The True Definition of Truth.

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Reply Mon 13 Jul, 2009 01:17 pm
I have an utter disdain for those armchair philosophers who are so deep within their minds that they have no use for reality. It is men like these who debate the definition of words like truth, but who demand that any such definition be composed solely of the lifeless caskets of sole rationality and non-contradiction.

It is these people who have forgotten what the spirit of philosophy is: An exploration of the world around us, and not empty shells of pure reason. It is imperative that the philosopher use "reason" because that is what the universe is observed[/i] to follow. The armchair philosophers have it backwards: They seek reason for no reason, a fool's quest that ignores perception and observation.

And thus, the definition of "Truth" has been obscured by these armchair philosophers, who overlook the obvious only because the obvious is what is observed. No other group deserves such dis-respect.

For example, the Definition of truth. It is observed[/b] what can be called truth in almost all situations. Any philosopher needs to just observe the method we use to determine the truth of a statement.

How do we determine something is true? It is observed that for a person to determine a statement to be "true", they compare said statement with what is observed. Yes, that is correct. We can observe that truth is a comparison of a statement with an observation.

If we were to make a general statement about this observation, it would be similiar to, "Truth itself is a comparison between two things to observe equality."

If I say, "There is a clock on the wall", it is observed that the statement in question attempts to reflect what may be observed. And it is just our senses that perceive what might be reflected in a statement about what we percieve.

The armchair philosopher, however, is distrustful of observation. "Senses can deceive" I hear them saying. This is a common refrain for the distrust of senses, but it is founded upon mistaken notions. This is because, it is observed that the senses do not deceive.

A classic example is the stick in the water. We see a bent stick, but when we feel the stick in our hands, it feels straight. How can I account for this blatant discrepancy?

Simple. There is no discrepancy between the two senses of touch and sight. If the armchair philosopher took the time to explore the dichotomy between touch and sight, they would find, like everyone else did, that the senses still reflect reality: The reality is that light refracts when it hits the water. Not only is this true, but it was our senses that allowed us to come across this fact[/i].

The same is true for all alleged "Deceptions" of perception. In every case, our perceptions are consistent with reality. It is observed[/i] that observation does not lie.

Which brings the discussion to the ultimate prize of the armchair philosopher, "Absolute truth". Distrustful of perception, the armchair philosopher yearns for some "transcendent truth to be directly percieved without the aid of(stupid I know) perception". To them, reality is something "behind" observation. Yet they yearn to observe it.

This is stupid. Why? Because of the observation that information travels. It is not observed that information is somehow incorrect when it moves through a medium. Indeed, an observation through the eye yields the same information as a direct perception. Why? because "direct perception" has been observed to be the traveling of information. That is precisely what observation is. And that is why The armchair philosopher is the biggest fool in the history of thought.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 13 Jul, 2009 04:10 pm
@DasTrnegras,
"Der Schnee ist weiss" ist wahr = Der Schnee is weiss.
 
William
 
Reply Mon 13 Jul, 2009 04:57 pm
@DasTrnegras,
Hello Das. Interesting post. Let's see what "wiki" has to say about the truth. When your finished, in about fifty years, of deciphering all that "philosophers" have espoused, then perhaps we will get a glimpse of what is indeed true.

Truth - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

William
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Mon 13 Jul, 2009 06:09 pm
@DasTrnegras,
There are many kinds of truth. There are scientific truths, which are propositions or hypotheses that can be tested against nature. There are existential truths, like having been betrayed by someone you dearly love, and never getting over it. There are hard truths, like the fact that crooks sometimes win and honest men go to jail. There are many truths you can only learn by experience, and those are the truths hardest to convey. There are truths you can know about yourself that no-one else knows. There are things you could have sworn were true that turn out to be not. But I suspect that stewing in a sense of righteous indignation is not really connected with any of these kinds of truth, unless you work out what is really behind it:bigsmile:
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 13 Jul, 2009 06:42 pm
@William,
William;77087 wrote:
Hello Das. Interesting post. Let's see what "wiki" has to say about the truth. When your finished, in about fifty years, of deciphering all that "philosophers" have espoused, then perhaps we will get a glimpse of what is indeed true.

Truth - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

William


Aristotle wrote that to say of what is that it is, or to say of what is not that it is not, is to say what is true.

I can't see anything to object to about that. Can you?

---------- Post added 07-13-2009 at 08:50 PM ----------

jeeprs;77096 wrote:
There are many kinds of truth. There are scientific truths, which are propositions or hypotheses that can be tested against nature. There are existential truths, like having been betrayed by someone you dearly love, and never getting over it. There are hard truths, like the fact that crooks sometimes win and honest men go to jail. There are many truths you can only learn by experience, and those are the truths hardest to convey. There are truths you can know about yourself that no-one else knows. There are things you could have sworn were true that turn out to be not. But I suspect that stewing in a sense of righteous indignation is not really connected with any of these kinds of truth, unless you work out what is really behind it:bigsmile:

There are many different kinds of statements that are all true, as you point out. But, of course, all of them are true. So that does not mean that there are different kinds of truth. It means only that there are different kinds of statements that are true. After all, there are many different kinds of animals that are dogs, but they are all dogs, aren't they? So the fact that there are different kinds of statements, that are true does not mean that there are different kinds of truths. Isn't that right?
 
William
 
Reply Mon 13 Jul, 2009 07:01 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;77103 wrote:
Aristotle wrote that to say of what is that it is, or to say of what is not that it is not, is to say what is true.

I can't see anything to object to about that. Can you?


Thanks Ken, do you think it can be that simple? Ha. It sounds good to me, but, alas here comes the crowd as they continue to ascertain, "Well, what does "is" means, huh"? or "Who is to say what 'is not', huh"? Who made you king of the universe? Ring a bell? And so the debates continue. Yes, I think it is that simple as you note. If it were that simple, then we would have Ph'd's all over the place and we just can't have that, can we?

Thanks again ,
William

Sorry, for the "tongue in cheek". I couldn't resist.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 13 Jul, 2009 07:24 pm
@William,
William;77110 wrote:
Thanks Ken, do you think it can be that simple? Ha. It sounds good to me, but, alas here comes the crowd as they continue to ascertain, "Well, what does "is" means, huh"? or "Who is to say what 'is not', huh"? Who made you king of the universe? Ring a bell? And so the debates continue. Yes, I think it is that simple as you note. If it were that simple, then we would have Ph'd's all over the place and we just can't have that, can we?

Thanks again ,
William

Sorry, for the "tongue in cheek". I couldn't resist.


Oh, I think that what Aristotle wrote is true, but I don't think it is as simple as it may look. Thanks.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Mon 13 Jul, 2009 09:26 pm
@DasTrnegras,
Quote:
So the fact that there are different kinds of statements, that are true does not mean that there are different kinds of truths. Isn't that right?


With some trepidation, I beg to differ. There are factual propositions of various kinds which may be true or false. These are usually the stuff of science and the kinds of things that logicians love to play around with. Wasn't it A.J. Ayer who said that in fact philosophy could and should only consist of 'veridical propositions'? I don't this this bald definition really stands the test of time.

So there are many other kinds of truths. Home truths, like the kind of truth that an alchoholic comes to when he or she realised that they are owned by the bottle. That is a hard truth, and a real one, that is not the stuff of philosophy texts.

Coming to think of it, if one Bernard Madoff had had a 'commitment to truth' then 15,000-odd punters would be a whole lot better off and $64 billion stilll with its rightful owners. Same applies to many of the overpaid executives who almost scuttled the world economy a year ago. I am sure they thought they were dealing in truth at the time, but they obviously didn't. Maybe it's not such an easy thing to know.

The only point I am making in all this is that in some respects, matters of truth are not neat and tidy logical operations, but questions that have real consequences in life.
 
richrf
 
Reply Mon 13 Jul, 2009 10:40 pm
@jeeprs,
I'm in the camp that truth is defined by a group of people by consensus. The primary function of this exercise being the ability to monetize whatever is declared to be true. People pay good money for learning the truth, so why not figure out a way to take advantage of this behavior.

Most economic groups (groups making a profit), are generally involved in some way with marketing something that is true - anywhere from religious organizations, to deodorant products, to research organizations. They all claim to know the truth and make a darn good living promising to deliver. I was a consultant at one time, and of course companies paid me to tell them the truth - which I did to the best of my ability. Smile

I guess, a good question would be, why do humans want to know the truth. Maybe it is just a game - i.e. to learn the truth? Sort of like a jigsaw puzzle. I don't know, but it is interesting. Personally, I love looking for clues, but I don't think I ever feel like I have the truth. Works for me while playing the stock market. A bit of humility has saved the day more than once.

Rich
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Mon 13 Jul, 2009 11:03 pm
@DasTrnegras,
Quote:
I'm in the camp that truth is defined by a group of people by consensus.


OK, so when everyone thought the earth was mounted on the back of a giant turtle, then it was?

Quote:

I guess, a good question would be, why do humans want to know the truth.


'You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free'. Jesus said that. I am not a churchgoer, but I believe it. As in 'the search for truth' as a personal inner quest to realise a life that is more true than that defined in 'turtle-land'. Hasn't anyone here read Hermann Hesse and gone on quests? I guess I must be too old.
 
richrf
 
Reply Tue 14 Jul, 2009 06:30 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;77140 wrote:
OK, so when everyone thought the earth was mounted on the back of a giant turtle, then it was?


For them it was, and they would persecute people who disagreed. They thought they knew the truth. How can the earth be round? People would fall off it it was!!!

During each era humans create and live within their own myths. Can you identify the myths that you and your groups have created? Can I identify mine?



Quote:
'You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free'. Jesus said that. I am not a churchgoer, but I believe it.


Yep, and tens of thousands perished because they didn't see the truth in time. There is something about truth that people not only want to have but insist that other people see the same truth. Kind of interesting I think.

Rich
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 14 Jul, 2009 06:42 am
@richrf,
richrf;77164 wrote:
For them it was, and they would persecute people who disagreed. They thought they knew the truth. How can the earth be round? People would fall off it it was!!!


Rich


Of course, "for them it was" true. And, of course, they "thought it was" true. But the question is not that. The the point is that what for them was true is actually false. And that what they thought was true, was actually false. They believed that the Earth rested on the back of a turtle, but they were wrong. It did not rest on the back of a turtle. Believing that something is true, and that something being true are not the same. How does it happen that everyone knows that and you do not?
 
richrf
 
Reply Tue 14 Jul, 2009 06:50 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;77167 wrote:
How does it happen that everyone knows that and you do not?


Didn't know this. Thanks for informing me. I suppose you have evidence that this is the truth?

Rich
 
jgweed
 
Reply Tue 14 Jul, 2009 06:58 am
@DasTrnegras,
"For example, the Definition of truth. It is observed what can be called truth in almost all situations. Any philosopher needs to just observe the method we use to determine the truth of a statement."

I am not sure how far one can push the analogy between the observation of physical objects and the observation of ethical "objects" without turning ethics into an anthropology.
In ethics, what we observe is at least two elements: the action of individuals, their reported ethical reason for taking a particular action rather than another (or no action at all). But doesn't ethics need a further step by attempting to determine whether the action was taken in good faith and whether the reason(s) for it were "sound"?

Now if a philosopher observes the method used to determine the truth of a statement (or ethical) action, doesn't he find that we normally employ different methods in different ethical situations? But, at the same time, does not the philosopher attempt to determine, from outside as it were, whether the rules and methods supposedly used are "correct" or the action "right"?

Historically we have seen the most atrocious acts committed for the strongest moral reasons. Now would not we rather call these moral reasons deceptions, and not our condemnation of them?


 
Khethil
 
Reply Tue 14 Jul, 2009 07:06 am
@jgweed,
I really love reading armchair philosophers showing disdain for armchair philosophers by calling them armchair philosophers (which, not too coincidentally, we all are).

Calm yourself Das; there are a great many more important things to get riled up about Smile Or even better, how about engaging some of these people's fine replies?

Thanks
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 14 Jul, 2009 07:46 am
@richrf,
richrf;77169 wrote:
Didn't know this. Thanks for informing me. I suppose you have evidence that this is the truth?

Rich


Everyone knows the difference between believing that something is true, and its really being true. Why don't you? (Of course, you do. You just deny it for ideological reasons. You, in other words, have a hobby horse that you insist on riding).
 
richrf
 
Reply Tue 14 Jul, 2009 07:53 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;77178 wrote:
Everyone knows the difference between believing that something is true, and its really being true. Why don't you? (Of course, you do. You just deny it for ideological reasons. You, in other words, have a hobby horse that you insist on riding).


Hi,

You keep telling me what everyone knows and they believe. Can you provide me evidence that this is all the truth before I start believing it? Are you an elected spokesperson or something? Thanks.

BTW, do you know about the Fallacy of Ad Populum? Have a read.

Fallacy: Appeal to Popularity

Given your propensity for hyperbole and logic fallacies, I would say that you would rate as an excellent source to ignore when it comes to knowing the truth. But if you can, you can try to convince me otherwise.

Rich
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 14 Jul, 2009 08:05 am
@richrf,
richrf;77179 wrote:
Hi,

You keep telling me what everyone knows and they believe. Can you provide me evidence that this is all the truth before I start believing it? Are you an elected spokesperson or something? Thanks.

BTW, do you know about the Fallacy of Ad Populum? Have a read.

Fallacy: Appeal to Popularity

Given your propensity for hyperbole and logic fallacies, I would say that you would rate as an excellent source to ignore when it comes to knowing the truth. But if you can, you can try to convince me otherwise.

Rich


Why on Earth do you want evidence that it is true before you believe it? I thought you hold that it doesn't matter whether what you believe is true, is, in fact true. It is "true for me", and I believe it is true. That's enough. In fact, according to you, that is all there is.

What logical fallacies have I committed? Have you a little list? I don't commit logical fallacies. Indeed, how would it be possible that I do so, since I believe that all the arguments I makes are correct. Which is, of course, to say, they are correct "for me".

Don't start imposing your truth on me. Once you do that, you may not only execute me, but execute 11 million people!
 
richrf
 
Reply Tue 14 Jul, 2009 08:07 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;77182 wrote:
Why on Earth do you want evidence that it is true before you believe it? I thought you hold that it doesn't matter whether what you believe is true, is, in fact true. It is "true for me", and I believe it is true. That's enough. In fact, according to you, that is all there is.

What logical fallacies have I committed? Have you a little list? I don't commit logical fallacies.


I'm unconvinced that you have any idea about what is true and what is not. Thanks anyway.

Rich
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 14 Jul, 2009 08:13 am
@richrf,
richrf;77184 wrote:
I'm unconvinced that you have any idea about what is true and what is not. Thanks anyway.

Rich


Why would that matter since it is true for me? Don't you agree?
 
 

 
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