• KAHN, Pierre
  • KALRA Rashmit
  • KANT , Emmanuel
  • KAY John
  • KECK Jonatham
  • KELLER Carl-A
  • KELSEN Hans
  • KEMP Reee
  • KENNESON Philip D.
  • KENNY Anthony
  • KENYON Ralph E.
  • KIMBALL Charles
  • KING Dan
  • KITCHER Philip
  • KLINE Morris
  • KNITTER, Paul
  • KNOX D.B.
  • KOELBEL Max *
  • KOLNAI, Aurel
  • KOUKL Greg
  • KOYRE Alexandre
  • KRAEMER, Hendrik
  • KREEFT Peter
  • KRIPKE, Saul
  • KUHN, Thomas
  • KUMAR Satish
  • KUNG, Hans
  • KVANVIG Jonathan

  • KABIR *

    (Indian poet, mystic and philosopher, 1440-1518)

    Truth is not in the Vedas or the Koran but in self-realization

    1. Kabir always stressed that if religion was to be true, it had to become alive in people's everyday lives. "I do not quote from the scriptures," he wrote. "I simply see what I see." Only if our faith transformed every waking moment of our daily lives - and if we developed the sense of being in the presence of the Divine, day in day out, in all that we do - will our lives truly be transformed, and can we achieve true bliss and happiness.

        Kabir had little patience with the grand and ostentatious public rituals of the holy men around him. To Kabir, they seemed to care more for the world's acclaim, more for profiting materially from their religion. Kabir called such false prophets "the thugs of Benares". Better, he said, to follow the example of the simple folk who knew and experienced the healing of God firsthand. God is not to be found in the temple, Kabir said, but inside our own beings: "I have met him in my heart. When a stream enters the Ganges, it becomes the Ganges itself. Kabir is lost in the Ganges." Many people and religions believe in ritualistic practices to please or reach God. Kabir says that these are all tricks and useless ones. There is no shortcut to spirituality, there is no benefit of any ritual if one is devoid of love for other beings. God is the creation and to love God, one must love all the creation, all the beings in it. This is the only way to spirituality for God understands and speaks only one language the language of love for everyone.  

        True knowledge, for Kabir, is taught by real life and the "direct experience of transcending mystery and wonder". He wrote: " There is nothing but water in the 'holy' pools. I know, I have been swimming in them. All the gods sculpted of wood or ivory can't say a word. I know, I have been crying out to them. The sacred books of the East are nothing but words. I looked through their covers one day sideways. What Kabir talks of is only what he has lived through. If you have not lived through something it is not true".

       2. Religion, for Kabir, should also be about bringing people together in the presence of God, and not dividing them up (as was-and is-too often the case). As a Hindu child raised in a Muslim household, Kabir developed both a strong fondness (but also a healthy skepticism) about the ways and teachings of both of the dominant faiths in India. He liked to describe himself as "the son both of Ram and of Allah", and he used both names in describing his vision of God. But it pained Kabir to see his two faiths so often locked in conflict with one another. He believed that there was One Great Truth undergirding all religions, at the heart of all human striving for God. "I am not a Hindu, nor Muslim am I. I am this body, a play of five elements, a  drama of the spirit dancing  with joy and sorrow". Adherents of a religion which practices exclusivity and domination are like men who stumble into a hole along a dark road, Kabir said, because they hold a lantern in only one hand, and not the other.      "Be not the slaves of tradition; fear not to walk upon new paths, if these bring you nearer to God who is the Truth", Kabir said.

    * Westcott C.H. Kabir and the Kabir Panth, MRML, New Delhi, 1986


    KAHN, Pierre *

    (Contemporary French philosopher)

    Truth must not be confused with knowledge, reality or validity

     1. Truth is not the same as knowledge. There are unknown truths. One can conceive knowledge as a progressive and historical approximation of truth. But one cannot apply to the notion of truth the thesis, perfectly legitimate, of the relativity of knowledge to its historical and cultural conditionings. What is true today will be true tomorrow; what is true for me, is true for you, for all. Otherwise it is not the truth. It is a fact that opinions change with the growth of knowledge but that does not entail that an objective and universal truth is impossible. The necessarily historical and evolving character of human knowledge does not imply that truth is relative, that there are as many truths as times, places and individuals. Therefore truth must not be confused with neither opinon nor knowledge.

         2. Truth is a property of language, not of reality. ‘True’ and ‘false’ are predicates that apply not to things but to propositions, beliefs, judgments. However some philosophers have introduced the notion of ‘ontological’ truth (see Plato, Augustine, Aquinas, Hegel) and spoken of ‘true’ being, ‘true’ gold, ‘true friend’. But then one should bear in mind that it is not  the gold that is true but the proposition ‘this is gold’ that is true. The object itself, gold,is neither true nor false. Therefore one should not confuse truth with reality.

         3. The truth of propositions is something else than the validity of the reasoning that links them. It is common to make the distinction between factual or material truths and logical or formal truths. But it is preferable to reserve the concept of truth for propositions that have reference to reality (material truth) and use the concept of ‘validity’ to qualify logical and mathematical reasonings (formal truth).

    * Kahn, Pierre, La Vérité, Paris, Hatier, 1993, p 3-7


    KALRA Rashmit *


    (Contemporary Indian author specialized in spirituality)


    To know the truth is to know the self.

      Spirituality is quest of truth - to seek to know the essence of life, self, and universe. This quest intrigues everyone - spiritualists, scientists, and common people. Yet, as human race we rely on selected few spiritual leaders, religious teachers, and scientists to tell us the truth. They are believed to be walking on the path of truth. Is truth just revealed to spiritual masters, religious leaders or scientists? Is spirituality just about following certain dogmas, rituals and believing blindly in someone?

    Spirituality is not just believing and blindly following what has been told nor does it mean renouncing the world. It is about knowing and experiencing the truth and living it - that is being the truth. Truth is not a realm far away from earth. Truth is all inclusive and unhidden - it is the field of life - the space where life happens and unfolds. To know the truth is to know the self.

    Rituals, mantras, and techniques are good as far as they help to stabilise the outer environment and calm the mind so that one can see the truth within. These are just pointers to the truth, not the truth itself. One may follow these rituals and techniques or create their own, which help in silencing the thoughts. In silence transformation happens - transformation of limited self to universal or expanded self - that is free of anger, hurt, pain, violence, and harmful thoughts.  

    Study the self. Meditate not on this or that, but on the self. To study the self, one does not need to go anywhere. Just start observing the self . This is awareness. Awareness is meditation. In awareness, one realises 'who I am not' and that leads to 'who I am' - that is the essence of everything.

    God is not an entity or supernatural being in far-away realm. God is the original state of being - essence of all that is – the truth. Realisation and experience of oneness of the existence is awakening to the truth; awakening is being the truth; being is living the truth and living the truth is true spirituality.

    Do not be afraid to follow your own path. The path well known may give answers instantaneously, but that would be meaningless because that would just remain a belief. This known path with all its limitations, restrictions, and rules has many fears and impositions. Why not free  the self, overcome the fear and find the truth on your own?


    See Internet Kalra  Rashmit




    (Discourse of the Buddha contained in the Aguttara Nikaya of the Tipiaka.)

     In the Kālāma Sutta, a discourse of the Buddha contained in the Aguttara Nikaya of the Tipitaka, the Buddha deals with the practice that relates to the discipline of seeking truth, wisdom and knowledge whether it is religious or not. In short, the Kālāma Sutta is opposed to blind faith, dogmatism and belief spawned from specious reasoning. The Buddha proceeds to list the criteria by which any sensible person can decide which teachings to accept as true. Do not believe religious teachings, he tells the Kalamas, just because they are claimed to be true, or even through the application of various methods or techniques. Direct knowledge grounded in one's own experience can be called upon. He advises that the words of the wise should be heeded and taken into account. Not, in other words, passive acceptance but, rather, constant questioning and personal testing to identify those truths which you are able to demonstrate to yourself actually reduce your own stress or misery:

     * Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing: oral history* nor upon tradition       * nor upon rumor * nor upon what is in a scripture or other official texts* nor upon surmise and suppositional reasoning* nor upon an axiom and philosophical dogmatism* nor upon specious reasoning,* nor upon a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over,* nor upon another's seeming ability,* nor upon the consideration, "The monk is our teacher."

    Thus, the Buddha named the ten specific sources which knowledge should not be immediately viewed as truthful without further investigation to avoid fallacies. Instead, the Buddha says, only when one personally knows that a certain teaching is skillful, blameless, praiseworthy, and conducive to happiness, and that it is praised by the wise, should one then accept it as true and practice it. Thus the Kalama Sutta is just that; the Buddha's charter of free inquiry. The spirit of the Sutta signifies a teaching that is exempt from fanaticism, bigotry, dogmatism, and intoleranceHowever this teaching is not intended as an endorsement for either radical skepticism or as for the creation of unreasonable personal truth. It has been wrongly argued by some interpreters that the Buddha was a pragmatic empiricist who dismisses all doctrine and faith, and whose Dhamma is simply a freethinker's kit to truth which invites each one to accept and reject whatever he likes.

    * Kalama Sutta, The Buddha's Charter of Free Inquiry, translated from the Pali by Soma Thera, 1994


    KANT , Emmanuel *

    (German philosopher, 1724-18O4)

    Truth is the universal validity  of categorial  thinking.

    We all live in a world of truths  made by us.

         1. Truth is about knowledge. But Kant brings out a new notion of what knowledge is and therefore according to how  he understands knowledge, he  proposes a corresponding understanding of  truth. His Copernican revolution on knowledge (from realism to idealism) is also a revolution about truth. He rejects the Humean thesis that all knowledge comes from what our experience derives from an external reality. For Kant the mind is not a  tabula rasa, it is neither empty nor passive,  but  the opposite. It is equipped with the frame of our mental categories through which it  actively interprets  the universe. These categories are prior to and independent of the mind. More importantly they constitute the structure of every  mind: they are universal. Finally, as no knowledge is possible without them, they are necessary. For instance, according to Kant, unlike Hume, the cause-effect relationship  is necessary on account of its being imposed on reality by the categories of the mind.  

        However Kant’s categories are not equivalent to Descartes’ innate ideas. The Cartesian ideas were made to correspond  to the structure of external reality by an act of the divine will so that the human mind be able to know reality (See Descartes). But Kant’s categories do not correspond to the outside reality  which is in any case unknowable. The categories are only the ways  in which we know reality. They do not tell us what things are.  

         2. It is therefore understandable that for Kant truth cannot be the correspondence of mind and mind-independent reality as traditionally understood  but something else. He states that “truth consists in the agreement of knowledge with its objects”. However  “objects”, for Kant, are not the “things-in-themselves”  but  the experience in which alone given things can be known. Therefore objective knowledge for him does not consist in knowledge conforming to how things are. Objective knowledge has two sides: our being receptive to the phenomena that appear to us (the empirical side of truth) and the contribution made by our understanding in actively structuring what is known through the categories of the mind (the ‘transcendental’ side of truth). Knowledge – and therefore truth as well - has nothing to do  with things in themselves but with the appearances which have been structured by the understanding. It follows that the framework of necessary ‘transcendental’ truth precedes all empirical truth and makes it possible.

        Kant’s understanding of knowledge jettisons the classical notion of objective truth. Truth, for him, is brought about by the application of mental categories to the external reality. The outcome is called ‘true’ because what it brings out is universal, necessary and valid for all minds. Kant speaks of truth in the sense of universal validity.

         3. The price to pay in this new understanding of knowledge is this: what is true for Kant is not our knowledge of reality (noumenon), but our knowledge of  appearances (phenomenon). Kant has made the laws of nature issue  from the universal and necessary concepts of the mind. The world-order is now mind-dependent. Truth has nothing to do with reality but with the mind. We live in a world  of truths made by us. We do not recognize the truth, we impose it, altough not in an arbitrary way  because we all impose it in the same universal way.

         4. Before Kant, Leibniz had already made the distinction between analytical judgements – necessarily true – and synthetic judgements – contingently true. The synthetic judgements owe their truth or falsity to an assessment made on the basis of empirical experience. The analytic judgements owe their truth to reason and the principle of identity. So if  analytical and  synthetic judgements are true, it is for different reasons: the difference between a priori and a posteriori  truth, the rational  and empirical truth, the necessary and contingent truth. But Kant’s Copernican revolution does away with these distinctions.  He widens the concept of rationality in claiming that the knowing mind is not only the foundation of analytical judgement but also of synthetic judgements, both being a priori  and rational, both constituting the world of possible intelligibility. Synthetic a priori judgements – a priori  thanks the categories of the mind – are as rational as  analytical judgements.  All truths are a priori truths whether in their analytic or synthetic form.  

    * See  Verneaux,R. Histoire de la Philosophie Moderne, Paris, Beauchesne, 158, p.134 sq;  Lavine, From Socrares to Sartre, Bantam books 1984, 193 sq.


    KAY John *

    (Contemporary British economist)  

                                                                                                                                                                                                       Science is the pursuit of the truth, not consensus


    The route to knowledge is transparency in disagreement and openness in debate. The route to truth is the pluralist expression of conflicting views in which, often not as quickly as we might like, good ideas drive out bad.

    Novelist Michael Crichton may have exaggerated when he wrote that “if it’s consensus, it’s not science, if it’s science, it’s not consensus”, but only a bit. Consensus is a political concept, not a scientific one.

    Consensus finds a way through conflicting opinions and interests. Consensus is achieved when the outcome of discussion leaves everyone feeling they have been given enough of what they want. The processes of proper science could hardly be more different. The accomplished politician is a negotiator, a conciliator, finding agreement where none seemed to exist. The accomplished scientist is an original, an extremist, disrupting established patterns of thought. Good science involves perpetual, open debate, in which every objection is aired and dissents are sharpened and clarified, not smoothed over.

    Often the argument will continue for ever, and should, because the objective of science is not agreement on a course of action, but the pursuit of truth. Occasionally that pursuit seems to have been successful and the matter is resolved, not by consensus, but by the exhaustion of opposition. We do not say that there is a consensus over the second law of thermodynamics, a consensus that Paris is south of London or that two and two are four. We say that these are the way things are.

    Numbers are critical to democracy, but science is not a democracy.Science is a matter of evidence, notwhata majority of scientists think. Statements about the world derive their value from the facts and arguments that support them, not from the status and qualifications of the people who assert them. Evidence versus authority was the issue on which Galileo challenged the church. The modern world exists because Galileo won.

    The notion of a monolithic “science”, meaning what scientists say, is pernicious and the notion of “scientific consensus” actively so. The route to knowledge is transparency in disagreement and openness in debate. The route to truth is the pluralist expression of conflicting views in which, often not as quickly as we might like, good ideas drive out bad. There is no room in this process for any notion of “scientific consensus”.


    * See Internet Kay John, 10 October 2007, Financial Times




    KECK Jonatham *


    (Contemporary American senior editor of Theology21)


    Why What You Are Believing May Not be The Truth


     Throughout history humans have claimed to know THE TRUTH—historically, religiously, scientifically, and in all other disciplines and forms of knowledge. “Knowing” the truth of something is perhaps more ancient than the oldest civilizations and societies.

    Has anyone ever known the TRUTH? Certainly, one thing is clear. All claim to have it, though none actually possess it. And if one or some do have it, how can it be distinguished from those who claim, like all the rest, to already know THE TRUTH.

    A maddening cacophony of truths have been shouted out as orthodox. But even within each religious expression or truth, billions of variations exist. They create a near infinite number of theologies.

    In Christianity specifically, a maddening number of forms has and continues to exist. Both presently and historically, Christianity has never been homogenous. Which expression has THE TRUTH? Many cling to supposed “traditional” forms of this faith. Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and even Coptic Christians claim exclusive rights to the “true” and “ancient” form of Christianity. Even neologistic Protestants, Mormons, and Jehovah’s Witnesses claim their relatively new faiths are a genuine and true reflection of the ancient teachings of Christ and Christianity.

    Perhaps a dash of humility is needed when we claim to HAVE THE TRUTH. Indeed, truth exists and I am of the conviction that truth is found in Jesus Christ. But when it comes to interpreting scripture and discussing “truth” with people from other faiths and perspectives, perhaps a reminder of what we don’t know is needed.

    What I or you know of all that is known by humans is infinitesimal. Further, what humans collectively know of what can be known is microscopic. It can be definitively stated that we do not have THE TRUTH, in a full sense of all that was, is, and will be. While there are things we can point to—what we see, experience, and sense—only a fool would claim to know it all, let alone understand it completely and balk at the those who question or criticize anything other. While we most certainly will never have THE TRUTH, we have access to some of it.


    *See internet Jonathan Keck



    KELLER Carl-A *

      La vérité des religions

    En principe, il y a quatre réponses possibles à la question posée : La vérité des religions.

    a) Toutes les religions sont fausses, des projections de l'esprit, des illusions (Freud, Marx, les scientifiques scientistes).

    b) Toutes les religions sont fausses, exceptés la mienne, christianisme ou islam (= peut-être la réponse la plus courante).

    c) Ma religion est vraie, c'est la seule qui contient toute la Vérité, mais dans les autres religions il y a des grains de vérité (= attitude traditionnelle, depuis l'antiquité, des théologiens ouverts à la problématique des religions ; réponse officielle de l'Eglise romaine depuis Vatican II).

    d) Toutes les religions sont vraies, car toutes les religions conduisent au même but ; comme il y a plusieurs voies qui permettent d'arriver au sommet d'une montagne (réponse moderne suggérée par une certaine lecture d'une tradition hindouiste, reprise par des théologiens "de pointe". Réponse volontiers offerte par des personnes sans engagement religieux).


    KELSEN Hans *

    (Austrian American jurist, 1881-1973)

    Absolute truth is anti-democratic

        In his Pure Theory of Law, Hans Kelsen aims to make of the craft of law a "legal science," "objectivist and universalistic." "The law is an order," he writes, "and therefore all legal problems must be set and solved as order problems". The key element of his legal formalism is a judicial system committed to results whose objectivity is conclusively determined by a process uncontaminated by external forces. This is what the 'rule of law' means. It is an ideal which makes sense the moment one understands law as a logical system whose operations are designed to produce not true judgments but valid ones. From axiom to conclusion, formalism shows no particular interest in the truth of any legal system's basic principles. It follows that for Kelsen, the concept of law has no moral connotations whatsoever.

        Kelsen’s concept of legal science derives from his philosophy of ‘relativistic democracy’. Democracy, he claims, implies ignorance of or doubt about any absolute truth, either religious or metaphysical.  Kelsen has recourse to Pilate who, in washing his hands while saying "What is truth?", called upon the people, and asked them to decide.  Thus in a democratic society it is up to the people to decide, and mutual tolerance reigns, because nobody knows what truth is. The truth of which Kelsen is speaking is religious and metaphysical truth, - the "absolute truth". Kelsen's argument is: "Whoever knows or claims to know absolute truth or absolute justice cannot be a democrat, because he cannot and is not expected to admit the possibility of a view different from his own, the true view.” The metaphysicist and the believer are bound to impose their eternal truth on other people, on the ignorant, and on the people without vision.                                                                                  Kelsen compares absolutism in philosophy and absolutism in politics. He takes absolutism in politics to mean the rule of a totalitarian tyrant over his subjects. Absolutism in philosophy means that truth and being are understood as independent of the human mind that discovers them, it means that the human mind is measured by truth and being and is not the measure of them. Then Kelsen connects the two absolutisms like this: if we understand the human mind as measured by truth and being, then we subject man to truth and being in the same slavish way in which people are subjected to the totalitarian state that dominates and manipulates them. In fact, argues Kelsen, human persons are free in relation to truth and being—free with a freedom analogous to that of the  citizens in a democratic state—only if each of them is himself the source of truth and being.

    * Kelsen Hans, Pure Theory of Law, 
Hardcover, Smith Publisher, Incorporated, Peter,


    KEMP Reee *

    Contemporary American writer on Truth and Religion )


    Truth is way more valuable than religion


    Truth gives birth to wisdom, life, and revelation knowledge, but religion does nothing but make men stupid, ignorant, foolish, racist, hypocritical, warmongers, killers, murderers. Truth is more valuable than silver and the finest gold, and GOD is a GOD of truth and knowledge, not worthless religion, because religion does nothing but kill, and many men have killed men, enslaved men, and destroyed the lives of many men, all in the name of worthless religion!

    Religion will have men focused on worthless things that don’t matter to GOD, and does not lead to wisdom, revelation knowledge, faith in GOD, or salvation!

    But truth will lead you to JESUS, revelation knowledge, and the wisdom of GOD, because JESUS is the way to GOD, the truth of GOD, the life of GOD, and the salvation of GOD, and no man or woman can come to GOD unless they come through CHRIST JESUS!

    I put no stock or value in religion. By the word religion I have seen the lunacy and stupidity of religious fanatics of every denomination call their worthless religion will of GOD. I have seen too much religion in the eyes of too many murderers, killers, religious fanatics, and self-righteous religious hypocrites. True Holiness is in right action, and courage on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves, and goodness of the heart. What GOD desires is in your heart, it’s the love of truth that dwells in your heart, and what you decide to do every day, that alone will determine whether you will be a good man or not.


    *See Internet Reese Kemp



    KENNESON Philip D. *

    (Contemporary American theologian)


     Christians need not continue to answer “the truth question”


    The philosophical tradition has taught us to think of knowledge as a kind of picture or mirror of the way the world really is. Within such a view of knowledge, truth (or Truth) is not so much a concept as it is an entity “out there” in the world, waiting to be discovered; Truth is merely the word for the way the world really is which we are trying to picture or mirror with our knowledge. When human beings discover this Truth, picture it faithfully in their minds and mirror it accurately in their language, we say that they have genuine knowledge Moreover, such knowledge is “objectively truth” when its status as true does not ultimately depend on the testimony of any person or group of persons. Indeed, the whole point of claiming that something is “objectively true” is to say that any person, unhindered by the clouds of unreason and the prejudices of self-interest, would come to the same conclusion.

    According to Kenneson, this old paradigm of knowledge and truth is a dead-end street down which we need not continue to travel. Reminding ourselves that this model of knowledge and truth is merely a model, might free some Christians from one understandable reaction to his proposal: that Christians simply cannot abandon the idea of objective truth because to do so would be to deny something central to the gospel. One reason many Christians are hesitant to give up this paradigm is that they are unsure how to make sense of their own lives without it. What is the life of a Christian if not a life dedicated to “objective truth”?

    But, argues Kenneson, the picture which holds us captive is that something called Truth is “out there” waiting to be discovered or representing in language. We need to make a distinction between the claim that the world and God are out there and the claim that truth is out there. To say that the former are out there, that they are not our creation, is to say, with common sense, that many things are brought into being by causes which do not include human mental states. But to say that truth is not out there is simply to say that where there are no sentences there is no truth, that sentences are elements of human languages, and that human languages are human creations. Truth cannot be out there – cannot exist independently of the human mind – because sentences cannot so exist, or be out there. The world and God are out there, but descriptions of the world and God are not. Only descriptions of the world and God can be true or false.

    One must try on a different model of truth. Within such a model, truth claims are inseparably bound up with human language and are, therefore, inextricably linked to matters of discernment and judgment, which means that are irreducibly social or communal affairs. Within this model, it makes no sense to speak of either objective truth- “truth as view from nowhere” – or subjective truth – “truth for me.”

    Within such a model, the church has a word to speak to the world not because it has a message that is objectively true, a message which could be separated from the embodied message that the church always is. Rather, the church has a word to speak to the world because it embodies an alternative politics, an alternative way of ordering human life made possible by Jesus Christ.

    Within this new paradigm, beliefs and convictions are not denigrated as second-class knowledge or opinions, but are acknowledged as all we have got and all we have ever had. This means we can stop talking about something being “merely” a belief, a locution which gains its force only when something seemingly more stable is waiting in the wings. Moreover, within this new paradigm beliefs are no longer mental states which may or may not correspond to reality; instead, beliefs and convictions are understood as habits of acting.

    With regard to the relationship between truth and belief within this new paradigm, truth becomes internal to a web of beliefs; there is no standard of truth independent of a set of beliefs and practices.. This means that Christians need not continue to answer “the truth question,” and the sooner we see that we needn’t, the sooner we can get on with the business of being Christians, which in no way entails accepting a certain philosophical account of truth, justification and reality.

    *Kenneson Philip “There’s No Such Thing as Objective Truth, and It’s a Good Thing, Too” , taken from Christian Apologetics in the Postmodern World ed. by Timothy R. Phillips and Dennis L. Olkhom: Intervarsity Press, 1995.


    KENNY Anthony *

    (English philosopher, 1931- )

    The “eternal” truths  of mathematics and logic: transcendent, invented or discovered ?

        1. According to Plato, mathematical ideas are objects that exist as eternal forms.  This is the view called “Platonism” revived by some philosophers of modern logic such as Frege for whom mathematical and logical truths subsist outside the human mind.

        According to Augustine, the (Platonist) eternal forms of mathematics and logic exist in the divine mind. Hence mathematical truths are outside the human mind but inside the divine mind as one of its parts.

        According to Aquinas, mathematical truths or essences are entirely dependent on God’s essence. God knows them in his own essence. However – and this is the important point in Aquinas’ view – they are independent of God’s will. That means that God does not cause  them to be what they are by an act of the will.

        According to Descartes mathematical essences are what they are because God has caused  them to be so through his divine will. He has created all things and therefore he has also  created the mathematical truths. If they are immutable and eternal, it is because God willed that it is be so. Contrary to Aquinas, Descartes holds that the mathematical essences are distinct from the divine essence even though they are under God’s control.  

        2. In modern times the question about the nature of the a priori truths of mathematics and logic has shifted. It is no longer the question of how these truths relate to God but whether they are invented or discovered by the human mind. There are three distinct views on the matter: contemporary Platonism (Frege), conventionalism-constructivism (Dummet) and intuitionism.

        According to contemporary Platonism mathematical and logical truths are independent of the human mind. For Frege the truth and the false are objective realities.

        According to conventionalism-constructivism, the human mind imposes necessities on reality by its use of language. A priori truth statements are so by virtue of our having chosen them to be above all falsification. “It is all a question of our knowledge of our own intentions” (Dummet). Wittgenstein shares this view.

        According to intuitionism, the truths of mathematics are truths about the human mind. These truths are not invented (against constructivism) but discovered within the human mind, not in virtue of anything outside the mind. They belong to the structure of the human mind which discovers them gradually.

        Judged in the light of the three modern understandings of a priori truths, we can characterize Descartes’s view as a form of “divine constructivism-conventionalism” and Aquinas’s view  as a form of “divine intuitionism” in which mathematical truths exist in the divine essence and are not what they are in virtue of anything outside the divine essence.

    * Kenny, Anthony, The God of Philosophers, Clarendom Press, London,1979, p.17-26


    KENYON Ralph E. *

    (Contemporary American logician)


    The correct distinction between "truth" and "validity" in logic

    At the logic level, the meaning of "true" is best illustrated by truth tables.  A sentence (proposition) is "true", that is, it gets a truth value of "T".  If the sentence is an axiom or a major premise, then the value of "T" may be just assumed.  At this level there is no correspondence relation to any state of affairs in the world.  The meaning of the word "true" at the level of logic is simply an arbitrary value.  What is important is that there are methods of analyzing such a sentence in conjunction with other sentences that will allow this same value of "true" to be correctly applied to a sentence whose value is not assumed.  Such sentences are "conclusions".  These methods of analysis take into consideration certain rules of grammar.  A couple of statement which may reasonably be assumed to be "true" will be used as "premises", and, from those sentences, a conclusion will be "inferred".  The method of inference is what is critical.  Certain methods always produce "true" conclusions from "true" premises, but certain other methods do not.  

    Methods that always produce true results, given that the premises are true, are called "valid", and methods that do not are called "invalid" or fallacious. The terms 'valid' and 'invalid' are specific technical terms that applies to a paragraph of three (or more) statements that form a specific example of a reasoning method or an argument that relates sentences at logic levels of language.

    So, at logic levels of discourse, statements or sentences are described or evaluated as "true" or "false" and paragraphs or arguments are described or evaluated as "valid" or "invalid" (fallacious). Statements are true or false, while arguments are valid or invalid, and every (well-formed) argument requires at least three statements.  "Valid" applies to the relation among statements.  An argument is valid if and only if it yields true conclusions from true premises.  It is important to note that the validity of an argument does not depend on anything that the words in the sentences might refer to.  Those are semantic considerations that are not relevant to logic, and this may be where part of the confusion comes from. The (logical level) part of the meaning of "true" depends only on the assumed (truth) value of the statement or if it is the conclusion of a valid argument using "true" premises.  Only the grammatical form of certain well-formed sentences arranged in the correct form of a valid argument produce well-formed conclusion sentences, and their truth value depends only on the assumed truth values of the premise sentences.

    The "correct" distinction between "truth" and "validity" is that one applies to single sentences, and the other applies to paragraphs containing three or more sentences.  There is a lay tendency to use the phrase "valid conclusion" and this is a probable factor in the conclusion. Technically, "valid conclusion" means a "conclusion obtained using a valid argument and true premises".


    See Internet Ralph E. Kenyon


    KHACHATRYAN Arthur *

    Contemporary American Christian author)


    Absolute truth must exist. Otherwise, nothing could be trusted.


    What exactly is truth? This question has been posed in many different ways by very different people throughout the ages. What's clear is that, in the eyes of the masses today, truth has been redefined and blurred, and those who can see it clearly have chosen to avoid it or refuse it. Today, truth is maligned and under attack. It is no longer obvious, free, revered, concrete and specific. And, worst of all, we have learned to despise it.

    We've become bold at converting truth to a relative, subjective notion. But is truth really relative? Is it soft and moldable to the notions of individuals? Is it logical? These are the questions that have defined our age, but has our age validated the questions?

    By virtue of logic, absolute truth must exist. Otherwise, nothing could be trusted, and especially not a statement that denied its very existence. And we would not even be able to trust the reality of our own existence. The truth is true even if everyone in the world rejects it and what is false is false even if everyone in the world affirms it to be true. Truth exists independently, and outside of humanity. Truth would exist without any life to detect it or comprehend it. Do the universe and the natural world not function on the basis of truth? Are the fixed laws of nature not the undeniable proclamation of reality?

    We find truth neatly tucked under the wrinkles of foggy nuances and bonds of emotional ties. Nevertheless, perception slowly slithers in to replace the objective truth. Now, perceptions differ depending on the minds that generate them, but truth is true independent of any human intrusion. Truth must be sought after in order to understand the reality of our world and further clarify the purpose of our own existence. Once discovered, it must be embraced. We must never allow matters of emotion or will to taint it. Instead we must change our understanding of the world based on our discovery of objective truth.

    Truth is not relative to the experiences of any one person. It is not owned by anyone; it is discovered within us. There is no such thing as "my truth" or "your truth." Truth cannot be owned. It simply is. While perspective renders what is thought to be the truth within each person, truth has been there all along, whether it is truly understood or not.


    * Khachatryan Arthur , Cold and Lonely Truth



    (Danish philosopher, 1813- 1855)

    Truth is subjectivity: the subjective nature of Truth

     1. Kierkegaard is not interested in the objective  truth that results from objective reflection. When some one wants to know the truth, he usually aims at knowing the object as it is. Only the ‘objective truth’ will satisfy him. The more he is indifferent to his subjective way of reflection, the better. Subjectivity must be excluded as much as possible to know the object accurately. This way of objective reflection leads to abstract thought, mathematics, etc. Kierkegaard does not deny this kind of knowledge but he scorns such promiscuous notion of truth. For him ‘objective truths’ are indifferent truths; they are truths without a thinker. The objective thinker, who reflects only on abstractions is constantly distracted from reflection on his existence. Kierkegaard is interested in existential truth, that is, in the reflection of the individual on his own existence, a domain in which the knower cannot be eliminated from the process of knowing.  

         2. What counts for Kierkegaard is not to know  the truth but to be in the truth. The recurrent theme of his sermons is that Christianity is not a doctrine to know or a creed to recite  but a message to live. It is a profound error to want to demonstrate the truth of Christianity, for the Christian faith is commitment and not speculation. Whether in religion or philosophy, being comes before knowing and that means that the sujective thinker precedes the objective thinker. To be in the truth is to be sincere and truthful, whether it be at the service of a good or an evil cause. For what is important is not the object to which the subject is related or the content of his affirmation, but the manner in which the subject affirms something or the nature of his relationship with the object. It is the mode of his relationship  – the ‘how’ and not the ‘what’ - that determines the truth. Truth is entirely in the subject: “truth is subjectivity”. Kierkeggard defines the truth with these words: “truth is an objective uncertainty, held fast by a passionate inwardness”. The following verses of a poet (R.E. Neighbour) render well Kierkegaard’s mind: “Your doctrine may be error free / Your creed be all so true / Yet God looks past all these to see / if you, yourself, are true.”  

        3. How can one learn to be in the truth, if truth is not a matter of knowing but being? Kierkegaard converses with Socrates and praises him to have made truth immanent to the subject. Truth  cannot come from an outsider if that outsider is a human teacher whose function cannot be more than that of  a midwife. But Kierkegaard’s agreement with Socrates ends there. For he considers man sinful, blind and unable to be in the truth if left to himself. Being in the truth must come from an outsider, but certainly not the Socratic teacher who is another sinful and blind human being. The outsider must be God himself for he alone is the Teacher.  When the learner accepts the divine message by faith, he lives in the truth. He becomes another human being, he is transformed, converted into a new creature. He not only receives the truth but also the condition to understand it, which is faith, a kind of new organ of being and knowing.  

        4. Thus the source of truth, for Kierkegaard, is God himself, who transforms man into a believer in giving him the possibility to adhere to the truth through faith. The subjective attitude of faith – which itself is a divine gift -  gives access to the truth. Therefore when Kierkegaard writes that “truth is subjectivity”, he does not eliminate the objective side of the truth. He only states that the source of truth is neither man himself nor a human teacher nor the world around.  If an individual has access to the objective truth of the divine message it is in and through the subjective attitude of faith. The truth without (or divine) can only be grasped within  through faith. The truth of God exists only inwardly for man’s subjectivity. It is only subjectivity – the way the individual relates to God by faith - that leads to the truth.  

        It follows that Kierkegaard’s subjective thinker is a loner. He lives in the isolation of his own truth which is incommunicable. A universal concept of truth is a mere abstraction. “The crowd is untruth” is one of Kierkegaard’s favourite sayings. The race or species for him cannot be higher than the individual. The “crowd” renders the individual completely irresponsible in the search for truth. He complains that individuals too often flee for refuge in the crowd treated as the supreme authority in the matter of truth. God, not the universal consensus of the crowd, is the only source of truth  

        5. It is clear that the existentialist approach of Kierkegaard makes sense only within the context of his theological  intentions, that is, in the framework of a certain Christian understanding of revealed  truth. The Christian revelation, being sheer paradox, cannot be made plausible on philosophic or scientific grounds; it demands the existential commitment of faith. The propositions about Christianity, i.e., doctrine, beliefs, historical facts, etc, if held at all, are meaningful and valid only for the person who is in a relationship of passionate inwardness, or subjectivity. For instance, the Christian doctrine of the  incarnation is such a truth that can only be true subjectively. There is nothing to point to or observe that would give us a verifying principle to prove the God-Man, Jesus Christ, was really who He said He was. This truth must be arrived at by faith. And faith cannot come about except through passionate, inward awareness of the absurd paradox one is asked to believe. Therefore, Kierkegaard’s subjective truth is one held personally, with no recourse to scientific or empirically verifiable data.

    * Kierkegaard, Søren, Anthology on Kierkegaard, Princeton University, 1951, p.153-163, 190, 214-215, Pholosophical Fragments, Princeton University, p;616-620


    KIMBALL Charles *

    (Contemporary American expert in comparative religion)

    Claims of absolute truth : the sign that religion has turned evil

        The claim of absolute truth is, for Kimball, the first sign that a religion is becoming evil – he identifies four other signs. We must remember that God is much too large to be captured in our minds. We can never comprehend the full truth of God. As Paul says in I Corinthians, we are always squinting in a fog. We need to remember when we make our absolute truth claims that only God is absolute—not us.

        Kimball does not deny that there is such a thing as absolute truth, but he affirms that it rests with God. He acknowledges that truth claims are foundational in every religion but suggests that we must be more humble in the way that we appropriate these claims, especially when they become linked with violence.

        Kimball said that religious groups who make absolute truth claims might pose a danger to society. Absolute truth claims
 are the essential ingredients of religion, and they permeate religious traditions. In order to be a believer in any religion, one must accept them. However, with the multitude of religions and religious denominations, divergent interpretations inevitably arise. The absolute truth claims that are dangerous are the ones that claim that non-believers should be slain, enslaved, subjugated, or marginalized in any way.

        Most religions have a founding teaching, either that of a charismatic leader, or of sacred literature, or both. Every religion is based on a truth, or series of truths, upon which the teachings and practice of the religion rests. "However," Kimball says, "when particular interpretations of these claims become propositions requiring uniform assent and are treated as rigid doctrines, the likelihood of corruption in that tradition rises exponentially.                                                                                                                When the religions espousing these truth claims are missionary religions, the likelihood of eventual conflict rises even more. Both Christianity and Islam have charismatic founders and a sacred literature that is deemed to hold the truth for all humankind for eternity. When some members of these faiths claim that the only and absolute truth lies in their teachings, they are on the path of holy war.                              Kimball understands that the exclusivist position "has been dominant among Christians over the centuries." It rests on the conviction that Christianity provides the only valid way to salvation. But here Kimball calls for Christians to hold some model of exclusivism that is no longer exclusive. "Today, however, considerable variation exists among those who would locate themselves within this theological framework," Kimball suggests. He presents a spectrum of exclusivist views with "literalist" views on the one hand and less "narrow" interpretations on the other. He commends Christian exclusivists who "take a more flexible and open position."

    *Kimball, Charles, When Religion Becomes Evil, HarperSanFrancisco, 2002


    KING Dan *

    (Contemporary American writer on religion and spirituality)


    For the Bible and Jesus, Truth is exclusive


    Truth is exclusive. God cannot be the one and only true God, and permit the worship of other divine beings at the same time. Isaiah proclaims on the Lord's behalf: "I am the first, and I am the last; and besides me there is no God! " (44:6) God looks around himself in his heaven and sees there no divinity other than himself, and says, in essence, "There's nobody up here but me!" The truth about God being all by himself, exclusively God, if you will, is a fact which excludes the divinity of Baal, Asherah, Molech, etc. The God of Israel was exclusively God, and the truth about him branded the ideas of the nations and their so-called gods as false.

    This is a very easy and simple way of viewing the idea of the monotheism of the Bible. Yet this explains more than just monotheism as a concept of the nature of God. It also touches the nature of truth itself. The "truth" which the Bible communicates is exclusive not only in addressing the oneness of God, but also in other areas as well. Now, this is not a notion that is particularly comfortable in the twentieth century mind. We of this era tend to pride ourselves in being open-minded, even to a fault. As one fellow said it, "You do not want to be so open-minded that your brains fall out." Unfortunately, I believe that this is precisely what has happened with the thinking of modern men. People have tended in recent years to force all issues of morality and religion into the category of "subjective truth." "Objective truth," on the other hand, would be mathematical relationships and historical and scientific realities. For example, two plus two equals four is a verifiable and/or duplicatable truth. Therefore, it is objective. The same would apply to the historical fact that Abraham Lincoln lived and served as a U.S. president. As well, the scientific observations regarding gravity, would serve to illustrate scientific truth. It is objective.

    But according to this way of viewing morality and religion, it fits into a separate compartment of the mind. The world is filled with different religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Moharnmedism, Judaism, Christianity, and so forth. And even Christianity is divided into warring factions, each with its own particular slant upon how the "truth" is to be viewed. These observations, combined with the contemporary indifference to morality and religion, result in a way of thinking which considers "truth" in this sphere to be highly flexible and elastic, and subject to personal and individual apprehension and experience.

    While this may be a very tempting way to see the world, it  was not the teaching of Jesus Christ, nor is it the teaching of the Bible! It is hard for us to see the truth of the Bible as propositional, rather than subjective. But it is still a fact that the Bible intends to be viewed as a book of propositional truths.


    See internet Dan King, Guardian of Truth XXXVI: 6, p. 173. March 19, 1992



    (American philosopher, b.1955)

    The fear of scepticism lies behind  non-realist theories of truth

        For the realist  theories of truth, truth depends on the facts of the matter, and facts are extra-mental realities. A belief is true if the state of affairs asserted in the belief exists independently of any mind. The truth of the truth-bearer is ontological : what kind  of things really  exist ? , what  kind of things  are only  myths and illusions ? The non-realist theories of truth (coherentism, pragmatism and instrumentalism) have in common the view that extra-mental reality or facts have nothing to do with truth or falsity. For Pierce, a proposition is true if and only if there is a consensus of all those investigating the matter concerned.  For James usefulness is the essence of truth. For Blanshard, coherence is truth. Kirkham’s criticism  of all non-realist theories of truth is that they re-define truth so as to make it more attainable. The psychology that lies behind all non-realisms is the fear of scepticism. According to them it is impossible to find a justification to the belief that there are mind-independent facts. It is the realist theory of truth, they say, that leads to scepticism. Therefore the non-realists re-define truth and make it easy to re-invent “truth” in terms of pure phenomenal facts. Then truth is attainable and scepticism is avoided. However they should realise that this shift of meaning is done at the price of speaking of an another truth. In fact the non-realist or phenomenalist is the real skeptic. He reduces  reality to much less than what we believe  in. The burden of the proof is not with the realist, as if he was doing something unusual: postulating the existence of an extra-mental world. The contrary is true: the non-realist postulates the non-existence of an extra-mental world.

    * Kirkham, Theories of Truth, MIT Press, 1995,  Chap.3


    KITCHER Philip *

    (British American philosopher of science,b.1947) 

    In science there is a strong positive correlation between success and truth.

         Kitcher has constructed an argument that scientific success establishes not only the truth of crucial scientific beliefs but also their *correspondence* truth. Against the relativists, he argues that successful science provides true and reliable knowledge about a world independent of human cognition.  He rejects also the constructivist claim that because scientific explanations of natural phenomena have changed over time, current explanations cannot be true. Such changes merely show that scientific knowledge is always fallible, not that it lacks truth.

        He  argues  against the radical-constructivist notion that scientists can never access a reality beyond their conceptual categories. Scientists have often been surprised, for example, by novel observations that have violated expectations supported by their categories. And although different scientific theories describe and dissect nature in different ways, the truths they reach are in principle compatible with each other, if not always in obvious ways, because they all represent the same world.

        Finally against the ‘scientific faithful’, Kitcher argues that science is never merely the pursuit of truth pure and simple, but rather the pursuit of those truths that scientists deem significant. Scientific significance can be either theoretical or practical, ‘pure’ or ‘applied’, and motivated by instrumental goals or what Kitcher calls ‘natural curiosity’.

        Kitcher argues in favour of the realist inference from the success of a theory to the truth of that theory. A querist may entertain theories about matters which are temporarily unobservable ; some theories will prove successful, others will not. Later, this can checked in order to learn which theories were true and which false. Kitcher suggests that it will establish a strong positive correlation between success and truth. Just as Galileo’s interlocutors could view distant buildings through the telescope and later check the results, the querist notes which theories are successful and later checks to see that those are true.

    * Kitcher Philip, Science, Truth, and Democracy, New York: Oxford University Press, 2001



    KLAUDY *

    (Unidentified author on the Internet) 

     Multiple truths : there is more than one truth in the universe


      Western society is driven by the belief that there is only one truth in the world, and once that truth is discovered all things can be determined from that truth. This seems to have its origins in the ancient Semitic teaching, known as the first commandment, "You shall have no other gods besides me." If there is only one truth then everything else must be false. And since truth is good, then error is evil.

    But need any aspect of nature or life be limited to good and bad, or true and false? Need it even be limited to shades of gray? More and more evidence suggests that the universe is not limited to true and false. What's more, other cultures are not limited by this belief system. And most spiritual philosophies look to rising above the duality - right vs. wrong, true vs. false, male vs. female.

    In the last century the science community has been driven by a new understanding. The fundamental elements of the universe have split personalities: sometimes they are particles, sometimes they are waves. This leads to a contradiction of possible truths: neither light, nor subatomic particles, can be both particles and waves at the same time! They must chose, and they will chose either, depending on what they are interacting with. Subject a fundamental constituent of nature to a wave filter, and it will be a wave. Subject it to a particle filter and it will be a particle. The very basis of our physical being exists in inconsistent truths.

    On the one side of physics is quantum theory that says that light and matter will change its nature. They will live according to inconsistent truths. On the other side of physics is relativity that says that space and time, the very universe itself will present a different truth to each observer. Space and time are not constant truths.

    If the universe itself works with inconsistent truths, why then, should we believe that there is only one truth in our lives? Incidentally, there exists the implication in quantum physics that there are more than two truths. Simply, we have only discovered two physical truths so far.

    Now if we were introspective, we would realize that we have (at least) two core truths that define our everyday experience. There is external truth: what really happened. And there is internal truth: how did we perceive, or feel, about what really happened. Different people tend to focus on one or the other as being the absolute truth. But both are true, even when they are inconsistent.

    When a culture believes that all things must be either true or false it creates many unfortunate situations. We argue rather than discuss. After all, those with differing views must be wrong! We look with contempt at those who see things differently. We label them, and judge them according to those labels. As a culture, we seek to determine who is right, and who is wrong. What we are not doing is solving problems. We are not teaching our young to resolve conflicts. We are not acting to respect everybody involved. We are not tolerant.

    As long as we focus on right and wrong, true and false, we wont successfully resolve major conflicts, or solve critical problems. We won't be tolerant of each other. We will not "love our neighbor as ourselves." We won't see the universe as it actually is. We won't appreciate spirituality as it can fully be experienced. Once we acknowledge multiple truths, we become more tolerant of both our neighbor and the universe.


    See Internet Multiple truths


    KLEIMAN, L. & LEWIS, S. *

    (Contemporary American philosophers)

    The correspondence theory defines truth.  The coherence and pragmatic theories are helpful to find  the truth.

         Each of the three classical theories of truth makes an important contribution to our understanding of the fundamental concept of truth. At the same time each leaves something to be desired. The task of philosophy is to find what all the statements about truth have in common for all of them to be called true. What are the minimal conditions for statements to be true ?

         - The first condition is that the statement should be independent of belief, that is, not merely subjective but possessing a certain degree of ‘objectivity’. A true statement may not be a wishful thinking fallacy.

         - The second condition is that the true statement must be immutable. Things change, no doubt, but the truth of a statement does not change since on different occasions, a different statement is made.

        - The third condition is that the true statement must be public or universal. Truth is the same for all, and there is no need to add “for me”. If in the past people asserted some truths  which we know now to be false, we should say that people in the past believed or took for truth something that was not.

         1. According to the correspondence  theory of truth, something is true if it corresponds to the facts. There is correspondence between the statement and the facts. The three minimal conditions listed above seem to be fulfilled: independence of belief, immutability and universality. We need only ascertain the facts and the truth is evident for all.

        The difficulty of this theory is first about the concept of fact. Some claim that what we call facts  are the statements we make and consider as ‘true statements’. So when we discuss facts, we make true statements, they say, and that means that a statement is true when it corresponds to a true statement! The correspondence theory is  tautological and therefore useless.  

        However the identification of facts with ‘true statements’ is wrong for there can be facts without corresponding true statements. The correspondence theory of truth uses  the the common sense notion of fact with no intention of explaining it. There are millions of cases and situations in daily life when the facts are clear and apparent.

        Still there are many situations  when it is not clear how the facts can be ascertained. Suppose there are conflicting reports about a certain event. The conflicting or even contradictory statements of different reports cannot correspond to the facts. The best one can hope for is to piece together, from the conflicting reports, to arrive at a coherent story. This means that, in such a case, coherence  could provide a test  for ascertaining the facts. But then what is the need , in such cases, to speak of facts? This is where the coherence theory of truth comes in.  

         2. According to the coherence  theory, truth is in coherence, situated within the context of accepted beliefs. The discovery of truth is not completely independent of beliefs. If the set of beliefs are coherent, they are considered to be true. Is this not falling into the wishful thinking fallacy ? No, because the truth is not what we want, the truth is what is coherent.

         The difficulty of this theory is that there are many different sets of beliefs, all of which seem to be coherent within and inside their own settings. There are conflicting reports about a murder. How to decide between them ? What is true for A, does not seem to be true for B. We are in the presence of two contradictory coherences and therefore two different truths. But we know that the truth must be universal and the same for all.

         Coherence is useful  to provide criteria of truth in some cases but this approach cannot offer  a full theory of truth. Many who have seen the weakness of this theory and still  do not want to go back to correspondence have proposed a practical solution : if we have to chose  between two coherent sets of beliefs, let us pick the one most useful and predictive one and thus let us opt for the pragmatic theory of truth.

        3. According to the the pragmatic theory of truth, the best hypotheses that explain the facts is regarded as the true one. Pragmatic considerations make this hypothesis to best and therefore the  true one. Still if additional evidence is uncovered  another hypothesis may have to be substituted to the first. This means that  truth, understood in the pragmatic way, is not immutable  as it should be.  

        To conclude. In the coherence theory  truth is not the same for all. In the pragmatic theory, truth is not immutable. Only the correspondence theory accounts for the three characteristics of independence of belief, universality and immutable. However the correspondence theory in many cases is not helpful to find  the truth. It only defines  the truth. Hence the recourse to the two other theories is often helpful as methods for discovering the truth. One point is certain: if truth is not correspondence, there is nothing to discover and no meaning to speak of truth at all.

    * Kleiman L. and Lewis S.  Philosophy, an Introduction through Literature , Paragon House, New York, 1992, p.88-96


    KLINE Morris *

    (American philosopher of mathematics, 1908-1992)

    Mathematics is no longer a body of unshakeable truths

         Mathematics, claims Kline, is not a body of unshakable truths about the physical world and mathematical reasoning is not exact and infallible. He wants to refute what he calls the myths about mathematics. He shows that today there are many conflicting concepts of mathematics, directly and indirectly affecting all employment of reason. The previously accepted feature of mathematics, unquestionable proof from explicit axioms, now seems passé. Logic has all the fallibility and uncertainty that limit human minds.

        During the XIXth century mathematics was hailed as the perfect science, the science which establishes its conclusions by infallible, unquestionable reasoning, the science whose conclusions are not only infallible but truths about our universe and, as some would maintain, truths in any possible universe. But Kline informs us that the current state of the science is that in which in true postmodern fashion several schools somewhat peacefully coexist in apparent abandonment of the nineteenth-century goal of achieving the perfection of truth in formal mathematical structures. In this coliseum of competing paradigms, the tipping point that engenders the status quo of peaceful coexistence is, of course, Kurt Goedel, who in 1931 with his Incompleteness Theorem of almost cultic fame showed that any mathematical system will necessarily be incomplete because there will always exist a true statement within the system that cannot be proven within the system.

        Despite this Babel, Kline believes that “mathematics  has been our most effective link with the world of sense perceptions and though it is discomfiting to have to grant that its foundations are not secure, it is still the most precious jewel of the human mind and must be treasured and husbanded."

         Kline’s ideas have met with severe criticisms from many sides. While the consistency of even arithmetic cannot be proved, most mathematicians seem to believe (with Goedel) that mathematical truth exists and that present mathematics is true. No mathematician expects an inconsistency to be found in set theory, and our confidence in this is greater than our confidence in any part of physics. The only thing that Kline’s philosophy refutes is the completeness of mathematics, but neither mathematical realism, nor mathemathical certainty.

    * Kline Morris,  The loss of certainty, New York: Oxford University Press, 1980.


    KNITTER, Paul *

    (Contemporary American theologian)

    Religious pluralism admits universal truth, not absolute truth. A doctrine can be true for all but it is not the only truth

         In today’s world there must be a new understanding of truth. Truth should no longer be identified by its ability to exclude or absorb others. Rather, it has to include them, and instead of being either/or becomes a both/and kind of truth. The classical culture of the past, a culture in which Christianity lived out its life, is irretrievably gone. Now we have a historical culture. Truth is no longer Aristotle’s idea of science as certain knowledge through causes. We need to follow the model of the modern sciences, for it is better to say not that something is true, but that it is on the way toward truth. True understanding is subject to revision and change.  

        In the classicist culture which people took for granted, for something to be true, it had to be certain and unchanging. But for our modern historical culture this no longer holds. Aristotle believed in first principles of the mind, chief of which was the principle of contradiction. In its logical form it states that of two propositions, one of which affirms something and the other denies the same thing, one must be true and the other false. In other words, a thing cannot be and not be at the same time, in the same way. Truth, therefore, is essentially a matter of either-or. It is either this or not this; it cannot be both.

        But the ongoing pluralistic nature of truth assumes that one gropes towards the truth in a multitude of ways which are conditioned by the limits of our particular language and culture. More and more believers have come to realize that the traditional insistence on ‘truth-through-exclusion’ easily atrophies personal faith and reduces faith to doctrine, morality to legalism, ritual to superstition. Christians have also seen how such concern for absolute truth denigrates the value of other religious traditions

        According to Knitter when Christians see Jesus as the way, the life and the truth, they actually say no more than that this is the way they personally experience Jesus. Knitter ranks it with the exclamation of a husband to his wife: "You are the most beautiful woman in the world!" This has to do  with "love" language, which means that the confession that Jesus is “the truth” should not be taken in an absolute sense, but as a confession that hold true within the Christian community only.  

        Important in Knitter’s argument is that pluralists are not relativists. They accept universal truth, but not absolute truth. A doctrine can be true for all, but it cannot be the only truth. Critics fear that pluralism leads to relativism and skepticism about objective truth, but Paul Knitter responds: "pluralists accept universal but not absolute truth”.  

        Given this model of truth, Knitter tells us that theology can no longer be done within any one religious tradition. Theologians need to pursue the truths that include, and not exclude, others.

    * Knitter, Paul, No Other Name? Orbis Book, Maryknoll, N.Y., 1991


    KNOX D.B. *

    (Contemporary Australian theologian )


    The  truth of  Revelation is essentially propositional


    For some time now it has been fashionable to deny what is called “propositional revelation”. “The ‘Word of God’ is not a proposition or a series of propositions prescribing what we are to believe or think. It is a series of divine acts, when they are reflected on by the mind as it seeks to grasp their significance. The revelation of God is given in deeds; the doctrines of the faith are formulated by reflection on the significance of those deeds.” It is denied that there exists for us “revealed doctrine, presented by God, ready-made in propositional form.” According to Professor J.V. Langmead Casserley:  “For the most part, the biblical conception of revelation is not propositional but historical. The God of the Bible is made known, or rather makes Himself known, not in words but in events. The Bible is not a series of saving propositions… but a propositional record of saving events. Its actual language, as is inevitable when human speech grapples with the problem of describing the singular, is partly adequate and partly inadequate.”

    The denial of “propositional revelation” is the denial that God reveals Himself to men through the medium of words, that is to say, through meaningful statements and concepts expressed in words; for such is the only sense that can be given to the word “propositional” in this phrase. The denial that revelation is propositional in form runs counter to the biblical view of revelation.The view of the Bible is that revelation is essentially propositional.

    In the Bible, God is constantly represented as revealing facts about Himself in propositional form, e.g., “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” All the great “I am” sayings of Christ, too, are propositions. Nor would these truths about Christ have been apprehended by the weak minds of men had they not been given as propositions.

    Denial of “propositional revelation” makes Christian faith impossible in its fullest and deepest expression of trust, for it is impossible to trust absolutely unless we have a sure Word of God; such denial restricts Christianity to a religion of works, i.e., to following and obeying Jesus Christ as best we can.

    The apostles explicitly affirmed that their words were the words of God, and that the propositions that they composed were verbally inspired by the Holy Spirit, e.g., “We teach not in words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Spirit teacheth”. (1 Cor. 2:13).


    *See internet  D.B. Knox



    KOELBEL Max * *

    (Contemporary British philosopher)

    Some truths  do not require objectivity: “soft truths”

        Koelbel denies  that truth always requires objectivity.  In some areas truth is relative to perspective. There is non-objectivity when it is a matter of it being possible that what is true in one person’s perspective is not true in another’s.  But in other areas of discourse, there is objectivity where that is a matter of any proposition that is true in anyone’s perspective necessarily being true in everybody’s perspective.                                                                    The contents expressible by declarative sentences are generally truth-evaluable. This assumption of global truth-evaluability, however, appears to conflict with the view that the contents of some sentences do not admit of truth or falsehood for lack of objectivity of their subject matter. Koelbel argues that there can be a notion of truth on which the truth-evaluability of a content does not rule out the non-objectivity of its subject matter.

        According to him, relativism is the best solution to the “problem of excess objectivity.”  Standard truth-conditional semantics presupposes the truth-evaluability of all declarative sentences. Yet there are certain kinds of assertoric discourse – morals, aesthetics, for example – in which disagreement is compatible with the absence of error in both parties.

        Under Koelbel’s ‘soft truth’ approach, non-objective sentences are counted as truth-evaluable. The main task is to explain in what sense their truth is “soft,” and how soft truth explains non-objectivity. The solution is to relativize truth itself .  “Licorice is tasty” may be true relative to my perspective, but false relative to yours.  So if I assert it and you deny it, neither of us need be making an error.   Our content is the same; I affirm it and you deny it.  We disagree, but we’re both right, I relative to my perspective, you relative to yours.

    *Koelbel Max, Truth without Objectivity, London, Routledge 2002


    KOLAKOVSKI Leszek *

    (Polish philosopher, 1927- 2008)

    Both religion and science represent world-views rather than truth.

    The philosopher's role is to "build the spirit of truth".

    Rather than opting for either the religious paradigm or the scientific paradigm, Kolakowski favours the philosophical paradigm which he interprets as allowing for an affirmation of both perspectives. He is particularly critical of the ‘scientism’ which would claim to have a monopoly on truth and meaning. For Kolakowski, so-called scientific evidence remains based on an act of faith, neither more nor less than the religious act of faith; simply to define something as true because it is predictable and has practical application is 'arbitrary’.

        Kolakowski’s point  is similar to Wittgensteiní‘s argument concerning 'forms of life’: in order to understand religious faith we must see it in the context of a life and practice of worship, and scientific evidence is also culture-bound in this respect. To this extent, religion and science represent world-views rather than truth: ultimately, it is a matter of weltanschauung. In fact, Kolakowski’s readings will be palatable to neither religious nor scientific fundamentalists.    

        His work is an attempt to make philosophers of us all, philosophy here being defined as the shared feeling that the world we know within the limited horizon of our experience is not self-explanatory or even that it is irreal, that its very presence begets the questions 'what is it?’ and 'why is it?’. . . a strong feeling  which defies all the ordinary, daily  norms of understanding.

        "The cultural role of philosophy, he writes, is not to deliver the truth but to build the spirit of truth, and this means never to let the inquisitive energy of mind go to sleep, never to stop questioning what appears to be obvious and definitive, always to defy the seemingly intact resources of common sense, always to suspect that there might be ‘another side' in what we take for granted, and never to allow us to forget that there are questions that lie beyond the legitimate horizon of science and are nonetheless crucially important to the survival of humanity as we know it."

        Nonetheless it is not the philosopher's role to deliver the truth, but to "build the spirit of truth" by questioning what appears to be obvious, always suspecting that there might be "another side" to any question. The true philosopher should approach any issue with scepticism and humility.

        Religion gives us the belief that the world is not self-explanatory, that there is a meaning that cannot be directly perceived and established as a scientific fact. Religion is of another dimension that enables us to cope with an existence of frustration, failure, suffering and death. It is a paramount aspect of human culture. Religious need cannot be excommunicated from culture by rationalist incantation. Man does not live by reason alone. To be totally free from religious heritage or historical tradition is to situate oneself in a void and thus to disintegrate.

        Reason and religion have fought each other to a stand still; and while there are no rational, universally accepted grounds for admitting any religious truth, we are not bound to accept any definition of rationality that, like scientific positivism, excludes religious possibilities altogether. Belief is choice, and secular rationalists are believers, too.    

        Belief is a “logically arbitrary” option, but then so is unbelief. Believers and nonbelievers should not expect to convert each other, indeed should not even expect t understand each other. We shouldn’t talk of “an ‘escape into irrationality,’ but rather of the irreductibly different ways in which religious beliefs are validated in contrast to scientific propositions, of the incommensurable meanings of ‘validity’ in those respective areas.” The Sacred and the Profane are equally coherent and equally compelling, each on its own terms.


    *Kolakowski Leszek, My Correct Views on Everything, edited by Zbigniew Janowski. St. Augustine's, 284 pp.


    KOLNAI, Aurel *

    (Hungarian born English moral philosopher, 1905-1973)

    Thoughts are subjective  but they all aim at objective  truth

        1.Thought is always some one’s thought, therefore subjective. Nevertheless by its very nature it aims  at the universal and objective truth. The human mind experiences the dialectical tension brought about by its constitutive finiteness and its eagerness to understand the encompassing reality.  

        The risk of subjectivism is minimal in the field of mathematics, science, and fact-knowledge.  But the case  is  different in the sphere of philosophical and ethical knowledge  in which subjective views creep in to give rise to  a variety of perspectives, often in contradiction with each another, a situation that fosters endless arguments and ends  with an attitude of profound  scepticism on what is true and false. To the outdated concept of objective truth is substituted the subjectivist claim that “to every one his(her) truth”. True knowledge is no longer defined in relation to the object  but made dependent on the subject and its manifold conditionings.  

         2. Kolnai’s view is that modern subjectivism is the suicide of thought because thought that no longer aims  at objective truth is no longer thought. Intentional object-reference is the primary constituent and the backbone of  human knowledge,  even if the subject who knows  is situated in and  conditioned by a variety of factors detrimental to an objective approach. There is no question to deny that truth may often  be mingled with error in the domain  of the vital and worth-while matters that pertain to philosophical and ethical wisdom.  It is normal  that this be the situation. It is easy to obtain objectivity in certain areas such as logic and mathematics and much more difficult in philosophy and ethics. But where truth and error are mixed up, there is need of correction and these corrections can be made. It is possible to surmount one’s  subjectivity in recognizing the need for futher investigations requiring new methods, helps, tests, dialogue with competent people, etc. One should never give up the task of truth-searching and finding  better approximations of the objective truth.

         In the effort to surmount subjectivity, one must recognize the object as the ultimate test, the measure of correct thinking. The absolute surrender to objective truth is primordial. The object can never by measured by a system. We must be seekers of the truth rather than be aspirants to “faithful discipleship” of a tradition. There is no “sacred” philosophy.  

    * Kolnai, Aurel, Truth and the Soveignty of the Object,  in The Human Person and the World of Values, Ed. by Schwarz, Westpoint, Conn, Greenwood Press, 1972


    KOSTENBERGER Andreas *

    (American Biblical theologian, b. 1957)


    Truth, acoording to John the evangelist: a Christological concept


    "What is truth?" It is hard to imagine a more profound question with more momentous consequences. A quest for truth has driven the world's greatest philosophers and theologians. "What is truth?" is also the question Pilate asked Jesus according to John. Has Pilate therefore gone among the philosophers? Few are prepared to argue this. More likely, Pilate's question has several layers of meaning, which is why it has intrigued commentators over the centuries and continues to exercise a fascination that pays tribute not so much to the one who originally asked the question but to the evangelist and theologian who wove the question into the fabric of his Gospel concerning Jesus, the Christ and Son of God.

    What is Truth? The term "truth" had currency in Greek philosophy, Roman thought, and the Hebrew Bible. In Greek philosophy, one of the senses of aletheia involved an accurate perspective on reality. Romans similarly spoke of veritas as a factual representation of events. In the Hebrew Scriptures, "truth" ('emeth, 'emunah) primarily conveyed the notion of God's faithfulness. This faithfulness had been revealed throughout the history of Israel and, according to John, found supreme expression in the life, ministry, and substitutionary death of Jesus (1:14; 14:6).7

    In John's Gospel, where the importance of "truth" is underscored by 48 instances of the aleth-word group in comparison with a combined total of 10 in the Synoptics, the notion of truth is inextricably related to God, and to Jesus' relationship with God. Is Jesus the Son of God, or is he guilty of blasphemy (cf. esp. Matt 26:59-66; Mark 14:55-64; Luke 22:66-71)? Jesus claims he is the Son of God, and the fourth evangelist's purpose for writing his Gospel is tied up with demonstrating the veracity of Jesus' claim (20:30-31). The Jewish leaders, on the other hand, consider Jesus a blasphemer (5:18; 8:59; 10:33-36; 19:7).

    In John, then, truth is first and foremost a theological, and perhaps even more accurately, a Christological concept. Rather than merely connoting correspondence with reality, as in Greek philosophy, or factual accuracy, as in Roman thought, truth, for John, while also being propositional, is at the heart a personal, relational concept that has its roots and origin in none other than God himself. As the psalmist (Ps 31:5) and the prophet (Isa 65:16) call God "the God of truth," so John's Gospel proclaims that God is truth, and that therefore his Word is truth. Jesus, then, is the truth, because he is sent from God and has come to reveal the Father and to carry out his salvation historical purposes. For this reason the only way for us to know the truth is to know God through Jesus Christ (8:31; 14:6; 17:3).


    * KöSTENBERGER  Andreas J., Academic journal article from Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Vol. 48, No. 1




    KOUKL Greg *

    (Contemporary American Christian apologist)


     Intuitional truth does not require any defense ; it is an obvious truth.


    We know things in a number of different ways. Some things we know as a result of discoveries we make in the physical world. We use our senses to empirically test our environment. Still other things we know through pure reason. We draw inferences based on cause and effect, or we draw conclusions by employing the laws of rationality. Both of these methods require justification before we can be confident of the results.

    There’s a third way of knowing, though, that needs no such justification: intuition. In fact, this way of knowing is so foundational that justification is impossible. That’s because knowledge by intuition is not gained by following a series of facts or a line of reasoning to a conclusion. Instead, we know intuitional truth simply by the process of introspection and immediate awareness.

    Intuitional truth doesn’t require a defense—a justification of the steps that brought one to this knowledge—because this kind of truth isn’t a result of reasoning by steps to a conclusion. It’s an obvious truth that no rational person who understands the nature of the issue would deny. Intuition is the way we start knowing everything. There are certain things you must know immediately—directly—in order to have the tools you need to begin learning other things. The mind grasps them immediately, and all inferential knowledge flows from them.

    If it’s always necessary to give a justification for everything we know, then knowledge would be impossible, because we could never answer an infinite series of questions. It’s clear, though, that we do know some things without having to go through the regress. Therefore, not every bit of knowledge requires justification based on prior steps of reasoning.

    Intuitional knowledge can’t be 'proved' because, on the level of intuition, no further analysis is possible. Analysis makes the complex simple, but if a thing is already simple, it cannot be broken down further. Once we understand the proposition in question, we just 'see' that the thing is true. It is self-evident after a little reflection.

    To know a thing by intuition means that the truth of the proposition is 1) immediately evident, 2) needs no further justification, and 3) is obvious once all the facts are known. Mathematical truth must be learned, but it is justified by an appeal to intuition. We know many things this way. Intuitional knowledge can be rational, but it can also be moral.  Certain moral rules, though, are not conclusions we reach; they are premises we begin with. All moral reasoning must start with foundational concepts that can only be known by intuition. These are the kinds of truth that any rational person understands. That’s why one doesn’t carry the burden of proof in clear-case examples of moral truth.


    * See Internet Greg Koukl , Stand to reason




    Contemporary American journalists)


    This first principle of journalism: its disinterested pursuit of truth


    Everyone agrees journalists must tell the truth. Yet people are fuddled about what “the truth” means….This desire that information be truthful is elemental. Since news is the material that people use to learn and think about the world beyond themselves, the most important quality is that it be useable and reliable.…

    Truth, it seems, is too complicated for us to pursue. Or perhaps it doesn’t exist, since we are all subjective individuals. There are interesting arguments, maybe, on some philosophical level, even valid.…

    So what does a journalist’s obligation to the truth mean? …Journalists themselves have never been very clear about what they mean by truthfulness. Journalism by nature is reactive and practical rather than philosophical and introspective. The serious literature by journalists thinking through such issues is not rich, and what little there is, most journalists have not read.… Rather than defend our techniques and methods for finding truth, journalists have tended to deny they exist. Whether it is secrecy or inability, the failure by journalists to articulate what they do leaves citizens all the more suspicious that the press is either deluding itself or hiding something.

    This is one reason why the discussion of objectivity has become such a trap. The term has become so misunderstood and battered, it mostly gets the discussion off track. …originally it was not the journalist who was imagined to be objective. It was his method. Today, however, in part because journalists have failed to articulate what they are doing, our contemporary understanding of this idea is mostly a muddle.…

    The “journalistic truth”… is also more than mere accuracy. It is a sorting-out process that develops between the initial story and the interaction among the public, newsmakers, and journalists over time. This first principle of journalism—its disinterested pursuit of truth—is ultimately what sets it apart from all other forms of communications….

    It is actually more helpful, and more realistic, to understand journalistic truth as a process—or continuing journey toward understanding—which begins with the first-day stories and builds over time.… The truth here, in other words, is a complicated and sometimes contradictory phenomenon, but seen as a process over time, journalism can get at it. It attempts to get at the truth in a confused world by stripping information first of any attached misinformation, disinformation, or self-promoting information and then letting the community react, and the sorting-out process ensue. The search for truth becomes a conversation. Rather than rushing to add context and interpretation, the press needs to concentrate on synthesis and verification.


    * See Internet Bill Kovach


    KOYRE Alexandre *

    ( French philosopher of science, 1892-1964)


    Two truths: the world of science and the world of common sense


    What the founders of modern science did, was not to criticize and to combat certain faulty theories, and to correct or to replace them by better ones. They had to do something quite different. They had to destroy one world and replace it by another. They had to reshape the framework of our intellect itself, to restate and to reform its concepts, to evolve a new approach to Being, a new concept of knowledge, and a new concept of science — and even to replace a pretty natural approach, that of common sense, by another which is not natural at all.

    There is something for which Newton — or better to say not Newton alone, but modern science in general — can still be made responsible: it is splitting of our world in two.  Modern science broke down the barriers that separated the heavens and the earth, and it united and unified the universe. And that is true, but it did this by substituting for our world of quality and sense perception, the world in which we live, and love, and die, another world — the world of quantity, or reified geometry, a world in which, through there is place for everything, there is no place for man. Thus the world of science — the real world — became estranged and utterly divorced from the world of life, which science has been unable to explain — not even to explain away by calling it "subjective".

    True, these worlds are everyday — and even more and more — connected by praxis. Yet for theory they are divided by an abyss. Two worlds: this means two truths. Or no truth at all. This is the tragedy of the modern mind which "solved the riddle of the universe," but only to replace it by another riddle: the riddle of itself.


    Koyré Alexandre, Metaphysics & Measurement: Essays in Scientific Revolution Harvard University Press 1968




    KRAEMER, Hendrik *

    Dutch theologian, 1888-1965

    The truth is revealed perfectly in Jesus Christ

     The Dutch theologian Hendrik Kraemer can be regarded as one of the strongest exponents of exclusivism. The message of his major work, The Christian Message in a Non-Christian World, is: "God has revealed the Way and the Life and the Truth in Jesus Christ and wills this to be known through all the world". Kraemer refused to defend Christianity on the basis of philosophical truths because every religion has its own truth claims. He prefers to speak of Biblical realism. This means acceptance of the real saving and revealing acts of God in the death and resurrection of Christ and in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Referring to John 14:6 and Acts 4:12 Kraemer believes that the truth about God and humankind is revealed perfectly in Christ. Exactly for this reason Christians are obliged to proclaim this message to all people. Mission, therefore, cannot only be social service or inter-church aid. Christ must be preached and accepted by all nations. Conversion and change of mind must remain the main aim of mission.

        Kraemer argues there is a radical discontinuity between Christianity and other religions. Christianity is neither a fulfillment nor an extension of any religion, besides Judaism. He states that all other religions are merely human attempts to build their own religious system. They are, therefore, either idolatry or an attempt to justify themselves by good works. They are all  bound to fail, according to Kraemer.

         Kraemer is in agreement with Karl Barth in as far as he believes that non- Christian religions are "all human constructions of self-justification". He differs from Barth in so far as he accepts a general revelation in non-Christian religions. "God shines through in a broken, troubled way: in reason, in nature and in history". This general revelation can only be effectively discerned in the light of the special revelation of Jesus Christ. A further difference with Barth is that Kraemer accepts a "religious consciousness". This universal religious consciousness in man is the result of the fact that God created men and women in his own image, and this presents a definite point of contact for Christian missions.

    * Kraemer, Hendrik The Christian Message in the Non-Christian World (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1938)


    KREEFT Peter *

    (American philosopher and Christian apologist, b.1937)


    Christ is the ultimate epistemological revelation of metaphysical  truth


    What does philosophy have to do with Christianity? Or as Tertullian put it long ago, what does Athens have to do with Jerusalem? Nothing, Tertullian contended, but for Peter Kreeft  both are, or should be, concerned with truth, or the discovery of truth. Both are concerned about going beyond appearances and getting at reality.

    Kreeft argues that believers need not be ashamed of nor afraid of philosophy. In its proper form, it leads us to truth. And in the Christian tradition, God is truth. Of course in a fallen world, external revelation is needed to supplement internal inquiry. But is it possible that God can use pre-Christians like Socrates to teach us much about life and even Himself? Kreeft thinks so, and he goes a long way in showing Christians how to appreciate the beauties of philosophy. Philosophy, properly understood and practiced, can be a real aid to the believer. Kreeft argues that Socrates may have been our greatest philosopher, and his works make for an excellent entry point to philosophy.

     Philosophy is the love of wisdom.  While God has wisdom, man pursues it. In this Socrates and biblical religion are on common ground. Socrates, like Jesus, was a real counter-culturalist. Indeed, both men were hated by many because of their challenges to the status quo. Indeed, both were ultimately put to death.  Of course, Kreeft does not equate the two great men. Socrates could only claim to be a seeker after truth, while Jesus claimed to BE the truth.

    Kreeft deals with what he calls “the epistemology of Jesus” . He starts with the question of Pilate: What is truth?, and what we must know. Quoting Pascal, Kreeft says there are two things we must know, who we are and who God is. The bad news is that God dwells in inaccessible light (also God's answer to Job). The good news is that: "The only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, has made Him known" (John 1:18). This is enough for Kreeft to contend that Christ is the ultimate epistemological revelation of ultimate metaphysical reality, Christ is the key to epistemology. He does much more than simply know the truth and teach it. Jesus IS the Truth,  he is epistemology come alive.


    * Kreeft Peter, The Philosophy of Jesus,  St. Augustine's Press, June 2007




    KRIEGLSTEIN Werner *

    ( Czech b. American philosopher, b.1941)


    The role of compassion in “transcendental  perspectivist truth”


    For Krieglstein the  idea  of  “Transcendental Perspectivism” was born from the realization that Western philosophy has failed to deliver its main goal: finding the  truth.

    Perspectivism goes back to Nietzsche’s philosophy, where it was used as relativistic term, containing the notion, that there is no one particular truth but all truth claims are perspectives. Krieglstein basically concurs with that, but the added qualifier “transcendental” makes each truth claim real. Your perspective, and every perspective transcends my perspective, where transcending means a going beyond, having a reality of its own. In the field of counseling for instance, the counselor accepts the reality of her client as transcending her own beliefs. Empathic listening will help you understand where the other person comes from, why he or she believes in her truth and her actions. Compassionate action will ensure the other that you are not judging, that you accept the other perspective as valid and that you are willing to help, by ever more deeply understanding the other persons world.

    In the traditional sense of objective reality, a transcendental truth known by one perceiver should be equally valid for the other, because it transcends each of their unique perceptions. This relationship of perceivers is unequal in that the transcendental truth is right for one and wrong for the other. Knowers of a transcendental truth  provide them with a unique authority over the others  who  do not know the same truth.

    In Perspectivism, the absence of any transcendental truth leaves the perceiver with truth that is only valid from the perceiver's perspective. Truth becomes arbitrary and the other becomes a pawn in the formulations of the perceiver's own truths.

    Krieglstein’s Transcendental Perspectivism argues that each truth is the product of the perceiver; however, if two perceivers share a truth, then that truth transcends each individual perceiver. This is achieved not by one perceiver convincing the other about the validity of a held truth, but rather by the union of two truths held by each perceiver. The other's perception plays an equal rule in the development of a transcendental truth. A key artifact of Transcendental Perspectivism is that the transcendence of a truth cannot be achieved through force. That is, if a truth held by a perceiver is forced on the other, then that truth has not transcended both perceptions. Domination of the other has only produced subjugation, and cannot produce acceptance of a shared truth because the perspective of the other was not involved in the development of the truth and thus the truth is not true for the other. In order to avoid domination and to truly develop a transcendental truth, the perceiver must experience empathy and compassion for the perception of the other.

    A truth about a given phenomena that is shared by the perceiver and the other transcends the limited perception of either to become a transcendental truth. It is not just the sum total of two perspectives, but rather a new and unique truth that is only achieved through sharing.

                                                                                                                                                                             * Krieglstein, Werner (2002). Compassion, A New Philosophy of the Other. Amsterdam: Rodopi. ISBN 9789042009035.



    KRIPKE, Saul *

    (American mathematician and  philosopher, b. 1940)

    Necessary-analytic-a priori truths are not always co-extensive

        To understand Kripke’s claim on the subject of truth one should keep in mind that it is common  among philosophers to categorise truths in three ways:

    - A. Necessary versus contingent truth. A statement is necessarily true if its opposite is impossible. It is contingently true if its opposite is possible.  

     - B. A priori versus a posteriori truth. Necessary truths are knowable independently of experience, that is, they are a priori. Contingent truths can be found only in experience by observation, that is, they are a posteriori.

     - C. Analytic versus synthetic truth. Statements that are analytically true are true in virtue of the meaning of words they use. Synthetic statements are those in which the predicate says something new about the subject: they are true or false in  virtue of the way the world actually is.

        The necessary-contingent distinction (A) is metaphysical. The a priori-a posteriori distinction (B) is epistemological, because it is a matter of being knowable either by reflection or by experience-observation. The analytic-synthetic distinction (C) is logical-semantical because the truth-value of statements is determined by the meaning of the statements.

        Moreover – and this is the important point discussed by Kripke - the distinctions (I): necessary- a priori - analytic (which are relations of ideas) appear to be coextensive: they are true for the same thing, for instance 2+2=4. On the contrary the distinctions (II):  contingent, a posteriori , synthetic (which are matters of fact) seem to be co-extensive  as they are true of the same thing, for instance: Peter is sitting.

         But Kripke  has  reasons to think otherwise: the  distinctions A B C of distinctions I and II may not be co-extensive. There are cases when they are not, so he claims. He  does not  admit that all necessary truths are expressible by analytic statements which are known to be true a priori. The distinctions A B C are after all about different kinds of facts: facts (metaphysical) about the necessary structure of the world, facts (linguistic) about meaning and facts (epistemological) about how we acquire knowledge. Kant had already claimed that there was a class of truths that were synthetic even though knowable a priori. Now  Kripke argues that some necessary truths are only discoverable a posteriori.  

        Kripke shows that the metaphysical question whether the truth of a statement is necessary or contingent must be distinguished from the separate epistemological issue of whether truth can be determined by a priori reflection or requires empirical observation. The mere fact that we have learned something from experience does not manifest that what we have learned is not necessarily true. A claim can be both empirical and necessary, albeit not logically necessary but metaphysically necessary. Certain truths are necessary a posteriori: the necessary truths discovered empirically. Certain truths are contingent a priori, that is, propositions which might have been false, but whose truth is knowable a priori. As an instance of a necessary a posteriori truth Kripke has recourse to the identity statement that “the morning star is the evening star, ( that is  Venus)”. The statement was discovered a posteriori when both the names of the stars were found to  refer to one and same thing (Venus). But an identity statement (A is A) can never be said contingently true: it is always necessarily true. We have therefore a statement that is a necessary truth discovered a posteriori. Likewise Kripke gives instances of contingent a priori truths.

    * Kripke, Saul, Naming and Necessity,  Blackwell Publishers, London, 1981



    (Indian philosopher and spiritual master, 1895-1986)

    Truth is the passive awareness of what is

        1. Philosophy is the love of truth, that is, the art of living life directly and not through theories, ideas and speculations.  Indeed truth is not what thought or intellect conceives it to be. Genuine   philosophy is  the realization that thought can never know the truth.

         Knowledge, for sure, is part of life, useful in certain areas of life such as day to day living, science, etc. but it is of no use to understand what truth is. Truth cannot be known. If it is known, it is not the truth. Therefore it is meaningless  to “search for the truth” for the search for truth is the denying of truth. No intellectual effort can bring us  to the truth.

        2. Truth is not something to be known but something to live and be in. To be true is to look at Reality with honesty and innocence. That means there must be no intermediary  between self and reality. All guidance, ‘gurus’, authorities, doctrinal systems and traditions must come to an end.  According to Krishnamurti, from the moment you follow some one, you cease to follow the truth.  

        More importantly, in order to be in the truth, one must discard the inward  aspect of authority, and that includes one’s own opinions,  ideas, accumulated knowledge and cultural habits.  Even  personal experiences are an obstacle  to look at reality in truth. Most of the time we are related to the ideas and images  of Reality, we are constantly prejudiced, never in contact with the naked reality but with a distorted reality that we have construed. Our thoughts and experiences never deal with the actual, with what is, but always with the past that is dead. We are constantly looking at life now with the eyes of the past.

        Not only the intellect but also the will  is an obstacle for the individual to be in the truth. Through the will the individual wants to achieve results and high ideals. There arises in him a conflict between the real and the ideal, reality and myth, a gap between what he is and what he wants to be. Ideals always clash with reality, they are illusions. Saints, heroes  and staunch believers in high ideals miss the actual, they live in untruth. There is no greater obstacle to the truth than religious beliefs in which people are ready to go all the way to grasp the mysterious utopia of religions and kneel down at the feet of Saviours and Gurus. Truth cannot be attained if one persists in the escapist attitude of living for ‘another shore’, for a future that does not exist, and thus runs away from reality.  

         3. Truth is established by the right relationship with reality. Truth is the understanding of “what is”, the Real from moment to moment, the timeless, the immeasurable. Contact with the truth has nothing to do with accumulation of knowledge or expansion of experience, but only with acute sensitivity, freedom and spontaneity.  Truth reveals itself in passive, alert watchfulness, awareness of the actual, a state of mere observing without ideas, memories and goals. The mind that grasps the truth is empty and unoccupied, totally free and sensitive to reality. Right relationship with reality is obtained by the bracketing of all thoughts and desires. Then only in this passive awareness can we see the truth, the totality from moment to moment. Either we see the truth now or not at all. Either we live in the truth of every moment, in the awareness of ‘what is’, or not.

        This “choiceless observation” or awareness is the crux of Krishnamurti's philosophy of life. To him, choiceless observation is the only way, the direct and intelligent way of understanding the truth of 'what is'. It is the awareness without the division as the observer and the observed. It is a holistic observation in which the observer 'is' the observed. In it there in no reaction, resistance, justification and condemnation. It is a pure observation without remembrance, recollection, recognition and naming. It is free from ideas, ideals and opinions. It is observation without prejudice, likes and dislikes. It is without a motive and an end in view. It is a passive awareness without effort, a silent observation without the activity of thought. Choiceless awareness is 'perceiving' the fact without translating it to knowledge. Truth is when there is the realisation that the observer is the observed.  

    * Krishnamurti, The Penguin Krishnamurti  Reader, Ed. by  Mary  Luytens, London, Penguin Books, 1970; The Second Penguin Krishnamurti  Reader, Ed. by Mary Luytens, London, Penguin Books, 1973;  Mercier J.L., A Key to Krishnamurti’s Thought, in IPQ, Vol XXVIII, n_2, p170-182



    ( Hindu ‘saint’ and Vedantic philosopher, 1922-2001)


    The selfhood of consciousness is inclusive of the whole of truth.


    None of the classical theories of truth – pragmatism, correspondence and coherence – are able to determine how experiencing consciousness can decide the nature of reality. This means that truth as such cannot be known either by science or by philosophy, so long as the methodology employed by these techniques cannot be extricated from the terms and conditions of the psycho-physical organism which limits consciousness and prevents it from knowing truth as it is. Observation, and experiment, logic and argumentation are thus futile, in the end, in one's search for truth.

    Krishnananda contends that there is an inwardly felt self-certainly which is inseparable from consciousness, which does not stand in need of any external proof or verification and splashes forth hints of its absolute independence even when it passes through the contortions of operation through the body and mind. There is no objective way, in the modern scientific sense of the term, of knowing truth, for all 'objectivity' is the result of consciousness operating through a medium whose structure would definitely condition it. This would imply that truth is realized in pure subjectivity of consciousness, which is divested of all externality: in fact truth is consciousness. This selfhood of consciousness is inclusive of the whole of truth. Truth is, thus, non-objective, because consciousness is non-objective.

    This is not solipsism: this position naturally devolves from an analysis of experience where consciousness  is not the subject of an object but the pure subject, independent of objects and, so, universal: it is Absolute. Here philosophy and science meet together and experience stands undivided by the difference of subject and predicate or the knower and known. This pure experience free from the limitations of body, mind and its objects is naturally transcendent to all of them though it is present in every one of them. This is the God of religion, the Absolute of philosophy, truth which has been the goal of the quest of all thinkers through the ages. This is the supreme object of the meditation by the Yogis. Self-realization is thus co-extensive and co-eternal with God­realization.

    The sciences of man and the technological enterprises based on them are bound to take man far away from truth and drown him in sorrow if these are to constitute merely a means to outer comfort and aggrandizement. It also follows that hatred of every kind, prejudice and war are the noises made by the passing clouds of untruth which try to darken the sun of consciousness that is divinity. The mind carries the dead weight of earthly learning and knowledge of objects, while its life is slowly being sapped from within by its dissociation from truth. The way to the discovery of ultimate Truth rises gradually from unselfish understanding to mutual cooperation, from cooperation to harmony of existence, and from harmony to the indivisible Absolute.


    Krishnananda, The Philosophy of Religion. Rishikesh: Y.V.F.A. Press. 1985 ISBN 81-7052-132-7



    KUHN, Thomas *

    (American philosopher of science, 1922-1996)

    New paradigms in science are not in continuity with the old ones.

    They have nothing to do with truth but with sociology.

      Kuhn gives the outline of a new understanding of scientific development. According to him the history of  physics should not be viewed as a accumulation or amassing of knowledge achieved  by means of more precise data and wider and enlarged theories. His thesis is that scientific development must not be seen as a continuous evolution  but rather as a processus that passes through phases that are radically incommensurable and incompatible with each other.  

         In a first phase called pre-paradigmatic, there is no consensus among the researchers, no agreement about fundamental principles and thus there is no finality of their endeavour of scientific work. In a second phase, the mature or ‘normal’ phase,  one school succeeds in working out a decisive breakthrough. A paradigm imposes itself as a model and succeeds in unifying all other views. Kuhn defines  paradigms  as  conceptual and methodological systems proper to a  community  of scientific searchers which determines what is recognised as problems and what solutions is to be given to these problems.  

        However in the course of this second phase, there occurs the emergence of  anomalies  that cannot be resolved  by the means of the adopted paradigm. The accumulation of these anomalies produce a crisis. The need is felt that a new paradigm must replace the previous one. This  is the cause of a scientific revolution.  

        The ancient paradigm and the new one are characterised in that they are  incommensurable, that is, incomparable. This means there is no continuity  from the old paradigm to the new.  There is a rupture between the old and the new. In the new paradigm the understanding of what is perceived as a problem is modified, new concepts appear and the scientists live "in another world" as their perspective is radically changed. There has been no evolution of theories and explanations but a revolution  in the interpretation of the scientific reality.  

         The paradigm change is a revolution, achieved more by persuasion and conversion than by logical argument. The choice of a paradigm is not a matter of rules to be followed but of  judgement by the scientific community allowing the eventual emergence of a general consensus.  The final justification for the choice of a certain paradigm lies with the decision of the ongoing scientific community.  

        Kuhn has always been critical of the realist idea that the advance of science involves a build-up of truth about a common domain of entities. He finds meaningless the claim that science is getting closer and closer to the truth. Truth may be internal to a paradigm in the sense that its use has to be restricted to assessing claims made within the context of the paradigm. Truth claims made in one paradigm are irrelevant to the truth claims made in another paradigm. The notion of truth has a role within a paradigm, but there is no sense in which a paradigm may itself be true. Kuhn's internalist conception of truth has profound antirealist consequences.  It entails that scientific theories cannot be true reflections of reality and that scientific advance necessarily fails to yield an increase in truths about reality

         It is clear that for Kuhn the scientific enterprise is left at the mercy of sociological  and personal factors and that a scientist, like every one else, is stranded to his beliefs. But then the evolution of scientific knowledge has nothing to do with “truth”; it is a mere artifact of sociology.

        Kuhn’s new understanding of the development of science through incommensurable paradigms has raised the wider question of the understanding of all forms of human thought in its search for truth.  The mode of emergence of new philosophical paradigms and even of new theological paradigms – such as the protestant Reformation in Christianity and the Mahayana branch of Buddhism – is open to Kuhn’s fundamental question: should one conceive these changes as evolutionary or revolutionary? Are the new paradigms “truer” than the preceding ones? Kuhn answers in the negative.

    * Kuhn, Thomas, The Structure of Scientific  revolutions, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1970; Barbour, Ian, Religion in an Age of Science, SCM Press, London, 1990, p. 51-65


    KUMAR Satish *

    (Indian peace activist, b.1936)


    The moment truth is imprisoned in a belief system, the truth is lost


    Satya, or truth, means seeing reality as it is. Although we can never be sure of the nature of ultimate reality, it is right and proper to seek it. There is no one truth which can be described, explained, and defined in language. Buddha, Jesus Christ, Mahavir, Mohammed, and Socrates have all been seekers of truth. Poets, saints, and mystics like Kabir, Tulsidas, Rumi, Hildegard of Bingen, Mother Julian of Norwich, and St. Francis experienced the divine and the sacred in all things. For them that was the truth. But we cannot live on the wealth of our ancestors. We must seek our own treasure and take up the quest to find our own truth.

    Truth is multifaceted and pluralistic. Seeing existence in all its mysterious diversity yet realizing its wholeness prevents me from imposing a monolithic belief system onto it. The quest for truth is a liberating journey; it liberates me from dogmas, both religious and political. There is no final point at which I could say that I have found the truth, this is the truth, and this is the truth for everyone. The moment truth is imprisoned in a belief system, the truth is lost. As long as the experience and the techniques of other seekers are used as pointers, as signposts, then those disciplines and methods can be of some help. But the signpost is not the real thing. Truth cannot be preached; it can be communicated, if at all, only in dialogue and conversation and, more important, through living example. Truth is not a commodity which can be dished out from temples and churches. Truth is not something which can be conceptualized or extracted from holy books. It has to be lived and experienced.

    Seekers of truth are free from all kinds of fundamentalism. It is easy to see the fundamentalism of others but more difficult to recognize one’s own. To follow the way of truth is to have no preconditions, no prejudice. It is a way to face things as they are. Truth is the "isness" of Zen. The pursuit of truth is unconditional and open-minded inquiry and exploration, up to the last moment of our lives.


    * See Internet Satish Kumar


    KUNG, Hans *

    (Swiss R.C. theologian, 1928- )

    There is no truth without sincerity.The criteria of ‘true’ religion.

     1. Truth is linked to sincerity. Sincerity is more fundamental than truth because truth is inaccessible to one who lacks sincerity. Sincerity is a matter of man’s relationship with himself: the personal ethos. Moreover it is the basis of all common achievements and openness to dialogue: the social ethos. The opposite of sincerity is imposture, which creeps in in two ways. The impostor may be either an opportunist or an authoritarian manipulator of the truth.  As an opportunist, he submits himself to the environment without criticism and responsibility. He lets himself be carried away by the current of opinions. As one who exercises or cooperates with the supreme power, he utilizes the truth for political and ideological purposes. In this case  authority defines the truth, identified with the official system that must be imposed and propagated by all means. What does not correspond to the  ‘truth’ of the system must be silenced. ‘Truth’ is at the service of power. Words are no longer used to communicate but to dominate. There is no sense in  searching  for  truth; the political party or the religious sect possesses the truth and dispenses it to its members.  Dialogue is a priori suspect, dissidents are morally disqualified, ‘heretics’ are condemned and ostracised. Genuine problems are avoided, urgent solutions to these problems are indefinitely differed. The atmosphere created by this compelling situation makes people speak in another way in private and in public.  The prestige and power of the system and those who hold it is what count most. Genuine truth is used and manipulated.  Truth has even more to capitulate when the opportunism of the majority makes possible the authoritarianism of a few. The two ways of betraying truth can cohabit not only in the same social group but also in the same person, authoritarian with inferiors and opportunist with superiors.  

         Kung stresses the importance of Luther in the history of Christianity. Luther has rendered more acute the awareness of the duty of truth. Religion for him was a religion of the human conscience. That means that he taught  people to give priority to the truth in everything that concerns faith, conviction, action , entire life. Such should be the task of  Christian churches and of all  religions: to confess the truth and struggle for it, even at the cost of disappearing for the sake of  truth.  

        2.  Kung deals with the criteria of truth in religions.  Which religion is true?

     a) The question of truth in religion cannot be reduced to a matter of pure theory, consisting in a series of propositional truths about God, world and humanity. Truth in religion is always a praxis, a way of experience, enlightenment and salvation. The orthodoxies of world religions are less important than their orthopraxies.  The question of their truth and meaning (the theory) cannot be separated from the question of their goodness and valuableness (the praxis). Kung’s central thesis is that a religion  is true if it “truly helps one to be a human being” and a  religion is false to the extent that it “manifestly oppresses, injures, and destroys human beings”.  

         b)There are several basic positions on the question of the truth of religions. Kung rejects several of them before proposing his own:

    - He rejects the pragmatic criterion: is true the religion that ‘works’ and is beneficient. (Kung’s  exclusion of the pragmatic criterion  is all the more surprising that elsewhere he seems to identify the truth with the good in religions and evaluate them more by their orthopraxies than their orthodoxies)

    - He rejects the view that all religions are equally untrue, being all projections and illusions.  

    - He rejects the exclusivist view according to which one’s own religion is true and therefore all others are false. This is the arrogant absolutism of “Outside one’s own religion, no salvation”.

    - He rejects relativism according to which all religions are equally and relatively true so that one is justified to claim that in matter of religion ‘everything goes’.      

     - He rejects the inclusivist view according to which only one religion is true, even though the other religions are not entirely false because they have a share in the truth of the one true religion. For instance if  Christianity is taken for the true religion, people of other religions are  generously and tolerantly labelled “anonymous” Christians. Likewise if  Advaitic neo-Vedanta is the highest religious knowledge, all the empirical religions are considered as partial aspects of this universal truth. According to Kung inclusivism is untenable for being unfair and dishonest to the followers of other religions who have the right of being respected for what they are and  for what they do not want to be.

    c) Kung adopts some kind of pluralistic  solution to the problem.

        To assess properly the truth and the good in religion he considers two basic general  criteria : one ethical and the other religious. First, the general ethical criterion is that  a religion is true and good to the extent that it is humane, not oppressing and destroying humanity, but protecting and advancing it. Second, the general religious criterion is that a religion is true and good insofar as it remains faithful to its authentic original essence.                   Besides these general criteria, there is a criterion of truth specific to each religion. Kung examines in greater detail the specifically Christian criterion. According to him it is crucial for the assessment of the truth in religion to make the distinction between an inner and an outer perspective.  One can look at religion from the outside as a neutral observer and record the existence of a variety of religions proposing different ways of salvation.  Pluralistic relativism seems to be the compelling solution to the problem. However considered from the standpoint of an inside believer, the true religion is the one the believer confesses. For him it is the true way of salvation but it does not follow that  the truth of other religions is thereby excluded. For instance, for a Christian believer, Christianity is surely the true religion. But no religion has the whole truth.  God alone is the whole truth. Christianity like other religions is “in via”, on the way of salvation but  it is not the only  way. Only at the end will the truth be seen face to face, when all the “ways of salvation”, all religions, all mediations between human beings and God will have disappeared.

         Kung’s view is pluralistic in the sense that there are many true ways of salvation. But it is not a relativist kind of pluralism according to which it is indifferent  to adhere to one religion rather than to another.  For the believer of a particular religion, his religion is the true religion.  But he has to admit that his true religion in no way excludes the truth contained in other religions.

    *  Kung, Hans, Etre Vrai,  Desclé de Brouwer, Paris, 1968, p. 168-183; Theology for the Third Millenium, Anchor Books, Double Day, New York, 1985, p. 223-253



    (Chinese philosopher, 252?- 312)

    The truth that things are all natural and not caused by something else

        Kuo Hsiang is known for his important commentary on Chuang Tzu but he expresses his disagreement with the master on the concept of Tao. The  Tao, for him,  is essentially non-existence and, accordingly, his pivotal philosophical concept is "nothing" . Since the Tao is nothing at all, then it cannot be the originator or creator of things. Instead, things freely arise out of "nature" itself. One should see the emergence and disintegration of things in the world around us as merely the unfolding of natural processes. Things spontaneously produce themselves, that is all, for Kuo Hsiang.

        Thus the major concept for Kuo Hsiang was not the Tao of Chuang Tzu, but rather Nature. Things exist and transform themselves naturally and spontaneously. There is no external agent that causes this process.
Everything is self- sufficient and there is no need for an embracing original reality to govern them.

         Kuo Hsiang had some advice:

"The feet can walk, let them walk. The hands can hold, let them hold. Hear what is heard by your ears; see what is seen by your eyes. Let your knowledge stop at what you do not know; let your ability stop at what you cannot do. Use what is naturally useful; do what you spontaneously can do. Act according to your will within the limit of your nature, but have nothing to do with what is beyond it. Happiness is the perfection of life, and needs no external thing to be added to life."

    * Feng, Yu-lan trans. Chuang Tzu: Translation with an Exposition of the Philosophy of Kuo Hsiang, Shanghai: Commercial Press, 1933.


    KVANVIG Jonathan *


    (Contemporary American philosopher)


    Pointless truths do not threaten an unrestricted endorsement of the value of truth


    Jonathan Kvanvig  has  attempted to reconcile the problem of  pointless truths with the claim that the value of truth is unrestricted—that truth is always and everywhere valuable.

    On a wide range of issues, we’re after the truth, and when we’ve got it, it’s quite valuable to us. But on some issues, we simply don’t care on which side the truth falls. There are truths such that there would be no point to caring about them, or ever coming to have them. Jonathan Kvanvig has pointed out that pointlessness can be thought of as coming in two varieties: first, there are those he calls basic research truths (e.g. truths about the far reaches of the universe) which have no practical benefit, and in which we inquire just for the sake of expanding our knowledge and understanding. Secondly, there are those truths–such as those about the number of grains of sand on some arbitrary section of a beach–that seem altogether pointless. Neither basic research truths nor grains-of-sand truths generate any practical benefit. Would there be any value in having such truths? If not, then one consequence is clear: we must reject the thought that truth is always valuable. The view that “truth is valuable,” as an unrestricted claim, would be false. The problem raised by pointless truths is one that stands to threaten not only an unqualified endorsement of the value of truth, but also knowledge.

    Suppose that truths that have no practical value lack value entirely. Kvanvig calls such a view crass pragmatism and notes a worrying implication: if this line were correct, we’d have no more reason to conduct basic research as we would to count millions of grains of sand on a beach. This much seems right, and so it must be false that truths that lack practical value thereby lack any value. But one could defend basic research truths as more worthwhile than truths about sand on a beach. Kvanvig calls this line enlightened pragmatism. The challenge for the enlightened pragmatist will be to explain why basic research truths are more deserving of our time and attention than paradigmatically pointless truths, even though basic research truths (like grains-of-sand truths) bring about no positive practical value. Here Kvanvig supposes the enlightened pragmatist could point out that basic research is worthwhile because it engenders the possibility or chance of practical benefits, even if not the practical benefits themselves.

    Still he adds that the appeal to logical or metaphysical necessity lacks the power to sort pointless truths into those that are worth investigating and those that are not. Even though both kinds of pointless truths lack any practical value, neither lacks value altogether. He takes the strong line opposite the crass pragmatist and maintains that no truth lacks value altogether–including basic research truths and truths about the number of blades of grass in your yard. Some truths can have purely cognitive value–value for which the pragmatist positions has no room. The notion of purely cognitive or theoretical value is used by Kvanvig to specify a particular kind of value that is, along with practical value (and other values), part of what determines the value of some truth. If, as he thinks, the “ubiquitous phenomenon of curiosity” reveals that some of our concerns are purely theoretical, we may think of a truth’s cognitive value as value the truth has in virtue of its relationship to these sorts of (theoretical) concerns only, independently of any practical concerns we may have. And so, he maintains, we would go about assessing the purely cognitive value of some truth by controlling for the value it has in virtue of its relationship to non-cognitive, affective states (e.g. desires). Pointless truths (of both varieties) lack practical value, but they have purely cognitive value in the sense just described. If so, then it would be enough to show that pointless truths do not threaten an unrestricted endorsement of the value of truth (and ipso facto knowledge).


    * Kvanvig Jonathan, The Value of Knowledge and the Pursuit of Understanding, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003.


    KVASNICKA Jerry *

    (Contemporary American graduate of Princeton theological seminary)


    What the world needs is not love, sweet love: what it needs is truth, sharp truth “What the world needs now, is love sweet love. It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.” These words are repeated by those wishing for a better world than the conflict-filled and corruption-ridden world we presently live in. If there was just more love, wars would come to an end, crime rates would go down, poverty would decrease and virtually all of humankind’s problems would begin to be solved.

    At the risk of offending all such idealists I would offer a resounding NO to this notion. No, what the world needs now is not love, sweet love. What it needs is truth, sharp truth, or we could say the truth of love. Granted, love is what makes the world go ‘round’.. Every living thing is powered by love: plants, trees, insects, animals and human beings. In view of this, there is plenty of love on Earth,

    So obviously the problem is not a lack of love. Everything anyone does is initiated and carried out by love; otherwise there would be no power to do it. Bank robbers are motivated by love, probably the love of money and what it can bring. Terrorists are motivated by love, love for an organization or some kind of cause.

    Seeing that there is no lack of love on Earth, what is the problem? The problem is a deficiency of truth. In the measure that love is not released in accordance with the design and control of truth, it is destructive.  Acting from love, human beings bind themselves to all kinds of things:  countries, cultures, causes, traditions, religious beliefs, scientific theories, creature comforts of all kinds, relationships and of course food, sex, alcohol and an assortment of illicit drugs. Each and every one of these beliefs and behaviours obstruct the truth of love and actually prevent it from being expressed and known. Yet people become so fastened to their beliefs that some are even willing to kill for them.

    “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” This statement was made by a man who could speak with authority on the subject because he had personally experienced the truth of himself in his own living. Even though he was in a sense consumed by love he did not say that love would set one free. He was free in his love because it was given to nothing but the truth.

    The great need on Earth now is not for more love. Rather it is for human beings to begin to remember the truth of who they are, their authentic identity. And not to merely mentally remember this truth and form some kind of intellectual concept about it. What is absolutely essential is that this truth be expressed in living.

    The first step in allowing this to happen is to clear out all of the beliefs, cultural and political loyalties, addictions and other structures in consciousness to which one has bound oneself in love. A thorough deprogramming is required so that love may be redirected to the truth. In the measure that love has been given to these structures this cleansing process may occasion some discomfort. But as long as this clutter occupies consciousness there is no room for the truth to come through.

    So what the world needs now is not love, sweet love, but the sharp sword of truth.


    * See Internet Kvasnicka Jerry


    Jean Mercier