# What truth is.

ughaibu

Mon 31 May, 2010 04:47 am
@HexHammer,
HexHammer;171200 wrote:
I will prove noting, my previous arguements should suffice.
You haven't shown that my definition is unreliable, or how it lacks breadth, and you have claimed that assertions become true only when proved. This means that under your own proposal, I have no reason to suppose that any of these assertions of yours are true, unless you prove them. And what about incompleteness theorems, involving statements that are true but unprovable, do you reject these?

kennethamy

Mon 31 May, 2010 05:54 am
@Razzleg,
Razzleg;171182 wrote:
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:

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:

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:

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.

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.

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.

Sorry, I cannot follow most of what you have just been saying, so I really cannot disagree or agree intelligently, heatedly or not. I you could make your points (whatever they are) in a more succinct way, and more clearly, I will be happy to try to comment on them. You need not have been on this board for a long time in order to do that.

jeeprs

Mon 31 May, 2010 06:14 am
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper;170437 wrote:
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 believe this is called the 'correspondence theory'. In this case the correspondence proposed is between a proposition and an actuality (although other terms are sometimes used).

However the correspondence theory is subject to some criticisms. I would be interested to see how these can be rebutted.

Randall, J. & Buchler, J.; Philosophy: An Introduction. p133
According to this theory, truth consists in the agreement of our thought with reality. This view ... seems to conform rather closely to our ordinary common sense usage when we speak of truth. The flaws in the definition arise when we ask what is meant by "agreement" or "correspondence" of ideas and objects, beliefs and facts, thought and reality. In order to test the truth of an idea or belief we must presumably compare it with the reality in some sense.
1- In order to make the comparison, we must know what it is that we are comparing, namely, the belief on the one hand and the reality on the other. But if we already know the reality, why do we need to make a comparison? And if we don't know the reality, how can we make a comparison?
2- The making of the comparison is itself a fact about which we have a belief. We have to believe that the belief about the comparison is true. How do we know that our belief in this agreement is "true"? This leads to an infinite regress, leaving us with no assurance of true belief.

kennethamy

Mon 31 May, 2010 06:43 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;171214 wrote:
I believe this is called the 'correspondence theory'. In this case the correspondence proposed is between a proposition and an actuality (although other terms are sometimes used).

However the correspondence theory is subject to some criticisms. I would be interested to see how these can be rebutted.

Randall, J. & Buchler, J.; Philosophy: An Introduction. p133
According to this theory, truth consists in the agreement of our thought with reality. This view ... seems to conform rather closely to our ordinary common sense usage when we speak of truth. The flaws in the definition arise when we ask what is meant by "agreement" or "correspondence" of ideas and objects, beliefs and facts, thought and reality. In order to test the truth of an idea or belief we must presumably compare it with the reality in some sense.
1- In order to make the comparison, we must know what it is that we are comparing, namely, the belief on the one hand and the reality on the other. But if we already know the reality, why do we need to make a comparison? And if we don't know the reality, how can we make a comparison?
2- The making of the comparison is itself a fact about which we have a belief. We have to believe that the belief about the comparison is true. How do we know that our belief in this agreement is "true"? This leads to an infinite regress, leaving us with no assurance of true belief.

1. We do not have to know whether the comparison is correct in order either to make the comparison, nor for the comparison to be correct. I can compare aliens from Mars with aliens from Jupiter with out believing that the comparison is true, and without knowing whether if the comparison is true whether it really is true.

2. We may, indeed, not know whether (say) the cat is on the mat is true. But that needn't mean that it isn't true, but only that we do not know it is true. However, I don't see why we cannot know that the cat is on the mat is true, just as long as we do not mean by "know" that we are certain (know for certain) that it is true, and so, confuse knowing with being certain.

The authors who cite seem to be confusing knowing whether the statement (say) that the cat is on the mat is true with the statement's being true (and claiming it is true, which is a third and a different thing). And, also, confusing knowing with being certain, and saying that we cannot know that the cat is on the mat because we cannot be certain that the cat is on the mat.

These are all common mistakes on the part of those who talk about these matter without thinking them through. I have pointed them out many times on this forum (and others too). (Neither Randal nor Buchler were particularly noted for thinking things through). So, although there may be flaws in the correspondence theory of truth, R&B have not pointed them out, since their claim that there are flaws are based on several confusions.

Night Ripper

Mon 31 May, 2010 09:10 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;171158 wrote:
A truth (also called, "a fact", also called, "a state of affairs") is what makes a true (adjective) proposition, true.

I don't think so. It's true that "all bachelors are unmarried men" but there is no particular state of affairs that makes it true. It's true by definition of what the word "bachelor" means. Instead of the relationship being between some proposition and reality, the relationship is between the meanings of the words within the proposition.

kennethamy

Mon 31 May, 2010 09:40 am
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper;171266 wrote:
I don't think so. It's true that "all bachelors are unmarried men" but there is no particular state of affairs that makes it true. It's true by definition of what the word "bachelor" means. Instead of the relationship being between some proposition and reality, the relationship is between the meanings of the words within the proposition.

But is it not a fact that that the word "bachelor" means what it means, and that "unmarried man" means what it means, and that the terms "bachelor" and "unmarried man" and "bachelor" have the relation that they have? A fact of English?

Night Ripper

Mon 31 May, 2010 09:52 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;171280 wrote:
But is it not a fact that that the word "bachelor" means what it means, and that "unmarried man" means what it means, and that the terms "bachelor" and "unmarried man" and "bachelor" have the relation that they have? A fact of English?

We're not talking about words. We're talking about bachelors and unmarried men, which are concepts that exist independently of any words that refer to those concepts. What makes the proposition "all bachelors are unmarried men" true is the concepts that those words refer to.

Do you honestly think that any fact of the English language is what makes unmarried men bachelors? Surely before there was any language at all there were still unmarried men and they were bachelors.

kennethamy

Mon 31 May, 2010 10:04 am
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper;171293 wrote:

Surely before there was any language at all there were still unmarried men and they were bachelors.

Well, if that is a truth (fact) then that fact is what made, "All unmarried men are bachelors true".

Night Ripper

Mon 31 May, 2010 10:12 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;171303 wrote:
Well, if that is a truth (fact) then that fact is what made, "All unmarried men are bachelors true".

What makes it true is the meaning of the words. The way the meanings relate to each other is the same way the meanings of a proposition relate to actuality. For example, "the cat is on the mat" is true if and only if the cat is on the mat. This mirroring relationship of propositional content and reality is analogous to the mirroring relationship of "bachelor" and "unmarried man". This relationship is what truth is. It's something we've noticed that happens and abstracted away from it the meaning of "true", much in the same way we've abstracted away the meaning of "above".

kennethamy

Mon 31 May, 2010 10:22 am
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper;171306 wrote:
What makes it true is the meaning of the words. The way the meanings relate to each other is the same way the meanings of a proposition relate to actuality. For example, "the cat is on the mat" is true if and only if the cat is on the mat. This mirroring relationship of propositional content and reality is analogous to the mirroring relationship of "bachelor" and "unmarried man". This relationship is what truth is. It's something we've noticed that happens and abstracted away from it the meaning of "true", much in the same way we've abstracted away the meaning of "above".

Sure, that the words mean what they do is a fact like any other. A fact about language.

Night Ripper

Mon 31 May, 2010 10:27 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;171309 wrote:
Sure, that the words mean what they do is a fact like any other. A fact about language.

You're just repeating yourself. My previous comment stands.

fast

Mon 31 May, 2010 10:28 am
@Night Ripper,
The truth is a true proposition. No proposition is true unless there is a (corresponding) truth. The existence of a truth (or fact, state of affairs, or truth-maker) gives rise to the truth.

kennethamy

Mon 31 May, 2010 10:44 am
@Night Ripper,
Night Ripper;171310 wrote:
You're just repeating yourself. My previous comment stands.

Well, that's nice. Don't keep it standing too long, though. Even comments become tired. That is why we talk about tired old comments.

Fido

Mon 31 May, 2010 08:56 pm
@Yogi DMT,
Yogi DMT;171064 wrote:
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.

The truth is impossible to define because it is an infinite... For as many situations as you can imagine the truth has a different definition which is not the least helpful in the next situation where truth is an issue...

Truth is not a concept... Number representing an object is a concept, but there are no infinite concepts... Since we can only have finite knowledge, or knowledge of finite objects, the best we can say of our thoughts on infinites is that they amount to a quasi concept... Truth is a quasi cconcept, and liberty is a quasi concept, and virtue is a quasi concept...Every concept represents a certain truth, the facts about a certain matter...Yet, between thought and thing there is a world of difference... Since infinites are not things, nor physical realities they can have no true concept, no way to check the veracity of the thought against the thing, which is no thing at all... This is what you say with -facts are derived from their environment... But infinites are only a sort of meaning without being... If truth is only a meaning, then it gets a little silly saying what is the meaning of this meaning called truth...

I can give you a one line definition of truth, but it is so general as to be meaningless, and it is because truth is specific to the situation where it becomes a concern...

Truth is life, and the reason I say that is because everyone needs enough truth (knowledge) to survive... We survive on the quality of our concepts(truth/knowledge), and suffer every want of truth in them so that nothing is more quickly discarded than a false and failed concept...

---------- Post added 05-31-2010 at 11:02 PM ----------

kennethamy;171317 wrote:
Well, that's nice. Don't keep it standing too long, though. Even comments become tired. That is why we talk about tired old comments.

I have been known to talk about lazy socks or tired undershorts; but I have never conversed over tired comments... Did I ever tell you about the three old men complaining about their health???

Reconstructo

Mon 31 May, 2010 09:06 pm
@Fido,
Fido;171555 wrote:

Truth is not a concept... Number representing an object is a concept, but there are no infinite concepts... Since we can only have finite knowledge, or knowledge of finite objects, the best we can say of our thoughts on infinites is that they amount to a quasi concept... Truth is a quasi cconcept, and liberty is a quasi concept, and virtue is a quasi concept...Every concept represents a certain truth, the facts about a certain matter...Yet, between thought and thing there is a world of difference... Since infinites are not things, nor physical realities they can have no true concept, no way to check the veracity of the thought against the thing, which is no thing at all... This is what you say with -facts are derived from their environment... But infinites are only a sort of meaning without being... If truth is only a meaning, then it gets a little silly saying what is the meaning of this meaning called truth...

Excellent post. Here's another way o saying it.
Quote:

6.421 It is clear that ethics cannot be put into words. Ethics is
transcendental. (Ethics and aesthetics are one and the same.)

Yogi DMT

Mon 31 May, 2010 09:08 pm
@Fido,
Fido;171555 wrote:
The truth is impossible to define because it is an infinite... For as many situations as you can imagine the truth has a different definition which is not the least helpful in the next situation where truth is an issue...

Truth is not a concept... Number representing an object is a concept, but there are no infinite concepts... Since we can only have finite knowledge, or knowledge of finite objects, the best we can say of our thoughts on infinites is that they amount to a quasi concept... Truth is a quasi cconcept, and liberty is a quasi concept, and virtue is a quasi concept...Every concept represents a certain truth, the facts about a certain matter...Yet, between thought and thing there is a world of difference... Since infinites are not things, nor physical realities they can have no true concept, no way to check the veracity of the thought against the thing, which is no thing at all... This is what you say with -facts are derived from their environment... But infinites are only a sort of meaning without being... If truth is only a meaning, then it gets a little silly saying what is the meaning of this meaning called truth...

I can give you a one line definition of truth, but it is so general as to be meaningless, and it is because truth is specific to the situation where it becomes a concern...

Truth is life, and the reason I say that is because everyone needs enough truth (knowledge) to survive... We survive on the quality of our concepts(truth/knowledge), and suffer every want of truth in them so that nothing is more quickly discarded than a false and failed concept...

---------- Post added 05-31-2010 at 11:02 PM ----------

I have been known to talk about lazy socks or tired undershorts; but I have never conversed over tired comments... Did I ever tell you about the three old men complaining about their health???

That is my point. Truth is so relative and so perspective-based that you cannot define it. Yet somehow us humans usually know what is the truth and what is a lie. Maybe it's some sort of instinctual sub-conscious dissection our brain does to conclude what is true and what is not. All i know is you really can't give a truth a one or two sentence definition, you just can't.

Fido

Mon 31 May, 2010 09:27 pm
@Yogi DMT,
Yogi DMT;171566 wrote:
Yet somehow us humans usually know what is the truth and what is a lie.

I do not believe you can substanciate that statement in the least... The pages of history are full of millions who died in filth and gore in defense of falsehood... It does not matter even today if a person dies in their 101st year... What they die of is false conceptions of reality...It is knowledge that buys all our years and all our days... What we misconceive is always the cause of our deaths... Because if we could conceive of it truely, it would not kill us, for we would master it...

And I am pretty good at telling if a cetain fact presented agrees with or disagrees with the knowledge I hold as truth... I would not trouble my self to say I speak truth... I would say just the opposite, that i offer a certain analogy of reality, and may call it true if this did not make me a target for all who would abuse me

Yogi DMT

Mon 31 May, 2010 09:35 pm
@Fido,
Fido;171577 wrote:
I do not believe you can substanciate that statement in the least... The pages of history are full of millions who died in filth and gore in defense of falsehood... It does not matter even today if a person dies in their 101st year... What they die of is false conceptions of reality...It is knowledge that buys all our years and all our days... What we misconceive is always the cause of our deaths... Because if we could conceive of it truely, it would not kill us, for we would master it...

And I am pretty good at telling if a cetain fact presented agrees with or disagrees with the knowledge I hold as truth... I would not trouble my self to say I speak truth... I would say just the opposite, that i offer a certain analogy of reality, and may call it true if this did not make me a target for all who would abuse me

Blind with patriotism soldiers are very one-sided and loyalty to a nation will mean killing and dying for a single reason, false or not. When you present both sides, truth can be recognized, whether it is followed is a different issue. When someone can only see in one direction there can only be one truth, ignorance of vital pieces of information in a dual-sided decision can affect what one truly thinks.

If not knowledge that buys are days, what shall? Recreation? or just simply living life. Neither are wrong nor right, just different. Death comes with fate, premature or overdue, death is set in stone. What you are talking about is foresight that cannot be achieved. And in the case of death by way of old age, truth is known about cause yet remedy is not yet known not because it is false because it is yet to be discovered.

Fido

Tue 1 Jun, 2010 05:04 am
@Yogi DMT,
Yogi DMT;171582 wrote:
Blind with patriotism soldiers are very one-sided and loyalty to a nation will mean killing and dying for a single reason, false or not. When you present both sides, truth can be recognized, whether it is followed is a different issue. When someone can only see in one direction there can only be one truth, ignorance of vital pieces of information in a dual-sided decision can affect what one truly thinks.

If not knowledge that buys are days, what shall? Recreation? or just simply living life. Neither are wrong nor right, just different. Death comes with fate, premature or overdue, death is set in stone. What you are talking about is foresight that cannot be achieved. And in the case of death by way of old age, truth is known about cause yet remedy is not yet known not because it is false because it is yet to be discovered.

People give their lives for their country, but what does country mean to the dead??? People give their lives to love, but what is love to the dead??? The reason people so willingly die is that the needs of life dictate their sense of truth, and this is why all people disagree as to the truth, that it is an infinite considered as an absolute...

If you are arguing for fate, then what is the point of us talking??? I do philosophy in the expectation that people can overcome their fates with courage much as was expressed in Beowulf... It takes courage to take fate by the reins, and it demands intelligence and knowledge to not steer fate into a train wreck... I accept that knowing right is difficult, and doing right is easy with knowledge... So do not argue the case of fate with me... I am about the destruction of its weird power over humanity...

HexHammer

Wed 2 Jun, 2010 08:41 am
@Yogi DMT,
Yogi DMT;171582 wrote:
Blind with patriotism soldiers are very one-sided and loyalty to a nation will mean killing and dying for a single reason, false or not. When you present both sides, truth can be recognized, whether it is followed is a different issue. When someone can only see in one direction there can only be one truth, ignorance of vital pieces of information in a dual-sided decision can affect what one truly thinks.

If not knowledge that buys are days, what shall? Recreation? or just simply living life. Neither are wrong nor right, just different. Death comes with fate, premature or overdue, death is set in stone. What you are talking about is foresight that cannot be achieved. And in the case of death by way of old age, truth is known about cause yet remedy is not yet known not because it is false because it is yet to be discovered.
?
Have you been in war youself? Have you read any of the propaganda for Gulf Wars, Vietnam ..etc? Propaganda are full of deception and lies which soldiers are brainwashed with.