(Contemporary American philosopher)
For Gadamer coherence rather than correspondence represents the criterion of truth in interpretation
Wachterhauser proposes a not altogether standard reading of Gadamer according to which he is said to uphold a form of epistemological realism. According to Wachterhauser, Gadamer defends a theory of knowledge and truth that is at once fully mindful of the historically conditioned and linguistically mediated character of interpretation while remaining in some sense “reality-based,” a theory that he characterizes as a “perspectival realism.” On this reading, Gadamer attempts to reconcile a version of realism – one “which maintains that our disputes must be about what is real in some sense independently of the inquirer’s mind and place in history” – with the recognition that interpretation is situated within ﬁnite linguistic perspectives. While it is always through the medium of language that interpretation occurs, it is nonetheless the things themselves (indeed “reality in itself”) that interpretation makes available for consciousness. This particular “reality in itself,” however, is “not the Kantian Ding-an-sich, which is always behind our representations, but the reality in itself which is not forever behind the appearances but given to us in and with the appearances”. Gadamer’s unique version of the realist thesis is one that refuses to posit any form of duality between word and object, and instead regards language as the medium in which particular aspects of the subject matter, or die Sachen selbst (and decidedly not objects in their entirety), are disclosed. Furthermore, true interpretations on Wachterhauser’s reading may be said both to be about the things themselves and to be adequate (indeed to correspond) to them, although the correspondence relation functions only as an analysis, and not as a criterion, of truth. For Gadamer, it is coherence rather than correspondence that represents the criterion of truth in interpretation. It is coherent interpretations that yield the truth about the subject matter, with the important qualiﬁcations that such truths are always partial disclosures which remain invariably subject to further reinterpretation and contestation. Wachterhauser contends that Gadamer is ﬂirting with epistemological realism (one form of it) and correspondence theory. His assertion that it is coherence that for Gadamer and some other hermeneuticists constitutes the principal criterion of truth in interpretation is an insight that is both important and frequently overlooked. While the primary focus of Gadamer’s reﬂections on truth has never been the issue of the criteria that allow for a reasoned adjudication of interpretations, it remains that Gadamer also regards coherence as the principal criterion of truth in interpretation.
(English philosopher, 1896-1959)
1.What is meant by saying that a given proposition is true? Waismann's interest is in the usage of the terms 'true' and 'false' in language. Take the proposition 'it is raining' or p. What am I saying when I say that this proposition p is true? I am saying no more than 'it is raining', no more than just p. In saying "p is true", I am doing no more than repeating p. 'It is true that p', adds nothing to the meaning of p. It is objected that there is a difference between making a statement and ascertaining that the same statement is true. The proposition ' p is true' says more than just p. This objection is refuted in showing that the saying of 'p is true' does not make it true and therefore it does not add anything to p. Even the false witness in the court asserts that p is true! But the objector insists that there is a difference because in simply uttering p I need not know that p is true, and when I say 'p is true' I express my knowledge of the truth of p. Therefore in saying 'p is true' I say more than just p. The question then is to clarify what is this "more". Waismann's contention is that 'it is true' and 'it is false' are used to express certain operations: those of asserting and of denying. 'True' and 'false' do not stand for qualities of the propositions. The adjective 'true' does not stand for a quality of a proposition of which it can be asked: when does p have this quality?
The question here is one of grammar, the grammar of the words 'true' and 'false'. In saying that 'p is true' means something more than p, we violate the rules of grammar which every one acknowledges. Dispute arises only in this question of grammatical rules; it is not a divergence of views about the truth of what we assert.
2. Still this is not a complete account of the use of the words 'true' and 'false'. There are cases when our rules cannot be applied, for example, when we say: " All what the witness said at the trial is true (or false)". Here the words 'true' and 'false' cannot be eliminated for being simply redundant. The reason for this is that in this case we only describe but do not assert a proposition. Our rules of grammar are valid if and only if p stands for a proposition that is expressed, not for a proposition which only describes.
These two cases (one of redundancy and the other of non-redundancy) are usually distinguished in English by using two different expressions: " it is true that…" and "…is true". "It is true that p (it is raining)" is redundant, because it is an assertion. But "All what the witness said …is true" is not redundant because it is a description, and not an assertion. The use of 'true' and 'false' is redundant in the case of all assertive propositions but not redundant and therefore useful in the case of descriptive propositions.
3. To be exhautive in the use of the terms 'true' and 'false, one should also mention that these terms can be used not as predicates in proposition but as attributes of propositions, as when we speak of a 'true proposition'. In such a context the word 'true' is not redundant and cannot be eliminated because 'proposition' and 'true proposition' are not synonymous.
To sum up: we have come to the three possible usages of the word 'true' and they occur in the following sentence: "It is true that all propositions which follow from a true proposition are true" in which only the first 'true' is redundant and can be eliminated, whereas the second and third uses are not redundant. The second use is as an attribute, not as a predicate, and the third use is descriptive, not assertive.
* Waismann, F., The Principles of Linguistic Philosophy, Macmillan, London, 1965, p. 27-37
Contemporary Australian journalist) Truth and objectivity in journalism
How journalists seek the truth? A truth is a verified and indisputable fact. Labelling the truth as subjective, by that definition, is not correct. Being subjective means that personal bias is involved. But when you are dealing with verifiable and indisputable facts, you are not dealing with something that is subjective. You are, in fact, dealing with something that is objective.
However, let us assume that the truth is subjective, and seeking out the truth originates from subjectivity – a personal quest to prove something. As a journalist, if you decide that you can only convey what you have found by being objective and balanced, removing the subjectivity, I dare to claim, that you are then creating what is called a false balance.
For the sake of being perceived as ethical, objective and balanced, you are altering the truth, and allowing the truth itself to take the sideline, for the sake of pleasing those who think that a journalist is not allowed to be subjective.
We seek the truth, and the sources that can confirm it, to argue that our hunch was correct. Furthermore, to present it to the public, to show them what we discovered.
What the reader deserve is, when provided with the truth– a verified and indisputable fact –to be presented with the unedited truth. If it originated from subjectivity, then that it is how it should be presented, and trusted because of its sources. The same way if it originated from objectivity.
In scientific research it is accepted to ignore certain data. Not for the sake to give you a favourable result, but to provide your research with an accurate result. Adding that extra data for the sake of appeasing someone is not right, as it will distort your result — the same standard should be applied to journalism.
A journalist should not need to add an extra source for the sake of the ideas of objectivity and balance. All it will create, as mentioned, is a false balance. That is a huge disservice to journalism and readers. As it will additionally create dishonesty — distorting the truth.
It is difficult to understand this worship of objectivity in journalism. Now, just flat-out lying is different from being subjective.
*See Internet Waldijk Dokter
(Contemporary American internaut)
Telling the truth does not set you free
Beware of the misquoted "Telling the Truth shall set you Free" This is a rubbish and most convenient re-interpretation of a much misunderstood wisdom from the Universal Laws of Nature.. The real quote is "You shall know the truth, and knowing the truth shall make you free" - is the real interpretation of that wisdom. Not "you shall tell the truth." That's more than just a play on words because "telling the truth" doesn't necessarily communicate the WHOLE truth to somebody else, and therefore set them free. Most "unloading of the truth" is for the purpose of guilt relief. Selfish half truth. "Telling the truth" only tells "your truth", which doesn't set anybody free. And telling the truth maybe catastrophically imprudent and reckless, since it can only ever be a partial truth, which may trigger reactions.
Most truth is not on a liberating truth, but a whole pile of embedded perceptions and stereotypes. Most truth telling isn't truth. It's interpretations of truth. So, learn to shut up, hold truth within you. Truth oozes from your being, your heart and soul. Truth is hidden in your words, reflected in your eyes and manifest in your Karma. The truth sets you free... not unburdening some emotional guilt or dumping your unfinished business on others.
See Internet Chris Walker J.
( Contemporary American author)
Beliefs and faiths do not establish "truths" or facts Beliefs and faiths represent a type of mental activity that produces an unnecessary and dangerous false sense of trust and wrongful information (thinking coupled with the feeling of 'truth'). Faith rarely agrees with the world around us. History has shown that beliefs and faith, of the most intransigent kind, have served as the trigger for tragic violence and destruction and sustained the ignorance of people. Replacing beliefs with predictive thoughts based on experience and evidence provide a means to eliminate intransigence and dangerous superstitious thought.
Beliefs and faiths do not establish "truths" or facts. It does not matter how many people believe or for how many centuries they have believed it. It does not matter how reverent or important people think of them, if it does not agree with evidence, then it simply cannot have any validity to the outside world. All things we know about the world, we can express without referring to a belief. Even at its most benign level, beliefs can act as barriers to further understanding.
If you don't know about something and you submit it to nothing but belief, it will likely prove false; if you know about something, then you don't need to believe it, because you know it. Between ignorance and knowledge you have the uncertainties about the world, and the best way to handle uncertainties involves thinking in terms of probabilities. So what use does belief have?
Instead of owning beliefs, we can utilize hypothesis, theory, and models to make predictions about things in the world. In its semantic form, we can replace "belief" words with "thinking" words which better describes the formation of our ideas. We can use our imaginations to create new hypothesis towards desired goals. The wonder of the universe gives us a powerful feeling of inquisitiveness. Certainly we will fail sometimes, but disowning beliefs allows us to correct our mistakes without submitting our ideas to years or centuries of traditional time consuming barriers. Theory coupled with imagination can yield inventive thoughts and points of views. By further understanding our language and eliminating unworkable essence words, we can communicate without resorting to preconceived ideas based on past beliefs. Our feeling of wonder about the universe provides us the fuel for exploration; how much more magnificent the results from useful thoughts than ones based on faith.
* See Internet Jim Walker
(Contemporary American Christian apologist)
The Self-Evident Nature of Objective Moral Truths
The Self-Evident Nature of Objective Moral TruthsI occasionally encounter someone who rejects the existence of objective, transcendent moral truths. For many people, all moral truth is merely perspectival; a matter of flexible, cultural convention. Yet there appear to be a number of moral absolutes that transcend culture and history. Some folks are unconvinced that such a transcendent Law exists at all.
When people seek to reject the transcendent nature of moral absolutes, I take the following approach. First, I ask them for an historical example. While there are many cultures that have justified their actions with rationalizations we might reject as insufficient, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a culture that used “for the fun of it” as a justification. Secondly, it’s sometimes important to “super-size” an issue to illustrate the point. That’s why I occasionally ask the question, “Is it ever OK to torture babies for fun?” If it isn’t, we’ve just identified a transcendent moral principle we can agree on. You’d be surprised, however, to discover how many people will still reject this “extreme” moral truth claim. Some people might argue: “Well, I would never do such a thing and I would never say it was OK, but I don’t think there’s necessarily an objective truth about it.” Really? I asked them, “So, are you saying there’s a scenario in which it might be appropriate to torture a baby for fun?”
When people still refuse to affirm something as self-evident as, “It’s never OK to torture babies for fun,” it’s time to offer them an additional piece of advice: “Get some help!” When your intuitive ability to recognize self-evident truth is inoperative, it’s time to get some counseling. Or, at least, start asking what it is that is causing you to hesitate in the first place.
If there are such transcendent truths, I think we owe it to ourselves to attribute them to a proper and foundationally reasonable source.
See Internet J. Warner Wallace
(Chinese philosopher, 27 - 100 )
Truth is a rational, naturalistic account of the world and man
Wang developed his thought in reaction to the state of philosophy in China during his era. Daoism had long before degenerated into superstition and magic. Confucius and Laozi were worshipped as gods, omens were seen everywhere, belief in ghosts was almost universal. Wang's response to all this was derision, and he made it his vocation to set out a rational, naturalistic account both of the world and of the human place in it. Wang declared that natural events occur spontaneously and did not have an ultimate purpose.
He strongly rejected the idea that man’s activities influence the workings of nature, and stated that man had no special position in the universe. Humans are insignificant specks in the universe and cannot hope to effect changes in it; it is arrogance to think that the universe would change itself just for us. Wang maintained that the words of previous sages should be treated critically, and that they were often contradictory or inconsistent. He criticized scholars of his own time for not accepting this, as well as what he called the popular acceptance of written works. He believed that the truth could be discovered, and would become obvious, by making the words clear, and by clear commentary on the text. Wang’s attitude to knowledge was rational and uncompromising. Beliefs should be supported with evidence and experimentation. He argued that experimentation should be tried and repeated before adopting the belief that divine will was involved in natural phenomena.
* See article on Wang Chung in the New World Encyclopedia
(Chinese neo-confucian philosopher, (1472-1529)
Wang Yang-ming shows little interest in empirical enquiry concerning the knowledge of existing things. For him, "things" are the objectives of moral will. To investigate "things", is to rectify one's mind, to get rid of evil and to do good. Rectification of the mind involves, in particular, an acknowledgement of the unity of moral knowledge and action, rather than extensive acquisition of factual knowledge. To know good and evil is the same as doing good and avoiding evil.
The wise man draws true knowledge from himself, and does not try to find it in the external world. The light of truth is found wholly in "conscience". Wang is not concerned with the consideration of "things-in-themselves". Why should one speculate vainly on external realities while we possess in ourselves a mirror which provides us all the truth of the "being-for-us"? This truth is made of all the proper relations between the self and all the other beings of the world. Provided it is not darkened by selfish desires, conscience itself is the 'reason of Heaven', which does not need to be completed by any search of external things.
Wang Yang-ming writes: "If you would truly comprehend truth, you must recognize it from your own mind. It is of no avail to seek it in external things. The mind is itself truth and truth is heaven. He who knows the mind thereby knows both truth and heaven".
* Wang Yang-ming, Instructions for practical living and Other Neo-Confician Writings, éd; Chang-Wing-tsit, New-York-London, 1963
(English philsopher of religion and theologian, b. 1938)
1. Keith Ward is interested in the problem of criteria of truth in religions. The view he defends takes a middle stance between two extreme positions. On the extreme left , John Hick (see Hick) is the advocate of "hard" pluralism which considers all religions equally good so that no rational criteria of truth are needed. On the extreme right Gavin D'Costa holds the view that criteria of truth in religion are not possible because they can never be neutral. Both Hick and D'Costa reject the possibility of rational criteria, albeit for different reasons. Hick concludes to the truth of all religious traditions and D'Costa concludes that only one's own religion is true. These conclusions, one which leads to relativism and the other to exclusivism, are unacceptable to Keith Wartd.
2. Keith Ward distinguishes between a soft and a hard version of pluralism of truth in religions. Hick's hard pluralism leads to the incoherent view that all great religious traditions are equally authentic manifestations of the ultimate truth.
Keith's soft pluralism accepts the view that the Real can manifest itself in many traditions and that humans can respond appropriately in them. However for the soft pluralist, such traditions may contain many false beliefs. The presence of false beliefs is bound to affect the way the Real is conceived and represented. The Real is mediated through human concepts and experiences, which may be deficient or false. Not all views of the Real can be equally authentic, and ways must and can be found of distinguishing between them - a view denied by the hard pluralist. One can find more adequate view of the Real in some traditions than others, even perhaps in one's own particular tradition.
3. The problem is: how can one decide between competing religious traditions? It is unrealistic to think of this as a decision made from a completely neutral position. Still it seems quite false to say with Gavin D'Costa that "there are no neutral criteria for adjucating between religions; one can judge religions only by the criteria and standards of one's own tradition". For Keith Ward, on the contrary, there are basic rational criteria which can be brought to bear upon all claims to truth, in religion and elsewhere. Rationality is present in religion as elsewhere, and that rationality is not different in kind from rationality in general.
What is that rationality? Keith Ward lists a number of rational criteria applicable to all religious truth-claims. For instance: all truth-claims must be consistent with one another; all truth-claims must be compatible with what one takes as well-established knowledge with regards to facts and morals; truth-claims should be adequate to the various sorts of experience one takes as non-delusory, etc. But, of course, the use of such rational criteria does not serve to pick out one religion as the only true one. It serves to encourage a reassessment and revision of particular religious claims. It is not suggested that one can stand on neutral ground and choose with objective dispassion between religious traditions. But it is an important part of rational believing that one should use rational criteria, which are universal in every person, to articulate one's own view of human existence and offer some kind of rational justification of one's own religious options.
* Ward, Keith, Religion and Revelation, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1994, p.311-325
(Contemporary Scholar on Buddhism)
For Buddhists, conventional truth is used as a ladder to ultimate truth
Buddhists do not believe that they are any of these selves, and they do not believe they are all of them. They believe there is happiness, sadness, and neutrality, but but no person is involved. There is no I (or me, or mine). This is an ultimate truth. If they believed they were any of these selves, they would be attached to one or the other of these selves. Such attachment would bring about suffering.
Everything in the world is considered a thing (an entity). However, Buddhists believe this way of viewing things is a misunderstanding. In truth, we live in a world of impermanent things which are dependent on causes. They are, consequently, not self-contained and independent. They are not a self.
Because the whole of our experience is this delusional viewpoint, Buddhists have little option but to talk about things as they appear. Like the man in the well, who has no option but to use the well to escape. In this way, Buddhists use the conventional truths of the world as a means to escape delusion, and reduce suffering. Conventional truths are also used as a ladder to ultimate truth, theyare useful at various stages of the journey, but we discard them when we no longer need them.
In order to reduce suffering, before we are enlightened, we need to use the material of the delusional world in order to build a raft to cross the water. For instance, Buddhists are encouraged to form an identity showing ethical behaviour and loving kindness. This identity is not really a self, and is delusional, but it is a way to practice for enlightenment. When the task has been accomplished, even this self can be discarded, like the raft, and the enlightened person acts ethically without the need of a thinking or feeling ethical self. And like the raft, his or her example can be left behind as a guide for others.
Using the delusional world to free ourselves from delusion is like using tinder to light a fire. Just as the tinder is consumed by the fire, so our helpful delusions are dissolved when we attain enlightenment. At the highest levels of practice, the fire is 'burnt out' or blown out (enlightenment). But this does not imply the tinder wasn't necessary. The fact that the tinder does not exist when the fire is alight and when everything flammable is consumed does not mean it wasn't necessary. Without tinder, the fire would not light, and the potential to burn would remain. The defilements would remain awaiting a spark. In the same way, Buddhists use conventional truths to reduce suffering. When suffering is no more, they can be discarded.
See Internet Thoughts on Buddhism Ken J Ward
(American theologian, 1851-1921)
The necessity of controversy to defend the truth: Christian truth thrives on controversy
It is the primary claim of Christianity that it is "the truth." Jesus Christ, its founder, calls himself significantly "the truth" (John xiv. 6), and sums up his mission in the world as a constant witness-bearing to "the truth" (John xviii. 37). It is accordingly as "the truth" that the gospel offers itself to men; and it seeks to propagate itself in the world only as "truth," and therefore only by those methods by which "truth" makes its way. Not the sword but the word is Christianity's weapon of defense and instrument of conquest.
"Martyrdom" and "controversy": if the collocation of these commitments sounds strange in our ears it can only be because we have failed to realize how inevitable is their connection, how necessarily they appear as twin fruits of the one fair tree of faithfulness. There never was a martyrdom save as the result of controversy. The spirit which would still contention for the truth never yet went to the stake. There is a sentiment indeed which decries controversy. The same sentiment should certainly decry martyrdom also. An anemic Christianity which is too little virile to strive for the truth can never possess the nerve to die for it.
The spirit of the martyr and the spirit of the controversialist are one. Both alike are the sport of the indifferent, and the scorn of the worldly-wise to whom opportunism is the last word of wisdom, and "convictions" the disease of fools. Christian men may call him a martyr: but the world at best a fanatic, at worst a well-punished disturber of the peace. The issue does not seem to the world worth fighting for and certainly not worth dying for.
Christianity is in its very nature an aggressive religion; it is in the world just in order to convince men; when it ceases to reason, it ceases to exist. It is no doubt the truth; but the truth no longer proclaimed and defended rots quickly down. Controversy is in this sense and to this degree the vital breath of a really living Christianity.
Are there then to be no limits set to the controversial spirit? Assuredly there are. These limits are, however, not to be sought in motives of convenience or prudence. Christianity thrives on controversy, and exists only by virtue of it. If the presence of controversy, is not in itself the criterion of the truth of a doctrine, a doctrine which arouses no contradiction lacks one of the marks of truth.
There may be questions about the manner of controversy and the tone of controversy: but they cannot touch the duty of controversy. He that declines controversy "on principle," or from motives of convenience or prudence, has thereby renounced his confidence in the truth.
*See Cousar, R. W., Benjamin Warfield: His Christology and Soteriology, PhD thesis, Edinburgh University, 1954.
Truth needs no defense: it stands unwavering, unyielding, unchanging forever. Truth is not the mere opposite of lies, but rather a declaration of what is and what is not. While circumstances change like gusts of wind and at times the sun shines while other times there’s clouds, truth stands unwavering, unyielding, unchanging forever.
Men seek truth as long as that truth agrees with their comfortable theology. It is easier to follow the path of water and go the way of least resistance. And for most the appearance of an obstacle immediately confirms their long held thought, this is not the way. Surely all that is good and right, all, which is sweet and beautiful, must come without challenge, without a fight. Many a soul have followed this cunningly devised path of error. The deceitfulness of riches has ensnared a thousand men. The apparent ease of ill-gotten gain, the promise of the effortless way, fruit from trees that have not been planted, a harvest where no seed was sown, all testify shamelessly with volume to the slippery, tempter’s claim, “truth is only true if it is true for you.” It has been said in this day that there is no good and evil, there is no wrong and right, but rather let every man decide what is right for him and from thence let him judge. Such thought is anarchy and denies with ignorance the Master’s plan. If what is, is and what is not, is not, who is man to kick against the pricks? The senses realm testifies of this truth. Let the disputer defy the laws of gravity. Let him climb to the highest peak and with solemn prayer and determined will cast himself headlong to the ground while clinging tightly to his creed, his inner thought, his private truth, namely, “gravity is not true for me.” And following his demise while laying lifeless on the heap in stillness will be heard - truth stands!
Truth exists timeless, knowing neither night nor day. Truth has no beginning and knows no end. The creation itself was formed upon its speech. Truth framed the world and determined aforetime order and precision. Yet many scoff and chide and choose rather to embrace the theories, and without shame succumb to popular opinions.
In the courts of life truth is tried and without benefit of barrister comes out unscathed. Whether there be ten thousand accusers, all men cheated of this or that; truth remains confident and innocent. Never has truth defrauded man of his just claim, never has truth suppressed, never has truth held back his rightful due. Maligned and misunderstood truth stands pure.
Truth is the illumination of men. It shines through the dense fog of imagination and clearly marks the way. Shout it from the housetops, to him and him and her. To mother, guest and teacher, to brother, friend, and wife – herald forth. Listen not to the gainsayer, the intellectual, and the boss. Shield and cover the ears from the philosopher, the lawyer, and the scientist. Know and understand instead. Allow the warm gentle rays of honesty to run headlong into every corner. Let every false word drop from view and gather in earnest each sparkling jewel truth hands out.
(English philosopher of religion, 1915-1973)
Watts makes a distinction (as have others) between faith and belief. Belief, he notes, has at its root "lief," which means "to wish." When we believe something, we wish it to be the truth. Watts points out that this position is the opposite of faith, which arises from "fidere," "to trust." Faith requires openness and, often, the suspension of belief.
Now belief is associated with certainty - knowing what's going on, knowing what is true - which gives us a sense of security. The conviction that we hold the truth gives security. The difference between faith and belief is at the core of Watts' claim that there is wisdom in insecurity, in the absence of belief. The ability to adopt a stance of unbelief - that is, a posture of faith - stands at the heart of his "cosmological spirituality". Living without the security of belief in the things we wish to be true is according to him the most challenging evolutionary leap that human beings have yet faced.
The principle thing is to understand that there is no safety in human life but insecurity. The notion of security is based on the feeling that there is something within us which is permanent, something which endures through all the days and changes of life. We are struggling to persuade ourselves that what we call "I" is the enduring core and centre of our being. We think that the "I" is the real man - the thinker of our thoughts, the feeler of our feelings, the knower of our knowledge and the owner of truth. We do not actually understand that there is no security until we realise that this "I" does not exist.
* Watts, Allan, The Wisdom of Insecurity, Vintage books, 1951
(English Christian theologian in the liberal Protestant tradition, 1893-1976)
Truth cannot be delegated to any external authority: it is self-authenticating
I believe passionately that Christianity is a way of life, not a theological system with which one must be in intellectual agreement. As I see it, all questions regarding the factual accuracy of Biblical statements—notably such ‘miraculous’ events as Virgin Birth, Resurrection, etc.—are wholly irrelevant to the true issues. Indeed, I should go so far as to say myself that the whole value of the Gospel story to mankind—and it is very great—lies not in its historical but in its legendary, mythical, or ‘typical’ character.
The Christianity of tomorrow will embrace all truth wherever it is found or however men have come to apprehend it, whether through specifically Christian teaching or through Buddhism or Mohammedanism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism or even through the bleak desert of apparent atheism.
When I really believe a thing, I mean that its truth possesses me. . . Truth is self-authenticating, and when it possesses me, nothing can shake it from its enthronement until some greater truth displaces it or gives it less prominence.
There is only one authority. . . that is the authority which truth itself possesses when it is perceived to be true by the individual concerned. . . the alternative procedure, the delegation to external authority, must itself follow an individual’s subjective decision.
Men glibly turn to an infallible Bible, or an infallible church, or an infallible Pope, or an infallible conscience, or an infallible Christ, and say that that authority is sufficient for them and enables them to accept truth. I believe all that kind of talk is false.
Let us never imagine that faith can ever be furthered by suppressing doubt, let alone by suppressing evidence. All truth is one, and religion must be as eager as science to know the truth as far as man can perceive it. If something we have treasured as truth is really contradicted by unanswerable evidence, then in the name of the God of truth we must part with it however venerable it may be. Let us never suppose that we can take over faith from our parents without examination, or believe anything merely because another says it is true. But let us not be content with a static agnosticism which never rouses itself to make inquiry. Let us examine the evidence and then in complete loyalty to its trend make a leap both of intellect and will, and, committing ourselves, acting as if all were established, try out in life the faith that carries us on wings after the hard road of fact and reason stops.
* See Internet Christian Agnostic, Leslie D. Weatherhead 1965, Abingdon Press
(German sociologist, 1864-1920)
The truth of values cannot be decided by science
Unlike many interpretative theorists, Weber maintains that facts can and should be kept separate from values. In principle, facts can be determined objectively by science. Values are a matter of cultural norms or personal faith, the truth of which cannot be decided by science.
Weber was fundamentally at odds with those who argued for a morality based on science. The scientist qua scientist can evaluate the probable consequences of courses of action, Weber believed, but he cannot make value judgments. "Science today," he wrote, "is a 'vocation' organized in special disciplines in the service of self-clarification and knowledge of interrelated facts. It is not the gift of grace of seers and prophets dispensing sacred values and revelations, nor does it partake of the contemplation of sages and philosophers about the meaning of the universe." The scientist qua scientist can have no answer to the question, "What shall we do?" The scientist should not hanker after leadership over men; he finds dignity and fulfillment in the quest for factual truth. An empirical science, Weber contended, can never advise anyone what he should do, though it may help him to clarify for himself what he can or wants to do.
Weber maintained that there is an unbridgeable logical gulf between partisan prescription and non-partisan description, between assertions that something actually is the case (facts) and insistences that it ideally ought to be (values). The values we put on things are not in truth qualities of those things. Sciences are only concerned to describe what actually happens.
Weber never claimed that values were either dispensible or unimportant. He did not assert that everyone, or even that all social scientists, should always and everywhere eschew value-judgements. On the contrary, what he insisted was that the difference between fact-stating and evaluation should be neither concealed nor blurred. When anyone expresses a value judgement, he must not pretend that it is scientifically warranted; because it cannot be. If scientists, and in particular social scientists, make recommendations for action, they should be scrupulous to make plain, what parts of what they are saying is put forward as a scientific finding, and what has the very different status of a policy proposal. This is an imperative of intellectual honesty and respect for truth.
Science and reason only provide the means, the ends are dictated by values. Max Weber argued that research may be value-relevant, or of personal interest to the researcher, but the actual process of doing research must be value-free.
* See Gianfranco Poggi, Weber: A Short Introduction, Blackwell Publishing, 2005
(Contemporary American pastor)
Christ reveals absolute truth and the Holy Spirit validates absolute truth
The Scriptures declare that man is utterly dependent upon God’s revelation in order to know absolute truth. Therefore, for man to imagine that he has the capacity to take his own measure, provide his own meaning, carve out his own destiny, and determine his own moral course is the epitome of arrogance.
The claims of Christ are a frontal assault upon the mindset of humanism. For Jesus Christ claims to be the revealer of God (John 1:18), and He claims to be the incarnation of absolute truth (John 14:6). Modern men, like Pilate of old in the presence of Christ, flee from accountability before God by uttering, “What is truth?” But God’s truth permits no neutral ground The natural man of contemporary culture judges God’s revelation in Christ to be unreliable and useless to be authoritative. By usurping the place of God, men have arrogated to themselves the role of determining ultimate reality. The consequences are grave. The rejection of God’s revelation thrusts men into a perilous sea of subjectivism. Cultures that reject divine truth and law inevitably drift toward the jagged rocks of anarchy, oppression, pestilence and holocaust.
Both Old and New Testaments affirm that the knowledge of God is unattainable by the exercise of human reason and senses. An entirely new faculty is needed in order to apprehend the knowledge of God with absolute certainty. That new faculty needed is the Holy Spirit indwelling a man (1 Corinthians 2:10-16).
Christ reveals absolute truth and the Holy Spirit validates absolute truth. By the knowledge of Christ through the Scriptures, the believer is given the Holy Spirit who continually validates the veracity of God’s Word.
The natural man’s ignorance of God is not absolute. By the general revelation of creation men may know something of God in an academic way. An incredible universe of beauty and diversity speaks of a Creator who possesses attributes of divine might and wisdom. Because man has a conscience that accuses or defends every moral action, man knows that God must be a righteous Judge who holds His creatures accountable. But to know God personally and not merely conceptually is only possible if a third element is introduced. That third element is Christ’s work as Revealer and Redeemer.
Billions of people attempt to determine religious truth for themselves. They lean on the broken reed of carnal reason. Scripture refers to that thought form as “the spirit of the world” (1 Corinthians 2:12). With man doing his own validating, no wonder phrases such as, “I’m glad it’s true for you,” or “I’m glad your religion works for you,” are so common. The countless souls who utter such absurdities are willfully ignorant of the fact that God in His wisdom and goodness has determined that there shall be but One who validates religious truth. He is God’s own Spirit.
See Internet Wegter Jay
(French philosopher, 19O4-1977)
The opposite of truth is not error or falsehood but violence. The purpose of philosophy is not the discovery of truth but the promotion of rational dialogue.
Eric Weil is the defender of 'reasonable pluralism': the only approach that is able to overcome both the sceptical thesis for which there is no truth and the thesis that the ambition of truth is the essence of the philosophical discourse. Philosophy for Weil does not transform the world if we understand transformation as the direct active intervention in the course of events. Nevertheless it is one of the greatest power at man's disposal since, through its understanding, it transforms human beings who too often follow blindly those who make history through violent means. The role of philosophy is to unmask all forms of violence. Its activity does not prescribe how men must act. Its role is to denounce the devious ways of the "men of action" who too often quit the path of reason to resort to the path of violence, which presents itself under the cover of reason, justice, order, ethics and religion.
The objective of philosophy is not to discover what the truth is but to promote the virtue of rational dialogue which alone is able to avoid violence and barbarism. The violent man wants to impose his ideas on others whereas the reasonable man tries to work out with others a universally valid discourse with the purpose to gather and bring together rather then separate and ostracise.
Thus Eric Weil defines the philosophical attitude as dialogue or rational discourse in the struggle against violence. It is only in holding firmly to the requirement of non-violence that the wise person will succeed in turning away once for all from the illusions brought about by ideologies and forms of integrism, which justify the necessity and right to resort to violence in defense of the truth.
Violence prevents man to become himself and be wise. In that sense violence brings him away from truth. "The opposite of truth is not error, but violence", says Eric Weil. Like Gandhi he resorts to the concept of non-violence to find the truth of man. Non-violence, he argues, is the starting point and the final purpose of philosophy. Truth and non-violence go hand in hand.
The task of philosophy is to establish a dialogue between the existing discourses. The plurality of these discourses proves that there is no unique interpretation, that the world admits an indefinite number of interpretations. Unlike the monological structure of systems, theories and ideologies that guide men of action to transform a violent reality through violent means, philosophy is essentially non-violent and dialogical. That is why the unity of philosophical discourse is never achieved. It aims at an ideal universal truth without ever reaching it.
* See Perine Marcelo, Philosophie et Violence, Sens et Intention de la Philosophie d'Eric Weil, Paris, Beauchesne, 1997
(French philosopher and social activist, 1909-1943)
Truth: a matter of personal experience
Simone Weil deals with truth not so much logically or scientifically but psychologically or phenomenologically. She is concerned with disclosing what she believes to be the conditions necessary for an experience of truth or reality to emerge for the human subject or, for an object, or concept etc., to emerge as real within human experience. She does not advocate for a general theory of human truth-production, as William James does, justified by empirical observation. For her, the problem of truth is always a deeply personal one, to be approached through introspection.
Any proof of the syllogism would be absurd. The syllogism is, to put it briefly, nothing but a rule of language to avoid contradiction: at bottom the principle of non-contradiction is a principle of grammar, nothing more.
When pressed on her concept of truth, her final appeals take a form similar to, "It's based on what is beauty, and if it's beautiful, it must be true." This is not quite a child's clinging to fancy: it is the expression of how personally Weil took truth: she counted as true not that which she could prove but that upon which she depended, that which she could not do without. She tells us: one can never really give a proof of the reality of anything; reality is not something open to proof, it is something established. It is established just because proof is not enough. It is this characteristic of language, at once indispensable and inadequate, which shows the reality of the external world.
Any human being, even though practically devoid of natural facilities, can penetrate to the kingdom of truth reserved for genius, if only he longs for truth and perpetually concentrates all his attention upon its attainment. No need to be brilliant to obtain the deepest level of understanding. “It is impossible that the whole of truth should not be present at every time and every place, available for anyone who desires it.” If essential knowledge, truth, “only comes to us from outside, and it always comes from God” and is not learned, then it follows that the highest knowledge cannot be reserved for only a select few. Weil’s truth is universal and open to all.
A logical extension of Weil’s universal conception of truth is her idea that “all religions are wonderful.” Weil feels all religions have something to offer, because they all have something worthwhile to say about how to reach truth. Even though Weil was a Christian, she believed Christ’s teachings should be added on to other religions, not replacing them. The only thing Weil feels a “deep antagonism” for, was violence and destruction carried out in the name of religion. Weil believes “no human beings are appointed by God to annihilate other human beings.”
* Simone Weil: An Anthology. Sian Miles, editor. Virago Press, 1986.
(American physicist, Nobel laureate in physics, b.1933)
Science only is the path to truth
Weinberg is scornful of those who describe science as just one way among many of finding truth. Science, Weinberg insists, is not merely a belief system and certainly is not, as philosopher Paul Feyerabend suggested, “a superstition.” Science is the path to truth, Weinberg thinks, and he is not shy about showing his irritation with philosophers who disagree. In his book Dreams of a Final Theory, Weinberg asserted: “I know of no one who has participated actively in the advance of physics in the postwar period whose research has been significantly helped by the work of philosophers”.
Some people wonder why Weinberg seems so determined to refute the claims of mostly religious believers that the world is the work of a benevolent designer. The answer he gives is that “on balance the moral influence of religion has been awful.” Religion has done humanity more harm than good. Weinberg has no interest in maintaining “a constructive dialogue” between science and religion. Weinberg asserts provocatively: “One of the great achievements of science has been, if not to make it impossible for intelligent people to be religious, then at least to make it possible for them not to be religious.”
Weinberg defends science in general and physics in particular as seeking an objective underlying truth in the way Nature behaves, in contrast to the view of certain sociologists and philosophers of science who contend that scientific theories are inevitably influenced by social and cultural factors, and that progress in science resembles more a random walk than a series of steps progressing toward a better and better understanding of how Nature works.
He predicts that the biggest impact of advances in physics will be cultural, not technological. He looks forward to the day when people comprehend “that nature is governed by impersonal laws, laws that do not give any special status to life, and yet laws that humans are able to discover”.
* Weinberg Steve, Facing Up: Science and Its Cultural Adversaries (2001, 2003, HUP)
(Contemporary American author)
We should use our human mind and experience to determine what is true: nothing more.
Truth traditionally has needed to meet two criteria, correspondence with reality and coherence within itself. Thus, when telling someone they are wrong, we usually point to an example, or point out something they said that contradicts what they said before. We point to common human experience in order to verify truth. In other words, Truth must be human. It must be mediated by human eyes, human experiments, human interpreters, traditions, texts. Everyone, whether they admit it or not, believes some things are true. Even Nietzsche believed in his philosophy enough to live it out.
It is nonsensical to say something like, “Trusting the opinion, wisdom, knowledge and understanding of man to set the standard for what is truth is like building a house on sinking and shifting sand. It will not stand. There is another choice we have. We can believe God is, and that God’s Word is true.”
Still if we cannot trust human opinions, how can we know God’s word is true? How can we decide between different religions and different interpretations and different versions of religious texts? The truth is, if human capabilities are faulty, we could never believe in anything. But in reality, we should use our human minds and our human experience to determine what is true. The idea that we can attain some absolute or objective truth about God outside of human opinion and experience is laughable. It would require that man get outside of himself and become God. Instead, God became man and, in doing so, has affirmed man’s ability to discern truth once and for all!
Thus, placing your trust in God is coterminous with placing your trust in your own intuitions and intelligence that God gave you. It also means placing your trust in words in books that have been inspired, but also interpreted and altered many times over by humans. The first step towards knowing God is taking your human experience, intuitions, and depravity seriously and trying to make sense of them.
*See Internet Stephen Weller
(British theologian and founder of Methodism, 1704-1791)
Truth in Agape : "speaking the truth in love."
In a famous sermon "A Catholic Spirit", Wesley outlines an ecumenical approach to truth based on Christian agape (love). He begins with presuming that relations among different religious sects are desirable and possible because of the universal love of God and neighbor. For him, differences of opinion on dogma or modes of worship should not be allowed to hinder developing a deeper unity of affection. Universally admitted human limitations of knowledge and understanding should humble every human being regarding the absolute accuracy of his or her own prized opinions. Not only is human understanding unavoidably finite, but it is also immeasurably influenced by social culture and personal prejudice. Furthermore, no one has a right to violate the conscience of others regarding their convictions. So, Wesley insists that all individuals and groups ought always to affirm their commitments to truth as they see it--but carefully, without excluding others. Yet, for Wesley, love matters most regarding religious others, especially love arising from the heart (our affective center) rather than from the head (our cognitive processes). One of Wesley's most-oft-quoted texts was the phrase from Eph. 4:15, "speaking the truth in love." Significantly, love is never separated from the conviction of truth, but truth is always set in the context of love (see 2 Jn. 1-6).
In another sermon Wesley makes the distinction between 'opinion' and essential truth; he points to the basic difference in his mind between the fact of faith and all conceptualizations of faith. He sometimes pushes the point to an extreme, such as when he declares that "orthodoxy, or right opinions, is at best a slender part of religion, if it can be allowed to be any part at all." Wesley's point here "is that religious reality lies deeper than religious conceptuality." For Wesley, opinions "are ways of comprehending (or miscomprehending) reality. The important thing is that reflection upon reality not be confused with reality itself." However, there is no doubt that Wesley was adamant regarding his own devotion to doctrinal orthodoxy.
Asked whether it possible to be tolerant toward those of differing religious conviction while remaining thoroughly convinced of the truth of Christianity and its mission, Wesley believed that it was. For he had observed religious zeal leading to bigotry and strife, with lamentable Christian complicity, and concluded that Christianity must begin to practice its faith through love. But how does one maintain "the unlikely combination of openness and conviction,"? Wesley had an understanding of the limits of language and the sufficiency of finite language. Since the language used to formulate religious doctrines is symbolic, finite, and ambiguous, it was "incapable of portraying exhaustively the reality of God." Therefore, none should arrogantly assume that they have such an inexhaustible knowledge of divine truth. Yet, the Holy Spirit makes contact from God's side with finite human beings through finite language to communicate God's presence and power truly. Accordingly, truth is possible, but it is more relational than intellectual.
* See Collins, Kenneth J., The Theology of John Wesley: Holy Love and the Shape of Grace, 2007
(Contemporary American professor of philosophy, Fordham)
The important distinction between absolute truth and objective truth
Drawing on Kant, Westphal reminds us that humans are stuck in time and space, which means our access to the absolute is automatically limited. Moderns do not claim to know everything, as God does, but simply that what they do know, they know both objectively and absolutely. Postmodernism, however, rejects the claim to absolute knowledge, since to know a thing absolutely would require knowing every aspect of that thing. “We can call our beliefs true when we apprehend the world as we should; but they are not True, since that would require us to apprehend the world as we can’t.”
Postmoderns, affirms Westphal, do not “abandon the distinction between truth and falsity… they are only denying the metaclaim that our truths are Truth.” Postmoderns also take the linguistic turn to mean that “every language is a perspective, and… all our insights are relative to some frame of reference which is itself anything but absolute.” This simply means that “Because we cannot transcend the limited perspective of our location in time and in cultural history, knowledge can never be Truth.”
Postmoderns are simply pointing out that objective truth and absolute truth are not synonymous. This is the primary confusion in any discussion of truth between those who appropriate and those who oppose postmodernism. The latter believe that “The Truth is that there is Truth, and they assume that to disagree is to say, The Truth is that there is no Truth. But… the postmodern claim is different, namely, the truth is that there is no Truth.” In other words, objective truth cannot claim to know absolute Truth, no matter how rational it seems or how much evidence there is to support it.
As philosophers, scientists, and - yes - theologians, even when we grasp the truth, we really haven’t discovered the Truth. Westphal finds the postmodern distinction between objective and absolute truth most helpful in describing reality, especially given human finitude. But he also makes it quite clear that there is still plenty of room for reasonable thinking, even with our limited access to absolute truth. For just because we do not have access to Truth, “does not entail that the Truth has no access to us, or that we should abandon the attempt to determine how best to think about what there is.
*See Internet Westphal Merold
(English scientist, philosopher and theologian, 1794-1866)
Empirical science can reach necessary truths: the progressive intuition of necessary truths.
A particularly intriguing aspect of Whewell’s philosophy of science is his claim that empirical science can reach necessary truths. Necessary truths are truths which can be known a priori; they can be known in this way because they are necessary consequences of ideas which are a priori. They are necessary consequences in the sense of being analytic consequences. Once the Ideas and conceptions are explicated, so that we understand their meanings, the necessary truths which follow from them are seen as being necessarily true.
Whewell suggests – for instance - that the first law of motion (the law of inertia) is a necessary truth, which is knowable a priori once the idea of Cause and the associated conception of force are explicated. He does not deny that empirical science is needed to see necessary truths - because empirical science is needed in order to explicate the ideas. But he claims that, in the course of science, truths which at first required experiment to be known are seen to be capable of being known independently of experiment. That is, once the idea is clarified, the necessary connection between the idea and an empirical truth becomes apparent. Thus Whewell claims that “though the discovery of the First Law of Motion was made, historically speaking, by means of experiment, we have now attained a point of view in which we see that it might have been certainly known to be true independently of experience” .
Science, then, consists in the “idealization of facts,” the transferring of truths from the empirical to the ideal side of the ‘fundamental antithesis of knowledge’, i.e. for Whewell, the subjective and the objective side of knowledge, ideas and perceptions. He describes this ‘idealization’ by noting that there is a “progressive intuition of necessary truths.” Although they follow analytically from the meanings of ideas our minds supply, necessary truths are nevertheless informative statements about the physical world outside us; they have empirical content.
Whewell’s justification for this claim is a theological one. Whewell notes that God created the universe in accordance with certain “Divine Ideas.” That is, all objects and events in the world were created by God to conform to certain of his ideas. We are able to have knowledge of the world because the fundamental ideas which are used to organize our sciences resemble the ideas used by God in his creation of the physical world. The fact that this is so is no coincidence: God has created our minds such that they contain these same ideas. That is, God has given us our ideas so that “they can and must agree with the world” . A consequence of this interpretation of Whewell’s view of necessity is that every law of nature is a necessary truth, in virtue of following analytically from some idea used by God in creating the world.
Since our ideas are “shadows” of the Divine Ideas, to see a law as a necessary consequence of our ideas is to see it as a consequence of the Divine Ideas exemplified in the world. Understanding involves seeing a law as being not an arbitrary “accident on the cosmic scale,” but as a necessary consequence of the ideas God used in creating the universe.
* William Whewell by Laura J. Snyder, from Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
( American theologian, b. 1924)
Without Truth love can become a total disaster: love is the servant of Truth
One of the basic ideas of today's philosophy of ecumenical evangelism is that love is more important than doctrine. Ecumenical evangelists say that doctrine divides, whereas love unifies. Is it true that in the New Testament love is more important than doctrine, or Truth? In the so-called Love chapter of 1 Corinthians 13, we are told: “ Now abideth in faith, hope, love, these three, but the greatest of these is love (agape).” Some say -- That settles it: love is supreme! But when we examine that chapter more carefully, we discover that Truth is also mentioned in the chapter. In verse 6 we are told that, love rejoices in the truth. In other words, faith, hope, and love are virtues but Truth has an altogether different status. It is the frame of reference, the foundation, the atmosphere without which virtues such as love cannot exist at all.
Love rejoices in the truth. Why? Because without Truth to define it, to interpret it, to protect it, to guide it, to channel it -- love can become a total disaster. We dare not place Truth on the same level as virtues. Virtues would shrivel up and die if it were not for Truth.
In John 14:15,21,23,24, Jesus stresses that obedience to Truth is the best form of love: “If ye love me, keep my commandments He that hath my commandments, and keeps them, he it is that loves me. If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keeps not my sayings: ...”
The apostles were all totally involved in Truth. All were totally involved in preaching, teaching, and disciplininng in the light of revealed Truth. There is no teaching whatsoever in the New Testament suggesting that love is more important than doctrine or Truth.
Love is referred to in Galatians 4:15 where we read of, speaking the truth in love. Love is the manner and method of speaking Truth. Love is the servant of Truth. It makes it easier to receive, absorb, and digest. But it must never be allowed to eclipse or set aside Truth. God's Truth can never change, but God's Truth in the hands of human messengers is a very delicate and fragile thing.
There is one thing worse than division and that is peace with compromise. Truth is infinitely more important than the false unity of the world.
* See Internet John Whitcomb
(Contemporary American philosopher)
1. According to the coherence theory, to say that a statement is true or false is to say that it coheres or fails to cohere with a system of other statements. Each member of the system implies every other member. No statement can be known to be true until it is known to cohere with every other statement of the system.
In the exact science of mathematics the logical test for the truth of any proposition is whether it coheres with some of the other propositions and axioms of the system. For a proposition to cohere with other propositions is for it to be deducible from them. This coherence is what allows to call the proposition true. No part would be what it is if its relation with other parts were different from what they are : this is called the doctrine of internal relations
A corollary of the principle of internal relations (and of the coherence theory in general) is the doctrine of degrees of truth. If the truth of any given statement is bound up with the whole system, it follows that the individual statements as such are only partly true - and therefore partly false - while only the whole system is wholly true. Truth must be all -inclusive.
The arguments of the coherence theorists are drawn from the nature of the a priori reasoning typical of mathematics and metaphysics. But some coherentists claim that an examination of a posteriori reasoning of empirical sciences and ordinary life also supports the theory, not only in giving the meaning of truth but also the test of truth. Coherence, they say, is our only criterion when dealing about statements about the past. A statement about the past cannot be compared with anything else than statements that occur in documents and history books, even statements about something present ("the cat is on the mat") in which it is assumed that our statement "corresponds" with the fact. Indeed our supposed perception of fact is really another judgement. Once we express the so-called "fact", we make a judgement. Thus the test of truth of the judgement turns out to be a comparison of the original judgement with another judgement. Therefore the truth of the judgement consists in its coherence with other judgements and not with something other than a judgement.
2. The paradigm of truth for the coherence theory is knowledge as a vast system of logically interrelated statements as found in pure mathematics and logic. Thus what the coherence theory really does is to give the criteria for truth and falsity of a priori, analytic statements. The merit of the theory is that it sees that the reasons for calling an analytic statement true or false are not those which correspondence theorists (thinking of empirical statements) try to fasten on all statements. On this point, the coherence theory is right. However when the coherence theory sets itself up as the theory of truth, its mistake is twofold. First, it suggests that the criteria appropriate to a priori or analytic statements apply to every kind of statement. Second. it confuses the reasons or criteria for calling a statement true or false with the meaning of "truth" and "falsity". Criteria and meaning must not be confused. The criteria of a priori analytic statements is that they cohere with each other. The criteria of empirical statements is that they are true because of what the world is like. The criteria of truth are different. But the meaning of truth is the same in all cases, and that is, that a statement is true if it corresponds with the facts. In both cases the meaning of truth is correspondence either with empirical, a posteriori facts or a priori facts. The "facts" in both case are different but the truth is always a matter of correspondence. For a statement to cohere with other statements means that this statement corresponds to a priori facts. In all cases to tell the truth is to tell how things are, to tell the facts, whether they are a posteriori or a priori.
* White, Alan, Coherence Theory of Truth, in Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. Paul Edwards, Macmillan
(American historical theorist, b. 1928)
White identifies the early nineteenth century as the moment at which truth in historical studies became connected to fact in opposition to fancy, fiction or imagination. He is critical of the way that viewed history as studying "the real" while fiction treated only the "imaginable." According to White, these historians were "captives of an illusion." White's captive historian does not realize that he brings his own "notions" to his work, and that the "facts do not speak for themselves".
White argues that even today many historians continue to treat their 'facts' as though they were 'given' and refuse to recognize, unlike most scientists, that they are not so much 'found' as 'constructed' by the kind of questions which the investigator asks of the phenomena before him. Thus, truth does not reside in evidence, but is given meaning by the historian and has no meaning independent of the interpreter. The present determines how we view the past and how we interpret evidence. It is the historian, not the past, which does the dictating in history. Hayden White views history as philosophical, aesthetic, and fictive in which historians do not find stories in the past but form the past into stories.
Historians are artists, White argues: they represent their understanding of history in their writings, they do not reproduce the history itself; their creations should be understood as we understand modern art, and not encumbered with outdated assumptions about 'realism' as the validating quality by which they can be judged.
We don't compare the works of two painters to see which of them painted landscapes 'better' -- instead we appreciate the particular vision of truth each artist demonstrated in his work. So it is with historians, whose true calling, White believes, is to free humanity from deterministic history by pointing out that the present is the result of human choices, and encouraging people to consider the power their choices might have in shaping the future.
* White, Hayden, Metahistory. The Historical Imagination in Nineteenth-Century Europe. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1973.
(English mathematician and philosopher, 1861-1947)
Not being but becoming is the real object of truth
In the tradition, starting with Plato and progressing through the Moderns, the still and solid is the real object of truth. Systems are set up in such a way that our world is one that is persistently unchanging. Whitehead’s process philosophy parts from this tradition, and suggests it is not the solid self-reflective stabilities that the world really consists of, but processes and relations. Our world is a world of constant change. As Heraclitus realized, we never step into the same river twice. According to Whitehead’s philosophy, referred to as process philosophy, “the actual world is a process, and the process is the becoming of actual entities”. These actual entities “are the final real things of which the world is made up. There is no going behind actual entities to find anything more real”. An actual entity is not an inert and permanent substance, but a relational process of becoming: “how an actual entity becomes constitutes what that actual entity is. ...Its being is constituted by its becoming”.
Whitehead understands each experience as being particular in nature and confined to its own universe. Experience is both finite and interrelated to its context. As a result, he argues that there is no singular absolute universal expression of truth. All truth is ultimately relative to certain given presuppositions, abstractions, and exclusions. Truth depends partially upon the unique perspective and standpoint of the interpreter. In this respect, Whitehead’s philosophy parallels the theories of relativity in physics. What is true for one observer may not be true for another observer even if they are talking about the same event. This does not mean that truth is reduced to an utter relativism. Instead, Whitehead allows for the "verification" of truth by its correspondence to the actual state of affairs. By truth, he means the conformation of appearance to reality. Objective reality cannot be true: it is simply itself, but appearance can conform to reality to a greater or lesser degree, and in different ways. Such truth is not determined by its identification with an absolute universal. Rather, it is determined by how well it depicts and describes a particular state of affairs in a given context from a given perspective.
* Whitehead Alfred North,1929. Process and Reality: An Essay in Cosmology. 1979 corrected edition, Sherburne, Free Press.
(American philosopher and mystic, b. 1949)
Wilber's understanding of reality is based on the distinction of the four dimensions (or 'quadrants') of existence: the interior-individual or intentional, the exterior-individual or behavioural, the interior-collective or cultural and the exterior-collective or social. The grid of these quadrants identifies the subjective, objective, inter-subjective and inter-objective dimensions of individual realities. These four broad types correspond to the interior and the exterior of the singular and the collective. Any evolutionary development occurs in all four of those dimensions: singular and plural, inside and outside. Wilber claims that the existence of the four quadrants is largely uncontested by serious experts, even though there are cases of 'quadrant partiality'. Marxist reductionism, for instance, tends to ignore the existence of the 'interior' quadrants.
Each of the quadrants is described in a different type of language. The interior individual is described in "I" language, the interior collective is described in "we" language; and the two exterior quadrants which are both objective, are described in "it" language. These correspond roughly to Karl Popper's concept of the "three worlds": subjective, cultural and objective (see Popper). Moreover each of the quadrants has a different 'type of truth' or validity claim, that is, different types of knowledge with different types of evidence.
- a. Propositions of the exterior objective are said to be true if they match a specific state of affairs: the so-called objective truth of the correspondence theory of truth.
- b. In the field of the interior subjective a statement is valid, not because it represents an objective state of affairs, but because it authentically expresses a subjective reality. The validity criterion here is not just truth but truthfulness and sincerity. The question is not: "does the map match the territory" but "can the mapmaker be trusted?"
- c. In the domain of exterior inter-objective realities (social systems) the validity claim is concerned with how individual parts fit into the systems. The validity claim is grounded in inter-objective fit, or simply functional fit.
- d. The field of the interior inter-subjective (the cultural) deals with how subjects fit together in cultural space. The validity claim here concerns the way how my subjective consciousness fits with your subjective consciousness. The validity claim concerns the appropriateness or justness of our statements and actions: the field of ethics. The question is not 'is it true?' But 'is it good, right or just?' Here we must find ways, not simply to access to objective truth or subjective truthfulness, but to reach mutual understanding.
Thus each individual realities seems to have four facets: intentional, behavioural, cultural and social, each of which is accessed by a different type of truth or validity claims: objective truth, subjective truthfulness, inter-subjective justness and inter-objective fit. Furthermore we notice that the interior subjective and inter-subjective quadrants all depend on interpretation, whereas the exterior objective and inter-objective quadrants are all , more or less, empirical events. Objective exteriors can be seen, but the subjective quadrants require interpretation. The former are grounded in empirical observation (and some sort of correspondence theory of truth) whereas the two subjective and inter-subjective validity claims require extensive interpretation or hermeneutics (and some sort of coherence theory of truth). That is why the human knowledge quest has almost always been divided into the two broad camps: empirical vs. hermeneutic, positivistic vs. interpretative, scientific vs. intuitive, objective vs. subjective. The correct view is that both are indispensable and that truth is two-eyed.
* Wilber Ken, An Integral Theory of Consciousness, in Journal of Consciousness Studies, Febr. 4, 1997, p.71-92
(American philosopher ,b.1935)
In religion as elsewhere, knowledge only can bring truth, not mere belief or commitment
Willard dispels the notion that faith and intellectualism are contradictory. He does this by arguing that religion is not just a faith commitment, but a commitment of faith coupled with right knowledge. "Belief cannot reliably govern life and action except in its proper connection with knowledge and with the truth and evidence knowledge involves." For Willard, faith is the process of committing one's will to established truths, as opposed to an abandonment of rationality and intellectualism to superstition.
Willard's premise hinges on his idea of obtaining knowledge: "We have knowledge of something when we are representing it as it actually is, on an appropriate basis of thought and experience." He argues that many Christian intellectuals and church leaders do not have true knowledge of the beliefs to which they ascribe. Though they have given their "heart to Jesus”, they have not filled their minds with a total belief in His teachings. Without this proper belief, many Christians run off "blind faith" which usually results in taking paths similar to those of non-believers.
In the context of modern life and thought, Willard complains, Christians "are urged to treat their central beliefs as something other than knowledge. Those beliefs are to be relegated to the categories of sincere opinion, emotion, blind commitment, or behavior traditional for their social group." When this happens, Willard says, Christians cannot influence society for the good. Only knowledge, as opposed to mere belief, commitment, or formal adherence, conveys the right and authority "to act, to direct action, to establish and supervise policy, and to teach."
Nowadays the one area of human knowledge where we do seem to have absolute certainty, mathematics, is the only real knowledge, and every other claim to knowledge is merely personal opinion. As a result, our knowledge of morality, politics, aesthetics, and most importantly, religion were all relegated to the realm of merely subjective preferences or irrational expressions of the will or emotions. Our current “crisis” of knowledge is the direct result of declaring almost all of our everyday experience of knowing things to be merely subjective. The crisis in religious knowing is the direct result of declaring that religious knowledge, being entirely non-mathematical, is not even good enough to be false.
Knowledge only brings truth and correctness under reliable control, and that is what we need and want in real life.
* Willard Dallas, The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God (1998). San Francisco: Harper
(English philosopher, b. 1929)
Two ideas are prominent in modern thought and culture. On the one hand there is an intense commitment to and a demand for truthfulness; on the other hand there is a pervasive suspicion about truth itself. Devotion to truthfulness and suspicion directed to the idea of truth seem to go together. But this is not a happy co-existence. For if one does not believe in the existence of truth, what is the passion for truthfulness for? Truthfulness implies acknowledgement of and respect for the truth. William's argument is first that we can't go along without trust, second that trust requires truthfulness and third that truthfulness presupposes that there are (at least some) truths.
For the radical "deniers", as Williams calls them to identify contemporary philosophy's fashionable belief, there is no such a thing as truth itself. This position seriously endangers all our intellectual activities. There is no question to deny the contingency of much that we take for granted, still truth as an intellectual objective and cultural value must be upheld. If truth falls apart, nothing remains to prevent intellectual anarchy.
B. Williams' question is: can the notions of truth and truthfulness be integrated in such a way that our understanding of truth can be made fit with our need for truthfulness? Williams' main concern throughout is with what he calls "the value of truth", that is, the value of various states and activities associated with the truth or "the virtues of truth", qualities of people that are displayed in wanting to know the truth, in finding it out, and in telling it to other people. Williams call the two basic virtues of truth: Accuracy (doing the best you can to acquire true beliefs) and Sincerity (what you say reveals what you believe). His aim is to explain the basis of truthfulness as a value and to suggest ways in which we can think about the forms it has taken in different historical circumstances. He offers a "genealogy" of the virtues of truthfulness without committing himself in the intrincacies about the the nature and definition of truth.
* Williams, Bernard, Truth and Truthfulness, Princeton University press, 2002, 1-20
(Contemporary American Mormon apologist)
The truth of propositions is established by reason and argument. The truth of events is established by witnesses, as is the case with the truth of Mormonism.
It seems unarguable that reason is intrinsic to our nature. Scholars have had a tendency, however, to privilege reason over other expressions of our nature. The effect has been that reason has achieved unassailed authority in matters of knowledge and truth.Williams has come to the conclusion that reason as we contemporaneously understand and experience it is fallible, but mostly not pernicious. It is like any other human language--good for certain things, not so good for others.
The fact is that attempts have been made in history to reconcile the life-changing power of faith with the compelling persuasive power of reason. But the reconciliation thus achieved has never been a happy one. As the philosophy of mind progressed and as science and technology developed, reason came to be more and more powerful and persuasive, whereas faith came to be concomitantly less persuasive and the sort of knowledge it provided more mystical and ephemeral. With the Enlightenment, knowledge was grounded ultimately in what was intuitively perceived as true by the rational mind, and real knowledge became associated with rational certainty. Faith came to be understood in opposition to certainty, and was thus always vulnerable to doubt. In fact, faith, in a very real sense, came to be that which one believes in the face of doubt.
Thus it is fair to say that the modern view is essentially that reason and logic ultimately ground knowledge and truth, whereas faith is what we are forced to rely on when we lack indubitable certainty. Faith, on this view, is a sort of positive thinking, what we cling to when we do not know. It is a believing haunted from the fringes by doubt. If we push this traditional understanding of faith and reason just a bit, we arrive at some rather odd conclusions. If faith is what we "settle for" in the absence of knowledge, then the more we know the less faith we need, or, indeed, the less faith we can have. The more faith we have, the less we know.
However, argues William, faith and reason have also been distinguished by the different types of knowledge each produces. First one can know such things as facts, assert propositional knowledge, and know that something is the case. On the other hand, knowledge is also "to be intimately acquainted with." It is used to express knowledge of persons, places, and experiences. This kind of knowing is a type to which traditional issues of rational certainty do not apply. And yet it is no less sure than propositional knowledge. Indeed, in many ways it is more sure. We must remember that our faith is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is faith in a person, a very different thing from faith that some proposition is true.
The truth of Mormonism does not rest on reason. William contends: “We do not draw our authority, our identity, or our mission from any set of propositions or from any interpretation of doctrine. We do not draw upon theology at all as justification for our truth claims. The truth of Mormonism rests on the occurrence of certain events. The truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ itself rests on the occurrence of events. There was a Man, Jesus, or there was not; He overcame the whole of sin and darkness in the garden or He did not; the tomb was empty or it was not. The truth of the truth of an event is very different from the truth of a proposition established by reason and argument. The truth of events is established by witnesses.”
*Williams Richard N. Faith, Reason, Knowledge, and Truth, FARMS Review: Volume - 20 Utah: Maxwell Institute, 2008
(Swedish b. British philosopher, b.1954)
Vagueness explained by our ignorance of the truth
Vagueness has to do with borderline cases. The classic paradox is the problem of the heap (the "sorites" problem): if you keep taking grains of sand from a pile, at what point is it no longer a heap?... There are similar problems for almost all concepts in ordinary thinking. If someone is growing millimetre by millimetre, at what point are they "tall?... Issues of vagueness also arise in the course of applying laws: what degree of loudness constitutes noise pollution?
According to Williamson, it is inevitable that our language and concepts are to some extent vague. We can reduce vagueness, we can define and try to make things more precise but vagueness is never entirely eliminated. Among other things, the words with which we try to clarify will themselves be vague. There's no end to the pedantic questions that could be raised, but the fact is, says Williamson, that if they're not all answered, then there's still vagueness.
Some people have responded to these paradoxes by claiming that the sort of true/false dichotomy that works for mathematics doesn't work for ordinary language and thinking : some statements are both true and false, or neither true nor false, or there's a continuum of truth ("fuzzy logic"). Williamson thinks that such reasoning has problematic implications. In the worst-case scenario, there might be a sort of global skepticism where you're prevented from drawing any conclusions at all. Williamson’s solution enables the conventional logical system to be preserved: the vagueness is epistemological and not ontological; there actually is a point at which someone goes from being bald to not being bald, but we don't know it and might never be able to.
Thus Williamson's main thesis is that vagueness is an epistemic phenomenon consisting in our ignorance of the sharp boundaries of our concepts and, as such, ultimately "constitutes no objection to classical logic or semantics".
This relegation of the problem to epistemology, however, has seemed to many to be so incredible as to be absurd, and in the modern debate has often been ruled out by definition or simply ignored.
An initial response was to defuse the paradox by declaring vague language beyond the scope of logic; as Williamson puts it "logic is to be formulated in an artificial language of perfect precision". This was the position preferred by the founders of modern classical logic. However, with the turn away from such ideal-language theories in more recent philosophy, ordinary language, replete with vagueness, has come to be seen as a proper object of interest. This "rehabilitation of vagueness" subsequently reinstated the paradox as a challenge to classical theories and seemed to promote a more radical avenue of research--the rejection of classical logic in favour of many-valued logics, most notably fuzzy logic. Whilst fuzzy logic may have captured the popular imagination in recent times, Williamson argues that, along with the related many-valued systems, it simply faces too many objections to provide an adequate solution to the problem at hand. Having already attempted to redress the balance of reasons in favour of the epistemic view by arguing that rival analyses are more problematic than had been realised, Williamson sets out to show how the ignorance postulated by an epistemic analysis is simply a particular case of ignorance which occurs whenever our knowledge is inexact. Vagueness is subsumed under this widespread and easily recognized cognitive phenomenon of inexact knowledge it affords.
* Williamson Timothy, Vagueness, London: Routledge, 1994.
(American Christian apologist, 1932-1997}
Supernatural revelation does not pretend to reveal all truth
Since man has come to conceive of truth as the best standard of life, much of man’s effort is expended in seeking the proper means of arriving at truth. It is the conviction that one can arrive at truth without relying upon a supernatural revelation. Christians would agree that what truth can be logically deduced by reason would be in agreement with supernatural revelation. The issue is whether any proposition is to be accepted which is not capable of logical demonstration, but whose veracity is totally dependent upon the authenticity of revelation.
No one doubts that there is a definite relation to be sustained between reason and revelation.The problem has been that of ascertaining the proper province and limitation of both.
The Bible is given to tell man how to be saved. So one can rightfully say that the Bible has limitations in the areas of knowledge it uncovers. It is a Book of spiritual truths, and one would make a mistake to accept it as a text-book in mathematics. At the same time, one must realize that reason has certain boundaries set for it, beyond which it cannot go on its own power. It is admitted that many of the facts of life and science can be discovered by naturalistic reason, but at the same time, one can never logically proceed to spiritual truths.
Still reason must be applied to revelation. Man is not to be expected gullibly to accept every claimed supernatural revelation, else the contradictions between the “revelations” would rule out the supernatural element altogether from these revelations, leaving nothing but books of contradictions. Contradiction is not the quality of God, but of man. Man just decide upon the origin of revelation by evidence. It would be irrational to attempt to decide the origin of a given “revelation” by that revelation itself. To do so would be to argue circumlocutiously. One cannot get assent of his reasoning faculties to submit to a divine oracle, unless he is satisfied it is indeed a divine oracle. So when one investigates the Scriptures to determine whether they are the product of man or God, reason is examining the Scriptures.
Revelation does not pretend to reveal all knowledge. The Scriptures do not teach there is nothing that man can learn that is not revealed in the Scriptures. There are many fields of knowledge that the Bible leaves wide open to the investigation of the scientific man.
* See internet Cecil Willis
(American biologist and theorist, b. 1929)
A ‘consilient’ science might bring absolute objective truth within human reach
Wilson’s contention is that all knowledge, from the humanities through the social sciences to the natural sciences, can be unified. He calls this "consilience," literally a "jumping together" of knowledge by linking facts and theories at one level with those at another. The natural sciences already show such linkage--biology blurs into chemistry which blurs into physics. It is time, Wilson thinks, for the humanities and social sciences to join the party.
He is unhappy with the Postmodernism of our day which believes there is no universal truth but only a relativistic `truth for you' and `truth for me'. What is the case he seeks to make? In contrast to the post-modern outlook, Wilson believes in universal truth. He believes that all truth can in principle be attained by the reductionist methods of natural science. That is to say that he believes that our conscious awareness of our surroundings, our apparent free-will, the personal knowledge we have of one another, our appreciation of beauty, our perception of right and wrong, etc, can all be reduced to the laws of physics. In other words he believes that all ways of knowing can in the end be reduced to reductionist science.
“Consilience”, according to him, is the key to unity. This consilience is a test of the truth of the theory in which it occurs. He contends that the ultimate goal of our epistemological activities is a single complete theory of everything, and the foundation of this theory must be the sciences. Although each discipline seeks knowledge according to its own methods, Wilson asserts that "the only way either to establish or refute consilience is by methods developed in the natural sciences."
The payoff from all this is potentially huge. Our fragmented intellectual landscape will melt into a single beautiful body of knowledge, a “consilient” science might even bring absolute objective truth within human reach.
In contrast to widespread opinion, he believes that the Enlightenment thinkers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries got it mostly right. The assumptions they made about a lawful material world, the intrinsic unity of knowledge, and the potential for indefinite human progress are the ones we find maximally rewarding as we learn more and more about the circumstances of our lives. The greatest enterprise of the mind always has been and always will be the attempt to link the sciences and the humanities. The ongoing fragmentation of knowledge and the resulting chaos in philosophy are not reflections of the real world but artifacts of scholarship.
Wilson describes his program as "reductionist." Reductionism is the view that the central concepts that characterize macrolevel phenomena in fields such as psychology, religion, art, and morality can be translated into microlevel concepts such as those that figure in genetics; and these in turn can be translated into the concepts of physics.
*Wilson E.O. Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge, 1998, Knopf, ISBN 0-679-45077-7
(American political scientists, b. 1931) Moral intuitions are self-evident truths
James Q. Wilson mounts an articulate defense of the idea that the disposition to make moral judgments is innate in human beings. He argues in favour of the following assumptions:
(1) Moral cognitivism, which claims that moral appraisals should be interpreted and evaluated in terms of their degree of accuracy in representing some domain of moral "truth”. The Moral Sense is not merely a feeling or a sensation but is a kind of sixth sense, which, like our other senses, is a source of valid knowledge about something (namely, "goodness") that is objective, natural, or real.
(2) Intuitionism, which claims that valid or truthful moral appraisals are produced rapidly and unconsciously and that moral men and women know the "good" (and/or are inclined to do the "good") spontaneously or "reflexively", without being motivated by the conclusions of deliberative reason.
(3) Romanticism, which claims that "the mind is in the heart" and that moral truths are represented to the senses (and motivate action) by means of the emotions, via feelings such as repugnance, indignation, or shame.
(4) Pluralism, which claims that the ultimate "goods" of morality are many, not one, and that plurality is a terminal (rather than an intermediary) state. When joined with cognitivism, pluralism implies that there are universally valid moral "goods" (for example, fairness, sympathy, duty and self-control) but these various "goods" cannot be reduced, aggregated or translated into any single common denominator of moral evaluation, and cannot be rank ordered in terms of their relative efficiency as alternative means to some more ultimate moral end (such as pleasure, happiness, or "utility"). Pluralism also implies that those various universally valid and ultimate moral "goods" cannot be simultaneously maximized, either because they are inherently in conflict with each other (for example, fairness and sympathy drive out duty and self-control) or because they are practically difficult to combine in this or that setting, culture or institutional context.
For Wilson to say that the moral sense is universal is not to say that it expresses itself in the same way in every culture: to assert the universality of the moral sense is not to deny cultural diversity. Nor is it to say that everyone is equally endowed with the moral sense. Like the sense of humor, it is universal, but it can be deficient or perverted.
*Wilson James Q, The Moral Sense
(Contemporary American philosopher)
The six categories of truth
Truth is not an absolute, so THE truth, or absolute truth, or ultimate truth, is illusion or idealism. Truth is a reflection of reality, and it is necessary to understand it in order to acquire knowledge; but it is not static, it is forever changing as reality is forever changing. Some truths seem to be more stable however; so, I broke truth into categories of reliability: Simple Truth, Conceptual Truth, Acceptable Truth, Common Truth, Classic Truth, and Philosopher's Truth.
1. Simple truth is the opposite of false and lies. This category of truth is very transient and can turn false rather quickly. An example is; I am alive--truth, but it may not be truth in an hour. So this truth is only relative to the "now" of whenever the truth was made or told.
2. Conceptual truth is truth that has been designated and agreed upon, and as such it is a very reliable truth. Examples of this kind of truth are measurements, directions, language, etc. But then true north adjusts itself, gallons are now liters, and inches are centimeters, so this truth can also change. One aspect of Conceptual truth that is convenient, is that whatever breaks an established truth also usually supplies the material needed to recreate a better truth, so it is still very reliable.
3. Acceptable truth is truth that can be verified in at least three different ways, preferably from three different kinds of perspectives and is an objective truth. This truth requires evidence and is commonly used by science, Courts, and people in general to establish a truth. Most science falls under the category of acceptable truth. This does not mean that acceptable truth can not change, as it can and does, science often revises their own truths (facts) to make more acceptable truths when they discover more information. Acceptable truth is more than just "now"; it is a truth that can be relied upon for the foreseeable future. Still what I can not accept as Acceptable truth is a "truth" that is established through only one kind of perspective, as this can too easily be falsehood.
4. Common truth is truth that is common to at least 90% of a category of people. It is a subjective truth and must be treated as such. Common truths can give us knowledge and understanding that could only be otherwise acquired by being all things and knowing all things. Since none of us are God, that is an impossibility, so we acquire truth, knowledge, and understanding where we can find it. But there is a danger in viewing Common truth in an objective manner. Common truth is subjective, to view commonality in an objective manner is to walk a path that can lead straight into the ignorance of prejudice. Common truth is also transient and lasts only as long as the commonality, but the knowledge obtained through the commonality is valid..
5. Classic truth is just what it sounds like--classic. Whether common or acceptable, these truths have survived as truth for at least a thousand years, and so they are classic truth. Classic truth is no more reliable than Acceptable or Common truth, but it does have the test of time on it's side, so to overturn Classic truth, one needs to have more proof than would be required to overturn an Acceptable or Common truth. The longer a Classic truth is accepted, the more proof is required to overturn it.
6. Philosopher's truth is truth that has been proven to be Acceptable, Common, and Classic. In order to overturn a Philosopher's truth, evidence from both, Common truth and Acceptable truth, would have to be brought to bear, because if evidence invalidated only one aspect of truth, then the Philosopher's truth would simply downgrade to Classic truth. I think that Philosopher's truth could be as reliable as any law of nature.
Occasionally there is a truth that cannot be proven, is not commonly known, and is new, and so it does not fit into the above categories. This can be called a possibility, or a probability, or a theory, or hypothesis, but it can not be called truth. It would be difficult to be a person, who has possession of such a truth, always wondering if they are mad or brilliant, but such is the nature of truth.
*See Internet Wiltrack Bill
( British philosopher, 1926- 1997)
The purely functional role of truth
Winch adopts and adapts Ludwig Wittgenstein's notion of a language game and applies it to the social sciences. A language game is an established pattern of linguistic usage, practiced by a group of people, that gives meaning to words.
Winch provides the theoretical basis for what has now become known as functionalism. His view of the social sciences is that it amounts to try understand the "function" of different beliefs in different cultures. On the basis of internal criteria of justification or meaningfulness, that is, internal to the language game or cultural context in question, beliefs that appear to be nonsense or "unjustified" from the "outside" can thus be seen as reasonable or justified.
The social sciences, according to Winch's application of language games, become simply the study of different social practices that must be relative to the different rule-governed contexts in which those practices occur. For Winch, this understanding of the social sciences separates them sharply from the natural sciences, because facts and data concerning social practices are understood as always being relative to contexts created by the language games and must therefore be interpreted or understood relative to those contexts.
All questions and problems concerning the reasonableness or rationality of particular religious beliefs are relative to their culture and the particular set of "language games" they play or the particular "form of life" that they embrace. According to Winch, basic epistemological notions such as evidence, truth, confirmation, and rationality itself are relative to particular cultural contexts created by language games, and there is no ahistorical and transcultural epistemological basis for making comparisons of different cultures or assessing one culture from the epistemological standpoint of another.
Everything that is true of epistemology in Winch's view is true a fortiori for religious beliefs. If distinctions between religion and magic and religion and witchcraft cannot be reasonably made, then, so far as the philosophy of religion goes, unlimited tolerance must be the order of the day because there are not only no epistemological grounds upon which to assess a particular set of beliefs, but also no epistemological grounds upon which to even understand different sets of beliefs.
If the epistemological bridgehead that might provide access to different sets of beliefs is eliminated, then there is no privileged position from which we can critique different views. We are left with the very limited job of simply trying to describe what different people believe relative to different cultures--that is, functionalism. In other words, the philosophy of religion dissolves into the sociology of religion, just as the philosophy of science dissolves into the sociology of science. Moral philosophy and aesthetics are reduced to sociology and anthropology, as well.
Without the kind of universal epistemological base, which is eliminated in Winch's analysis, there is no point outside a particular set of beliefs from which questions concerning meaningfulness and justification can be raised. It follows that if we are not in a position to critique or evaluate different sets of beliefs, then they are all on the same epistemological footing, and we must thus be tolerant of different sets of beliefs. We are never in a position to say that "we" are right and "they" are wrong about anything.
* Winch Peter , Trying to make sense, Oxford: Blackwell, 1987.
Truth is the necessity of what ought to be
Following Kant, who had distinguished matters of fact from matters of right, the neo-Kantian Windelband distinguished judgments of fact from judgments of value, and said that the task of philosophy was to deal with judgments of value. A judgment of fact is an objective proposition about a fact, whereas a judgment of value is a proposition in which a subjective appraisal of a fact is made. For example, the propositions "this flower is red" and "the man built the house" are fact judgments; whereas the propositions "this flower is beautiful" and "that man's conduct is good," are value judgments. Fact and value are to be dealt with as separate issues, in the sense that factual judgment are dealt with in natural science, and value judgments are dealt with in philosophy. Philosophy can live only as the science of values which are universally valid. It treats values not as facts but as norms. For Windelband, value is differentiated from being and is the specific object of philosophical reflection.
Knowledge is found in the judgment, but to judge does not mean only to connect ideas with each other, but to affirm this connection as valid and true (or in negative judgments, to reject it as false). Truth is not the correspondence of ideas with facts. Truth is a value, it is the satisfaction of the demands of the subject. While there is no value apart from evaluating subjects, this does not mean that values are purely subjective. A value consists in the relation between a subject and an object to which the subject directs itself, and it is obvious that such a value as truth must claim universal or intersubjective validity. There must be a ‘logical consciousness’ in general whose demands are satisfied by truth. The logical demands involve a necessity, but this logical necessity is not like the necessity of a law of nature; it is not the necessity of what is, but the necessity of what ought to be. Truth is normative, it is that what ought to be.
* Windelband, See Rickert, Heinrich. Wilhelm Windelband. Tübingen, 1915.
(British paediatrician and sociologist, 1896-1971)
Only the ‘true self’ can be creative and only the true self can feel real
For Winnicott, the True self is the instinctive core of the personality, the infant's capacity to recognize and enact her spontaneous needs for self-expression. A True self that has a sense of integrity, of connected wholeness. This spontaneous self and this experience of aliveness is the heart of authenticity. When the infant first expresses a spontaneous gesture it is an indication to the existence of a potential true self. Yet, the True Self begins to have life, through the strength given to the infant's weak ego by the mother's responsiveness. This developmental process is dependent on the mother’s behavior and attitude: the good-enough mother is repeatedly responsive to the infant’s illusion of omnipotence and to some extent makes sense of it. The True self flourishes only in response to the repeated success of the mother's optimal responsiveness to the infant's spontaneous expressions.
When the person has to comply with external rules, such as being polite or following social codes, then a False self is used. The False self is a mask of the false persona that constantly seeks to anticipate demands of others in order to maintain the relationship. If the mother is "not good-enough," she is unable to sense and respond optimally to her infant's needs and instead, substitutes her own gestures with which the infant complies; thereby, this repeated compliance becomes the ground for the earliest mode of the False self existence. The compliant False Self reacts to environmental demands and the infant seems to accept them. Through this False Self the infant builds up a false set of relationships, and by means of introjections even attains a show of being real, so that the child may grow up to be just like mother, nurse, aunt, brother, or whoever at the time dominates the scene. The primary function of the False self is defensive, to protect the True self from threat, wounding, or even destruction. This is an unconscious process: the False self comes to be mistaken for the true self to others, and even to the self. Even with the appearance of success, and of social gains, there will also be unreality feelings, the sense of not really being alive, that happiness doesn't, or can't really exist.
According to Winnicott, in every person there is a True and False self and this organization can be placed on a continuum between the healthy and the pathological False self. The True self, who in health expresses the authenticity and vitality of the person, will always be in part or in whole hidden; the False self is a compliant adaptation to the environment. Whereas the True self feels real, the False self existence results in a feeling unreal or a sense of futility. When the False self is functional both for the person and for society then it is considered healthy. The healthy False self feels that that it is still being true to the True self. It can be compliant but without feeling that it has betrayed its True self. In contrast, a self that fits in but through a feeling of forced compliance rather than loving adaptation is unhealthy. In a case of a high degree of a split between the True self and the False self, which completely hides the True self, there is a poor capacity for using symbols and a poverty of cultural living. One can observe in such persons extreme restlessness, inability to concentrate and a need to react to the demands of the external reality, while remaining uncomfortable with themselves.
* Winnicott D.S. Playing and Reality (London: Tavistock, 1971)
(African Ghanaean philosopher, b. 1931)
The Akan language correlates the word ‘truth’ with a primarily moral, rather than cognitive concept of truth
Wiredu makes the distinction between the English language understanding of truth and its Akan ( language spoken in Ghana) counterpart “nokware,” the translation of which is the English ‘truthfulness’. The difference in meaning between truth and truthfulness is stated by Wiredu, “Akan has correlated the word ‘truth’ with a primarily moral, rather than cognitive concept of truth in the Akan language.” This is indicative of the Akan culture’s high moral value attached to truth contrasted with the Western culture’s cognitive understanding of existence. As Wiredu notes, “a fact in Akan is simply that which is so (nea ete saa).” While the English language has the complex capacity and ability to question the truth and in fact relate fact to truth, Akan does not have the capacity to the same.
Wiredu’s thesis is that it sees truthfulness as “saying unto others what one would say unto oneself”. This is a variant of the Golden Rule; it permits linking the moral conviction defining “truthfulness” to theology. The high moral and ethical standards espoused by religious doctrine strengthen Wiredu’s thesis of a deep relation between language, morals and truth. The consensus on high moral ground as a determinant to truth is clear and “it becomes clear that there is also an element of moral comment in the use of ‘nokware.’” This serves to solidify Wiredu’s argument that the Akan truth involves a separation of the ethical idea of truth and truthfulness as opposed to the Western understanding of truth in cognitive existence of a fact.
Even though truth has a formal aspect, it is essentially dynamic and creative. Hence, one proverb says "Truth makes things good" So, truth has creative power, while falsehood is destructive and disintegrative. Therefore, if truth is ignored the result is disaster, for only truth can settle falsehood. Truth is accordingly cherished as the greatest spiritual value.
This conception of truth may be designated "the Creativity or Nyano theory of Truth." This can be said to be unique to the indigenous concept of truth. It is different from the pragmatic theory of truth in that it is not only the workability of an idea that makes it true, but its power to bring about a better human situation and continuously to improve the conditions of life. The defining characteristic of the creativity theory is its emphasis on the ameliorative nature of truth.
* Viredu Kwasi, Philosophy and an African Culture, 1980: Cambridge, Cambridge University Press
(British philosopher, 1904-1999)
Religious truth amounts to the believer’s interpretation:
it is a question of noticing certain patterns of the world.
John Wisdom is the author of the famous parable of the two explorers. They happen to come across a beautiful clearing in the wilderness. Though not meticulously groomed, there are gorgeous flowers everywhere. One explorer believes that there must be a gardener who tends the plot. The other disagrees, regarding the cleared area and the flowers as a chance occurrence. "Where is this gardener?" the second explorer wants to know. When no gardener appears, the first explorer reasons that the gardener must be invisible. The two explorers then subject the area to all kinds of tests in the attempt to determine whether there is an invisible gardener.
The upshot of all of this is that ultimately there is no evidence which will ever settle the issue. Nothing can dissuade the first explorer from his conviction that there is an invisible gardener, and nothing can convince the second that the so-called garden is anything but a happenstance, a chance event. The parable illustrates the truth that in the debate between devout believers and devout atheists, there are no mutually agreeable grounds to adjudicate the dispute. The existence of God – and other religious beliefs - depends upon the state of mind of the believer.
Wittgenstein had said that we do not simply see; we ‘see as’, that is, we interpret according to a pattern. John Wisdom applies the phrase to the world in its totality, which can be seen in more than one way. In his parable of the gardeners the two men do not mainly differ concerning the facts about the garden, they differ concerning their interpretations, and that the difference, says Wisdom, is what is significant and discussable. Each can try to help the other person to see the garden as he himself does by drawing attention to certain patterns among the facts, by connecting them up in distinctive ways and by mentioning features which might have been overlooked. The dispute between the two men is more than a question of different emotional attitudes. They may go on arguing. We must not assume that there is no rationality or irrationality, no procedure which tends to settle it, nor even that this procedure is the discovery of new facts. The difference is certainly one that involves feelings more that most scientific disputes do, but it is also a question of noticing certain patterns of the world, and so it is in a sense a difference as to the facts, though not in the simple way of empirical verifiability. In a complex way the religious man notices in the world a pattern to which he draws attention in his talk of God. Some philosophers do not agree with Wisdom’s analysis that the religious person is one who notices certain patterns of the world that the non religious ignores. Anthony Flew, for one, maintains that serious truth claims must be capable of rational scrutiny. For such claims to be meaningful there must exist conditions that would count against the claim being true. This is to claim that the statement must be capable of being falsified. This is known as falsifiability. If there are no conditions that would falsify the claim then, for Flew, the claim is meaningless and belief in it is not rational. Thus, Flew presents religious beliefs as resting upon meaningless claims because those claims cannot be falsified.
* Wisdom John, Interpretation and Analysis, 1931
(Austrian born British philosopher (1889-1951)
Language is meaningful only when it pictures facts for us. A meaningful sentence is a picture of facts. Wittgenstein adopts a form of correspondence theory and therefore his view seems to be open to all the criticisms of that theory. However the point that Wittgenstein wants to make is negative. He wants to show that propositions that are not picturing facts are not only false but meaningless. Now that is the case with most propositions of metaphysics, ethics and religion : they are meaningless because they do not picture facts. They arise from the failure to understand the proper use of language. Only the propositions of natural science ( which picture the facts) say something meaningful.
Thus Wittgenstein's picture theory of truth is radically empirical. The world is the totality of facts and in knowing we make pictures of these facts. The pictures are transpositions of these facts. They represent the facts in having the same structure as the facts. This representation-correspondence cannot be established a priori but empirically in comparing the picture with the reality. Still Wittgenstein confesses that "unsayable things do exist". But about them one cannot speak but be silent.
The 'second' Wittgenstein will reject his first view that a proposition is meaningful because it pictures reality. He will replace it with the view that words gain their meaning from how they are used in language games. And that meaning is their truth.
1. Relationship between language and reality
Many past philosophies admitted that human knowledge has foundations. For the rationalist it is reason, for the empiricist it is sense experience. The second Wittgenstein rejects the idea that knowledge has any foundation, not even empirical. He starts from an analysis of language. To express knowledge we use language. Language is a public (not a private) affair in which every human being has been educated and which determines his particular form of life. Language is the expression of the form of life of social groups. The basic claims made by language to be referential are not justified. Rather, languages have a social and intersubjective function. They help people to understand each other within the form of life they share. Words indeed can mean different things to different people according to their form of life. Words are not meant to describe reality but to enable us to share our experiences of the humanized world. Therefore language directs our attention to intersubjectivity, rather than objectivity. It is meant to inter-communicate rather than to reach an outside reality. It has a social function. Wittgenstein uses the expression: "language-games", that is, systems of linguistic practices and conventions involving a form of human behaviour. Every game has its rules which are conventional and groundless. Likewise every form of life expresses itself in specific language-games, which are conventional and groundless.
Consequently the way language is used in one form of life cannot judge the way it is used in another form of life. The only task of philosophy is to understand how the language-games express a particular form of life. If we are outsiders to a form of life, we have no right to judge and evaluate it: we can only understand the rules by which that language works. We cannot stand back (or occupy a transcendent position) and appraise the relation between language and reality. We are always operating from within some language game or another. Wittgenstein denounces the arrogance of past philosophers who felt responsible to judge and determine what is the 'best' language. This kind of 'super-thinking' is impossible for no language is neutral, all languages reflect particular viewpoints.
If we want to maintain that words of language games refer to objects, we should always keep in mind that when we refer to objects in the world we are operating within a language game. That means that language does not mirror the reality objectively. Language embodies an 'hermeneutics', an interpretation. It is not a neutral tool meant to describe an already made reality. We should say that the language we use generates a certain type of reality for us.
Thus language and world are fused in indissoluble unity. Language constitutes my world and our world. The world is language-bound. Undoubtedly there is something else, outside, to which language refers, but that outside reality cannot be spoken. If it is spoken it is already our world.
Language, being the architect of reality, is not the vehicle to communicate truths about reality. Wittgenstein does not even say that 'truth is relative to the language game'. For this statement would presuppose that we can get outside the language game, pass judgment and declare that truth is language-relative or truth is absolute, etc. But that cannot be done because when we describe a language we are always working inside that language.
The task of philosophy is changed: it is no longer to find truths and correct errors but to describe the language games and understand them, how they function, how they are used, etc. Or, if we want to make truth-claims about the world and reality, we should be aware that such words as 'truth', 'reality', etc. have a specific meaning in the language game we use just like any other words such as table and chair. The task of philosophy is to describe how we actually use expressions like 'reality' and 'true'.
Inside a particular language-game a statement will be called true if it makes sense within the frame-work of a linguistic system. A statement of a language game is true if it coheres and conforms with all other statements. If a statement is intelligible and meaningful within the system, it can be said to be true and that 'meaning within the system ' is the necessary and sufficient condition for the truth-claim. Wittgenstein agrees with the coherence theory of truth provided it is restricted within the boundary of every language-game.
Wittgenstein's fusion and identity of language and reality implies the identify of truth with meaning and intelligibility within the boudary of each language game. Truth does not add to meaning and intelligibility, it coincides with it. Truth claims cannot be anything other than the conformity and agreement with the semantic conditions of a certain language. Ultimately the truth-predication is superfluous and redundant. It is enough for a proposition p to have meaning within a certain language game so that there is no need to add that 'p is true'.
3. Religious truth
According to the first Wittgenstein religious utterances were meaningless because they failed to 'picture' reality. But for the later Wittgenstein every mode of discourse (religious included) has its own appropriate logic, that no one has the right to judge and declare true, false or meaningless. If religious utterances cannot be appraised in terms of scientific verifiable utterances, they are not thereby meaningless. It is not the task of the critic to appraise success or failure of religious language games. All one can and should do is to describe how they are played. The importance is to see that they are not played like the scientific games. To understand the religous language game you have to look at the way it actually plays in the life of people.
* Wittgenstein, Tractatus logicophilosophicus, London, 1922; Philosophical Investigations, tr. Anscombe, Oxford , 1953
(German philosopher, 1679-1754)
Truth, for Wolf, is defined in relation to the possible , without any relation to existence. Truth is what is intelligible, whether it exists or not. A judgment is true if it is analytical, if the predicate is contained in the subject. Veritas est determinabilitas praedicati per notionem subjecti. Hence truth is known a priori. The philosophical method in the problem of truth is identical to the mathematical method.
In other words truth is what is not contradictory, all that is logically possible in the realm of thought. Wolfian philosophy is all about essences and possibles. It does not deal with existence and reality and hence Wolf's definition of truth remains within the area of thought and intelligibility with no reference outside it.
However Wolff accepted the existence of empirical truths of fact, but according to him, the truths of reason have nothing to do with empirical truths, and empirical truths are not necessarily true, but only contingently so.
* See Verneaux, Histoire de la Philosophie Moderne, Paris, Beauchesnes, 1958, Chap.VI on Wolf, 93-100
(Contemporary biblical scholar)
The Christian Trinity doctrine is not true but confusing and unbiblical
Christianity today believes God is a “Trinity” – one God who consists of 3 distinct persons, but yet one God. They believe God is a "triune" God: 1 in 3, 3 in 1. But this Trinity doctrine is not found in the Bible and this is the reason why it is confusing and cannot be explained.
The formulation of the Trinity doctrine began at the Council of Nicaea hundreds of years after the New Testament writings were completed, and it took several hundred years to be finalized. How can a supposed foundation of Christianity only come hundreds of years later and take hundreds of years to be finalized, which is a clear indication that it did not come from the Bible? The Trinity doctrine has completely distorted the Bible truth of the monotheism of God who alone is YHWH.
The attitude we see in the creeds and Trinitarian statements is shocking. Not only is the Trinity not found in the Bible, but it is nevertheless taught as God's truth, and yet cannot be explained. Worse, even though it is confusing and Trinitarians openly admit it cannot be explained, people are expected to believe it wholeheartedly even though they do not understand it.
The definition of a person is one who is his very own individual and distinct entity who has his own self-awareness/mind. Therefore, since each is a person, each has their own mind. There are three persons, three minds. Hence, if you say each is God and there are three individuals, then you are saying there are three Gods. There is no hiding from this fact. The Trinity is a veiled form of polytheism (tritheism to be exact) masquerading as monotheism. Three cannot be one, because of the very definition of what a person is – a distinct individual with his own mind.
*See internet Bill Wong’s God’s biblical truth
(British poet, 1770-1850)
Wordsworth explains how his view of poetry differs from Plato's view of the same. For Plato poetry is a misrepresentation of the truth while for Wordsworth poetry brings us closer to the truth.
Plato argues in The Republic that poetry can have no conception of the ideal truth. Poetry is "mimesis", that is, an imitation of truth. Plato believes that the poet is an imitator with a limited knowledge base. The poet forms images of what he thinks to be the true reality, which in fact is only the material world. And the material world of things lacks the truth that is found in the world of ideas. Thus the best that a poet can do is to imitate the world of appearances. He is not capable of truly presenting reality. Plato's view of a three-tiered structure - from the true world of Ideas, to the copy world of the material, to the next copy world of the artistic - sets up poetry as twice removed from the Ideal: it is an imitation of an imitation. Poetry does not bring us close to but leads away from the spiritual truth of the world of Ideas. The poet is so far removed from the original that there is no truth is his work. While Plato considers art as purely 'mimetic' or imitative, a mere copy, a mirror held up to reality, Wordsworth challenges Plato's argument that the poet is incapable of creating truth. For him the poet feels something strongly and is able to manifest that strong feeling into a poem. The poem itself is a reality from the poet's mind and not an imitation of something else. The root of the poem stems from a person's emotion which is not an imitation of reality, but reality itself. Moreover the poet is addressing another human being, who is also capable of experiencing similar emotions. The poet writes about the truth and the reader rejoices that the truth is being expressed. The reader of the poem can identify with the poet and his message since the poet is writing about truth, a universal element for all human beings.
Wordsworth's view of poetry is also mimetic - poetry reflects reality - but it is not purely 'mimesis'. Art, for him, is both imitative and creative. Poetry is not simply a mirror that reflects what is placed in front of, but an interpretation of the meaning behind the reality. Through the artistic process the poet actually becomes closer to the truth, which actually lies within rather than without him. The poet has a completely different relationship to this world than does the poet for Plato: the poet, for Wordsworth, delves into this world rather than separates himself from it. For Plato poetry is all but worthless, for Wordsworth poetry has a high value. It takes us to the heart of truth and therefore it is invaluable for mankind. The poet for him has a greater knowledge of human nature, he has a more comprehensive soul; he rejoices more than others in the spirit of life that is in him.
* Wordsworth, Lyrical Ballads, Ed. Brett & Jones, London , Routledge, 1991
(Contemporary American Christian apologist)
Aspects of the truth can be found within various religions. Christians should hopefully be willing to admit this point, and should go even further to help point out common points of belief with the various religions of the world. But if religions contain aspects of truth, it doesn’t mean that they are true in their entirety. They each would just contain elements of truth, but as a complete system of doctrine would be false. If one religion was true in its entirety, then it would be true, while all other religions would be false and only contain aspects of the truth.
A common parable used in this discussion of religious truth is the Indian legend about six blind men touching an elephant. All the blind men touch a different part of the elephant and come to a different conclusion about what they are all touching. This parable is used to illustrate that we as humans are like the blind men who do not have the proper sight required to comprehend ultimate reality; it’s just beyond our capabilities. However, all of us have touched and experience reality and have come to accurate conclusions based on what we have experienced and known. This would mean that all of the world’s religions are equally fair assessments of the truth and therefore are all equally valid paths to articulating the sacred.
The original telling of this legend has a king who sees the blind men groping at the elephant arguing about what they are touching. The king reveals to them in laughter that they are all foolish men. His word from above reveals the truth to the blind men. This indicates that the truth is actually discernible – we might just need some help from someone up above.
The original ending of this parable lends itself very well to Christianity. Christianity teaches that help did come from above. That God has revealed himself to mankind through what he has created as well as through special revelation from the Scriptures.
It seems clear that all religions cannot be fully and equally true. There are direct contradictions within the teachings of the world’s religions, such as Jesus is God (Christianity) and Jesus is not God (Islam), which eliminate the possibility that all religions are true.
This however doesn’t mean that aspects of the truth cannot be found within various religions. Christians would do good to point these truths out from time to time. If Christ’s claim is true that he is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6), then all truth would be God’s truth, no matter where it is found. Where truth is found, declare it, use it, put it in its full context of which it is fully and directly revealed from God in the Bible. The Apostle Paul did it when he quoted the philosophers of the Athenians (Acts 17). We can do it too!
* Andy Wrasman, They Can't All Be True, Paperback – 13 Jan 2014
( British philosopher, b. 1942)
There is no contradiction between pluralism of truth and objectivity
Adherents of alethic pluralism, like Crispin Wright, maintain that truth is many rather than one. The alethic pluralist allocates conceptual space for both the idea of robustness and its opposite by endorsing the thesis that what counts as truth may vary from domain to domain.
The question at stake is as follows: what is common to moral, physical, mathematical, aesthetical, normative truths? In general there are four types of solutions to this problem. a) A first solution is to deny that all discourses are truth apt (e.g moral discourse). This could be called truth chauvinism. b) Another solution is to accept that they are all true alike. This could be called truth monism. c) A third solution is to say that not all truths are true alike. This could be called alethic pluralism . d) The fourth solution: the deflationist conception of truth, all truth are alike, but they are not alike in a substantial way. Truth is not a “heavy weight property”.
Crispin Wright adopts the third solution: he is committed to the view that different discourses can and do have different truth predicates. This view— alethic pluralism or pluralism about truth—is that different discourses can and do have different truth predicates. Now according to the critics of this view, if we claim there are different truth predicates which are appropriate to different discourses, then we shall be bound to accept equivocation involving our truth predicates.
However it is no part of Wright’s view that ‘truth’ is ambiguous—that it means one thing in one context and a different thing in another. Rather, his view is that truth may be differently constituted in different discourses; but this different constitution has nothing to do with the meaning of ‘truth’. Moreover, Wright suggests that there is a model for this kind of view in well–known—indeed, standard—treatments of identity. It does seem to be the case that there is a very simple formal characterisation of identity in general, and yet that there is considerable room for debate about what makes for identity when particular subject matters are introduced. The case with truth, Wright claims, might be like identity: formally uniform but diversely constituted.
There is no reason to expect that truth about the physical world will be the same as truth about mathematical entities, and that both will be the same as truth about moral matters. On Wright’s view, it may well be that truth could be a form of correspondence with independent states of affairs about the physical world, whereas it is not so in mathematical or moral matters. Some discourses may be more apt for truth than others, even though truth applies to a variety of discourses.
* Wright Crispin, Truth and Objectivity , Harvard 1992