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Truth - what is Truth?

chuck kottke

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:laugh3: God, I love those answers! Nick, you're right - another way of looking at it, in a logical sense - everything else that is false is not truth; what remains is truth.

Jay, that's true too - coerced answers are whatever it takes to stop the coercion, generally.

But I began to think about the concept of how we view things - and how poor a job the dictionary does of defining things! Truth - see 'fact'. Fact - see 'truth". That's a synopsis of what one dictionary definition has to offer.

To me, I look at it this way:

Truth: An observation, usually condensed, recounting events pertaining to a certain question. The logical observation is the best the observer can ascertain and retell based on empirical evidence & logical arguments which lead to a certain observed outcome. We cannot know absolute truth, but can approach it based on evidence and a logical chronology of events leading to a logical outcome. Approaching the same problem from different directions, and finding the same outcome strengthens the argument for the truth about the matter in question.

Since absolute truth encompasses all the forces and know parameters in the universe, we can only find a condensed or abbreviated version of the truth; perhaps a thread which runs throughout the universe, or a subset of a larger reality.

But in a human sense, truth in the mind is what we perceive to be correct according to our way of seeing things. One, for example, might be questioned about whether they have vacuumed the house. Perhaps to one person, the house is clean from going over it with a vacuum, but to another, some crumbs have been missed, and thus not clean. To a clean-room technician, any particle of dust would be unacceptable, and to someone who has just come from a muddy field, the house could have already been seen as clean. So in seeking truth, defining and refining the question can come up with a more accurate analysis of the matter.

In circuits, a logic gate can offer an answer limited to the input, and thus truth is easily quantifiable. But this is merely a subset of the whole, and thus we have constructed a device which is designed to simplify things; rules which may or may not apply to the known universe at different levels, or may not apply to other universes, but fit nicely in ours.

I did see the PBS special on the Greeks - Socrates prominent in the program - and began to wonder how far along they really had come? Apparently the concept of molecules had been mentioned in a set of burned manuscripts placed above one tomb!


Congruent - corresponding; harmonious with reality. Reality - the quality or fact of being real. Real - existing as or in fact; actual; true. Another words, a true statement is one that is corresponding with the quality of existing as a fact. But then what is a fact?

Perhaps we, being human, can all start with a common framework of observation from our senses, our human experiences, and how our minds work. Our common experiences allow for a sort of supra-neural networking, and the ability to follow arguments for or against things. Reflection on things as they are, and questioning our assumptions seems a good way at getting closer to the truth - and towards deeper meaning in life as well.

Still, it's quite an incredible distance we've gone - seeing the universe through the lens of a spacecraft designed to observe the larger universe, and send the information back to earth, where it is retrieved and stored in computers.. If not for the quest for truth and belief that we can understand the workings of matter and energy-- of forces, we might never have gone past the level of travelers in life...

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The truth is what one is willing to believe.


Then there is no ultimate truth.


In which case, the statement "there is no ultimate truth" cannot be said to be an ultimate truth, it is self-defeating logic.


Therefore, there IS ultimate truth.

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Not really, I just felt like quoting that. :P




...Okay, I suppose I'll take a stab at this discussion. I would define fact as something that can be proven based on mathematics, which is the only constantly unchanging and true thing in the universe, and so forth.


But truth =/= fact. Truth encompasses fact but truth and fact are not the same, or at least not in the context we use the word "truth" in. There's physical truth, which can be repeatedly proven (a la the scientific method) but there are other things we also call "truths," frequently involving human emotion, which nobody can pin down anyway. I always found it interesting we call things that we are SURE to be "true"/fact and emotional/philisophical "truths" by the same name, actually.


I'm terrible at philosophy, sorry... >_>

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