in fact useless.
Halwes’s claim is : let's just give up the pre-scientific notion that principles are valuable only if they are true for certain. What would science look like, without truth as its imaginary goal? It would look exactly the way it looks now, but a lot of people would be less confused about it. Knowledge, or understanding, is the real goal of science, and knowledge doesn't need to be certain in order to be useful.
What do we really gain by saying that our research has brought us closer to the truth? What truth? We can easily improve our ability to communicate with each other by giving up talking as if truth were the goal or product of science. Instead, we can simply say that the theory, or our understanding, or our measuring instrument, or science in general, is improving.
We've never been able to compare our actual knowledge to the imaginary perfection called 'truth,' and we never needed to do so. We improve our knowledge by finding errors in the ways we've been thinking about things, or better ways to observe and measure things.
We cloud the minds of our readers when we talk about scientific knowledge being true as far as it goes, but incomplete; or when we say that scientific knowledge gets more and more likely to be correct, but we can never really be certain that it is true. Science is not a defective process that should produce truth, but can't quite get the job done. We started with pre-scientific beliefs, found various ways of improving them, and have continued doing that, improvements following other improvements, seemingly without end. There's no reason to expect this process to stop -- indeed, the growth of our knowledge in almost every field is accelerating.
Science never had the infallibility that simplistic beliefs attributed to it -- it never could have had it, and it never needed to. All our progress in understanding has been accomplished with just the limited, fallible but endlessly self-correcting cognitive equipment that human beings have been working with all along. We should consider giving up the imaginary ideal of perfect truth as a goal, and replacing it with the idea of continually improving understanding.
* Halwes Terry Dispelling Some Common Myths about Science, see Internet
(German theologian-philosopher, 1730-1788)
All scientific and philosophical systems are a distortion of the truth
Hamann began as a disciple of the Enlightenment, but, after a profound spiritual crisis, turned against it. He is first in the line of thinkers who accuse rationalism and scientism of using analysis to distort reality. His theses rest on the conviction that all truth is particular, never general; that reason is impotent to demonstrate the existence of anything and is an instrument only for conveniently classifying and arranging data in patterns to which nothing in reality corresponds.
Hamann glories in the fact that Hume has successfully destroyed the rationalist claim that there is an a priori route to reality, insisting that all knowledge and belief ultimately rest on acquaintance with the data of direct perception. Knowledge is direct perception of individual entities, and concepts are never, no matter how specific they may be, wholly adequate to the fullness of the individual experience.
Scientists invent systems, philosophers rearrange reality into artificial patterns, shut their eyes to reality, and build castles in the air. "When data are given you, why do you seek for ficta?" Systems are mere prisons of the spirit: they lead to distortion in the sphere of knowledge.
What is real is individual, that is, is what it is in virtue of its uniqueness, its differences from other things, events, thoughts, and not in virtue of what it has in common with them, which is all that the generalizing sciences seek to record. Hamann took little interest in theories or speculations about the external world; he cared only for the inner personal life of the individual, and therefore only for art, religious experience, the senses, personal relationships, which the analytic truths of scientific reason seemed to him to reduce to meaningless ciphers.
* The Magus of the North: J. G. Hamann and the Origins of Modern Irrationalism , Berlin, Isaiah, New York: Farrar Straus and Giroux, 1993
(Swedish author, United Nations General secretary,1905-1961)
True spirituality is the path of the mystic
One big difficulty for many people today in understanding Christianity is that the language of the Christian have little or no connection to their own personal experience. This makes them feel Christian teachings as something imposed on them from outside. "Faith" in these teachings is an externally imposed obligation that requires a person to set aside her own personal experiences.
Hammarskjold has a different view of the relation between "the language of religion" (its "objective content") and "a basic spiritual experience" (the "subjective side”) of Christian spirituality. For him "The language of religion is a set of formulas which register a basic spiritual experience."
This points out one important aspect of Hammarskjold's diary. It shows a person not starting from the objective content of Christian teaching, feeling an obligation to make his life or subjective inner attitudes conform to this. He starts, rather, from the other "subjective" end. Deep reflection on certain very personal and private inner experiences, leads him to realize that certain aspects of traditional Christian thought serve very well to articulate these experiences. This gives modern individuals who can at least vicariously identify with Hammarskjold's feelings some understanding of a possible connection between subjective experiences and the objective content of Christian teaching.
He writes: “It is said that the spiritual healing journey is the path of the razor’s edge. Very few people truly have the stamina, the courage, the discipline and the desire to follow the path of the spiritual warrior. For those who do, they may subject themselves to ridicule, scorn, and in the distant past, even bodily harm or death by torture. It is a path of loneliness. It is relatively easy to follow a religion: a spiritual path that many pursue in the safety of the group, conforming to a particular belief system. Many religious groups were evolved through marrying spirituality and political correctness of a particular ideology of a particular era. True spirituality is the path of the mystic. It is the path of exploration through personal experience, without religious dogma, practiced in the laboratory of the soul. It is the path of recognition of Truth. It is possible to live spiritual truths within the bounds of religious teachings, provided that one has true discrimination to differentiate what is strictly dogma and what is universal truth that takes one in the direction of Love.”
* Dag Hammarskjold, Markings, Faber and Faber London 1964 .
(Contemporary Dutch economist and philosopher of science)
According to the African traditional culture, all things in the universe are forces. They exert power over other things. You have: non living forces, living forces, formerly living forces. Everything has power and is more or less active. The African question to any unknown object is not: what is it, but: what does it. Every force has something you may call a "meaning", an "intention", an "aim", a "function".
All knowledge acquisition is to discover the power of a force. To discover what a thing "does". What the force is for. For instance, the grass is "what greens" or the water is "what cools".
The community is a force, and knowledge itself is a force, transmitted to the living by the ancestors. Within the community all force, all truth comes up from the roots of the family tree, the dead ancestors, the elders, and passes up to parents and children. The general rule always to agree with everybody holds most emphatically with respect to authorities. In the clan context, the elder's opinion is truth.
This casts a light on the Western strategy to convince with arguments. From the traditional African point of view, arguments are a sign of weakness, of lack of power and vitality. A good, forceful truth does not need arguments. Arguments are crutches only invalid opinions need. And truth is felt as a force coming from the speaking human. A strong man has strong truths. As far as truth is concerned, strength is not measured in muscles but in age and wisdom. Wisdom does not exist of stockpiles of arguments. It consists of wider and deeper understanding of the universe. Wisdom is felt as a force.
Truth to the African tradition is intimately associated with personal advantage in the strife for survival and which of the religions enhances power most depends on the circumstances, that is, on what these religions have to offer in a given time at a certain place. For leaders, it is a matter of which foreigner has the highest power to add to his interests. Advantages depend on circumstances.
It is not proper to doubt or discuss the following evident truths: The clan or tribe (not the individual) is the knowing subject - All knowledge is power - All knowledge is about forces and their power - The world is the total of forces - God is the total of power. No need is felt for inter-community pooling of knowledge. Every tribe has its own ancestors with the knowledge relevant to this particular tribe. Tribes have become different in procreation, so did their knowledge. Knowledge is not considered generally human, but community-specific. Nobody feels uncomfortable with the idea that one tribe's truth is different from another tribe's truth. Nobody feels the need for intertribal accommodation of knowledge.
* Hamminga, Bert (ed.), Comparative Western and African Epistemology Amsterdam/New York, NY, 2005, 147 pp.
(Contemporary American Christian apologist)
Truth by ita very nature and definition is exclusive
Truth by its very nature and definition is exclusive. It does not, therefore, in its absoluteness meet the contemporary "politically correct" test. The law of non-contradiction in logic is that two opposing claims cannot both be true. Truth stands alone and it does contradict other beliefs as an absolute, leaving no option except the choice to believe or not to believe. An example of one of the most classic historic cases is Jesus the Christ who claimed not to be a way, but to be The Way, the Truth and the Life. He even went further in his claim to be God.
This exclusive claim by Christ to be the Truth presents a problem to those who say there is no truth or that there is truth in all religions. The prevailing culture of secular relativism has provided a platform for "political correctness" to thrive in the name of tolerance, but is itself becoming increasingly intolerant to free expression of truth. Why should political correctness deny free speech so long as we have mutual respect for each others rights to freely express beliefs, values and discovered truth? Anything less flies in the face of First Amendment rights and even universal human rights. This intolerance targets disproportionately followers of Christ largely because of their belief regarding His exclusive claims.
The ultimate mark of tolerance is in the freedom to choose. Truth is irreducible and therefore demands a verdict either by our choice or by our default. For the believer that decision means a certainty of Hope both now and forever and for the unbeliever a future of uncertainty void of Truth. "You can know the Truth and the Truth will set you free."
Since truth by definition is exclusive, it does not necessarily follow that it be dispensed arrogantly. In fact, the Bible mandates "speak the Truth in love." Both politically correct advocates or believers of Truth can share their beliefs, but believers, particularly followers of Christ, are the primary targets of discrimination. A good scientist would not brush aside a phenomenon without first examining its essence, content and evidence. Interviews over the past 50 years have confirmed that most people who discount the claims of Christ have not taken the time to carefully examine His claim of being Truth.
The Biblical approach to Christ's claim to be the Truth comes with an offer and choice. There can be no love without choice. To live is to choose. If Christ is Truth, then we have the choice to consider His claims and the evidence for those claims. Truth can stand the test of scrutiny and can set free those who are honest seekers. The rewards are awesome, for in finding Christ who claimed to be the Truth, we are set free to be all God intended us to be.
Extending an invitation of choice, is not imposed proselytization. If you choose not to believe then you bear the consequences of your choice. You will likely go your own way independent of God, living a life of "quiet desperation" without certainty of hope, heaven, meaning or purpose, just chasing after the wind.
* Hancock Robert Lincoln, Designed for a Purpose (1970).
(American historian, b.1915)
For the historian, truth is absolute; it is as absolute as the world is real.
The historian's vocation depends on this minimal operational article of faith: Truth is absolute; it is as absolute as the world is real. It does not exist because individuals wish it to anymore than the world exists for their convenience. Although observers have more or less partial views of the truth, its actuality is unrelated to the desires or the particular angles of vision of the viewers. Truth is knowable and will out if earnestly pursued; and science is the procedure or set of procedures for approximating it.
History is not the past, any more than biology is life, or physics, matter. History is the distillation of evidence surviving from the past. Where there is no evidence, there is no history. Much of the past is not knowable in this way, and about those areas the historian must learn to confess ignorance.
No one can relive the past; but everyone can seek truth in the record. Simple, durable discoveries await the explorer. So chronology - the sequential order of events reaching back beyond time's horizon - informs the viewer of the long distance traversed and of the immutable course of occurrences.
The historian cannot soar with the anthropologists, who swoop across all time and space. They pick what they need to prop up theory. The discipline of dates rails off the historian and guards against such perilous plunges. No abstraction, no general interpretation, no wish or preference can challenge chronology's dominion, unless among those peoples who, lacking a sense of time, lack also a sense of history. Discussion of opinions and meanings often call for tolerance among diverse points of view, tolerance possible so long as disputants distinguish interpretation from the fact, from the thing in itself. Scholars can disagree on large matters of interpretation; they have a common interest in agreeing on the small ones of fact which provide them grounds of peaceful discourse.
Exaggerated concern with the problems of bias and objectivity have driven some earnest scholars to despair. Not a few have followed the deceptive path from acknowledgment that no person is entirely free of prejudice or capable of attaining a totally objective view of the past to the conclusion that all efforts to do so are vain.
True, historians as well as philosophers often worry about the problems of bias and perspective; and some despair of attaining the ideal of ultimate objectivity. None are ever totally free of bias not even those who most specifically insist on the integrity of the fact which they struggle to make the foundation of a truly universal body of knowledge. But however fallible the individual scholar, the historian's task is to present what actually happened.
*Handlin Oscar, Truth is history , Harvard University Press
(Contemporary American writer on philosophy and religion) Truth is more important than peace
According to Voltaire, peace is good, even better than truth (see Voltaire). However Hannon argues to the contrary, invoking Luther’s famous dictum: "Peace if possible, truth at all costs!" Whether or not a modern man agrees with Luther's principle-- that despite the very real goodness of peace, truth trumps it each and every time—this will in large part determine whether he is a conservative or a liberal.
While the conservative agrees with Luther and recognizes truth as a higher good than peace, the liberal would again and again subordinate truth to peace for the sake of maintaining societal harmony.
Which is the higher good: truth or peace? To ask that question is to answer it, for of course what the question wants to know is the truth of the matter about which is better. Here are two arguments to persuade the unconvinced.
First, we can know that truth is more important than peace because the only peace worth having in the first place is true peace. Hence Jeremiah’s curse on those who cry “Peace! Peace!” when there is no peace. But truth, on the other hand, is worth having even when it leads to conflict. For example, battling slavery in the United States led to animosity, violence, war, and death. But because of the importance of the cause—namely, upholding the inherent dignity of all human persons—peace could be justifiably sacrificed to defending this truth.
Secondly, we can know that truth trumps peace because when we subordinate truth to peace, we lose not only truth but peace as well. The eugenic plots of so many totalitarian regimes of the twentieth century are a prime example of this. The goal there was essentially to stabilize and thus bring peace to society, but because such important personalistic truths were sacrificed at the altar of utopianism, there was less peace and more instability than ever before.
So while the liberal’s desire for peace is good, he errs in putting peace first, making toleration the summum bonum, and embracing moral relativism for the sake of avoiding conflicts. The conservative on the other hand, following in the longstanding tradition that stretches back to Aristotle and beyond, recognizes that our political order ought to follow from the moral order, which itself flows from our human nature.
Where does this battle between conservatives and liberals finally end? If our opponents emerge victorious, nowhere good. For the logical conclusion of liberalism - which liberalism fights against in the name of peace - is Nihilism, a most terrifying worldview. Eventually, “my truth” and “your truth” are seen for what they really mean: No truth. And a culture without any grasp of truth is a culture without any connection to reality, a culture thus doomed to die. We can still avoid demise, but to do so, we need a hefty dose of metaphysics, a serious consideration of truth to serve as the guiding principle of our civilization.
* Hannon Michael, original article titled, "Peace If Possible; Truth at All Costs", see Internet
(English moral philosopher, 1919-2002)
In the field of moral philosophy, some systems are called ‘cognitivist’. They assume that moral judgements make assertions which are either true or false and therefore are, if true, contributions to knowledge. Hence the term of ‘cognitivism’. But the traditional assumption that moral claims are true or false has come under attack by a group of philosophers who came to be known as ‘non-cognitivists’. Non-cognitive ethicists believe that moral claims are not about matters of fact and that therefore there is nothing for them to be called true or false. They believe that morality is something entirely of human making. They focus their attention on the use to which moral language (“good”, “just”) is put, rather than its meaning. R.M. Hare advocates such non-cognitivist ethics. According to him moral claims are neither true nor false. He thinks of moral language as an implicit form of imperatives. For instance, saying “theft is bad” is simply a way of saying “Don’t steal” or “You ought not to steal”. Moral judgements serve the function of suggesting to others particular courses of action. They are assimilated to imperatives. Any reason given in favour of them are reasons for action, not reasons for believing something. That is why one does not describe imperatives as true or false. Their success does not consist in fitting to the world; it consists in making the world fit to them. They are not descriptive – they say neither “is” nor “is not” – but prescriptive – they say either “ought” or “ought not”. The gap between “is” assertions and “ought” imperatives is enough for R.M. Hare to imply that actions do not follow from beliefs and therefore have nothing to do with true and false.
* Hare, R.M., Sorting out Ethics, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1997
(German theologian and church historian, 1851-1930)
The history of Christian thought is one of deterioration from the original truth
As Harnack understood it, religion is primarily a practical affair and aims at the right ordering of life. In Christianity, the power of achieving a well-ordered or blessed life had its origin in Jesus Christ and the revelation of God that he brought. But although religion has this practical character, it also implies certain beliefs concerning God, man, and the world; the religious man seeks to make his beliefs explicit and to formulate them in propositions. This happens especially when a religious community comes into being and subscription to the basic beliefs of the community is made the condition of membership—hence the rise of dogma in the early church.
However, Harnack regarded this development as a perversion of the original teaching of Jesus, obscuring its essentially practical character and destroying its spontaneity. He saw the history of Christian thought as one of deterioration, a falling away from the original truth rather than an unfolding of it. The process began when the primitive preachers made Jesus himself, as the supernatural Christ, the center of their message, rather than simply repeating Jesus' teaching about the kingdom of God, which Harnack understood as an ethical ideal.
He expounded what he believed to be the core of the Christian religion, set free from the encrustations of dogma that had been laid down through the centuries. The core is to be reached by penetrating back to the teaching of Jesus himself, and Harnack represented this teaching as proclaiming the fatherhood of God, the infinite worth of the human soul, and the ethical ideal of the kingdom of God. The supposedly original gospel of Jesus is also claimed to be the only version of Christianity that can make sense for modern minds, since it is free from theological and metaphysical mystifications.
For Harnack Christianity is essentially a religious experience. The doctrinal truths that the church has historically proclaimed and confessed are irrelevant and in many ways dangerous, since they obscure the immediacy of the religious experience or feeling that is, in some ways, a more authentic way of grasping the truth than the noetic development of doctrine.
* Adolf von Harnack, What is Christianity? (Introduction by Rudolf Bultmann.)
(Contemporary British Founder of the World Pantheist Movement ,WPM)
The truth of scientific pantheism
Scientific pantheism is called scientific not because science endorses pantheism but because scientific pantheism adopts a scientific approach to Reality. It cleaves to the Real. It sticks to the evidence. It prefers certainty over faith. It prefers simple hypotheses over complex ones, and refuses to multiply unnecessary entities. It accepts the findings of science, and accepts that Reality can often be uncomfortable.
Pantheism asserts that Reality - the visible, audible, touchable, tasteable world of nature and the universe - is divine. That is, it possesses most of the qualities that believers in God claim for God and therefore should be revered and celebrated. These qualities include power, mystery, awe, creation, omnipresence. Nature and the universe possess these qualities indisputably and empirically, whereas transcendental gods are only known to possess them - or to exist at all - through faith, revelation, and personal imagination. Everyone has seen the divine cosmos and the sacred earth. But few people - even among believers - claim to have seen God. In this sense pantheism is scientific, whereas theism operates in a way that is counter to scientific method.
Theism can be accepted on faith. Faith means accepting the unbelievable, unprovable or illogical on the basis of evidence that no scientist would accept in science, and no prudent person would accept as the basis of a contract..
The difference between theists and pantheists is this: when theists look at a forest, or at a cell, or at a galaxy, they feel that they are contemplating the reflected glory of an invisible Creator, or they are staring at God's impenetrable veil. When pantheists do so, they are directly witnessing the glory of divine Being. They are gazing on the unveiled face of divinity.
With scientific pantheism, empiricism is one of the most sacred and binding duties. A pantheist who ignores evidence, or who is in any way closed to new evidence, is guilty of turning away from Reality. By evidence we mean the sort of evidence that science and the senses deal with. We mean direct experience of the sensible world, rather than the "experience" of unconfirmed hallucination or imagination, however powerful these may be for the individual. We mean experience that can be repeated by others, verified by others, rather than private experiences which are inaccessible to others.
Scientific pantheism accepts all evidence that is either a matter of common experience, or that is scientifically validated. It uses the "principle of economy" famously known as Occam's razor, after William of Occam, the English philosopher of the fourteenth century. In logical battles with scholastic philosophers Ockham applied the following rule: Non sunt multiplicanda entia praeter necessitatem. [Entities are not to be multiplied beyond what is necessary.] This rule of simplicity applies to all fields of knowledge and in religion too. For as long as there has been religious speculation, gods have been used as an explanation for the existence of the universe. Christians and Muslims applied Occam's razor to religion, and reduced a pantheon of Gods to one God. Yet their monotheism still retained two entities: God and the universe. Nor was it an explanation, since God's existence was accepted as a "mystery." Pantheism asserts that the universe is self-sufficient, and accepts its existence as the ultimate mystery. It seeks for the most simple hypothesis, and replaces two universal entities with one, two mysteries with one.
* Harrison Paul Elements of Pantheism (1999) Handbook of pantheist theory, history and practice
(German philosopher, 1881-1950)
Some philosophers - such as Brentano and Husserl - defend the thesis that evidence is a guarantee for infallible truth. For Brentano, evidence is absolute correctness, and has nothing to do with a feeling of compulsion. Evidence is part of the definiens of the concept truth. According to Husserl evidence is experience of the truth. Both Brentano and Husserl hold that error is excluded in the case of an evident judgement. If a certain judgement is evident, no one else can judge the opposite with evidence.
Hartmann does not agree with such views. For him knowledge is fallible; there is always the possibility of error. He questions the role of evidence as a criterion for truth. According to him the term 'evidence' is ambiguous. It may mean objective evidence: evidence as a guarantee for the truth of a judgement, the absolute ideal of certainty. Objective evidence contains no error. But the term 'evident' may also mean subjective evidence: evidence that is nothing but the conviction of the knowing subject that his judgement is certain, without the guarantee for truth. Subjective evidence is a mere phenomenon of consciousness, that may accompany both real insight and apparent insight.
Now objective evidence is never as such presented to consciousness, and that means that it cannot function as a criterion. In fact, we need a criterion to determine whether we have objective evidence and we have none. Subjective evidence, on the contrary, is easy to determine; it is the phenomenon of conviction itself. But conviction, being merely a state of consciousness, cannot function as a criterion for truth. Therefore, subjective evidence cannot function as a criterion for truth, either.
The idea that evidence may function as a criterion for truth is especially tempting in the case of judgments about ideal (mathematical) objects. It is thought that the ideal structures are nothing but structures of intentional objects, that are internal to consciousness. According to Hartmann, such a view subjectifies the realm of ideal objects, where, in fact, ideal objects for him are as transcendent to consciousness as real objects.
Therefore for him knowledge of ideal objects is as liable to error of evidence as knowledge of real objects. Possibility of error is not only present in our logical and mathematical axioms, and also in insight into essences. Hartmann accuses the phenomenologist of believing that this insight into essences is infallible, that it is objectively evident .
Hartmann, Nicolai, Les principes d'une métaphysique de la connaissance. Paris: Aubier 1946. Translated and with a preface by Raymond Vancourt
(American philosopher of religion and metaphysics, 1897-2000)
The universal truth of creative becoming. If there is novel reality, then to that extent the truth also must be novel.
The starting point for Hartshorne’s ‘Process Theology’ is that there is no such thing as a "thing." Objects are illusions. All "things" are continually moving from the past into the present and then into the future. All of existence is rushing along in the river of time and space, constantly moving, never stopping. And always in the process of becoming. Science has shown us that what we think of as objects are in actuality force fields that are constantly vibrating and moving waves of energy. If there is any absolute truth about the nature of being it is that the world is constantly and eternally in the move. The concern for the dynamics of the physical universe and of human personality, the social nature of man and his organic relation to the universe in which he lives, and the interpenetration of mental and physical in human experience, have led Hartshorne and process theologians to assert that it is in 'events', rather than in 'things' - in action or activity, rather than in 'substances', in creation as a continuing process, rather than in creation as a finished product, that we may best interpret the order of nature and human life. The earliest great tradition which has espoused this philosophy of becoming was Buddhism – and Heraclitus, but little is known about him. The followers of Buddha produced a great literature expressive of the doctrine that becoming is the universal form of reality. In contrast most Western philosophies have dealt with ‘Being’ and characteristically treated becoming and change as unreal. For them, reality consisted essentially of beings, not happenings or events. If a being is not of the highest kind, it shows this deficiency by undergoing alterations. So the highest being is changeless, but the others keep changing, apparently in the vain effort to make up for their imperfection. It is with Spinoza that this ‘eternalist’ bias came to its last great triumph in the West. Not only God, but the world, too, was to be made safe from accident or genuine alteration. But for Hartshorne, immutable omniscience, implying the immutability of all truths, is incompatible with the view that becoming is real. The truth, the reality, is eternally there, spread out to the divine gaze, though our present experience, being localized in the eternal panorama, cannot behold most of it. Consequently – as Hartshorne contends - if there is novel reality, then to that extent the truth also must be novel.
* Hartshorne, Charles, A Natural Theology for our Time, La Salle: Open Court, 1967
(Contemporary American information technology specialist)
Today determining the standard of truth rests squarely on the shoulders of the individual
Absolute Truth? There are few, if any, cases of absolute truth. We internalize our standard of truth because it simplifies life. We can’t question everything around us — we wouldn’t be able to react fast enough to deal with what life throws at us. So we accept certain things as truth, and we build on these truths to put together our own philosophy, our own moral code, our own way of explaining the universe.
We do this all subconsciously — we do it without even being aware that we’re doing it. We build a standard for truth based on our parents, our environment as children, what we’re taught in school, and based on the “truth” we see reported in the press.
Today, truth is harder to find. We have hundreds — maybe thousands — of cable and satellite TV channels. Many of these channels offer news programs that offer interpretations of current events from their own perspective. But that’s just the beginning, because there are millions of Internet web sites that offer their own interpretations of current events and their own versions of reality.
Consider the opinions of Pope Benedict XVI, Gordon Brown, Hu Jintao, Desmond Tutu, Kim Jong-il, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and Osama bin Laden. Each of these people defines the truth for some part of the world’s population. Each person offers a different view of the truth. A logical person might listen to some of these people, get an understanding of their motivations, investigate the facts and make an informed judgment on whom to trust. But who has the time to be logical?
Few of us investigate the facts. After all, it’s difficult, since we never see the facts — we just see interpretations of the facts. Once in a while we’ll see a web site or television show that attempts to pull together evidence for something important — like global warming — but most of us lack the specialized education that’s required to understand the difference between normal weather variation and a pronounced trend.
“The truth” is a funny concept. We act like there’s an absolute truth — one that’s irrefutable and correct — and human nature compels us to build our personal philosophy on top of that absolute truth. But in fact truth is not an absolute concept — it’s a relative one. What’s true to me may not be true to you, and our behavior may be different because of our interpretations of the truth.
This puts the responsibility for determining the standard of truth squarely on the shoulders of the individual. Never before in history has this been the case. Never before in history has there been equal access to so many divergent views. Never before in history has an individual been put in a situation where he or she is pummeled with propaganda from so many directions.
*See Internet Harwell Thrasher
(American Methodist theologian, b. 1940) Without witnessing, Christian truth is unintelligible
Against all forms of modernist foundationalism, Hauerwas contends that the plausibility of Christian convictions cannot be established by appeal to metaphysical and philosophical principles extrinsic to the word of God. Christian orthodoxy cannot be Christian truth without living Christians. The truth of Christian convictions requires witnesses.
That is what it means to say that truth involves the heart as well as the mind. If the truth of Christian convictions could be known without witnesses, then that truth would no longer be the work of the Trinitarian God, and those who espoused it would no longer be Christians.
The role of the Christian community is to bear witness, because the very fact that the community exists counts as evidence that the claims of Christianity are true. Hauerwas argues that Christianity is unintelligible without people whose practices exhibit their committed assent to a particular way of structuring the whole. These practices can and must have a positive effect on those outside the community, “…for the only truthful way of making Christianity attractive is through witness.” Thus, the job of Christians is not to convince but to witness. The purpose of the church is not to prove that Christianity is true, but to demonstrate what the world is like if it is true. Christians who argue for the "objective" truth of Jesus are making a tactical mistake. Jesus did not arrive among us enunciating a set of propositions that we are to affirm. There is no point at which Jesus says, "You need to believe certain propositions about me”. Jesus never asks us to agree; he asks us to join up, to follow and be his witnesses. He did not call for cognitive assent; he asked for a life of discipleship involving the whole self, not just the mind.
Yet Hauerwas is no fideist. He does not think that the primary task of witness-bearing somehow exempts Christians from the obligation to give a reasoned account of their faith. Rather, he thinks that witness-bearing is the distinctively Christian form of rational argument, or at least the indispensable prerequisite for it. To show the truth of the Christian story is not merely to proclaim it, but also to give it dramatic display in well-lived lives.
* HAUERWAS, Stanley: With the Grain of the Universe. The Church's Witness and Natural Theology. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2001.
( President of the Czech republic, 1928-2011)
“Living within the truth” to combat tyranny
Havel’s “living within the Truth” concerns the ability of persons who regard themselves as powerless to understand that they possess a form of power and can act upon it. Otherwise, he argued, one mutely functions in the midst of injustice, official deception and corruption—doing nothing to produce change, while sustaining an unjust structure through one’s silence. To stop living within a lie, one must withdraw cooperation with the machinery of oppression. Living in Truth lets citizens repossess their humanity and take responsibility, in compatibility with the appreciation of nonviolent struggle for the connection between the means and ends. Havel said this in plain words: those who live in Truth “create a situation in which the regime is confounded, invariably causing panic and driving it to react in inappropriate ways.” He regularly expressed his conviction that the power that comes with living in Truth is the power to overturn repressive structures and undermine dictatorships. Such power resides within each person.
In such a situation, a revolt is first of all an effort to live within the truth. “When I speak of living within the truth, I naturally do not have in mind only products of conceptual thought, such as a protest or a letter written by a group of intellectuals. It can be any means by which a person or group revolts against manipulation: anything from a letter by intellectuals to a workers’ strike, from a rock concert to a student demonstration, from refusing to vote in a farcical election to making an open speech at some official congress, or even a hunger strike.”
For 20 years, Havel continued to challenge the government. He was blacklisted and his writings were banned. He spent time in prison. He was under constant surveillance by the secret police. Yet he never lost his hope that the truth would prevail. The resistance strategy was a simple one - refuse to cooperate with the machinery of oppression, and recognize that an unjust regime stays in power only as long as people are willing to stay silent and do nothing to change it.
Havel maintained that each person has the power to peacefully overturn a repressive government, simply by living a life of truth and creating "a situation in which the regime is confounded, invariably causing panic and driving it to react in inappropriate ways."
That life of truth was built in the 1970s and 1980s by reconstructing a civil society that created the space for artists, writers, educators and other creative people to come together and find ways to free themselves and their nation from the economic, moral and political rot of decades of dictatorship. The government could not control this space, this space where the seeds for a revolution were sown.
It is fitting that his death came at the end of another year of revolution and people power, so we can remember that nonviolent change is possible, and that hope and truth will always outlast tyranny.
*Havel Vaclav The Power of the Powerless (1985) , Living in Truth (1986)
(Contemporary American psychiatrist and controversial spiritual teacher)
The ONLY Absolute Truth is that everything just IS.
The truth applies to all without exception, it is universal. .
The truth is the answer to every single problem that ever has and ever will exist.
Truth may point out our errors, but it also solves ALL of our life's problems.
Because of this, the truth is the only thing that matters. Only the truth shall set you free. The truth doesn't need the approval of the human ego in order to be truth.
The truth needs nothing to back it up., it is self-sustaining.
Absolute Truth already is what it is. Absolute Truth is never created. It is only discovered, revealed, or realized. Because Absolute Truth already is what it is. it cannot be created by our minds. It never changes.
The truth is only for those who WANT it. The truth is only for those who are open to it. The truth is accessible to ALL that have an open mind to receive it.
In order for something to be Absolute Truth, it must not be susceptible to limitations. In order for something to be unlimited, whole, complete and perfect, it must be INFINITELY EVERYTHING.
Opinions, beliefs, concepts, thoughts and thinking keep us from realizing we are ALREADY the Truth, which is Everything. The Truth is within "you". "You" are also within the Truth. All that exists IS the Truth. EVERYTHING (Existence) is the Truth, which is "you", which means there is no individual "you". There is no individual ANYTHING when All is One. At the highest level of truth everything just IS. The ONLY Absolute Truth is that everything just Is.
*Hawkins David, Truth vs. Falsehood: How to Tell the Difference , Publisher: Veritas Publishing
(British philosopher, b 1944)
In the pursuit of truth, intuition is as fundamental as reason is.
Truth has two modes to it, those of feeling and of cognition. The latter mode is that of intellectual understanding. In more familiar terms, the two modes are those of intuition (feeling) and insight (cognition).
Many scientists dislike any reference to intuition because it suggests irrationality. They like to think that scientific achievement and scientific truth depend on reason alone. They like to believe that science is a fortress against the vagaries of emotion. A nice stratagem, but it does not reflect the reality of the thinking process. Truth arises from reason only in part. In the pursuit of truth, intuition is as fundamental as reason is.
So long as a person is seeking to enlarge his experience of life then intuition functions. But when he attempts to put these experiences into a system of thought, or theory, then intuition often vacates the limelight and the thinker has to rely on reason alone (or, more usually, reason plus imagination plus existing prejudices ). Theory construction depends mainly on the use of reason. It is irrelevant whether the system of thought is religious, secular, or a code of ethics. A system of thought is always an interpretation of the experience of the thinker.
Insight is an inference that is validated by reason. Intuition is an inference that is validated by the thinker’s belief systems. Insight is more reliable than intuition, but the range of application of insight is far narrower than the range of application of intuition. Neither reason nor intuition is infallible. The deductions afforded by reason are likely to be inaccurate if the range of data is insufficient to adequately understand the issue at hand. And intuition is limited by the adequacy of the thinker’s belief systems.
Both intuition and insight can be coloured by existing prejudices. However, there is a standard problem that is met with on the spiritual quest when depending upon intuition. This problem is that advanced spiritual teachers are prone to claim that their truths are without error, that their truths are divine truths or absolute truths. This is a misconception. All that is possible for the teacher to access without error is the feeling of truth, not the cognition of truth.
At the level of the teacher’s state of mind his intuition may well be infallible, but then the teacher has to try to encapsulate the intuition within a conceptual boundary : he has to put into words what he feels. Therefore the attempt to conceptualise truth always produces just an interpretation. The concept is never an absolute truth. The claim by spiritual teachers that they have access to divine truth applies only to the feeling of truth and not to the cognition of it ; this is why any teacher can be mistaken in the doctrine that he advocates, no matter how highly developed he is. In other words, all doctrines are relative and never absolute.
Intuition can be plagued by errors, since prejudices have a more luxuriant growth. The problem of these errors is a real one, particularly when the intuition produces its emotional response. It is this emotional aspect which incorporates the errors. However, it is unskilful to abandon intuition and rely solely on reason. Reason is mainly instrumental ; it needs to be guided. I think of my method as depending on intuition to provide a fresh view, and then the use of reason to examine this view so as to distil out any errors (based on emotion) that are in it.
* Heath Ian, Reason and Intuitionm see Internet
(English philosopher of religion, b,1939)
The criteria of truth in Religions
The problem of truth in religion cannot be sidestepped. The phenomenological bracketing of questions of truth and reality – the exclusive consideration of phenomenal appearances – can only be a provisional, temporary step in the analysis of reality. The suspension of judgment on the issue of truth, particularly in the field of religion, in the attempt to be ‘objective’, becomes a prejudice in favour of a purely humanistic interpretation of religion. An unbeliever studying religion is like a tone-deaf man studying music. Phenomenological reductionism has nothing to offer in the evaluation of truth in religion.
Hebblethwaite is just as much critical of the suggestion made by J. Hick, namely, that theologians of particular denominations are able to transcend their own specific standpoint in seeing their own traditions as one concrete embodiment of the divine-human encounter, which has taken different forms in different historical contexts. Hick’s idea of a global, all-embracing theology does not correspond to the claimed insights of the different world religions. The conflicting truth-claims between religions cannot be written off so easily; they are genuine. However Hick’s ideas have the merit of raising the question of relating the apparently rival truth-claims of religions. How can one test the adequacy of each religious view? It is the difficult task of comparative theology to find the criteria by which the truth of any one religious view might be established.
Many people reject the view that is is possible to establish such criteria. For if the participant is a believer, he is bound to be biased in favour of his own religion. If he is an unbeliever, he is unqualified to pass judgment on any religious truth-claims.
Hebblethwaite agrees with A. Christian and N. Smart to say that in a model dialogue situation between religious believers it is possible to formulate a number of ‘soft’ criteria that might commend themselves to all participants, whatever their religion. Appeals to sacred scriptures and revelations, as well as to personal religious experiences (‘hard criteria’), are out of place in the model dialogue as there can be no agreements on them between the participants. Rather, one has to turn to the consideration of ‘soft’ criteria, such as: coherence, simplicity, comprehensiveness, ethical and spiritual profundity, ability to cope with boundary situations (evil, suffering, death), historical considerations and the aesthetic criterion.
* Hebblewhaite, Bryan, The problems of Theology, Cambridge University Press, 1980, p.31-43; The Ocean of Truth, Cambridge University Press, 1988, p.102-133
(German Philosopher, 1770-1831)
Truth is the whole, the totality of thought 1. Hegel rejects the Aristotelian tradition of taking judgements and statements as the locus of truth. He returns to the Platonist and Augustinian concept of ontological truth. Truth, for Hegel, does not consist in some sort of correspondence between thought and reality. For this view implies that thought is something over against reality and he cannot accept that thought is not itself part of the reality. Truth as correspondence implies the dualism and confrontation of mind and reality, subject and object. But for Hegel, the mind-reality relationship is not dualistic but participatory and monistic.
On the other hand he does not agree with the Kantian concept of knowlegde as subjective projection. The human mind does not produce and impose its own conceptual order on the noumenal world. Rather, the world’s truth realises itself or expresses itself through the human mind. It speaks its meaning through human reason. The evolution of human knowledge is identical with the evolution of the world’s self-revelation. It is the same evolution – objective and subjective - that takes place in history. The world’s truth comes to birth in the human mind. Thus Hegel replaces Aristotle’s correspondence-dualism and Kant’s projection-dualism by his own view of participatory monism with important consequence for his idea of truth.
2. Truth is both historical and eschatological. It is at the same time the growing realisation of the absolute Spirit and the absolute Spirit itself. Truth is engaged in historical development. Only through development can the True arrive at comprenhension of itself and become what it essentiallly is. That is why Hegel writes that “Truth is the whole”, and the whole reaches its completeness only at the end of a long process of development.
Thus before it reaches its eschatological perfection, truth is living, growing and changing, it is the truth of the human spirit as it has dialectically developed over the centuries through all the philosophies in the history of the human spirit. The truth of the Absolute unfolds itself, reveals itself in time to finite spirits. Thus history has a rational and teleological structure. Reason , which is the unfolding truth of the Absolute, rules the world. The new task of philosophy is to bring together all the changing atttitudes, religious beliefs, philosophical paradigms in the long history of the human spirit in its quest for truth, and to unify them into a single organic totality. For Hegel all systems of thought are true and none false because they are all stages of the progressive historical unfolding of Reason.
The implication is clear: the partisan of Truth must never rest content in the most irrefutable principles and conclusions which he or his school has uncovered. He must not stand in an aloof and aristocratic way, outside the mainstream of thought. Rather he must awake to the internal negativity and contradictions existing in his own principles. He must be ready to enter into the contest with other participants without demanding any special privileges for himself.
3. Hegel has no doubt about the ultimate intelligibility of the real. There is no place for scepticism in his system. Truth finds its elan in the succession of apparently contradictory world-views and paradigms. Only a static understanding of truth can lead to scepticism. The false is always a partial, momentary and isolated truth, unrelated to its eschatological movement. A particular, historical world-view considered as a phase of the evolutionary process participates to the movement of truth, but if taken for final and unrelated to the whole it is false. For “Truth is the whole”. In a way, truths are everywhere, the problem is to unify them and that can occur only at the end in the absolute Spirit.
* See Souche-Dagues,D., Vérité et Absolu: La Vérité selon Hegel, in Quilliot, La Vérité, ibid., p.65-73; Tarnas, Richard, The Passion of the Western Mind, Ballantine Books, New York, 1993, p.433-440
(German philosopher, 1889-1976)
1. Truth as disclosure rather than correspondence.
It is usually said that truth is correspondence of mind with reality and that one expresses this agreement in correct judgments. Heidegger does not reject this traditional approach. However he considers it superficial. One needs to reach a deeper notion of truth than the truth of judgments and propositions. He leads us away from the usual preoccupation of the correctness of assertion. He is interested in something more fundamental, more primordial than the epistemological problem of truth and to do so he turns his attention to an ontology of truth.
According to Heidegger, truth is disclosure. There is truth when what is hidden is disclosed, revealed, uncovered. Truth is manifestation, unconcealment, discovery of an open field, the "clearing in the forest”. Most of the time reality is undisclosed, everything is in darkness, but then a light surges to illumine the concealed reality: truth is born. Thus Heidegger’s concept of truth implies a primordial ontological agreement of things and thought which takes place before any of its verbal representation and expression in judgments and propositions.
The classical theory of truth as adequation is thus less false than derived. It presupposes an original truth understood as unconcealment, apparition, revelation. Without it, how can the judgments be formed, on what basis? There must be first a revelation, an appearance of a reality that cannot escape us: this is truth. Truth does not belong first to the logical sphere of the judgment. Truth is not just a matter of correct and right judgment; it addresses itself to the whole human being to disturb him.
2. The locus of truth
The locus of truth is not the judgment, the locus of truth is Dasein, that is, man himself. Dasein is the discoverer, the light that illumines the world. Truth is constitutive of the human essence. Truth comes to the world only through Dasein. Therefore all truth is relative to Dasein's being. However this does not mean that truth is subjective, it does not mean that truth is a matter of believing what one likes. There is a universal validity and objectivity of truth in that it is rooted in the fact that Dasein has the ability to uncover entities in themselves. Dasein does not invent or create the truth, truth is disclosure of an objective reality. Besides we cannot choose to disclose or not. We must presuppose truth, because we exist and we are the foundation of truth. We are thrown into existence and therefore truth is there with us. Being and truth are equally original.
Still if Dasein is always in the truth, it does not mean that Dasein is in possession of all truths. It means only that disclosure belongs to the essence of Dasein and that truth is entirely human. There is no truth outside human subjectivity, no absolute truth. Truth is the authentic way of being of Dasein. But it has to be a conquest, a struggle. One does not find the truth in a passive way . Being-in-the –world is most of the time “being-in-untruth”. The common man , the “one”, lives in untruth. Truth is the mode of being of Dasein who lives in authenticity and opennesss. This is what makes Heidegger say that “the essence of truth is freedom”. Authenticity is the fruit of freedom and thus it is “freedom that makes you true.” (rather than “truth that makes you free”). For Heidegger, freedom is neither caprice nor absence of constraint but engagement in and exposure to the disclosedness of beings as such. Freedom is ‘letting beings be’, not in the sense of neglect and indifference but rather the opposite of engagement of oneself with beings. If he states that the essence of truth is freedom, it is to convey the idea that man can also, in the letting beings be (that is freedom), not let beings to be the beings which they are. Then beings are covered and distorted.
3. The intersubjectivity of truth
Truth is constantly ‘happening’ with each discovery we make. My world is constantly enlarged and enriched. But every discovery is inescapably partial, because it is relative to my subjectivity. As my modes of discovery differ from all other modes, I do not live in “ the same world” as others. But we can communicate and share our discoveries with others. We achieve this mainly by language and also through art. A perfect sharing and coincidence of our worlds would amount to the reaching of a universal truth, but that would presuppose the perfect identity of all our modes of existence. The more the various subjective disclosures cohere with each other, the more they unify experience. On the contrary when the truth-disclosures overlap, then there is confusion and obscurity and lack of truth. Incoherence creeps in when the disclosures contradict each other.
4. What is untruth?
In every presence, every manifestation there is also absence, hiding, concealment. Absence and presence are given together. Untruth is concealment, the opposite of disclosure. It occurs when we cover up certain modes of Being and this may happen at every disclosure. Disclosure is always partial and therefore it contains an element of concealment. Nothing is ever absolutely true or untrue. Everything is true and untrue at the same time. Indeed there are only limited, partial, relative truths and untruths. Disclosure becomes error when we are not aware of its necessary limits. That is why the possibility of speaking or saying the truth requires a struggle to defend what has been uncovered against semblance and disguise.
5. The language that reveals the truth
Conceptual language is not the language of Being. The language that reveals the truth of Being is poetic language and art. Art allows us to understand the real beyond science and the common utilitarian use of language. Common language, as well as any form of conceptual language, remains on the surface of reality. The poet on the contrary sings the true reality, the truth of Being. It is only in art that the primordial ontological agreement of Dasein with reality can be lived authentically.
* Heidegger, On the Essence of truth , in The Nature of Truth, Ed. by Lynch, Michael, Bradford Book, Cambridge , Massachusstes, 2001, p.295-316; See Kockelmans, J., Martin Heidegger, Duquesne University press, 1965
(Contemporary American theologian)
All religions may be true to the respective end they advocate
In our study of religions, Heim suggests we should take more seriously the thoughts of traditions different than our own. For this, we should not claim a God's eye view by behaving as if we knew it all. This will lead us to discover that there are not only various religions but various kinds of religions, sometimes completely at odds with each other, totally incompatible. And this will in turn lead us to discover that these religions have their own religious goal or religious end. The meaning of ‘salvation’ actually varies from one to the other.
Sometimes in ancient religions salvation was centered on good health and better survival conditions in this world. Then salvation tended to drift towards a new life in an after world. For other religious perspectives salvation is seen as doing away with self, getting rid of suffering, joining an absolute non-dual Self, or entering into a communion with the triune God.
Heim wants us to stop speaking of ‘salvation’ in the singular, as a common goal for all religions. In his view, we are no more in a context where the thing that varies is the path to salvation but not salvation itself. We are now faced with this idea that there may be several salvations, several ends to humanity's journey and not only one. Depending on our religion, we have not all been educated to seek the same salvation. It is also true that within a given religion the idea of salvation has at times varied throughout the centuries.
People may agree to discuss with other religions than their own, but they are not ready to concede that we are not all aiming at the same goal. It may be somewhat unsettling to realize that there are not only other paths, but also other ends.
Heim says that the overarching task of a more adequate approach to religious diversity is “to find a fruitful way of combining recognition of truth or validity and difference across the religions.” His disagrees with the (identist) pluralistic view, which “is committed to limiting its attribution of truth to what is convergent,” as much as with the inclusivist view, which “is almost equally inclined to stress the truth of what is similar . . . and to deny validity to what is different.” What is needed, Heim says, is a perspective that “can recognize the effective truth of what is truly other”. Pluralistic theologians such as Hick and Co, all admit the fact that other religions exist, they do not actually give enough credit to the fact that those traditions may be the source of alternative fundamental categories. Heim's basic intention is to appear more pluralistic than Hick and Company. He argues not for a Hickian salvation-liberation or a common-essence notion like Hick's neo-Kantian "Real," but for the possibility of a variety of "salvations." Heim does this because he feels the usual "convergent" approach of common-essence pluralism (Hick) obliterates the richness and particularity of religions.
Hence, in the evaluation of the truth of religions, the crucial question is not "Which religion is true?" but "What end is most ultimate, even if many are real?" or "Which religious end constitutes the fullest human destiny?" Other religions than Christianity may be true and valid paths to the religious fulfillment they seek. Perhaps other religions are not false as much as they are the truest way to the respective end they advocate.
* Heim, M., 1995, Salvation: Truth and Difference in Religion, Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books.
(German physicist, 1901-1976)
In the field of quantum physics: the truth of indeterminacy, i.e. the falsity of causality
Most of us believe that events don't occur without being caused to occur. And outside quantum mechanics, every other branch of science shares that assumption. Einstein too believed that this assumption was justified. He believed that every event that occurs is caused by other events in such a way that the causing events bring about their effects, or in other words, "determine" the effects they will have. The foremost example of the deterministic world-view is Newtonian physics. Newton's laws of motion provided causal explanations for the behaviour of all physical objects in the universe. Newtonian mechanics was, and still is, highly successful when it comes to describing the mechanisms governing the behaviour of "macrophysical", objects. But early in the 20th century, physicists investigating the behaviour of extremely small objects, such as subatomic particles, found that they could not apply Newton's laws to the description of what was going on at this "microphysical" level. Thus was born the new physical theory known as quantum mechanics. It claims that experimental results in quantum mechanics imply that nothing exists unless it is being observed by a conscious human being, so it agrees with the claim that these results imply that the so-called "deterministic" philosophy of Newtonian mechanics is false. Werner Heisenberg gave this discovery a name. He called it "The Indeterminacy Principle", or sometimes "The Uncertainty Principle". And he, along with the majority of quantum physicists - those belonging to the so-called Copenhagen School - concluded that the behaviour of the fundamental constituents of matter is therefore not deterministic but indeterministic. In their view, events at the microphysical level occur "randomly", "by pure chance" - meaning that they aren't determined by any causes whatever.
However other scientists (such as De Broglie) claimed that the concepts of randomness and chance are purely epistemological ones, having to do with our knowledge - or, rather, our lack of it - and should not be taken as having ontological import, i.e., as having any implications for the nature of the world itself. They held that the idea of chance has to do with our ignorance of how things really are rather than a failure of causality in the world itself.
Heisenberg, in defense of quantum indeterminacy, held that the estimates of chance that are reflected in the probabilistic mathematics of quantum mechanics are due to a failure of causality in reality, not just a failure in our knowledge. The concept of chance, in his view, is an ontological one, not just an epistemological one. In effect, he was saying that the way the universe itself behaves at the atomic level is as if there were ‘a god who was playing dice with it’. This was what Einstein was denying when he said that ‘God does not play dice with the universe’. He would argue that the uncertainty involved in Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle is simply a result of lack of knowledge. In identifying knowledge and reality, Heisenberg seems to have wrongly assumed that what is epistemologically true must be also ontologically true.
* See David C. Cassidy: Uncertainty: The Life and Science of Werner Heisenberg, W. H. Freeman and Company, 1992
(British essayist and philosopher, 1911-1990)
Truth must be embodied in external reality
Heller’s project in The Disinherited Mind is to analyze the disappearance of Truth from the immediate environment of man, and the ensuing compulsions of Art to fill the void. Such an intervention on the part of Art, in the circumstances, results in the impoverishment of the world, not in its enrichment. It entails the loss of ‘significant external reality’.
For Heller, Truth must be embodied in external reality. Heller saw Truth as the first casualty of the mechanistic theory of nature, set on its course by Darwin and others, which in alliance with applied sciences roots out the intrinsic meaning of things in favour of the 'how?' of their causal interrelatedness. The thing in itself is forgotten, and with it the meaning of Reality as such. Such theories succeed merely in feeding 'the body of superstitious beliefs that had grown rampant ever since medieval scholasticism suffered its final defeat at the hands of Francis Bacon'.
This process of Reality's being, eviscerated of deeper meaning in the course of being 'explained' by modern science, constitutes the main charge that Heller lays against supporters of what he calls 'the Creed of Ontological Invalidity'. The practical result of its implementation is that nothing can exist in and of itself: things' scientific explanation deprives them of their individual being as entities. This state of affairs leads to spiritual perdition whereby man's own true significance as a higher being (his 'ontological mystery') is obscured, and whereby any attempt at a meaningful response to the world is stymied. For such a response can only take place vis-à-vis the question of what the world fundamentally is, not simply how it works.
In the turn away from a correspondence version of truth Heller believes that Nietzsche and Wittgenstein share a similar nihilism which "one day will be seen as an integral part of the tragically self-destructive design of European thought". They share an all important "creative distrust of all those categorical certainties that have been allowed to determine the body of traditional thought".
*Erich Heller, The Disinherited Mind (Harmondsworth, Penguin Books, 1961)
(contemporary English biblical scholar)
What we mean when we say that the Bible is true
The first part of Genesis deals with a symbolic story to explain a deep truth. Jesus used such stories all the time and we have no problem identifying the parables as fiction, but at the same time recognising the deep truth which lies within them. In a slightly different way things such as the proverbs speak a truth which is timeless and which is recognisable to people anywhere. Many people conclude that the historical truth of the Bible is irrelevant, that it is poetry.
The fact is though that much of the Bible does claim to be history, to be an account of real things that took place in real time. The difficult claim of Christianity and Judaism is that it is precisely in history – in the real events of our lives that we meet God. His presence is always to be discerned in these things, God is present in what is, not what isn’t. Spiritual truth and historical truth are bound together.
Because the Bible was written in history, it expresses itself in the historical forms which were current at the time, and which may now seem inappropriate, or at least hard to understand. For some, the doctrine of inspiration means that the Holy Spirit intervened or inspired the minds of the sacred authors in such a way that they were protected not only from theological error, but from geographical, historical or scientific error. This runs into difficulty when we see that certain statements in the Bible run contrary to what modern science knows to be 'true'. Creation in six days is the most obvious one of these.
However it is fundamental to our understanding of God that he does not reveal himself 'out of time' but always reveals himself in concrete historical circumstances. Religious conversion is usually occasioned by some concrete circumstance, some dissatisfaction, some personal loss or tragedy or some search. God can sometimes speak to an individual 'out of the blue', in a way that is unsolicited, but usually we find that the person is in some ways ready for that intervention. Revelation does not come to us out of the sky. Rather God speaks to us through our circumstances. The adage: 'grace builds on nature' makes that assumption. Biblical revelation builds on the history, geography, sociology and psychology of Israel, and is given by people whom God inspires to see purpose in seeming random events.
So the idea that history (and geography) in the Bible don't matter, that what matters is the content of the message ignores the very nature of the book, and the very nature of Christian revelation. The Bible is history and it is inspired history in that it sees the hand of God working through real human events. But it is not inspired in the sense that every historical and geographical detail is absolutely accurate.
We can perhaps talk about ‘levels of truth’ in the Bible. What most modern people mean by true (historical) is the most superficial level. It is the idea of truth as newspaper report – although so-called ‘objective’ newspaper reporting is nearly always coloured in some way. The Bible does contain much of this simple historical truth, but it also goes deeper. So even at a superficial level, the Bible contains much more truth and history than many would give it credit. But the Bible is interested in much more than this superficial truth. The events described in the book of Job, for instance, are not true at this superficial level. Sometimes something is not true at a superficial level, but nevertheless has a deep, echoing, maturing truth.
See internet John Hemer
(German philosopher of science, 1905-1997)
The propositions of mathematics are essentially "true by definition."
1. Some argue that the truths of mathematics , in contradistinction to the hypotheses of empirical science, require neither factual evidence nor any other justification because they are "self-evident." This view which ultimately relegates decisions as to mathematical truth to a feeling of self-evidence, encounters various difficulties for various reasons. Even if self-evidence were attributed only to the basic postulates of mathematics, from which all other mathematical propositions can be deduced, it would be pertinent to remark that judgments as to what may be considered as self-evident are subjective; they may vary from person to person and certainly cannot constitute an adequate basis for decisions as to the objective validity of mathematical propositions.
2. According to another view, mathematics is itself an empirical science which differs from the other branches such as astronomy, physics, chemistry, etc., mainly in two respects: its subject matter is more general than that of any other field of scientific research, and its propositions have been tested and confirmed to a greater extent than those of even the most firmly established sections of astronomy or physics. Indeed, according to this view, the degree to which the laws of mathematics have been borne out by the past experiences of mankind is so overwhelming that -- unjustifiably -- we have come to think of mathematical theorems as qualitatively different from the well confirmed hypotheses or theories of other branches of science: we consider them as certain, while other theories are thought of as at best "very probable" or very highly confirmed. But this view, too, is open to serious objections. 3. Hempel argues that the validity of mathematics rests neither on its alleged self-evidential character nor on any empirical basis, but derives from the stipulations which determine the meaning of the mathematical concepts, and that the propositions of mathematics are therefore essentially "true by definition." Hempel stresses the analytic character of mathematical propositions. The statement that 3 + 2 = 5, for instance, is true for similar reasons as, say, the assertion that no sexagenarian is 45 years of age. Both are true simply by virtue of definitions or of similar stipulations which determine the meaning of the key terms involved.
Statements of this kind share certain important characteristics: Their validation naturally requires no empirical evidence; they can be shown to be true by a mere analysis of the meaning attached to the terms which occur in them. In the language of logic, sentences of this kind are called analytic or true a priori, which is to indicate that their truth is logically independent of, or logically prior to, any experiential evidence. And while the statements of empirical science, which are synthetic and can be validated only a posteriori, are constantly subject to revision in the light of new evidence, the truth of an analytic statement can be established definitely, once and for all.
"The propositions of mathematics have, therefore, the same unquestionable certainty which is typical of such propositions as 'All bachelors are unmarried,' but they also share the complete lack of empirical content which is associated with that certainty: The propositions of mathematics are devoid of all factual content; they convey no information whatever on any empirical subject matter."
*Hempel Carl Gustav, Aspects of Scientific Explanation and Other Essays, 1965, ISBN 0-02-914340-3
(Contemporary British evangelical, President of Veritas School of Theology)
Theology is the search for Truth
Theology, if it is anything, is the search for and categorization of truth. As committed Christians we assert that biblical truth sets the standard of what is the truth – it is our ultimate authority. We must always allow God to say what He has to say and be scrupulous in not changing His stated intent by our reinterpretations.
Truth does not only make statements it also demands an appropriate response. That appropriate response is worshipful dependence upon its Source – the God of all truth. Hence, the performing of truth is what theology is all about, so that there is a fraternity of truth with wisdom and knowledge.
Truth in evangelical circles is usually thought of as relating to propositional verities. But it also includes more than what is believed. Truth in the Hebrew worldview of the Old Testament, involves commitment; it is something which must be acted upon. Truth (emeth) connotes “reliability”.
It has been suggested that there were three types of truth: what is called ontological truth, by which one has in mind the dictum “whatever is, is true.” Secondly, there is propositional truth which is defined as “Whenever judgments conceptually house the real, they possess the quality of truth.” To these a third kind of truth is sometimes added, which is termed personal rectitude. It may be debated whether this really constitutes a third type of truth, or whether it is a personal participation in the first two.
At this point we ought to add that for any obedient Christian the choice between a correspondence theory of truth and a coherentist view is clear. The coherence theory of truth states that something is true if it coheres with other groups of truth-claims. When this is established, there is “epistemic justification” – it is true. The main problem with this theory is that it cannot even be proposed unless the correspondence theory is valid! Apart from that it becomes the assertion of truth without an underpinning referent. Truth needs to be transcendent if it is to be universal. And if it is not universal it cannot be communicated as anything other than a personal preference.
Any truth-concept that is not anchored securely in what really obtains falls prey to the much larger problem of its disconnection with the world that God has made and has put us in. When it comes down to it, a biblical theory of truth, as well as tracing truth back to the being and character of God, will incorporate aspects of the coherence view (as well as the pragmatic view) within a broad correspondence outlook. That is just to say, if a proposition corresponds to what actually is the case, it will manifest coherence with other states of affairs as they are seen from a Christian-Biblical standpoint. And because truth is relational – in that the doctrine of creation teaches that man is placed upon earth to interpret reality in accordance with revelation - it must have a practical value too.
See Internet on ‘Dr Reluctant’
(Contemporary American RC Bishop)
The unity of truth, according to Pope John Paul II
The problem of the unity of truth is perhaps more urgent than in other times. The lightning growth of our knowledge, even about other religions and cultures, makes it less and less obvious that there could be only one truth. Pope John Paul II had noted this in the very first pages of his Encyclical (Faith and Reason): "Recent times have seen the rise to prominence of various doctrines which tend to devalue even the truths which had been judged certain. A legitimate pluralism of positions has yielded to an undifferentiated pluralism, based upon the assumption that all positions are equally valid, which is one of today's most widespread symptoms of the lack of confidence in truth".
It is unavoidable at first to speak of truths in the plural, even to distinguish various modes of truth. But "the unity of truth is a fundamental premise of human reasoning, as the principle of non-contradiction makes clear" (n. 34), because, "if something is true, then it must be true for all people and at all times" (n. 27). The deeper question, and this is the precise theme of the Encyclical, is how can "the two modes of knowledge" (n. 34), i.e., of faith and reason coexist without contradicting, but rather supporting each other.
An initial step towards a solution, a step which could be called existential, is found in the philosophical analysis of belief. There we see that man is characterized by a twofold longing: the longing for truth and the longing to entrust himself to another person. At the purely human level the complete fulfillment of the two longings tends to be mutually exclusive, but in the person of Jesus Christ we meet a highly trustworthy person who at the same time is the Truth in person. Faith in Christ, then, presents that goal of knowledge for which all human beings secretly long, usually without realizing it.
However, this goal of the human search for truth, the focal point to which all knowledge implicitly tends, belongs to the domain of faith and not of reason. Does this mean that one of the two modes of knowledge must be absorbed by the other? Not at all. The second step of the solution, theological (or ontological, if you will), re-establishes the two modes in both their autonomy and their perfect harmony, based on the fact "that the God of creation is also the God of salvation history. It is the one and the same God who establishes and guarantees the intelligibility and reasonableness of the natural order of things upon which scientists confidently depend, and who reveals himself as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Thus the unity of truth is guaranteed, in the last analysis, by the unity of God, the Creator and Saviour.
*See L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly Edition in English, 10 March 1999
( Low Countries theologian, 1217-1293)
The pure full truth (sincera veritas) is obtained by illumination only
In the early writings, Henry laid out a theory of knowledge dependent on a notion of truth as rightness and insistent on the inadequacy of the unaided human intellect to achieve fully reliable knowledge without God's help, traditionally described in Neoplatonic terms as an illumination from the divine intelligible light. His views about knowledge and truth constitutes a detailed exposition of the theory of divine illumination. According to Henry's position, the human intellect begins with the data of sensation and works its way by purely natural means to an approximate understanding of an object's essential composition, an understanding neither completely clear nor precise. Henry calls this 'knowledge of the true' (verum). Only after it had reached this point could the mind call upon its reflexive capacities and God's aid to refine its understanding until it was fully clear and adequate to the theoretical requirements for certain knowledge of the truth.
So the first step that the mind reaches is a grade of cognition worthy of being called knowledge of the truth (veritas) and sufficient for the beginnings of scientific thought. From simple truths gathered in this way, one could construct a system of intellection adequate to the standards Aristotle had established for science in his Posterior Analytics.
Yet such truth, and such science, is still imperfect, because the human mind working on its own is subject to error. For absolute certitude, and perfect science, the intellect has to turn to God, calling upon an illumination from above to confirm its insights and correct its mistakes. Although Henry describes this second step in various ways, his preference is to see it as a comparison drawn by the mind between the word of truth established at the lower boundaries of science and the eternal exemplar rendered intelligible by God through illumination. The expressed concept, rectified to suit the contours of the divine ideal, is now fashioned into a vehicle for knowledge of the 'full truth, pure and simple' (sincera veritas), upon which could be constructed an absolutely reliable system of knowledge.
Henry's thesis rests upon a distinction between knowing the true and knowing the truth. The true can be known without a special divine illumination; knowing the truth requires some extraordinary assistance from God.
In other words for Henry there are two different levels of truth: on the one hand, the veritas of Aristotelian science, deriving from the purely natural faculties, through an abstracting process, and on the other, the sincera veritas, obtained only through divine illumination .The first truth does not have the same infallibility, purity and absolute certainty as the second; nevertheless, it is still a form of veritas, no matter how “imperfecta, obscura et nebulosa”. Indeed, it is a form that is absolutely necessary for the fulfilment of the second: the action of the divine exemplar can only work on a concept already obtained by the intellect through abstraction. For Henry, divine illumination does not directly provide the mind with any content, but rather certifies definitively the representation of a thing present in the human intellect, as coinciding with the representation existing ab aeterno in the divine intellect.
* See Decorte, J. (2001). “Henri de Gand et la définition classique de la vérité,” Recherches de Théologie et Philosophie médiévales, 68: 34-74.
( British theologian and biblical scholar, 1901-1994)
A Christian appraisal of Existentialism: its truth and untruth
1. Existentialism's claim to relevancy and involvement of the whole of man's existence in truth offers much that is desirable. The word "existentialism" is an extension of the word "existence." The crucial issues which face modern man require that he discover the true nature of his existence. For centuries the approach in philosophy has reduced the world of persons, including God and man, to mere objects of thought, as concepts set forth in the categories of language. The result has been the application of man's rational powers to control and direct life on the horizontal plane economically, politically, scientifically, and religiously. The consequence is the dehumanization of the individual. The Christian religion has been emptied of its vital meaning and its relevancy to life. This is due largely to the church's concern with and search for rational certainty, rather than with living truth. Because religious truth has become objectivised, man has been separated from God.
There is much truth to this critical observation by existentialism. The church has long operated principally in the context of ideas and doctrines, giving priority to formal utterances by church and school. It is possible to answer many questions about religion and life without dealing with the main issue: that of being personally involved in the whole of one's being. A rational philosophy of religion can be a substitute for the real thing. In the juggling of words and ideas, it is possible to reduce God to an idea. The effort to formulate a creed can get man nowhere. The God that people claim to believe in may become to them no more than an intellectual abstraction. This is the great tragedy of philosophy according to existentialism.
2.The crucial problem in Existentialism centers in the question of how to arrive at truth. Man discovers truth, not by the certainty of objective knowledge, but only by personal decision, Kierkegaard’s "passionate inwardness". Man's involvement comes first. Truth depends for its validity upon man. Truth comes from within, not from without. Man's decision creates out of itself what is existentially true. The rational consistency of biblical content as doctrine is not essential in order to know the truth. Truth is not objectively given in the Bible so that it is eternally true.
The objectivity of the truth of Scripture, fixed by the very nature of divine revelation and inspiration, is incompatible with this subjective approach. Existentialism is unwilling to be bound by the normative character of the Word of God. Is the truth of Scripture autonomous? Existentialism denies this. What is prior, says traditional Christianity, is the knowledge of and from God, not the decisions of men. The latter is tested by the former. Truth stands apart from man's decision. It possesses a pre-established harmony with the God of the Bible and His Son Jesus Christ. Consequently, belief on a knowledge basis is essential to and prior to personal involvement in truth. It can be depended upon regardless of man's participation in it.
The traditional Christian position states that belief in the Bible as the revealed Word of God is, first, a statement, not about human existence in a contemporary situation, but an objective knowledge of truth given by God existing in and of itself. Existentialism has a point in warning against abstract intellectualism. Undoubtedly, the vital importance of deciding for truth cannot be overestimated; but how shall man know that what he decides for is in reality the truth? In Scripture, the principles of truth, morality, God, and man, are fixed for all time and for all men. Here God tells man about Himself, who He is, what He has done, is doing, and what He will do, and what He requires men to believe and do. This is the given knowledge content of truth. He addresses man personally and calls for an intelligent personal response, an involvement in harmony with the knowledge given and present to the mind. True involvement requires obedience to that which is objectively given.
For Existentialism there is no universal truth for all men. The discovery of truth for each man is unrepeatable in anyone else. The truth for one man constitutes no norm for another. The peril here is that man will attach himself to that which is false. Here exists the unbridgeable gulf between existentialism and the traditional Christian religion. For existentialism refuses to be bound by the eternal truths of the revealed Word of God. The traditional Christian view is that the historical events and doctrinal truth of the Bible have significance for men in every age on the basis that they constitute the eternal and fixed truth of God. A trustworthy approach to the truth is both objective and existential. If men are to discover the truth for heart, mind, and life, harmony between the given Word and the existential experience is essential. When only the latter is required, truth and knowledge have passed over into sheer subjectivism.
See Internet, Heppenstall Edward
Greek philosopher (535-475 BC)
Nothing is immutably true, because the truth of being is in becoming : panta rhei
The Eleatists believed in a permanent static being, but Heraclitus believed the opposite, namely perpetual change and movement, the theory that ‘everything streams and nothing lasts’, ‘panta rhei kai ouden menei’. Change is real, and stability illusory. Everything is in a state of flux, nothing is stable, everything is relative.
The question is how lasting knowledge is possible in a world in which everything changes. As Heraclitus said that all things are constantly changing, he inferred that there is no permanent subject of change. You cannot step into the same river twice. If things are constantly changing, then nothing is knowlable in a rational way, only in a mysterious kind of intuition. Heraclitus grasped his truths through intuition.
His philosophy of change also taught that the conflict of opposites was a principle of reality. Conflict is the father of all things: polemos pater panton. Parmenides on the contrary argued that change is an illusion. The senses may tell us that things change, but that only means that the senses deceive us, and sense knowledge is the way of fools. The intellect tells us that all that exists is being, and that being is not divided into being and non-being. Being is one and unchanging.
* See Histories of Greek Philosophy
(British religious philosopher, 1583-1648)
Religious truths are discovered by the innate faculties of ordinary individuals
In his book, De Veritate, Herbert began with this question, "How can we know the truth?" According to him, human beings have innate "faculties" that can be used in determining the truth in any matter. He divided these faculties into four groups which he called: (1) basic instinct, (2) internal sense, (3) external sense, and (4) reason. "Basic Instinct" was defined by him as a person's natural inclination to search for happiness. Under "Internal Sense," he grouped a number of "faculties" which, taken together, meant "conscience." By "External Sense," he meant the five senses by which a person perceives objects. And by "Reason," he meant the intellectual ability to assess the meaning of what is perceived, but he believed that "reason" is guided by all of the other "faculties." Thus four kinds or degrees of truth are distinguished by him: truth of the thing; truth of appearance; truth of concept; and truth of intellect. Herbert proposed that by using all of the innate "faculties," a person can arrive at truths, which he called "common notions," implying that they are given "universal assent" or generally accepted by people in all places and at all times. It is the "universal consent" that is made by him "the highest rule of natural instinct” , and "the highest criterion of truth". This appeal to universal consent makes Herbert a precursor of the philosophy of Common Sense, and lays him open to the criticism urged by Locke that there are no truths which can satisfy the test, there being nothing so certain or so generally known that it has not been ignored or denied by some.
When Herbert applied his methodology to the subject of religion, he came up with the common notions, applied to religious truths, which he believed had universal assent. Herbert's idea that "religious truths" could be discovered by ordinary individuals was obviously very radical because the Church taught that "religious truths" must come only from religious "authorities" and must be accepted unquestioningly by ordinary people on faith. Herbert's approach to religion meant that each person had the power and responsibility for determining religious truths for himself or herself. Every individual has to render an account of his actions in the light, not of another's belief, but of his own. So the fundamental principles of religion must be established by means of universal wisdom, so whatever has been added to it by the genuine dictates of Faith may rest on that foundation.
*See R. D. Bedford (1979), The Defence of Truth: Herbert of Cherbury and the seventeenth century
(German philosopher 1744-18O3)
1. Herder holds the central tenet of pluralism - namely, that there are many objectively valid ends and ways of life that people can pursue, no one of which can be ranked as intrinsically better or worse for mankind as such. Each is an expression of a people living a particular time and place, and each springs from its whole "form of life". Herder's pluralism describes a world in which this is the natural state of affairs, with each particular culture happily believing in the truth of its own meaningful and purposive norms, practices, and beliefs.
2. But in addition to holding that each culture has its own standard of goodness and truth within itself, Herder also maintains that each of these cultures must be understood as contributing to the realization of a higher good that comes to light in the whole of world history. He views the plurality of norms, practices, and beliefs in human history as constituting a larger, purposive whole, with each of those norms, practices, and beliefs serving as a means to realizing a divinely ordained end. Herder seems to have maintained this view because he was convinced that a complete pluralism teaches a truth about mankind and the world that is incompatible with the necessary conditions of human happiness as he understands them. Man can only experience happiness when he understands himself to exist within a unified, monistic whole, a cultural constellation of norms, practices, and beliefs in which he can find meaning and purpose.
In fact, Herder thinks that, experienced in and of itself, pluralism leads to a psychological abyss. He was convinced that only by combining his pluralistic insights with a modified form of monism could the apparent arbitrariness of history be redeemed and happiness be possible for the pluralist, because only the existence of such a trans-cultural whole could show that the events of history take place for a reason - as a means to fulfilling a higher purpose. A radical form of pluralism would lead to relativism and have the effect of showing that each culture lacks a larger whole to bestow meaning and purpose upon it - something that would undermine the necessary conditions of human happiness.
* See Herder’s Social and Political Thought, F.M.Barnard, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1965
(Contemporary personal and business success coach)
Reasons why we may not always chose to tell the truth
Communication is the vehicle by which we create and maintain all of our human relationships, and if we "speak the truth" when we talk or write to others, then these relationships can be deep and honest. But there are many reasons why we may not always chose to tell the truth in a given situation.
What is the Truth?
The truth is personal; it is what is so for you. "Truth" is not synonymous with "reality" or "facts." As eloquently put by Anais Nin, "We don't see things as they are. We see them as we are." The Truth is our own perception of reality, our own "story" of ourselves and the world. It is colored by our nature, experiences, perceptions, interpretations, etc. What is true for us may not be provable in the traditional sense, but to a considerable extent it defines us and how we think and interact. When you speak the truth to someone you share yourself with them in a very deep way. In sharing your truth you tell them who you are and what you really think.
However there are lots of reasons why we don't always tell the truth.
1. You don't know the truth yourself. It stands to reason that you cannot share your truth if you are not aware of it.
2. You fear the consequences. Sometimes when you tell the truth there are potentially significant consequences either for yourself or others. You may find it easier to tell the truth only when it is non-threatening.
3. You think the other person will not hear, or be able to handle, the truth. You can control how you speak your truth, but you cannot control how someone else hears, interprets, or reacts to it.
4. You don't want the other person to tell you their truth. Sometimes you just don't want to ruin a perfectly good, but superficial, relationship by starting to tell the truth. The other person might say something which conflicts with your view of the world.
The other person might criticize you or what you do.
In brief, telling the truth requires skills and awareness; awareness to know your own truth, and the communication skills to express it in a way that touches another - not with brashness and brutality but with compassion, kindness, and subtlety.
See Internet Herman Jane
(Swiss philosopher, 1910-2000)
La tolérance vraie ne sacrifie rien de la vérité.
La tolérance n'est pas, comme on le pense souvent, une vertu d'urbanité, à mettre sur le même plan que la politesse. Elle n'est pas, ou ne devrait pas être, l'huile qui permet aux rouages des volontés humaines de tourner plus facilement malgré leurs divergences. La tolérance véritable a la même racine que les Droits de l'homme. Or cette racine est en même temps celle de la liberté et de la vérité. Une racine sauvage, peu diplomatique, plongeant dans une exigence absolue. C'est parce que l'être humain est capable de s'engager absolument - risquant sa vie et parfois davantage - qu'il a des droits inconditionnels. C'est parce que son engagement envers ce qu'il croit vrai peut être absolu qu'il y a violation de l'humain à tenter de lui imposer par la contrainte une conviction différente de la sienne, ou à exiger de lui un comportement opposé. L'absolu de la conviction ou de l'exigence morale dont découle sa conduite exige de l'autre être humain, non une plus grande tiédeur de la conviction ou de l'exigence morale, mais un absolu respect de cette conviction ou de cette exigence différente, même s'il est loin de la partager. Tel est le fondement des Droits de l'homme. Et tel est aussi le fondement de la tolérance vraie, qui ne sacrifie rien de la vérité.
Quiconque prétend imposer un comportement ou une conviction par la contrainte ou la menace ne se contente pas de violer les Droits de l'homme, mais s'engage encore dans une action vide de sens. En effet, toute conviction, tout comportement volontaire est l'aboutissement d'une pensée. Or toute pensée contrainte est un non-sens, c'est-à-dire une non-pensée. Il n'y a de pensée qu'à la recherche d'un sens vrai.
La tolérance véritable ne grandit pas, comme certains l'imaginent, grâce à une indifférence croissante à l'égard du vrai. Au contraire : ce qui importe, c'est d'élucider les valeurs, les critères et les significations qui constituent le vrai pour l'être humain, et de lui apprendre à diversifier, en la précisant, la nature de l'adhésion qu'il lui donne.
Dans ce sens, la tolérance, loin d'être une tiède commodité à base d'indifférence, prend sa source dans la vocation sans fin, absolue, de la condition historique de l'être humain, en quête d'une vérité jamais atteinte.
L'erreur - et la tentation - consiste à substituer une prétendue "propriété", un "avoir" de vérités et de principes d'action, à un approfondissement d'être, de déploiement de soi-même. L'alternative est toujours : vais-je imposer à autrui ma pensée, ma conviction, ma manière d'organiser la vie, ce qui est actuellement "le vrai" ou "le bien" à mes yeux, à l'aide de tous les moyens de contrainte dont je dispose, afin d'imposer "ce vrai" ou "ce bien" dans le monde, hors de moi, - ou vais-je essayer, par l'imagination, à tous les niveaux où j'en suis capable, de "mimer", avec mon être propre, la pensée, la conviction, le "vrai" et le "bien" d'autrui et sa manière d'organiser la vie, en admettant dans mon attitude première des limitations ou des erreurs pouvant entraîner des mutilations de ma possible condition humaine, celle qu'il est de mon devoir de sujet libre et responsable de réaliser ? Telle est l'alternative, pour des sujets humains toujours transcendés par la vérité de leur vocation.
C'est par conscience de non-savoir, et par soif de vérité, que chacun a besoin de comprendre – vraiment comprendre, c'est-à-dire mimer – l'effort de savoir, et la conscience partielle de vérité, qui est celle d'autrui.
Il suit de ce qui précède que la véritable tolérance, loin de renoncer à la vérité par gain de paix, stimule en profondeur sa recherche authentique. Mais il n'en découle pas qu'elle puisse fonder la paix. C'est que la vérité est loin d'être seule en cause.
*Jeanne Hersch.: "La tolérance aujourd'hui, analyses philosophiques", Paris, août 1993
( African American anthropologist, 1895-1963)
All truths created by a particular culture are equally true: there are no objective standard of moral truth
Melville J. Herskovits wrote in “Cultural Relativism”: "Judgments are based on experience, and experience is interpreted by each individual in terms of his own enculturation." In other words, people's judgment about what is right and wrong is determined by their cultural experiences. This would include everything from childhood training to cultural pressures to conform to the majority views of the group. Herskovits went on to argue that even the definition of what is normal and abnormal is relative to culture.
He believed that cultures were flexible, and so ethical norms change over time. The standard of ethical conduct may change over time to meet new cultural pressures and demands. When populations are unstable and infant mortality is high, cultures value life and develop ethical systems to protect it. When a culture is facing overpopulation, a culture redefines ethical systems and even the value of life. Life is valuable and sacred in the first society. Mercy killing might become normal and acceptable in the second society.
Polygamy might be a socially acceptable standard for society. But later, that society might change its perspective and believe that it is wrong for a man to have more than one wife. Herskovits believed that whatever a society accepted or rejected became the standard of morality for the individuals in that society.
He believed that "the need for a cultural relativistic point of view has become apparent because of the realization that there is no way to play this game of making judgment across cultures except with loaded dice." Ultimately, he believed, culture determines our moral standards and attempting to compare or contrast cultural norms is futile. If truth is created not discovered, then all truths created by a particular culture are equally true. This means that cultural norms and institutions should be considered equally valid if they are useful to a particular group of people within a culture.
According to Herkovits you cannot judge the morality of another culture. If there is no objective standard, then someone in one culture does not have a right to evaluate the actions or morality of another culture..
* See Simpson, George Eaton, Melville J. Herskovits, New York, Columbia University Press, 1973.
( German born Americam Jewish theologian, 1907-1972)
Abraham Heschel offers a very insightful explanation of the basic differences between theology and philosophy. The differences described by Heschel seem to boil down to that of attitude or methodology. In philosophy, the questions are commonly more important than the answers; indeed, even when it seems that we have arrived at answers, we also have arrived at new and perhaps more interesting questions that allow us to begin again. Philosophy is a quest or process that never ends and never needs to end.
Theology, on the other hand, typically starts out "knowing" the most basic answers (whether God exists, what God is like, what God has done, etc.). These are the dogmas of the religious tradition with which theology is concerned. At this point the purpose is not to arrive at answers but to better understand why these answers are true and what those answers are supposed to mean for us.
Given the premises of theology — that is to say, if we grant the truth of the answers a theology presupposes — then this methodology would make sense. Given the premises of philosophy, however, the theological attitude is completely backwards. It makes no sense to start out assuming the truths of basic points and merely seek to understand them. Granted, all philosophy assumes some things as truth, but the point of philosophy is to challenge assumptions and find new questions. The point of theology seems more to be to find ways to accept assumptions and put questions to rest.
Theology, at its heart, tends to be apologetical in nature. It is committed to the defense of particular religious positions. Theology relies upon religious scriptures (like the Bible or the Quran) as authoritative while such texts are simply objects of study in philosophy. It is not that theology is not searching for any answers; rather, the case is that theology is not searching for enough questions!
* Heschel, Abraham God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism (1955)
(Contemporary Canadian Christian writer)
The five categories of truth that cannot be proven by the scientific method
Science has contributed innumerable benefits to human life on planet Earth. Due to its success, there is often a tendency to think that science can explain everything. However there are actually many things that science cannot prove. Here are five categories of truth that cannot be proven using the scientific method:
1) Existential Truth: Science cannot prove that you aren’t merely a brain in a jar being manipulated to think this is all actually happening. However it’s still rational to believe that our memories are true and that the world is real.
2) Moral Truth: Science can describe how the natural world is, but moral truth carries an “oughtness” (how things should be) about it that goes beyond what merely is.
3) Logical Truth: Science cannot prove logic to be true because it assumes and requires logic in order for it to work.
4) Historical Truth: the method for proving historical truths is different from testing scientific truths since historical truths are by nature non-repeatable.
5) Experiential Truth: There is no scientific test that can confirm a lifetime of experience of knowing a person.
None of this is meant to criticize science! There’s nothing wrong with the scientific method for testing the kinds of things it was meant to test. However, it would be a mistake to expect it to be able to test everything. There are more intellectual tools available to us than just science, and as the old saying goes, when all you’ve got is a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail!
For the kinds of truth listed above, science is not deficient in any way; it’s just not the right way to find those particular kinds of truth. To try to do so would be like trying to ascertain whether a banana is tasty by sticking it in your ear and listening to it; it’s simply the wrong method!
There is one other kind of truth that cannot be proven or disproven by science. That’s because it is comprised of all of the other kinds of truth mentioned above mixed together: Religious truth. It does have a certain amount of overlap with science, when religion makes explicit claims about scientific fact, and when science makes explicit claims about religion. But the overlap tends to be rather small; in any case, true science and true religion, because they both aim to describe reality, can never be in conflict.
*See internet Darren HEWER
(Dutch mathematician and logician, 1898-1980)
Truth in intuitonist mathematics: by "constructive verification"
It seems that Heyting may be rather unhelpful in the case of the notion of truth, for according to him, the notion of truth makes no sense in intuitionistic mathematics. This is the case, of course, if one understands 'truth' exclusively in the classical correspondence sense: 'One can only speak of genuine mathematical truth if there is a mathematical reality to which it is related, but to me personally the assumption of an abstract reality of any sort seem meaningless', he writes.
Heyting first attacks the classical notion of 'p is true' for implying the idea of transcendent existence. He next criticizes the suggestion of replacing 'p is true' by 'p is provable'. One does not, according to Heyting, thus escape the criticism, for 'p is provable', being equivalent to 'there exists a proof of p', implies again the idea of transcendent existence. Instead, one must replace the classical notion with 'one knows how to prove p' . This means that, although Heyting prefers to avoid the notion of truth, he nevertheless clearly rebuts here the possibilist notion ( it can be proved) in favour of the actualist approach (it is proved). 'We simply cannot speak about the truth-value of a proposition which has neither been proved true nor proved false'.
For Heyting, however, intuitionistic and classical logic do not as such conflict, for they concern, according to him, wholly different issues; he called the former the logic of knowledge and the latter the logic of being, i.e. the former express, in his view, what is known as true, whereas the latter what is true. There is as such no disagreement here between intuitionism and realism, for even a hard-core Platonist agrees that not every statement is at present known to be true or known to be false. In any case Heyting condemns the logic of being (or truth, i.e. classical logic) as meaningless, leaving the (intuitionistic) logic of knowledge as the only access to genuine mathematics. Like all mathematical intuitionists, Heyting do not subscribe to the law of the excluded middle . If, ontologically, one rejects the law of the excluded middle, it is impossible to say anything about the truth or falsity of a declarative sentence before its truth or falsity has been verified in some epistemologically acceptable manner. Just as classical mathematics is based on an epistemology of classical logic, intuitionistic mathematics is based on its own system of intuitionistic logic. Intuitionistic logic defines what constitutes a valid proof, i.e. it defines its epistemology. A valid proof defines something as being true. In this case, the truth status of a sentence is conditional on the testing of the assertion that sentence makes using the epistemology of intuitionistic logic. Prior to a properly constructed verification of that sentence's assertion, the sentence has no truth value ascribed to it. It is neither true nor false but has simply the status of indeterminate truth. Thus the ontology of intuitionistic truth is that of 'truth by constructive verification'. It is a pragmatic theory of truth, based on the work of the philosophers of pragmatism.
* HEYTING Arend, Logic and foundations of mathematics, Groningen, Wolters-Noordhoff, 1968
(English philosopher of religion, 1922)
The truth of religious knowledge: the pluralism of religious truths
1. Truth and verification in religious knowledge
For some, religious faith is a purely subjective way at looking at and interpreting the world (a “blik”). Being neither verifiable nor falsifiable, religious assertions, they say, are meaningless. For others, religious faith is established on pragmatic usefulness for social and psychological reasons. Hick does not agree, he is a realist, for he considers religious faith as a genuine mode of cognition: it could be true or false. Therefore it is open to verification and falsification. But the question is to know what type of verification ought to be obtainable in the field of religious knowledge.
Hick rejects Flew’s contention that what cannot be falsified - the unverifiable - is meaningless. This is not applicable to religious knowledge. For instance , life after death is not verifiable, still it could be true. Such a proposition – like all religious assertions – is about a factual – not logically necessary - statement: it can be true or false but certainly not empty and meaningless. The question for Hick is not so much to prove the truth or falsity of religious assertions but to show that they are not meaningless. If they are not capable to be verified at present , they are at least verifiable because, according to Hick, they are open to “eschatologial” verification. If not verifiable now, they could be verified at the end of time.
2. The pluralism of religious truths
Religious cognitions are always interpetative. Religious traditions offer their own particular interpretation. It is not possible to say that any particular tradition contains more truth than another. But, according to Hick, they have in common to be ways to salvific relationship with “the Real”. Religious truth cannot consist in the professing beliefs and doctrines they offer because it is not possible “ that our final destiny should depend upon our professional beliefs concerning which we have no definitive information”. Truth lies in soteriological effectiveness and on that issue all the great traditions are more or less equally effective.
Ineffability is a common characteristic of the ultimately Real. There is one wholly unknowable Real, perceived in different and equally adequate ways in the world religions. They may be all authentic expressions of the one unknowable Real. The differences and apparent contradictions that they display is explained by the fact that the religious experiences they propose are subject to various conceptual interpretations. No interpretation is adequate to the richness and complexity of the religious object. Each interpretation may be more or less adequate on account of an object that transcends any of them in some respects. Characterisations of the ineffable Real should be termed ‘mythologically true’, rather than ‘literally true’. A statement is said to be mythologically true if it tends to evoke an appropriate dispositional attitude to the unknowable Real.
Well aware of the fact that religions make truth-claims which are in contradiction with each other and in order to justify his pluralistic hypothesis (that all religions are true), Hick makes use of the distinction between beliefs that may well be true or false myths from beliefs that may be true or false factual assertions. Pressed with the problem of conflicting truth-claims, he interprets religious beliefs mythologically to avoid potential contradictions. For instance the concepts of the personal and the impersonal faces of Reality are mythologically true but the assertion of the Real itself is literally true. Hick makes use of myth to soften the conflicts between religious traditions. What all religions have in common, mostly the concept of absolute Reality and the notion of salvation/liberation belongs to what is in them literally true. What makes them differ and conflict with each other, may be true but only mythologically true. In this way Hick intends to justify his thesis of the “pluralism of religious truths”.
* Hick, John, Faith and Knowledge, Collins, Fount Paperbacks, 1978; God and the Universe of Faiths, Nat Book Network, 1993; Interpretation of Religion, Yale University Press, 1989
(French theologian, 315-367)
The logic of truth versus the logic of prejudice Hilary of Poitiers is regarded as the champion of the Nicene faith. He wrote extensively to denounce the heresy of Arianism. In his De Trinitate, he has this to say on the problem of truth: “It is manifest that there is nothing which men have ever said that is not liable to opposition. Where the will dissents, the mind also dissents: under the bias of opposing judgment it joins battle, and denies the assertions to which it objects.... For decisions once formed cling with excessive obstinacy: and the passion of controversy cannot be driven from the course it has taken, when the will is not subject to the reason. Enquiry after truth gives way to the search for proofs of what we wish to believe; desire is paramount over truth. Then the theories we concoct build themselves on names rather than things; the logic of truth gives place to the logic of prejudice, a logic which the will adjusts to defend its fancies, not one which stimulates the will through the understanding of truth by reason. From these defects of partisan spirit arise all controversies between opposing theories. Then follows an obstinate battle between truth asserting itself, and prejudice defending itself: truth maintains its ground and prejudice resists. But if desire had not forestalled reason, if the understanding of the truth had moved us to desire what was true instead of trying to set up our desires as doctrines, we should let our doctrines dictate our desires. There would be no contradiction of the truth, for every one would begin by desiring what was true, not by defending the truth of that which he desired.”
* See C.F.A. Borchardt, Hilary of Poitiers' Role in the Arian Struggle. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1966.
(German mathematician, 1862-1943)
The foundational philosophy of formalism, as exemplified by David Hilbert, is based on axiomatic set theory and formal logic. It contends that all mathematical theorems can be formulated as theorems of set theory. The truth of a mathematical statement, in this view, is then nothing but the claim that the statement can be derived from the axioms of set theory using the rules of formal logic.
Formalists assert that mathematics must be developed through axiomatic systems. They don't recognize an external world of mathematics. Formalists argue that there are no mathematical objects until we create them. Humans create the real number system by establishing axioms to describe it. All mathematics needs is inference rules to progress from one step to the next. The Formalists try to prove that within the framework of established axioms, theorems, and definitions, a mathematical system is consistent.
The problem is that formalism does not explain several issues: why we should use the axioms we do and not some others, why we should employ the logical rules we do and not some others, why "true" mathematical statements appear to be true in the physical world, and so on.
The Austrian logician Kurt Gödel deduced a fatal flaw in Hilbert's reasoning. You can't find a system to prove all mathematical truths, Gödel discovered, because some true statements can't be proved. For example, "this statement can't be proved" is true, but you can't prove it, because then it would be false. Gödel's reasoning showed that no axiom system could be complete - it would contain true statements that are not provable within the system. He proved (using math) that there are things in math which, even though we might believe that they are true, we can not prove them to be true. In a poetic sort of way, we can interpret this result to say something like "Truth is greater than proof."
* Hilbert, David, Foundations of Geometry, Open Court Publishing Company, 1971
Contemporary American Christian apologist)
Believing something does not make it true: Truth is fixed by the word of God.
Truth is not determined by what someone chooses to believe. One may elect to believe the Book of Mormon, but that does not make the Book of Mormon true. One may choose to believe that the Pope of Rome is the Vicar of Christ, but believing it does not make it so. Some people believe man has the same nature of a beast and no other nature, but their belief does not make it true that man is wholly a material being. A lot of people believe miracles are being performed today (tongues, healing, prophecy, etc.), but their belief, which sometimes moves them in emotional experiences, does not make it true.
Some men refuse to believe there is a God. These men are called atheists. They suppose there is no being higher than humanity. This idea leaves them without any feeling of accountability to anyone except themselves. Refusal to believe in God does not change the fact that God exists and men are responsible to Him for their deeds.
Truth is determined by what the Scriptures teach, not by what someone believes, or refuses to believe. Jesus said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (Mk. 16:16); that is the truth, and if every person on earth refused to accept it, that teaching of Jesus would still be the truth.
Truth is fixed by the word of God. Truth does not depend on what you and I believe or refuse to believe, but our eternal security does depend on our believing that which is the truth and not turning from that truth.
* Himmel Irvin,Truth Magazine XIX: January 16, 1975
( Greek physician, 460 - 375 B.C)
The true basis of medical knowledge
Hippocrates, a physician from the island of Cos in ancient Greece is known as the “Father of Medicine.” He is credited with turning away from divine notions of medicine and using observation of the body as a basis for medical knowledge. Prayers and sacrifices to the gods did not hold any place in his theories, but changes in diet, beneficial drugs, and keeping the body "in balance" were the key.
He pointed out the means whereby medicine became a science. He argued that disease is naturally caused, not smote upon people by the gods. Observation and prognosis are methods by which we can combat them. He recognized, for instance, that epilepsy was a brain disorder, and he spoke out against the ideas that seizures were a curse from the gods and that people with epilepsy held the power of prophecy. Hippocrates is traditionally the personified expression of' medicine which becomes "rational" and takes its place in the wide movement of the "philosophy of nature". In this case what is meant by philosophy is the "desire to know": the whys and wherefores of illnesses, their cure, of the effects of the therapy and so on. Hippocrates, in making the great effort to free medicine as a science from "priestly" influences, did not neglect philosophy, however, and in fact used it widely: but related to experience, not outside it. To investigate is recognized as a fundamental part of medical art, and investigation is carried out both through passive observation of phenomena and through the observation of provoked phenomena. From the study of particular cases, conclusions of general significance are reached in a rational way.
* See Boylan, Michael (2006), Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2006
(British philosopher, 1588-1679)
The conventional view of truth provides theoretical support for Hobbes's political absolutism
Hobbes’ ultimate goal in the Leviathan is to provide a justification for political absolutism, a political system in which there is a unified sovereign with unconditional and unlimited authority. He argues that political absolutism is the only system which can be expected to avoid a state of war.
A conventional view of truth provides theoretical support for Hobbes's political absolutism in that it explains the causes of political disorder as arising from an incorrect attribution of words such as “truth”, "justice" and "good" and it justifies instituting an absolute sovereign who will be the final definer of such terms in the commonwealth. Hobbes has political reasons to advocate a conventional theory of truth.
Truth and falsity, for him, consists in either affirming or denying the connection between two names, and thus, "where speech is not, there is neither truth nor falsehood”. Hobbes argues that we cannot rely upon nature to reveal the truth about reality because the only way we can experience the world is through our senses, so "though the nature of that we conceive be the same, yet the diversity of our reception of it, in respect of different constitutions of the body, and prejudices of opinion, gives every thing a tincture of our different passions". Instead, Hobbes suggests the establishment of first definitions by the sovereign, upon which all members of society must agree. All conclusions that ensue follow from logical syllogisms based upon these first principles. Thus, Hobbes provides a deductive grounding for knowledge, much like in geometry, which Hobbes praises as "the only science that it hath pleased God hitherto to bestow on mankind" where everyone has accepted certain definitions and basic principles, after which geometric truths logically follow. When philosophical reasoning is thus reduced to mathematics, all truths and knowledge derived from these accepted first definitions become irrefutable, in the same way geometric proofs are irrefutable. In this manner, Hobbes boldly bases the entire nature of truth and epistemology upon language, a human construct.
Foreshadowing his argument for an agreed-upon sovereign, Hobbes claims that establishing sovereignty by consent is the only way to establish the truth and thus avoid conflict among people. * See: Robinson, Dave & Groves, Judy . Introducing Political Philosophy. Icon Books, 2003
(Contemporary American philosopher)
A claim is true only if it corresponds to the actual world.
What is it for a claim to be true? That is, what makes a claim true? The first step towards clarifying our question is to make sure it is clear that we are discussing only sentences that make claims, not the others. One big difference between sentences that make claims and the others is that only a sentence making a claim can be true or false. The reason is that questions, commands, exclamations and greetings have no truth-value. They are neither true nor false. Truth and falsehood simply do not apply. On the other hand, claims do have truth-value; i.e., they are either true or false. Claims and beliefs are similar so that we can say that beliefs, just like claims, are either true or false. What makes a claim (belief) true?
1. Some people argue that what makes a claim (belief) true is that most people believe it. This answer might initially seem to have a lot going for it. After all, how could a majority of us be wrong? The evidence, however, tells us that this is not right. There are countless cases in which a majority of people believed something, but were mistaken.
Others claim that what makes a claim (belief) a true is that we have evidence for it. This is certainly better than the previous argument. After all, having evidence of something is how we know, at least in part, that something is true. While this is a good attempt, unfortunately it won’t due either. The reason is that we often have evidence for a false claim.
Someone may be led to conclude from all of this that there isn’t anything that makes a claim (belief) true. They may think that either there is no such thing as a true claim, or that while there are true claims, there is nothing that makes them true. But this suggestion, that there is no such thing as a true claim, won’t work. The reason is that it itself is a claim. Thus, if what it says is true, then it cannot be true. That is, it is true only if it is false. This is clearly incoherent. So, we don’t want to go to the extreme of saying that there are no true claims or beliefs.
2. What makes a claim (or belief) that C is true is that C corresponds with the actual world. This theory did not originate with us. It goes back at least to the ancient Greek philosophers. It is known as the Correspondence Theory of Truth. In all cases, what makes the claim or belief true is the condition of the world. If the actual world contains the corresponding appropriate states of affairs, then the claim is true. It is false otherwise. By ‘actual world’ we mean the sum total of all the states of affairs that exist. And, it may well be the case that the actual world contains a variety of different types of facts. That is, there could very well be concrete and/or abstract states of affairs, as well as physical and/or non-physical states of affairs.
Which states of affairs are members of the actual world is, for the most part, independent of what we think or believe or claim. Though, of course, mental states of affairs are dependent upon each individual that has them for their existence, states of affairs that are not mental do not depend for their existence upon what anyone thinks, believes, or claims. In sum, the actual world contains all the objects and states of affairs that exist. A claim is true only if it corresponds to the actual world. This makes truth objective and discoverable. It makes science, philosophy, and religion worthy investigations.
* See Internet Hochstetter
(American idealist pragmatist philosopher, 1873-1966)
“Negative pragmatism": an idea which doesn't work can't be true
Hocking is conviced that human experience is the fundamental context for all knowing, including knowledge of God. He is convinced that we can have a true idea of God. This truth is not established by some authority external to our experience, however, such as a church hierarchy, a tradition, or a transcendental form of knowing such as revelation. All these forms of religious knowledge are verified in the context of human experience. He adopts a form of pragmatism that is his own and which he calls ‘negative pragmatism’.
He does not believe in the pragmatist's positive principle that the truth of an idea can be determined by whether it works in our experience or not. He believes in "negative pragmatism" which says that an idea which doesn't work can't be true.
If an idea works then it must be true: this is the classical view of pragmatism. The consequences of applying a concept reveal its truth value upon examination of the results. Although Hocking considers pragmatism a valuable criterion, he has reservation on account of its potential for false positives. Untrue concepts could appear to be working contrary to the purpose of the pragmatic test. If it has validity as a test, it is only in the form that Hocking calls "Negative Pragmatism". In essence, it states that ideas that do not work cannot possibly be true, though ideas which do work may or may not be true.
With negative pragmatism as our criterion, we can only find truth through a process of elimination. The better an idea survives our examination, the more confident we become in its reliability. When any and all unworkable answers have been identified and only one workable answer remains, we believe it to be the "truth" - the constant we have sought.
*See Furse, Margaret Lewis, Experience and certainty: William Ernest Hocking and philosophical mysticism, Atlanta, Ga.: Scholars Press, 1988.
(Contemporary American Christian internaut)
Facts are always true, and all that is true is also factual
“Science is the pursuit of facts, not truth. A scientist leaves the ownership of truth to philosophers and theologians. The currency of science is the provable, not the believable” :.this is the kind of mumbo-jumbo you'd hear if you were a pupil in thousands of biology, archaeology, and paleontology classrooms. But this kind of thinking is a rejection of the concepts of both truth and fact.
Truth is, by definition, the extent of all truisms. Everything that is true is part of truth. In every trial, the man is either guilty or innocent, never both, never neither. Despite what the fallible court may rule, a truth exists. Hidden from all human knowledge, perhaps, but true nonetheless. The thing that is true is also a fact. Fact, in scientific terms is something that is *observably* true, but not different in substance from truth.
The purpose of this rhetorical slight of hand is to disarm the still under-developed critical thinking abilities of young university students. What better way to supplant the truth that the students know than by convincing them that there is room for two truths in their world view: one under the banner of truth, the other flying the flag of fact.
As the impressionable students make space in their minds for the second truth, they never realize that they are doing so at the expense of the first. After several years of thinking this way, they come to realize that the notion of truth versus fact was nothing more than another way to say that whatever is not proven is false. Thus the conclusion: whatever is believed by faith is false!
Facts are always true, and all that is true is also factual. Everything that is not true is false or fiction. That there is a God is not only true, it is fact. Everything that suggests there is no God is false, untrue.
It is messy when two mutually exclusive truths attempt to occupy the same mind at the same time. The composition of both is decomposed, and the subject is left with the belief that there is no truth.
*See Internet Jason Hodge
(American sociologist and philosopher, 1902-1983)
The emotional needs of the ‘true believer’ are stronger than the need for truth
Hoffer was among the first to recognize the central importance of self-esteem to psychological well-being. While most recent writers focus on the benefits of a positive self-esteem, Hoffer focused on the consequences of a lack of self-esteem. Concerned about the rise of religious sects and totalitarian governments, he tried to find the roots of these "madhouses" in human psychology. He postulated that fanaticism and self-righteousness are rooted in self-hatred, self-doubt, and insecurity. As he describes in The True Believer, he believed a passionate obsession with the outside world or with the private lives of other people is merely a craven attempt to compensate for a lack of meaning in one's own life.
Hoffer claims that it is futile to judge the viability of mass movements by the truth of their doctrines and the feasibility of their promises. What has to be judged is their corporate organization for quick and total absorption of the frustrated. Where new creeds vie with each other for the allegiance of the populace, the one which comes with the most perfected collective framework wins. “All mass movements generate in their adherents a readiness to die and a proclivity for united action; all of them, irrespective of the supposed truths they preach and the program they project, breed fanaticism, enthusiasm, fervent hope, hatred and intolerance; all of them are capable of releasing a powerful flow of activity in certain departments of life; all of them demand blind faith and singlehearted allegiance.”
Hoffer calls this phenomenon the ‘true-believer syndrome’ in which the belief satisfies an emotional need that is stronger than the need for the truth. The less justified a man is in claiming excellence for his own self, the more ready he is to claim all excellence for his nation, his religion, his race or his holy cause. The ‘true believer’ or the fanatic feels perpetually incomplete and insecure. He cannot generate self-assurance out of his individual resources -- out of his rejected self -- but finds it only by clinging passionately to whatever support he happens to embrace. This passionate attachment is the essence of his blind devotion and religiosity, and he sees in it the source of all virtue and strength. He easily sees himself as the supporter and defender of the holy cause to which he clings. And he is ready to sacrifice his life. ‘True believers’ want to give up all personal responsibility for their beliefs and actions. They want to be free of the burden of freedom.
The passionate hatred of the true believers can give meaning and purpose to their empty life. Haunted by the purposelessness of their lives they try to find a new content not only by dedicating themselves to a holy cause but also by nursing a fanatical grievance. A mass movement offers them unlimited opportunities for both.
It has often been said that power corrupts. But it is perhaps equally important to realize that weakness, too, corrupts. Power corrupts the few, while weakness corrupts the many. Hatred, malice, rudeness, intolerance, and suspicion are the faults of weakness. The resentment of the weak does not spring from any injustice done to them but from their sense of inadequacy and impotence.
* Hoffer Eric, The True Believer, Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements, HarperCollins, 1989 reissue.
(Contemporary American Christian apologist)
The truth is intolerant by nature: truth is not our own
One of the more curious aspects of our modern culture is it’s unceasingly strong ambition for tolerance. It is my view that we as people should ascribe to something far beyond tolerance. Tolerance to me stops short of accomplishing anything of actual value. One of the most potentially devastating aspects about a modern view of tolerance is it’s impact on the concept and reality of truth. Truth by definition is the “quality or state of being true, that which is in accordance to fact or reality.” When the concepts of tolerance and truth are thrown together, we find more often than not a mutually exclusive relationship between them.
As Christians, there are truths found in scripture that cannot be ignored on the basis of tolerance. Sure we may be cheered from the street corners if we choose to accept all ways of thinking, behaving, and believing, but those cheers come at the expense of truth. Jesus said he was the way, the truth, and the life, and that no one can come to know the Father except by the Son. (John 14:6) Jesus himself said to Pilate that the reason he came into this world was to testify to the truth. (John 18:37) The truth is intolerant by nature. And tolerance by nature can be a form of hatred, if the reality of the truth we harbor means the perishing of those lost. An important reality of this principle is the fact that truth is not our own, it is outside of us. It is not ours to be arrogant and prideful with, it is God’s and we are called to shine light into darkness, to bring about the knowledge of the truth. We can’t do this under the veil of tolerance and the ambition to be liked by all. We can only do this when we have a principle goal of preaching the truth in love, “correcting” our opponents with “gentleness,” in hopes that “God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim 2:25).
This may not feel comfortable to us in the midst of a culture that exalts tolerance of all things, but it’s the truth and reality of the Gospel. We can aspire to more than mere tolerance and the ability to “live with” the various beliefs and behaviors we’re surrounded with. We can aspire to loving others with the powerful intolerant truth of the Gospel.
*See Internet Andy Holloway
(Greek poet, c.850-800 BC) Truth: a matter of personal relationship between speaker and hearer
The word aletheia is used by Homer to signify truth. Truth for him is always something that some one tells to another. Truth has to do with the reliability of what is said by one person to another. Often Homer uses the term to mean “the whole truth”, not just to utter some sentence which is true, but to give a whole account, to tell the entire narrative. The account given by the speaker has to be complete with nothing held back and without deception. The Homeric notion of aletheia is precisely the same, with the same force and flavour, as that enshrined in the traditional oath or solemn affirmation required of a witness in court proceedings: to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Thus Homer’s aletheia is a matter of being truthful and open in one person’s dealing with another. What is said can be taken by the hearers as trustworthy. The truth-teller does not hide or conceal anything from his hearer. Thus Homer’s aletheia is not presented as a relation between reality and thought, but as a personal relation between a speaker and a hearer. It does point at a relation between statements or judgments and the world. Rather it means the truthfulness and openness of a person who does not lie but speaks reliably. Truth-telling is the personal virtues of openness, honesty, and truthfulness. It has to deal with interpersonal dealings. The first Greek philosophers after Homer, notably Parmenides and Plato, will take a mighty step towards depersonalising the truth. Aletheia will be loosed from the context of speaking and telling, to describe the unchangeable Reality and be identified with it.
(Contemporary American pragmatist philosopher)
In defense of the pragmatic theory of truth
Hook believed that only the pragmatic account of knowledge, with its instrumentalist emphasis, provided an adequate explanation of the value ascribed to knowledge in human experience and a satisfactory answer to the question of why knowledge was important for human life.
His analysis of the metaphysics of pragmatism explores the issue of whether the practice of scientific method presupposed a set of beliefs about the world or any set of ontological commitments. For Hook, the primacy of scientific method does not require a prior set of foundational metaphysical beliefs but is justified by its empirical consequences. Hook recognizes that an empirical analysis of experience and of the way scientific knowledge originated and functioned in the human environment could justify statements that represented the “great commonplaces” of experience and of the world. These statements could even be identified as “empirical metaphysics” in the sense that they asserted general traits about experience. From Hook's perspective, however, these “great commonplaces” do not constitute a set of metaphysical doctrines about the nature of reality which could be demonstrated philosophically or verified scientifically .
At the center of Hook's support for pragmatism is the justification of the pragmatic theory of truth or, more generally, the pragmatic theory of knowledge. This justification characteristically takes the form of setting the pragmatic theory against two polar opposites which are identified as the “correspondence” theory of truth, which is advocated by philosophical Realists, and the “coherence” theory of truth, which is advanced by philosophical Idealists. For Hook, the superiority of the pragmatic theory is most evident in the recognition that it is the only theory of truth or knowledge which explains why truth and knowledge mattered, that is, why the attainment of knowledge is important for human activity in its interaction with the environment. In the pragmatic theory of knowledge, the discovery and confirmation of true hypotheses about the nature of the world is understood as the realization of an instrument that enables human beings to predict and control aspects of their environment.
In contrast, whatever the merit of a correspondence theory of truth with its clear criterion that true statements must match, picture or mirror the objects and events to which they refer, this theory cannot explain why the attainment of truth would make a difference in human affairs. In this theory, the realization of truth or knowledge is not connected with the human ability to adapt to or control the environment. The pragmatist indictment is that the correspondence theory of truth relegates the knower to the role of “passive spectator” in a fixed or completed universe.
Despite the pragmatic criticism of the correspondence theory, Hook and other pragmatists recognize the legitimacy of the goal of this theory in its aspiration to realize a connection between human language about the world and the facts of the world, or between linguistic assertions and what actually “is the case” in the world.
The primacy of centrality is ascribed to pragmatic theory when it is placed between correspondence theories at one pole and coherence theories of truth at the other pole. Just as metaphysical Realists have fostered various forms of the correspondence theory, so metaphysical Idealists, have identified truth with consistency or coherence. Pragmatists could accept that the truth of logical or mathematical systems could be defined in terms of their consistency since such systems could be understood as abstract formal structures of language without requiring confirmation or applicability to empirical experience. A coherence theory, however, cannot provide a criterion for truth. In a contingent universe, where empirical events are not derived from a set of consistent axioms but are parts of the flux of experience of nature, no criterion of consistency or coherence can provide the basis for an account of truth. From the pragmatic perspective, the coherence theory presupposes and requires a metaphysical conception of the world as forming parts of the absolute mind so that inconsistent and incoherent events are excluded. The rejection of an Idealist theory of absolute mind in metaphysics brings with it the rejection of a coherence theory of truth in epistemology. Thus for pragmatism, truths about the world are not arrived at by the criterion of coherence but by a method through which verifiable empirical hypotheses are confirmed in experimental practice.
The advantage of the pragmatic theory of truth over both a correspondence theory and a coherence theory is that it connects human knowledge and truth-seeking to the human ability to predict and control the environment. The connection between truth and the human ability to predict and control the environment is derived from the pragmatic commitment to scientific method as the paradigm for human knowledge.
* Hook Sidney, The Metaphysics of Pragmatism, Chicago: Open Court Pub. Co., 1927
(American philosopher, b. 1948)
Truth in any discourse is determined jointly by the world and the semantic standard of the discourse. Truth is said to be semantic correctness. Semantic correctness is a realist notion of truth, since it involves a type of correspondence with the world: it is never exclusively epistemic. Nonetheless the type of correspondence can vary according to the context and what we are talking about.
One should therefore adopt a pluralist view of truth. The matter of truth is often a matter of indirect, rather than direct, language/world -correspondence. Horgan favours what he calls “indirect-correspondence metaphysical realism”. It stands as an intermediate between “referentialism” (truth is direct language-world correspondence) and “neopragmatism” (truth is radically epistemic, internal to the knower with no outside reference). Truth is “semantic correctness” but the semantic standards are not monolithic within a language. Instead, they vary somewhat from one context to another, depending on the specific purposes our discourse is serving at the time. Contrary to referentialism (direct correspondence), our discourse often employs semantic standards that are not ‘maximally strict’. Even though truth does typically depend upon how things are with the world, often this dependence is not a matter of direct correspondence between words and objects. When the semantics standards are not ‘maximally strict’, the dependence is indirect.
There is a whole spectrum of ways in which statements can correspond with the world. On one end of the spectrum are statements governed by maximally strict semantic standards. Such statements are true when they directly correspond to mind-independent objects (empirical statements). On the other end are statements whose truth is determined almost entirely by semantic standards alone (logical statements). In between sits the majority of the statements we make in life, which indirectly correspond to entities that are in many cases mind-independent.
* Horgan, Terence, Contextual Semantics and Metaphysical Realism: Truth as indirect Correspondence, in Lynch, M.P., The Nature of Truth, Bradford Book, Cambridge, Massachusset, 2001, p.67-102
(German socio-political philosopher 1895-1973, Frankfurt school)
The modern ‘eclipse of reason’ : calculability has replaced truth
Horkheimer's book, Eclipse of Reason, deals with the concept of "reason" within the history of Western philosophy. He details the difference between ‘objective’ and ‘subjective’ reason and states that we have moved from objective to subjective. He compares and contrasts the roles of rational, objective morality, and the subjective understanding of an individual situation in relation to social norms. Objective reason deals with universal truths that dictate that an action is either right or wrong. Subjective reason takes into account the situation and social norms. Actions that produce the best situation for the individual are said to be "reasonable" according to subjective reason. The movement from one type of reason to the other occurred when thought could no longer accommodate these objective truths or when it judged them to be delusions. Under subjective reason, concepts lose their meaning. Because subjective reason rules, the ideals of a society, for example democratic ideals, become dependent on the "interests" of the people instead of being dependent on objective truths.
Horkheimer complains that without the existence of an essential truth of things, reason is stripped of its objective heritage which stretches back to the Greeks, and is made to apply strictly to means and not ends. Philosophy, which now finds its best expression in Positivism – so claims Horkheimer - ceases to be the science which contemplates existence or analyzes the past, but rather becomes "an outlook upon future possibilities with a reference to attaining the better and averting the worst". However, "better" and "worst" are understood entirely subjectively, which is to say, as conforming to the arbitrary wishes of an individual. Thus devoid of all objective content, Positivism is prevented from discerning any inner logic which might, by its following through, lead to the existence of a better reality. In Horkheimer's own words, "calculability replaces truth".
The eclipse of reason occurs with the transition from a reliance on objective rationality to a subjective or relational understanding of individual and social conditions. Modernity, instead of fulfilling the promises of the Enlightenment (e.g. progress, reason, order) has sunk into a new barbarism. Horkheimer explains how the Enlightenment's modern orientation towards rational calculability and man's domination of a disenchanted nature evinces a reversion to myth, and is responsible for the reified structures of modern administered society, which has grown away from truth to resemble a new enslavement.
Horkheimer believes that the ills of modern society are caused by misunderstanding of reason: if people use true reason to critique their societies, they will be able to identify and solve their problems.
*Horkheimer, Max, Eclipse of Reason, New York, Oxford University Press, 1947
(Contemporary Canadian pastor)
We should be committed to both truth and tolerance.
Relativistic pluralism is appropriate only in matters of taste, not in matters of truth. In matters of truth, we are expected to work towards agreement, to search for the objective truth, unlike matters of taste where diversity is encouraged. Many people think that to be truly tolerant they have to hold that all religious views are true. But they recognize that all religious views can't be objectively true since they make claims that clearly contradict each other. Therefore, they conclude truth must be relative.
Tolerance contains the notion of disagreement, which presupposes the existence of objective truth. To be truly tolerant, therefore, one does not need to be a religious relativist. Genuine tolerance demands love and respect, not relativism. We show more respect for another religion when we evaluate its truth claims seriously, than when we clothe them with the patronizing cloak of relativism. Denying our differences does no one any favors. Discovering truth (or thinking you have) may have at times led people to act intolerantly. But there is no necessary connection. Therefore, we don't need to be afraid of being labelled intolerant when we share with others the greatest news they could ever hear.
Tolerance needs to be seen in its proper place, as a means to an end, not an end in itself. Tolerance is a virtue when it is used to cultivate and preserve truth. It is a vice when it becomes the end, pursued apart from truth. We should be inclusive of people but not necessarily beliefs. We should listen and learn from all people, but we should not necessarily agree with all people. Even though we live in a world that no longer values truth, as thinking and moral people, we should be committed to both truth and tolerance.
* See Iternet Michael Horner Speaks Out a division of Campus Ministries,
a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ, Canada
(British analytic philosopher, b.1947)
Horwich does not propose a theory of truth as such but but a thesis about the truth-term which he calls 'minimalist'. Like all deflationists he does not treat the predicate 'true' as a normal descriptive (genuine) predicate. A genuine predicate extends to a unified class of objects that share common features. For instance the predicate 'blue' unifies the class of all 'blue' objects. But the predicate 'is true' is not like this. There can be no unified account of why any given sentence should be called true.
Horwich defends the thesis that the truth term involves nothing more than what is called the 'equivalence schema'. Consider a biconditional such as: " 'Snow is white' is true if and only if snow is white". This biconditional is an instance of what is called the 'equivalence schema': "p is true if and only if p". All such biconditionals need no justification for our acceptance of them: they are obvious, evident and immediately known.
Horwich argues that our readiness to accept the evidence of these biconditionals is the source of everything else we do with the truth predicate. No further fact about the truth predicate - nothing beyond our allegiance to the equivalence schema - is needed to explain any of our ways of using it. Horwich concludes that the meaning of 'true' is determined by that schema.
This minimalist proposal is not intended to provide a definition of the word 'true'. It is not a 'theory of truth'; its immediate concern is with the word 'true' rather than with truth itself. Although Horwich calls his minimalist theory a 'deflationary attitude toward truth', he remains neutral on the issue of whether truth is a genuine property, declaring: "Minimalism does not involve, in itself, any particular answer to this question. For it may be combined with a variety of different conceptions of property, some of which will yield the conclusion that the truth predicate does stand for a property, and some that it doesn't."
* Paul Horwich, Truth. Oxford: Basil Blackell, 1990
(American philosopher, 1918)
The difference between “P is true” and “I believe that P is true”
1. Truth is a property of propositions.
A true proposition is one that describes a state-of-affairs that occurs, has occured or will occur. This is the best definition of truth that can be. The concept of state-of-affairs is essential to that definition. It means anything that occurs or exists in the world even if no one reports its occurrence in language. Its existence is independent of language, but we can describe it by means of language. A statement is true if it reports an actual state-of-affairs.
The traditional account of the nature of truth states that truth is correspondence of statements with fact. If “fact” is used to mean the same as “actual state-of-affairs”, there is nothing objectionable. The objection turns around the use of the word correspondence, which suggests the idea of resemblance or copy. But there is certainly no resemblance between a proposition and a state-of-affairs. There is no gain but only confusion in using this term of correspondence. On the contrary it is clear to express that a true proposition is one that describes an actual state-of-affairs.
The other theories of truth, coherence and pragmatism, do not throw light on the nature of truth but at best provides with criteria of truth for particular situations.
2. Truth and belief.
“P is true” and “I believe that P is true” are two propositions with different meanings. To be true, our beliefs must accord with the facts of reality. The facts of reality do not accomodate to our beliefs. This is clear, still there is a lot of confusion about the matter.
a. Some people do not believe a proposition until it has been proved true; others do not disbelieve a proposition until it has been proved false. In fact the degree of one’s belief has nothing to do with its truth. Both beliefs have a degree of irrationality. One’s belief should be proportioned to the evidence. So the proper attitude in both cases should be:” I believe that it is probably true (or false)”.
b. Another misleading expression is: “As far as I am concerned, it is true”. What does that mean? Either “it is true” or “I believe it is true”? Which of the two? If it is only a matter of belief, the belief may be false. If the person wants to say “it is true”, what does “as far as I am concerned” add to it? Is it a precautionary measure in case the statement turns out to be false?
c. “To me it is true, to you it may not be” is another confusing way of speaking. Either you mean that you believe it is true, in which case you have to admit that it could be false. Or you mean that it is true, but then why should you add "To me it is true" ? In both cases it is an open question which of the beliefs is true. "To me and to you" leaves the central question unanswered: is it true or is it not true?
d. Truth is not relative to individuals, even though there are truths about individuals. When Peter says “I have a toothache”, his statement is true for him. Of course one should not infer that the statement is false for John who has no toothache. We must remember that the word “I” refers to a different person each time it is used by a different speaker. When Peter says “I” he means Peter and not some one else. The sentence “I have a toothache” expresses a different proposition when Peter utters it from when John utters it.
e. Assertions of belief are different from assertions of truth. “P is true” and “P is not true” are contradicting propositions. But if one says, “I believe P is true” and another says, “I believe P is not true”, these assertions of belief do not contradict each other for both beliefs may be true as beliefs.
f. It is also misleading to say that a proposition is true at one time or place and false at another. “P is true now (here) but it was false before (there)”. The failure in such cases is one of incompleteness of specification of meaning. Once the meaning of the sentence is completely spelled out (time and place) it will be apparent that the truth of the proposition is not relative to time and space. A true proposition does not cease to be true with the passage of time. But the time when the state-of-affairs occured or existed must be specified in order to make the statement complete. When this is done, the truth is independent of changes in time and place. In order words, what is true always will be true. States-of-affairs come and go, but truths are eternal.
* Hospers, John, An Introduction to Philosophical Analysis, Prentice-Hall,Englewood Cliffs, 1953, p.114-123
(Contempotary American-Canadian writer on Eatern spirituality)
The truth saves and makes free, but neither Christ, nor Buddha, nor Krishna
“You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free …” Jesus said it,
Buddha believed it. Vedanta believes it. Let’s analyze the saying that: ‘knowledge of the truth will make us free’. Obviously we are not free now. That means we do not have knowledge of the Truth. What do we have? Knowledge of untruth. It is untruth that is the foundation of our lives. And in that untruth is our bondage, our lack of freedom. For surely we are not free, we are in bondage to so many things. This is assumed by Christ, by St. Paul, by Buddha, by the scriptures of India.
Therefore it behooves us to find our way out of this bondage of untruth by knowing the truth. Realization of the truth, says Christ, will make us free. This means that the state we are in now is an illusion, a false state because if we can move from one state producing bondage to another which produces freedom, then obviously it is ignorance of the truth of what we are, of what the truth is that constitutes our bondage.
Hence our lack of freedom is illusory, like a dream. In a dream we are in bondage, we feel the fears, the terrors, the compulsions. . . . It is upon waking that we know the truth and it is the knowledge alone that frees us. We do not have to go anywhere. We merely turn from ignorance, which is the dream-consciousness, to knowledge of our condition, which is the consciousness of truth, to come into the true state, our true state.
The Upanishads say that ignorance is the original sin. Remove the ignorance and the sun of knowledge shines forth on a condition that was always there—as our true freedom from dream-fears was always there during our dream-bondage. We have merely to wake up to know the truth. Our sins, then, are merely the result of ignorance. When we are no longer ignorant, when we know the truth, we shall no longer sin … no longer hate, lust, rage, grasp, fight, and all the rest. Those things being the result merely of not knowing what and who we are!
It is the Truth that saves … not a man. Christ doesn’t say: ‘I will make you free’. That, if it were possible, would enthrone him above the Truth, which is above all men. You shall know the Truth—that will make you free. Christ came to bear witness to the highest principle … namely, the Truth.
The Vedanta says that this false self that is death according to Buddha, is merely the result of our ignorance of what our true self really is. Namely, the Great, the Divine, the Universal Self individualized in me, in you, in one and all!
* Hourihan Paul, Ramakrishna and Christ: the super mystics, Vedantic Shore Press, 2002
(contemporary American artist )
No need to find truth in art
There are those who argue that artists have a special responsibility to convey the truth. This responsibility derives in part because the impact of their work gives them unusual power, but also from the special position of art - at least the visual and many of the performing arts in transcending language. One example of this is the way in which Picasso’s painting Guernica (1937) alerted the world to what was going on in the Spanish Civil War by depicting a village and its people destroyed by bombs.
The claim that art can ‘convey the truth’ needs some examining. Of course, factually true statements can be found in a work of literature and a painting can give us correct information about the clothes, furniture, even the games of the era it is depicting. But, art is not unique in this respect - truths of this kind can be transmitted in many ways.
The claim that art ‘tells the truth’ surely means more than that true statements are made in literature or that simple factual statements can be correctly deduced from observing a paintrng? There is a suggestion of something deeper, something unique to art. However, we need to ask what is meant by ‘truth’ of this kind. What kind of truth is it, which cannot be expressed in the form of an empirical statement? And if a truth can be so asserted, it must be possible also to assert the falsehood, which would contradict it. And what sort of truth can be derived from music or a dance?
Why, in any case, is there a need to find truth in art? Our age is so addicted to facts, to finding out the ‘truth’ about things that we are in danger of overlooking the true value of art. By trying to reduce art to a series of truth-statements, are we not diminishing it? Is there not a value in art of all kinds, which goes far beyond the passing on of ‘truth’?
Learning and knowledge, and truth are no less valuable because their value is not exclusive. There really are other goods in the world than these, and there really is no need to confect such bogus kinds of truth as poetic or pictorial or even musical truth for works of art to wear as certificates of legitimacy.
*See Internet Josh Hoye
(Contemporary German theologian)
Human thought is capable of grasping individual truths, but not Truth itself
Does supernatural Revelation not serve to clarify the ambivalence of the truth situation? it can be asked. Is it not the Revelation of the truth that we are ultimately seeking? No doubt, in the Thomistic view Revelation contributes knowledge that philosophy is unable to attain. But does Revelation contribute answers to the questions that philosophy poses but is itself a priori incapable of answering on its own strength? To the best of my knowledge, nowhere does Thomas Aquinas make such a claim. It is a frequent misunderstanding of philosophical researchers of Thomism that they often all too readily presume that theology can compensate for the deficiencies of philosophy. In regard to the question treated here, at least, the case is in fact just the opposite. Far from resolving the predicament of the conditio humana, faith accentuates the irony of a temporal life in truth. The fulfillment of all longings, that is to say, happiness, or, as one might say, standing in truth, is not achieved by faith itself. Thomas poses the surprising question whether happiness--that is, the goal of all human striving--consists in faith, and answers negatively. To the contrary, he explains, faith intensifies the longing for fulfillment. It makes the disillusionment only worse, by proposing truths like the Trinity, which are utterly incomprehensible.
The Thomistic conception of faith has, to a large extent, been adopted by the magisterium. The Cathecism of the Catholic Church (no. 155) quotes Thomas' conception of faith, whereby "Believing is an act of the intellect assenting to the divine truth by command of the will moved by God through grace.” Thomas himself clarifies what he means by "divine truth." He refers to it as "first truth", or perhaps one could say: "primordial truth." The object of faith is defined by Aquinas in a twofold manner: on the one hand, its object is truth itself [veritas prima], and on the other hand, truth is attained precisely as unknown: Veritas prima est obiectum fidei secundum quod ipsa est non visa. Accordingly faith brings about a twofold effect: it renders truth--as well as certain truths--present to our consciousness, while guaranteeing the unknowableness of truth itself. Believers are explicitly aware that they are not in possession of truth itself. Human thought is capable of grasping individual truths, but truth itself in the sense in which it is predicated of God remains beyond the grasp of human knowledge, with or without faith and Revelation. Expressed in another way, what is believed by supernatural faith is truth itself, taken in the most "abstract" sense, attained, however, not primarily as an act of the intellect, but of the will, which believes without knowing, without experiencing. Faith is a relationship of the will--by way of reason--to truth itself
Aquinas refers to truth as the formal object of faith [obiectum formale], the formal object being understood as "that which is known." Individual truths he accordingly interprets then as the materiality of the proper object of faith. The particular truths of faith, the credenda, the dogmas, are for Aquinas merely the matter of faith, they are not what is really known. Hence, truth itself is present to the mind through concrete truths, remaining, nonetheless, in itself unknown. Thomas compares it to light, which is perceived in concrete colors, without however being apprehended in itself.
We find truth merely in a human manner. Whoever has found truth, has found God's creation; whether God Himself has been found as well, i. e. something divine, depends not upon reason but upon the person's will. Loving truth, seeking truth is essential to the human situation, but never possessing truth absolutely. What we can succeed in possessing are individual truths. But these are nothing but the rungs of a ladder that points up to absolute truth.
*See iternet William J. Hoye
( Chinese Taiwanese Buddhist Monk, b.1927)
Buddhism is not a religion but a rational process of learning truth
Grand Master Hsing Yun teaches that authentic Buddhism is ‘humanistic’ and addresses the needs of all sentient beings whether for earthly living or moving on to Buddhahood. It is about peace and harmony in everyday, earthly living. His “humanistic Buddhism” is about growth to full humanhood without reliance on an unknown deity, dogma, or outside influences.
With an emphasis on not needing to "go someplace else" to find enlightenment, each one can realize one’s true nature in the here and now, within this precious human birth and this world. When one actualizes altruism, joyfulness and universality, he/she is practicing the fundamental concepts of Humanistic Buddhism. When one gives faith, hope, joy and service, he/she aiding all beings, as well as his/her self.
Hsing Yun stresses that Buddhism is not a religion but a rational process of learning truth. Even though sometimes people do "worship" the Buddha, this was not the intention of the founder. "Buddhism, Hsing Yun said, is a practice of investigation and integration based on wisdom and truth."
Buddhism is not a dogma but a rational process of learning truth, and also it may be said to be a living, practical knowledge of empirical metaphysics. What the Buddha taught is education, self development and life practice. His teachings allow us to leave suffering and attain truth and joy. Buddhism shows us how to live a joyful, fulfilling and contented life. It is a life-centered spiritual practice. Buddhism is free from theistic moorings and is grounded upon two directly verifiable foundations -- concern for one's own integrity and the happiness and welfare of others. Buddhism is the investigation of man’s true reality. Buddhism is an education about us, and our living environment. In this sense it is a testable science. According to Hsing Yun the greatest shortfall of Buddhism today is taking it out of the context of everyday life. Wisdom is not only obtained within the confines of a secluded retreat or from the reciting of the Heart Sutra. Wisdom can often emerge in the midst of ordinary activities of our daily lives. Humanistic Buddhism is a functional, practical and utilitarian way to transform behavior while living in today's world. All individuals have the responsibility of living in the world, not just retreating to meditate. One does not have to abandon all worldly affairs, only treat them differently.
*Hsing Yun's Chan Talks, A series of Studies on Buddhism, Humanistic Buddhism: A Blueprint for Life
(French bishop and philosophical skeptic, 1630-1721)
In its search for truth, philosophy must yield the way to faith
In his Traité philosophique de la faiblesse de l’entendement humain Huet holds that philosophy is the “search for truth” but is unable to reach some truths with certainty; philosophy must then yield the way to faith. “Man cannot know the truth with perfect certainty if he relies upon his Reason alone,” because the senses deceive him, the intellect is fallible, and self-evident truth itself is frequently deceitful. For all these reasons one must admit that human reason is not capable of “true knowledge,” insofar it lacks a “certain rule of the truth,” that is, a procedure that would allow to distinguish truth from falsity in a definite way. Bishop Huet was motivated by the good intention of humiliating human reason – so prone to pride – by inducing it to submit itself to the authority of Tradition.
Huet was convinced that Cartesian reason, instead of being ‘auxilium fidei,’ constitutes a hardly surmountable obstacle. “In reassessing the boundaries between faith and reason, wrote Huet, it is necessary to bring that ‘superbe raison’ back… to the limitations of its own constitutive weakness, so that it can accept sua sponte the submission to revealed truth. Skepticism seemed to be a suitable instrument for that end, because it is able to show reason’s insufficiency already in the natural sphere…” The originality of Huet’s strategy was in his apologetic use of classical skepticism, modernized through elements taken from Gassendi, and from Cartesian philosophy as well. He attacked the Cartesian pretension of the ‘self-evident truth of the cogito’, showing that it is impossible to reach it in any domain, and justifying at the same time the need of returning to tradition and authority.
Huet saw the foundation of Revelation in the reassessment of the historical facts related to Christian revelation, which according to him deserved a better reception by Christian theologians and philosophers – who, due to the popularity of rationalism in the interpretation of Christianity, preferred to follow instead other paths.
*Pierre-Daniel Huët, Traité philosophique de la faiblesse de l’entendement humain , Amsterdam,1723
(Scottish philosopher, 1711-1776)
We have no knowledge of truth but only beliefs that we feel are true.
Besides the aim of human life is happiness, not the knowledge of the truth.
1. There is only one kind of knowledge and that is by sense perception. We do not even know the cause of our sense perceptions. We think erroneously that reason can discover the nature, purpose or plan of things. Human understanding is limited to the phenomena, that is, what appears to us in sense-perception. The only way we know is either by impressions, which are the immediate data given by our five senses, or by ideas, which are the representations of these ideas in the mind. Our experience is made of these two kinds of atomic elements that we constantly relate and associate with each other, for instance by the cause-effect link. But, says Hume, these associations are superimpositions. For there is no rational proof whatsoever of the causal principle: “If we believe in the causal principle, it is only by habit or custom”. Such is the main tenet of Hume’s radical empiricism or phenomenism.
2. According to him, philosophers in search of truth have gone too far, too deep. Wanting to find reasons, explanations and causes, they have neglected to look into what things really are and into what happens to hearts and minds that look at reality. All our knowledge about the real world is made of facts and the contrary of a fact is always conceivable. We take some facts to be probable because we believe, nothing more. We believe in the probability of certain facts more than others on account of the central faculty of the mind, which Hume calls habit. Human beings are capable to learn always more and more, that means, capable of forming new habits of belief. What seems to us absolutely evident – such as the link of cause and effect or the moral values - is so because we have learned, acquired, assimilated them and formed the habit to take them so. We believe that they are true, but we cannot prove that they are.
Belief – a central concept in Hume’s philosophy – is not a mental act, but a part of our sensitivity. We sense that we believe this or that, we passively accept it. We do not decide and act in a rational way. In other words, belief is a deep-rooted instinct.
3. Therefore there is nothing else to do, intellectually, than to record facts with no possibility to go beyond that. Our task is to observe and describe the facts, and not to explain and search for a ‘truth’ behind them. The need felt by many for truths and certainties is a weakness that should be overcome. The interest of life is not in searching what is true, but rather in accepting the ambiguities, contingencies and uncertainties of existence.
Pure philosophical reflection may lead to total scepticism. But then one should remember that happiness is not found in the futile philosophical search for truth. One should turn to Nature to find the joy of life. For the aim of human life is happiness, and not the knowledge of the truth.
* See Lavine,T.Z. From Socrates to Sartre, Bantam Books, New York, 1984, p.159 sq.; Puech, M. La Philosophie en Clair, Paris, Ellipses, 1999, 55-68
(Contemporary personal delopment psychologist)
The Secret of Living a Life of Truth
Telling the truth, or even more importantly, acting truthful, is one of the most powerful and difficult concepts for people to accomplish in this day in age.
Living a life and truth are one in the same, and living your life with truthfulness can shape your life, and the lives of those around you, in a positive and profound way
A life a truth simply means that you live your life while upholding your most regarded standards. Every figurehead, or even amazing person that has existed has lived their life by a set of values.They lived a life of truth
When you live up to your standards, your truths, you live a deeper and more meaningful life. Every action you take is significant and powerful because it is coming from a place of honesty and integrity. Honesty, integrity, loyalty, love, passion: these are just some examples, and every one of these values combined is truth in its entirety
In order to do this you simply need to act, think, and feel with what you believe to be is the right thing to do. Live your life in alignment with what you truly believe in, that is living a life of truth.You feel alive because you know you are living your life to the highest degree, a level of truth that is unsurpassed by anything you can experience on this planet
You act with in accordance with what you believe to be true, and it may not always be the “right”, safe, or normal choice of action, but it is truthful because you believe it is the only real action that needs to be taken.
To make a major career change, you must follow through every action with the hihest level of truth. Every decision and action you take with truth as your highest authority will make your life more amazing, because you are acting in accordance with what you KNOW to be true
That is a life of truth
*See Internet Gabriel Hummel
(German philosopher, founder of phenomenology, 1859-1938)
1. Husserl, a mathematician like Descartes, is obsessed by a search of indubitable certainty for philosophy. He considered that the dominance of the natural sciences and of its corresponding philosophy of naturalism is responsible for the disastrous reduction of human consciousness to being merely a part of nature. Conscious being, says Husserl, is completely different from matter and nature studied by the sciences. Moreover the ‘naturalist’ approach has brought the present crisis of the loss of belief in any absolute certainty. Husserl - like Descartes with his Cogito – wants to restore to philosophy a foundation in certainty. To achieve this project, he proposes to “bracket” the real existence of the outside world in order to know with absolute certainty the essential structures of our conscious acts.
Thus Husserl’s phenomonology adopts the approach of transcendental idealism. It is not concerned with the objective reality as such, but only insofar as it appears to our constitutive consciousness, which is the source of meaning. His phenomenology has no ontological claim - even though it never denies the real existence of an outside world.
Husserl makes the important distinction between ‘being as lived’ (Lebenswelt) and ‘being as thing’. The being of things appears to us always in ‘sketches’, partially hidden, never in its totality. The ‘Lebenswelt’, on the contrary, is present to our conscience in its totality. Whereas things and objects are by essence ‘transcendent’ because never integrally accessible to our conscience, the ‘Lebenwelt’ is immanent to our conscience, coinciding with our experience. Therefore the Lebenswelt , which gives itself fully and totally, is the object of certain evidence, whereas the things of the world which present themselves always in ‘sketches’ are never the object of such an evidence. Phenomenology, which restricts itself only to the Lebenswelt, is thus an absolutely evident kind of knowledge which does not presuppose anything and is the foundation of everything else. It deals with the truths of essences which contain no assertions relative to facts.
2. The consequence of the phenomenological approach on the problem of truth can now be drawn. Let us compare the natural approach to true and false and the phenomenological approach to the same.
- The natural approach considers truth as the adequation of mind and reality. Various theories of truth have been proposed around this basic assumption: some to defend it and some to refute and replace it by other theories.
- Phenomenology restricts itself to the analysis of appearances in the Lebenswelt of experience. Its view of truth is pre-theoretical, and thus pre-interpretative. It is a truth immediately intuited, which need no theoretical construction. It amounts to a visual model of truth. Indeed it employs words such as ‘seeing’, ‘perspectives’, etc., which are pre-theoretical notions. Phenomenology deals only with the truth of appearing. There are two different things we might mean by "truth": apprehensive truth and propositional truth. For Husserl truth is apprehensive truth, not propositional truth.
Husserl’s phenomenology is not interested in explaining or theorising but only in ‘seeing, grasping’. Being pre-theoretical, it accepts the given as given and does not submit the data to any theoretical system. A theory explains the appearances but phenomenology restricts itself to the description of what appears. And what appears is immediately self-evident, it is ‘true’. Truth is simply an event which occurs and which the subject seizes as occurring: it is a mode of givenness. Truth is presence to experience, the evidence of the Lebenswelt. Truth is primarily in pure intuition, not in judgement.
* See McCluskey, F.B., Phenomenology and the Paradox of Truth, Philosophy Today, Summer 1990, p.133-145; Lavine, ibid., p 393 sq.
(Contemporary American pastor)
The Bible is God’s truth and the authority in religion
There are three very important things that we need to consider when it comes to religion. These three absolutely indispensable things are truth, knowledge and authority.
God's truth is His word which is revealed to us in the Bible. It is absolute. It is objective. God's truth is necessary. God's truth is exclusive. KNOWLEDGE
To say that one has knowledge is to say that one is so certain about a thing that he cannot possibly be wrong about it. We can know what to do to be saved by studying God's truth (the Bible). AUTHORITY
God's truth (the Bible) is the authority in religion.. God's truth (the Bible) is the only book that answers these questions with absolute truth.
There are some people today who, while claiming to believe in the Bible, answer the above questions with different answers than what the Bible gives. There are others who reject the Bible as the authority in religion and substitute another book or other teaching from some other source. God has never allowed man to write his own Bible. Christianity is the religion of Bible authority. It is based upon God's truth.
Understanding truth, knowledge and authority are absolutely essential
*See interet Ron Hutchison
(English biologist, 1825-1895)
Agnosticism or the truth and wisdom of not resting one’s life on the unknowable
The term ‘agnosticism’ has been popularized by T.H. Huxley in 1876. It means : without (a) knowledge (gnosis). The truth about a specific subject (specially God’s existence) is unknowable: hence one should adopt the agnostic attitude: “I do not know”. For Huxley agnosticism is not a creed but a method, the essence of which lies in the application of single principle: “Do not pretend conclusions are certain that are not demonstrated or demonstrable”. Agnosticism for him is not a “negative” creed, nor a creed of any kind except in so far that it expresses absolute faith in the validity of this one principle: ”It is wrong for any one to say he is certain of the objective truth of a proposition unless he can produce evidence that justifies it”. Agnosticism for Huxley was a position which rejected the knowledge claims of both ‘strong atheism’ and traditional theism. Some people are quite sure of the truth of God’s existence, others quite sure of the truth of his non-existence. Both are certain to have attained a certain “gnosis”, an absolute truth about the problem of existence. But Huxley confessed that he was quite sure that he had not solved the problem and had the strong conviction that the problem was insoluble. Therefore he adopted the method (not the ‘doctrine’) of agnosticism which consists in not concluding anything when one has no good reasons to do so. His agnosticism is a theory about knowledge in general, not only about religion and the question of God’s existence.
* Huxley, Thomas Henry, Agnosticism and Christianity, Great Minds Series, Prometheus books, UK
(British philosopher, 1894-1963)
The eternal truth or ‘Perennial Philosophy’
'Perennial philosophy' is the term used by Aldous Huxley that refers to that thread of eternal truth that weaves through all religious truth and philosophy. Even though the externals of the various religions may differ, the essence or core truth is the same in each. He defines the philosophia perennis as follows: “the metaphysic that recognizes a divine Reality substantial to the world of things and lives and minds; the psychology that finds in the soul something similar to, or even identical with, divine Reality; the ethic that places man's final end in the knowledge of the immanent and transcendent Ground of all being. Rudiments of the Perennial Philosophy may be found among the traditionary lore of primitive peoples in every region of the world, and in its fully developed forms it has a place in every one of the higher religions”.
At the core of Aldous Huxley’s Perennial Philosophy one finds four fundamental doctrines:
First: the phenomenal world of matter and of individualized consciousness—the world of things and animals and men and even gods—is the manifestation of a Divine Ground within which all partial realities have their being, and apart from which they would be nonexistent.
Second: human beings are capable not merely of knowing about the Divine ground by inference; they can also realize its existence by a direct intuition, superior to discursive reasoning. This immediate knowledge unites the knower with that which is known.
Third: man possesses a double nature, a phenomenal ego and an eternal self, which is the inner man, the spirit, the spark of divinity within the soul. It is possible for a man, it he so desires, to identify himself with the Divine Ground, which is of the same or like nature with the spirit.
Fourth: Man’s life has only one end and purpose: to identify himself with his eternal Self and so to come to unitive knowledge of the Divine Ground.
* Huxley, Aldous, The Perennial Philosophy, London, Harper and brothers, 1945