What truth is.

  1. Philosophy Forum
  2. » Epistemology
  3. » What truth is.

Get Email Updates Email this Topic Print this Page

Reply Sat 29 May, 2010 12:42 pm
The concept of "truth" is a relationship. It is similar to the concept of "above" in that respect. Long before humans existed, and therefore before there were any concepts at all, there were still things above other things "out there" in the world, the mountain above the valley, the sky above the ocean, and the clouds above the ground. Each of these things above other things is an instance of the concept "above". These instances are what first prompted our ancestors to abstract away the concept of "above". Several different examples of things above other things were categorized and filtered down to their core "above"-ness.

In the same way that there were things already above other things before the concept of "above" existed, so too were there propositions that were true (or false) before the concept of "truth" existed. It's these instances that provided examples from which to abstract away the concept of "truth". The proposition "it is raining" when it is raining, the proposition "water is wet" and the proposition "all bachelors are unmarried men" are each instances of truth and from them we can abstract away the concept of the relationship they each share in common.

Truth is that relationship, a relationship between a proposition and actuality. When a proposition is true it reflects the way things are, it captures something about the world or about our conventions.
 
Fido
 
Reply Sat 29 May, 2010 06:40 pm
@Night Ripper,
Almost, maybe...Every concept, even the concept of truth is a Form of Relationship... But the concept of truth is not so easy as the concept of a rock... First, every concept is a judgement, and every concept tells truth, and is truth, or it is worthless... But there is always a great difference between thought and thing, and this is never more true than in reference to infinites, like love, or virtue, or truth for which the thing cannot be shown... If we measure the concept of a dog against the reality of a dog we can arrive at a certain sense of truth, but of the truth as a thing we cannot have a sense of truth becaue it is not a thing, but again, an infinite, and in fin ites, cannot be de fin ed... If we were to produce a million example of truth that were all verifiable there would be as many tomorrow... No matter how many examples of truth are produced, all we have is more examples, and no definition... We see that truth is situational, but that tells of nothing of the nature of truth as an object, because it is not an object, and so cannot properly be considered a concept because true concepts are forms of relationship of thought to thing, and without a thing defined as universal truth there can be no true concept... What we have instead is an analogy of the truth... And this is true of all concepts, that they are analogies... But with infinites the concepts are only analogies...
 
HexHammer
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 04:55 pm
@Night Ripper,
Below there are 5 links to truth discussions, none of them offer any clues to any absolute truth, as truth in essence is very subjective, can be deceptive ..specially in the hands of demagogues, politicians, organisations with special selfish interests ..etc.

..and specially in war, the truth is the first to die.
 
ughaibu
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 05:11 pm
@HexHammer,
HexHammer;171016 wrote:
Below there are 5 links to truth discussions, none of them offer any clues to any absolute truth, as truth in essence is very subjective
If a true assertion is an accurate description of a fact and a fact is an existing state of affairs (something similar to Night Ripper's opening thesis), then, in order to conclude that there are no absolute truths, one needs the hypothesis that there are no absolute states of affairs. If my wife says to me "it's raining", then I have useful information with regard to my choice of clothing, so, I would class a state of affairs which is rain, as an absolute. Maybe this is subjective, but isn't this employment of accurate descriptions one of the most common and useful functions of human language?
 
HexHammer
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 05:14 pm
@ughaibu,
ughaibu;171028 wrote:
If a true assertion is an accurate description of a fact and a fact is an existing state of affairs (something similar to Night Ripper's opening thesis), then, in order to conclude that there are no absolute truths, one needs the hypothesis that there are no absolute states of affairs. If my wife says to me "it's raining", then I have useful information with regard to my choice of clothing, so, I would class a state of affairs which is rain, as an absolute. Maybe this is subjective, but isn't this employment of accurate descriptions one of the most common and useful functions of human language?
If you define your whole life with just 1 truth, when you have a strange life.

Life is much more than just "is it raining, or not raining", you need a broader definition of truth.
 
ughaibu
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 05:22 pm
@HexHammer,
HexHammer;171033 wrote:
If you define your whole life with just 1 truth, when you have a strange life.
I dont.
HexHammer;171033 wrote:
Life is much more than just "is it raining, or not raining", you need a broader definition of truth.
Are you suggesting that it is a fact that life is much more than whether or not it's raining? That seems obvious to me, and it means that you've expressed a truth, according to my definition. How does my definition lack breadth?
 
HexHammer
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 05:27 pm
@ughaibu,
ughaibu;171038 wrote:
I dont.Are you suggesting that it is a fact that life is much more than whether or not it's raining? That seems obvious to me, and it means that you've expressed a truth, according to my definition. How does my definition lack breadth?
Consider this tuth a key, one may not open all doors in life, with just 1 key.

You may only unlock 1 door, but what about the rest?

Well, to debunk your definition, infact I have experienced people saying it rains, when I looked out the window, it had stopped raining, thus the anology is nullifyed.
 
ughaibu
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 05:38 pm
@HexHammer,
HexHammer;171041 wrote:
Well, to debunk your definition, infact I have experienced people saying it rains, when I looked out the window, it had stopped raining, thus the anology is nullifyed.
How the hell does that nullify my definition?
 
HexHammer
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 05:42 pm
@ughaibu,
ughaibu;171046 wrote:
How the hell does that nullify my definition?
Simply saying it's an urelyable definition.
 
ughaibu
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 05:56 pm
@HexHammer,
HexHammer;171050 wrote:
Simply saying it's an urelyable definition.
At the time when your informant asserted "it's raining", there was a state of affairs. There are two possible cases concerning that state of affairs:
1) it was raining
2) it was not raining.
In the case of 1, the assertion was true, in the case of 2 the assertion was not true, according to my definition. What's unreliable about this? and how does it lack breadth?
 
HexHammer
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 06:00 pm
@ughaibu,
ughaibu;171054 wrote:
At the time when your informant asserted "it's raining", there was a state of affairs. There are two possible cases concerning that state of affairs:
1) it was raining
2) it was not raining.
In the case of 1, the assertion was true, in the case of 2 the assertion was not true, according to my definition. What's unreliable about this? and how does it lack breadth?
To any postulation, there must be a confirmation by proof, else anyone can come postulating anything.
 
ughaibu
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 06:05 pm
@HexHammer,
HexHammer;171056 wrote:
To any postulation, there must be a confirmation by proof, else anyone can come postulating anything.
Are you saying that neither of the statements:
1) there is life on Venus
2) there is no life on Venus
is true, but that one would become true if a fact was established?
 
HexHammer
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 06:10 pm
@ughaibu,
ughaibu;171061 wrote:
Are you saying that neither of the statements:
1) there is life on Venus
2) there is no life on Venus
is true, but that one would become true if a fact was established?
There are vastly difference between a postulation and plausible statemen. But a statemen becomes true if proofed, but that doesn't nessesarily mena it's a ultimate truth.

Just look at light and it's definition, it started by defining light as waves, when it actually was both waves AND particles, therefore intelligent people are very cacious about defining anything as a sole truth, or truth at all, and only state it as a theory.
 
Yogi DMT
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 06:11 pm
@Night Ripper,
Truth is hard to define at least for me. Truth is easily recognised only when all that is hidden is instead understood. Truth can be hard to see when not all is known. Truth is a concept that relys on proving itself in actuality as Night Ripper mentioned. Truth is also relative as many ideas are. Truth can be influenced by perception a great deal. Truth can also be in the form of a fact or a realization. In the case of which truth is refered to as a fact it is a piece of accepted knowledge. Facts are derived from our enviroment and are unfalteringly consistent when put to the test. Truth can also be a revelation, an insight that relates personally to you and your experiences. To be honest i can't give truth a one sentence definition. Truth is a concept that you can recognise yet not define, which makes it all the more myserious but most people can see truth deep down without an issue.
 
ughaibu
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 06:17 pm
@HexHammer,
HexHammer;171063 wrote:
ughaibu;171061 wrote:
Are you saying that neither of the statements:
1) there is life on Venus
2) there is no life on Venus
is true, but that one would become true if a fact was established?

a statemen becomes true if proofed
I'll take that as a "yes". Further, I'll assume that your assertion that an assertion becomes true when proved to be the case, is itself, not true until proved to be the case. Can you prove that an assertion only becomes true when proved to be the case?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 11:48 pm
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper;170437 wrote:
The concept of "truth" is a relationship. It is similar to the concept of "above" in that respect. Long before humans existed, and therefore before there were any concepts at all, there were still things above other things "out there" in the world, the mountain above the valley, the sky above the ocean, and the clouds above the ground. Each of these things above other things is an instance of the concept "above". These instances are what first prompted our ancestors to abstract away the concept of "above". Several different examples of things above other things were categorized and filtered down to their core "above"-ness.

In the same way that there were things already above other things before the concept of "above" existed, so too were there propositions that were true (or false) before the concept of "truth" existed. It's these instances that provided examples from which to abstract away the concept of "truth". The proposition "it is raining" when it is raining, the proposition "water is wet" and the proposition "all bachelors are unmarried men" are each instances of truth and from them we can abstract away the concept of the relationship they each share in common.

Truth is that relationship, a relationship between a proposition and actuality. When a proposition is true it reflects the way things are, it captures something about the world or about our conventions.


I don't think that "truth" (the noun) is the name of a relation, but that "true", the adjective is. A truth (also called, "a fact", also called, "a state of affairs") is what makes a true (adjective) proposition, true. And to say of a sentence (or sometimes, a belief) that that sentence is true is to say that the sentence has particular relation to a truth (fact, state of affairs). But a truth (the noun) is a "truth-maker". It is what, if it exists, makes a what is true, true. It is confusing, I think, for "true" to name a relation, and "truth" to name just a term in the relation, but that is, it seems to me, what is true, and is a truth.

---------- Post added 05-31-2010 at 01:54 AM ----------

HexHammer;171056 wrote:
To any postulation, there must be a confirmation by proof, else anyone can come postulating anything.


You are confusing what is true with establishing that what is true, is true. To say of sentence that it is true is to say of it that there is a relation between it and what make the sentence true. To prove that the sentence (or whatever) is true is to show that that relation exists. It is not to create that relation, as you seem to be saying it is.
 
Razzleg
 
Reply Mon 31 May, 2010 12:06 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;171158 wrote:
I don't think that "truth" (the noun) is the name of a relation, but that "true", the adjective is. A truth (also called, "a fact", also called, "a state of affairs") is what makes a true (adjective) proposition, true. And to say of a sentence (or sometimes, a belief) that that sentence is true is to say that the sentence has particular relation to a truth (fact, state of affairs). But a truth (the noun) is a "truth-maker". It is what, if it exists, makes a what is true, true. It is confusing, I think, for "true" to name a relation, and "truth" to name just a term in the relation, but that is, it seems to me, what is true, and is a truth.


Perhaps I'm being pedantic, but I'm not sure I entirely agree. I can see your distinction between the adjective "true" and noun "truth" being useful in certain cases, however...doesn't "state of affairs" basically mean something like "web of relationships"? To what else do the "affairs" in the phrase refer? And must a fact be true to be considered a fact? "The sky is plaid today" is a fact. It just happens to be untrue (at least where I am.) The truth value of a fact seems to be determined precisely by it's relationship to other facts.

Now if the relationship between a true statement and a truth is a degree removed from the event of truth's happening, that seems completely tenable to me.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 31 May, 2010 12:25 am
@Razzleg,
Razzleg;171162 wrote:
Perhaps I'm being pedantic, but I'm not sure I entirely agree. I can see your distinction between the adjective "true" and noun "truth" being useful in certain cases, however...doesn't "state of affairs" basically mean something like "web of relationships"? To what else do the "affairs" in the phrase refer? And must a fact be true to be considered a fact? "The sky is plaid today" is a fact. It just happens to be untrue (at least where I am.) The truth value of a fact seems to be determined precisely by it's relationship to other facts.

Now if the relationship between a true statement and a truth is a degree removed from the event of truth's happening, that seems completely tenable to me.


I don't see what kind of thing a state of affairs is has to do with its being what makes true statements true. If a state of affairs is what makes a true statement true, then what difference does it make what a state of affairs is? The phrase "true fact" is a redundancy. There are no such things as false facts, and "false facts" is a contradiction in terms. If it is untrue that the sky is plaid today, then how could it be a fact that it is plaid today? "It is false that the sky is plaid today, but it is true that the sky is plaid today" is pretty clearly a contradiction.

I don't understand your final sentence. What does, "the event of a truth's happening" mean? What can it mean for a truth to happen? "Truth" is not the name of an event, and only events happen. Therefore, truths do not happen. Perhaps you are confusing: 1. it is true that E (an event) happened (which, of course, makes sense) with 2. the happening of E is (was, will be) true, which makes no sense.
 
Razzleg
 
Reply Mon 31 May, 2010 01:58 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;171165 wrote:
I don't see what kind of thing a state of affairs is has to do with its being what makes true statements true. If a state of affairs is what makes a true statement true, then what difference does it make what a state of affairs is?


I suppose that, to a certain extent, I was introducing a new idea into the discussion. What caused me to question the definition of "a state of affairs" was your statement that:

kennethamy;171158 wrote:
I don't think that "truth" (the noun) is the name of a relation...


and I was speculating that truth, even in the sense you meant it, might be a matter of relationships. Not, so it seems, in the way that Night Ripper meant, but in another sense. When the OP stated that:

Night Ripper;170437 wrote:
The concept of "truth" is a relationship....In the same way that there were things already above other things before the concept of "above" existed, so too were there propositions that were true (or false) before the concept of "truth" existed...The proposition "it is raining" when it is raining, the proposition "water is wet" and the proposition "all bachelors are unmarried men" are each instances of truth and from them we can abstract away the concept of the relationship they each share in common.

Truth is that relationship, a relationship between a proposition and actuality. When a proposition is true it reflects the way things are, it captures something about the world or about our conventions.


he was clearly identifying truth with the relationship between the proposition and reality. (I put "reality" between quotation marks in the last sentence, but then removed them. I hope that we can agree that "reality" refers to something that is real. If not, please feel free to imagine the quotation marks back in place.)

When you made your distinction between describing a statement about reality as true and considering the truth to consist solely in that relationship here:

kennethamy;171158 wrote:
A truth (also called, "a fact", also called, "a state of affairs") is what makes a true (adjective) proposition, true. And to say of a sentence (or sometimes, a belief) that that sentence is true is to say that the sentence has particular relation to a truth (fact, state of affairs). But a truth (the noun) is a "truth-maker". It is what, if it exists, makes a what is true, true.


I was led to speculate that even if truth does not reside in the relationship between the proposition and the fact, it might still concern different sorts of relationships in "reality". (Pesky quotation marks...) In other words, while truth might not name the relationship specified by the OP, it might still refer to other distinguishable relations. That is why I broke down the phrase you used to refer to truth, a "state of affairs", to point out that it might still refer to this aspect of it.

To give an example to further clarify what I mean (or perhaps make it much more cloudy): Suppose you have a given "real" object: a car. Note that we are discussing a car in general. I haven't even been specific enough for the verbal gesture of typing "the" car. Does a car exist? Sure, why not? But it couldn't exist in a vacuum; or if it did, what would be its truth value? A car isn't true, it barely "is". "Bob is driving the silver car to the convenience store." That could be true, and if it were, it would be a truth before the descriptive proposition was made. And yet this truth entails relationships: between Bob and the car, between the car and the class of silver objects, between the car and the class of driven objects, between the car and its destination. (Hell, for that matter, it concerns Bob and his relationship to the class of silver objects, etc.) Now, if, as you postulated, a truth is a truth without requiring a true statement to be made about it, wouldn't the truth consist in these relationships? I suppose that was my only point, simple-minded as it may seem.

kennethamy;171165 wrote:
The phrase "true fact" is a redundancy. There are no such things as false facts, and "false facts" is a contradiction in terms. If it is untrue that the sky is plaid today, then how could it be a fact that it is plaid today? "It is false that the sky is plaid today, but it is true that the sky is plaid today" is pretty clearly a contradiction.


Hmmm, I suppose that I was applying a different meaning of the word "fact" than you were. Of course, "fact" often means "given truth", but it can also be used in such a way as to be virtually synonymous with "given proposition." A minor misunderstanding. But if you want to take issue with it, I'll just direct you to the Dept. of Common Multiple Usage and I will stay out of it.

kennethamy;171165 wrote:
I don't understand your final sentence. What does, "the event of a truth's happening" mean? What can it mean for a truth to happen? "Truth" is not the name of an event, and only events happen. Therefore, truths do not happen. Perhaps you are confusing: 1. it is true that E (an event) happened (which, of course, makes sense) with 2. the happening of E is (was, will be) true, which makes no sense.


Well, given my example, whatever its value, my phrasing might seem a little less nonsensical now. Given the idea that "truths in reality" (those quotation marks are irresistible) consist of relationships between things, and must take place in time, I speculate that truths happen. (Or truth happens, take your pick. I prefer the former.) My original phrasing is admittedly clumsy, but I was floating the idea that truths are indeed events. But if you would prefer to extract the temporal element from a given truth, and refer in a sense to the total event, I could also consider a truth to be a type of pattern. So I'm perfectly comfortable saying that the relationship between a true statement and a truth is a degree removed from the existence of the truth's pattern, if that makes the statement seem clearer. I'm not at all convinced that my rephrasing is any less clumsy, however.

Ken, I haven't been an active member on these boards for very long, but I've been on long enough to know that heated discussions with you are rarely fruitful for either party. So if you continue to disagree with my point or insist that I am talking nonsense, I'm just going to stop antagonizing you. I've tried to explain the spur and direction my thoughts were taking as clearly as possible, and I have no agenda in this post other than that.
 
HexHammer
 
Reply Mon 31 May, 2010 04:34 am
@ughaibu,
ughaibu;171066 wrote:
I'll take that as a "yes". Further, I'll assume that your assertion that an assertion becomes true when proved to be the case, is itself, not true until proved to be the case. Can you prove that an assertion only becomes true when proved to be the case?
I will prove noting, my previous arguements should suffice.
 
 

 
  1. Philosophy Forum
  2. » Epistemology
  3. » What truth is.
Copyright © 2014 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.06 seconds on 09/20/2014 at 10:01:42