What in truth is truth?

Fiendlover

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wow i actually understand what ur saying. im impressed with myself.........lol

:eek::highfive:
 

Xue Sheng

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Sounds like a lot of self-indulgent nonsense to me.

Actually it is lyrics from a song "The Garden Of Allah" by "Don Henley" And the person or thing that is supposed to be saying this is Satan, so HELL yeah it is self-indulgent.... as are many discussions about truth

But to be completely honest I was not really being serious when I posted it.

Sorry I should have added a bunch of these :D
 

thardey

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When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. -Sherlock Holmes


Provided, of course, that you start with all possible options to begin with.

 

jks9199

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I would not call that "truth", I would call that perception. Many people PERCIEVE things which they believe are correct, but I would not call them "truth".

It's like people "witnessing" a crime or an accident. You talk to five different people and they will all give their version and swear that it is correct. And they are all "right" based on their perception of the event. But, that does not change the "what is" of the even, that being what REALLY happened outside of human notions and perceptions.

Even in science, math, etc. We evaluate those things and call them correct, but it is still based on our understanding of how things work, and as our "tools of perception" get better we may change our understanding of the events looked at. But, that does not change the event itself.

So I don't think that we can truly "KNOW" the "TRUTH", but that does not mean we do not know it exists or that we can't see glimpses of it.

I definitely don't agree with how you've said this -- though I don't think we disagree completely about the subject.

Multiple people can honestly present their own perception or account of an incident; it will almost certainly not be the "true" account of what happened. The truth will be somewhere in the middle. Let me continue to use an accident. I'm a trained crash investigator. Lots of times, I've had witnesses at the scene relate what they saw. Sometimes, it's the classic "I saw it all; I heard a crash, and then I saw that car do this..." Other times, they did see it -- but didn't perceive all of the factors. But, when I take the physical evidence, and put it together -- I can often KNOW what had to happen. That's the truth; no matter what someone tells me, if the physical evidence doesn't match up -- it couldn't have happened that way. Each person is honestly (or sometimes not...) telling me what they think happened -- but the laws of physics tell me what DID happen.

Now, moving beyond demonstrable events into the moral/theological/philosophical question of truth... That's harder. I, for myself, do believe in a Supreme Being, the experience of whom is TRUTH, in it's most extreme form. But -- I can't make you perceive that Truth, any more than an atheist could make me deny that truth.
 

Archangel M

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If you cannot find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it?

-Dogen
 

cstanley

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Truth is like a bell, it isn't always told. (Hold your applause...thank you, thank you:high5:)
 

exile

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It must have been the scotch...

In spiritus veritas... Works for me!...

Actually, that suggests another answer to Bob's OP question:

What is truth? That which is in wine.
 

cstanley

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There are a lot of semantics involved in arguments about "truth." If by truth, you mean "absolute truth," meaning a statement that would be true in any conceivable universe, then a priori mathematical truths are the only truth.

"Truths" such as the laws of physics are true in our universe as far as we know (assuming, as we do, the homogeneity of the universe). However, it is possible to conceive of a universe in which these laws would be altered. Even at the quantum level, many long accepted "truths" cannot be assured. So, they are not "absolute" truths.
 

punisher73

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I definitely don't agree with how you've said this -- though I don't think we disagree completely about the subject.

Multiple people can honestly present their own perception or account of an incident; it will almost certainly not be the "true" account of what happened. The truth will be somewhere in the middle. Let me continue to use an accident. I'm a trained crash investigator. Lots of times, I've had witnesses at the scene relate what they saw. Sometimes, it's the classic "I saw it all; I heard a crash, and then I saw that car do this..." Other times, they did see it -- but didn't perceive all of the factors. But, when I take the physical evidence, and put it together -- I can often KNOW what had to happen. That's the truth; no matter what someone tells me, if the physical evidence doesn't match up -- it couldn't have happened that way. Each person is honestly (or sometimes not...) telling me what they think happened -- but the laws of physics tell me what DID happen.

Now, moving beyond demonstrable events into the moral/theological/philosophical question of truth... That's harder. I, for myself, do believe in a Supreme Being, the experience of whom is TRUTH, in it's most extreme form. But -- I can't make you perceive that Truth, any more than an atheist could make me deny that truth.

I think we are saying the same thing, you just used the accident analogy better. The evidence in my opinion is the "what is" of the event and is outside of human perceptions. You, as an accident reconstructionalist, are "outside" of their perceptions. Not that you can't look at the evidence and use the science/math/physics to reconstruct what happened. I just mean that the method used is not based on what was seen by witnesses, and using the physical evidence behind you could reconstruct it without talking to a single witness. Our department's expert has had to do that on numerous occassions when it is a single car fatality (way off topic, but do you use the animation program that will visually show you what the accident looked like after you enter the data? That thing is REALLY neat to watch).

That is what I meant by "perception" vs. "truth". The "truth" or "the what is" is exactly that whether my perception was that or not. My perception using scientific methods will get as close to the "What is" as humanly possible. To use another traffic example. There is a single car fatality on a back country road striking a tree. From the marks, debris, etc. you can tell that the car swerved and lost control hitting the tree head-on. You know that the driver was not wearing the seatbelt and the injuries sustained from impact are what killed the driver. All of that is based on the evidence and is backed by the physics of how a car reacts, etc. BUT, why did the driver swerve? If there are animal footprints right next to the first tire marks we might conclude that the driver swerved to miss a deer and lost control. But, what if the driver was EXTREMLY allergic to bees and had a phobia of them and had one in the car and the driver panicked and while trying to swat the bee lost control, we don't ever REALLY know the "truth" of the matter behind the accident in this case.
 

exile

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There are a lot of semantics involved in arguments about "truth." If by truth, you mean "absolute truth," meaning a statement that would be true in any conceivable universe, then a priori mathematical truths are the only truth.

"Truths" such as the laws of physics are true in our universe as far as we know (assuming, as we do, the homogeneity of the universe). However, it is possible to conceive of a universe in which these laws would be altered. Even at the quantum level, many long accepted "truths" cannot be assured. So, they are not "absolute" truths.

This is the contingent vs. necessary truth dilemma, and it raises a lot of very dicey problems for the philosophy of language. For example, one of the conundrums that logicians in the late 19th century worried about was the fact that both Hesperus and Phosphorus were names applied to the same object during the Middle Ages—the planet Venus—by astronomers and astrologists, not realizing that the sole difference was when the planet was being viewed; 'the Morning Star' and 'the Evening Star' is another example of the exactl the same thing. The problem is that

Hesperus is Phosphorus

is actually informative, i.e., not a tautology, whereas

Hesperus is Hesperus

is a tautology—yet, if you look at what it is that the names denote, their actual referents, there is no difference betwen them. So Frege introduced this distinction between 'sense' and 'reference', where reference refers to the 'thing named', and sense identifies a function from possible worlds to things. The reference of both Hesperus and Phosporus is the same, but they have a different sense, because there is at least one possible world in which Phosporus denotes a different thing from Hesperus; and it is the sense of sentences, not their reference, that determines their truth status; so it is necessarily the case that the referents of ]I]Hesperus[/I] and Phosporus are the same, but not that their senses are the same, and we evaluate truth with respect to the latter assertion, not the former. And on the latter, the assertion Hesperus is Phosphorus is not a tautology—it could be wrong in some other possible world. This kind of possible-worlds semantics is what Frege is probably best known for, but it has a great big hole in it: necessary truths. In all possible worlds, the square root of nine is three and All equilateral triangles are equilangular triangles and vice versa are both true. In Frege's system, this means that they are the same function (supply a possible world and the answer will always be the same for both of them) and therefore are synonyms. Which they obviously aren't.

The non-synonymy of necessary/analytic/mathematical truths is probably the biggest hole in the boat carrying truth-conditional theories of meaning. The whole sense/reference distinction gets you nowhere here, without considerable further refinement, and with that, you lose the nice clean intuitive distinction that Frege introduced. Once again, a beautiful idea that didn't quite work out... and one we still don't know how to replace with something better... sound familiar, all you Trouble with Physicsists?? :wink1:
 

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What is real? How do you define real? If you're talking about what you can hear, what you can smell, taste and feel then real is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.

My appologies for quoting from a sci-fi movie, but Morpheus is onto something there.

I think we all have our own truths/view of reality. I think it would take a special person to point us to the "real" truth.
 

exile

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My appologies for quoting from a sci-fi movie, but Morpheus is onto something there.

I think we all have our own truths/view of reality. I think it would take a special person to point us to the "real" truth.

No, I don't think that follows, and down that slope lies the pit where no atrocity ever 'really' happened. No one's child was killed by a drunken driver, no one's relatives died in a concentration camp, no one was ever enslaved, or persecuted, or convicted unjustly... or anything.

There is a critical distinction between the truth, and our perception-mechanisms for detecting the properties of the world in which the truth holds. They aren't the same thing. There is a Fact of the Matter; it cannot be true that we live in a universe where the constants of nature prevent the organization of matter in ways which allow life, consciousness and intelligence to emerge, because to assert that (sincerely) is also to assert that this discussion is not taking place. And the moment you try to reply to my last sentence, you've just contradicted that last assertion. So there are properties of the world which do not depend on what we think, or detect, or believe.

This is what I think of as the Rashomon fallacy: the belief that multiple views of an event means there was no single event that actually happened. The characters in the play Rashomon tell three very different tales of a killing, and you can't decide which, if any of them, is the true story based on what they say. But the point is, three well-placed video cameras set at the scene of the action would have told you essentially all you needed to know to decide. The play, as I read it, isn't about reality but about the conditions that constrain our knowing that realitythe true story. The view that nothing is in itself true is the source of the pernicious relativism which currently infects the humanities, and is one reason why people are so (justly) suspicious of the ideological element in much contemporary scholarship. If we're going to give in to that kind of intellectual nihilism, we might as well all pack it in and go home...
 

Xue Sheng

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The words of truth are always paradoxical.
- Lao Tzu

and only the most alert and observant person can get the truth using spies
Sun Tzu

The object of the superior man is truth.
- Confucius

You must neither strive for truth nor seek to lose your illusions.
- The Shodoka

The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie - deliberate, contrived and dishonest - but the myth - persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic.
- John F. Kennedy

You can only find truth with logic if you have already found truth without it.
- G. K. Chesterton

Stop, stop. Do not speak. The ultimate truth is not even to think.
- Buddha

If any man thinks he slays, and if another thinks he is slain, neither knows the ways of truth. The Eternal in man cannot kill: the Eternal in man cannot die.
- Bhagavad Gita

And this one about covers it for me

Truth knocks at our door and we say "Go'way! I'm looking for the truth!", and the truth goes away - Puzzled.
- Robert Pirsig - Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenence

And finally the truth is I am done with discussions of truth
 

Archangel M

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What is real? How do you define real? If you're talking about what you can hear, what you can smell, taste and feel then real is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.

Yet we call all (minus some genetic/medical defect) agree what "red" looks like or tell the difference between vanilla and chocolate. I dont think the difference is so much in the perception as it is in how we process and use the data. We may agree on the difference between chololate and vanilla but I may like chocolate while you like vanilla.
 

Blindside

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I think we all have our own truths/view of reality. I think it would take a special person to point us to the "real" truth.


Let address this just in terms of vision.

If you are color blind you perceive reality different than a person with full color sight. But full color isn't reality either, humans can't see into either the ultra-violet or infra-red wavelengths, we perceive a flower differently than a bumblebee does.

Our perspectives are necessarily formed by the limitations of what we can perceive, but those perspectives aren't truths, they are essentially just opinions of the truth.
 

Archangel M

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Yes but the the flower still exists as its own entity or "truth". Just because I and a bee see it differently and experience it differently doesnt change its "flowerness".

A blind man and a sighted one may fight over a knife, and their perceptions of it are different, but it will still kill either one regardless. Thats the "truth of the knife".

Relativism is the road to hell.
 

Blindside

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Yes but the the flower still exists as its own entity or "truth". Just because I and a bee see it differently and experience it differently doesnt change its "flowerness".

A blind man and a sighted one may fight over a knife, and their perceptions of it are different, but it will still kill either one regardless. Thats the "truth of the knife".

Relativism is the road to hell.

I completely agree.
 

thardey

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There are a lot of semantics involved in arguments about "truth." If by truth, you mean "absolute truth," meaning a statement that would be true in any conceivable universe, then a priori mathematical truths are the only truth.

But if by "absolute truth" you mean "all truth," as in "The answer" (42!) then mathematics are relegated to fact and logic. Mathematics can't solve most of the problems in my life, which are relational.

"Truths" such as the laws of physics are true in our universe as far as we know (assuming, as we do, the homogeneity of the universe). However, it is possible to conceive of a universe in which these laws would be altered. Even at the quantum level, many long accepted "truths" cannot be assured. So, they are not "absolute" truths.

"Truth" is not within the scope of science. Either partial or absolute. By definition, science is limited to "fact." Science can only answer how, and in fact, modern science is purposefully limited to "how." To get "Truth," you will also need to answer "Why?" To date, no one system has been agreed upon to answer "Why?"

Truth is about "Why?" Facts are about "Who, What, When, Where, and How?"
 

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