What is Truth?

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My short answer is: When feelings and facts come together in perfect harmony.

That may be a bit unsatisfying to the trained philosopher or the individual who truly thirsts to understand its meaning. But I’m stuck here at this point. That not’s to say I don’t have a few thoughts I’ve discovered along the way in trying to understand if there is Truth or not.

For example, the hypothetical argument goes:

Person 1: This thing and that thing are considered different things.

Person 2: That is merely an opinion; and yours, not mine.

However, this classical argument doesn’t mean there are not such things as self evident truths in the world. There are things or effects that exist on their own and define themselves without need for proof. They are their own proof such as the Law of Gravity or the bowling point for water at sea level is 212 degrees F. That’s goes for the person in Nebraska or in India. These can be called objective laws.

Another example:

Person 1: There are no truths in life!

Person 2: Is that a true statement?

The fallacy here is that there must be some self evident truths because any alternative is unimaginable. The truth behind and the self-proof of these things are unavoidable. Any attempt to contradict them only confirms them.

Constructivists and relativists assume culture and one’s limited understanding of reality determines what truth is (social development). But I argue that reality exists independently of our minds. It is not something that exists solely in our minds. Certainly our minds give us an intellectual grasp on reality, what it is, and what it isn’t. However, since intelligence is unequally shared across humanity, there is a degree of error in determining reality. I fully concede on that point.

However, the fact you agree or disagree with this confirms the principle. It is your sense of being that allows you to agree or disagree. But one cannot will one’s self out of existence. “I am no longer here despite what reality says.” It is a silly notion, which is the same thing as saying I exist to say I am not here. Your differing opinion on reality still does not make you a carrot, a phantom, or a rabbit.

This principle has been around for a long time. Aristotle commented long ago, “It is impossible for anyone to believe the same thing to be and not to be…this is naturally the starting point for all the other axioms…One and the same thing, remaining such, cannot simultaneously both be and not be.”

I admit when we apply some of these principles to cultural morals and norms, we may wind up with different outcomes. Even here, though, we can find elements of universal truths across cultures.

For example, those of the Hindu faith do not eat beef out of the totally understandable repulsion they could be eating their deceased grandmother.

The Westerner eats beef but agrees with his Hindu neighbor, “We ought not to eat dead grand maw.”

Perhaps this is too big of a subject to tackle. And perhaps I am way under qualified. At any rate, these are a few inconsistencies I’ve discovered along the way. For whatever reason, the subject has been on my mind this week.

 

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5 thoughts on “What is Truth?

  1. Backtracking all the specific truths we humans find surrounding us and examining the trails they followed to reach us has a way of eroding most of the foundations we thought were supporting them. Luckily, if we reject all those crumbling structures and lock our teeth into replacement truths, we won’t have had time to backtrack them yet, so they seem more solid.

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