• Bartricks
    1.4k
    It was Pontius Pilate's question to Jesus - a question he didn't let him answer (although I think we know the sort of thing he would have said; "I am the truth" or something similarly unhelpful).

    Anyway. what's the actual answer? Over the years philosophers have given several different ones, none of them remotely plausible.

    For instance, some say that truth is correspondence to the facts. That is, a proposition is true when its representative contents correspond to how things are in reality. But that's not really an answer to the question. It tells us when a propostion is true, but it does not tell us what truth itself is. Note, I am not denying that a propostion is true when it corresponds to the facts, I am just denying that this is an answer to Pontius Pilate's question.

    Some say that a proposition is true when it coheres with a set of other propostions. But hat too does not seem to be a theory of truth, but about when a proposition is true. And it also seeems obviously false - 'true' and 'cohere's with some other set of propositions' seems about as clearly distinct as 'true' and 'tasty' do. For instance, we all recognise that two equally coherent worldviews cannot be true - at least one of them must be false. But if the coherence theory is true, then they are both true. Greanted, it is self-evident to reason that true propositions cohere with each other - for it is self-evident to reason that no contradictions are true. But it is equally self-evident, I would say, that truth and coherence are not the same.

    Some say that a proposition is true when it is useful. But this kind of view - pragmatism - seems obviously false too. There seems nothing confused in the idea that it may sometimes be useful to believe false propositions. Yet that should seem confused if the above theory is true, for that would be an impossible combination.

    Obviously my presentation of these theories - correspondence, coherence and pragmatic - has been crude for the sake of brevity, but I don't think making them more complex will save them from the fundamental problem with each. That being that they all seem on their face,to be false - as self-evidently false as the theory that truth is a tangerine. The problem with the tangerine theory is not that it is not refined enough, but that it is off on the wrong track right at the outset. Likewise, with the above theories.

    So what is truth, then? Well, I think the best way to proceed is to ask a slightly different question - when would we (that is, highly reflective rational truth-seekers) be satisfied that a true theory of truth has been described to us? That is, what would it take for us all to be satisfied that our question - 'what is truth?' - has been answered?

    I think we can answer that one decisively: all rational reflectors will be satisfied the question has been ansered when the answer is one that their faculties of reason represents to be true. That is, upon reflecting on it - upon applying their reason to it - they can see that if follows rationally from claims that are self-evident to reason. After all, it is precisley becasue the above theories do not seem to be like this that they are not universally accepted.

    So, we will be happy we have the true theory of truth when our question "what is truth?" is answered with proposition whose representative contents seems to all rational reflectors to be something Reason is asserting to be the case.

    If that's true - and I don't see how a reasonable person could deny it - then that itself should be what we consider truth to be. That is, truth is the property of being a proposition that Reason asserts to be the case. When Reason asserts that something is the case, it is the case. Her asserting it, and its being true are one and the same.

    That's my theory, anyway.
  • Brett
    1.1k


    Well, I think the best way to proceed is to ask a slightly different question - when would we (that is, highly reflective rational truth-seekers) be satisfied that a true theory of truth has been described to us? That is, what would it take for us all to be satisfied that our question - 'what is truth?' - has been answered?Bartricks

    Sorry to answer with another question, but why do we want the truth, what do we want from it, what are we expecting?
  • Bartricks
    1.4k
    To have a hope of answering those questions, we have to answer my one first.
  • Bartricks
    1.4k
    And of course, as I have proposed an answer - namely, that truth is whatever Reason asserts to be the case - then we can sketch an answer to your questions. For instance, when you ask those questions, presumably you don't just want me to give you an answer, but rather to provide reasons - reasons - why my answers are the true ones, yes?

    Well, to give someone a reason to believe something is to set about showing that Reason wants you to believe it.

    Thus, why do we have reason to search out the truth - including the true answer to the question "what is truth?"? Well, because Reason wants us to.
  • Brett
    1.1k


    Maybe. But the quest for the truth suggests that we are not content with things, that there is something better, truer out there, or in here. Is it possible the quest for truth, the definition of it a hopeless quest?
  • Bartricks
    1.4k
    But the quest for the truth suggests that we are not content with things,Brett

    I don't see the relevance. The question I am trying to answer is "what is truth?" Why truth is important is a distinct question. If you don't even know what truth is, how can you possibly hope to answer your question? My question is the more fundamental and so it must be answered first.

    Is it possible the quest for truth, the definition of it a hopeless quest?Brett

    No. There is an answer to the question, and I see no reason to think we cannot acquire it - indeed, I have provided you with it above.

    How would you ever know that someone has given you the answer until or unless you consider the evidence they have provided in support of it?

    You mustn't make yourself deaf.
  • Brett
    1.1k


    My question is the more fundamental and so it must be answered first.Bartricks

    Okay.
  • Possibility
    787
    That is, truth is the property of being a proposition that Reason asserts to be the case. When Reason asserts that something is the case, it is the case. Her asserting it, and its being true are one and the same.Bartricks

    But what (or who) is Reason? Aren’t you basing all your ‘truth’ on an assumption that everyone knows this particular ‘truth’?
  • Bartricks
    1.4k
    But what (or who) is Reason?Possibility

    That's the next question. It is the question it is appropriate to ask if my answer to the "what is truth?" question - namely that 'truth' is the property of being a proposition whose contents Reason asserts to be the case - is true.

    But we can agree that my answer is true, even if we subsequently disagree about who or what Reason is. So I hesitate to say who or what Reason is for fear that many will think my answer to that question will discredit my answer to the "what is truth?" question (which it doesn't).

    Aren’t you basing all your ‘truth’ on an assumption that everyone knows this particular ‘truth’.Possibility

    Not sure I follow. I am assuming that upon reflection all reasonable people will agree about the form the answer to the question must take. That is, it must take the form of a proposition that the faculties of reason of most of us seems to endorse.
    And then I am assuming that reasonable people will agree that if we'd all agree that "theory X" is the true theory of truth if our faculties of reason represent Reason to be asserting its contents to be the case, then by default we should assume that truth itself is synonymous with that property.

    For an analogy: if we'd all agree we have some congealed milk on our hands if we have cheese on our hands, then it is reasonable to have as one's working hypothesis that cheese is congealed milk.
  • Possibility
    787
    Not sure I follow. I am assuming that upon reflection all reasonable people will agree about the form the answer to the question must take. That is, it must take the form of a proposition that the faculties of reason of most of us seems to endorse.
    And then I am assuming that reasonable people will agree that if we'd all agree that "theory X" is the true theory of truth if our faculties of reason represent Reason to be asserting its contents to be the case, then by default we should assume that truth itself is synonymous with that property.
    Bartricks

    No, you’re making an assumption that anyone who disagrees with your definition is not ‘reasonable’, and are therefore excluded from the discussion. You’re limiting the parameters of the discussion to manipulate the ‘truth’ your claim.

    That's the next question. It is the question it is appropriate to ask if my answer to the "what is truth?" question - namely that 'truth' is the property of being a proposition whose contents Reason asserts to be the case - is true.

    But we can agree that my answer is true, even if we subsequently disagree about who or what Reason is. So I hesitate to say who or what Reason is for fear that many will think my answer to that question will discredit my answer to the "what is truth?" question (which it doesn't).
    Bartricks

    No, I cannot agree that your answer is true if I disagree on the meaning of your answer. That’s like handing over a signed blank cheque on the proviso that we can ‘discuss’ the sum later. Or expecting me to agree to the statement ‘the Bible is true’ before we discuss any further. I commend your honesty in acknowledging fear as your main reason for trying to corral the discussion. But I would argue that the truth of your answer, as it is structured, is entirely dependent on a shared meaning of ‘Reason’.

    I don’t value ‘reason’ quite as highly as you do, by my estimates. This is evident by your willingness to exclude any and all aspects of ‘truth’ that cannot be explained by reason alone. So let me offer my answer to your question, and we’ll see if we can find a shared meaning of ‘truth’:

    Truth is a shared meaning achieved without ignorance, isolation or exclusion of any kind.
  • Bartricks
    1.4k
    o, you’re making an assumption that anyone who disagrees with your definition is not ‘reasonable’Possibility

    Yes, if you disagree - and are reasonable - you will make a case against my claim, rather than simply point out that I have made it. You can't make any case for anything without having to make assumptions. A reasonable person does not object, then, to the mere fact an assumption has been made, but rather subjects the assumptions in question to reasoned scrutiny. Clearly by presenting my case here I am inviting people to do precisely that. Unfortunately reasonableness is also in short supply here, as the internet is populated largely by fools and dogmatists.

    You’re limiting the parameters of the discussion to manipulate the ‘truth’ your claim.Possibility

    No, you can try and prove me wrong. I haven't just pulled this stuff out of my bottom. So, once again, if it is clear to the reason of reflective people that theory X is the true theory of truth, then isn't that the best possible evidence that theory X is true? If you think not, explain to me what could possibly be better evidence.

    I commend your honesty in acknowledging fear as your main reason for trying to corral the discussion. But I would argue that the truth of your answer, as it is structured, is entirely dependent on a shared meaning of ‘Reason’.Possibility

    Eh? My fear is fear of the stupidity of some people - the stupid inferences that some people make - and a fear of derailment.

    The question is what is truth. I have argued - argued, mark you - that truth is the property of being a proposition the content of which Reason asserts to be the case.

    Now, you have asked "who or what is Reason?". That is a distinct question - one that does not bear on the credibility of my answer.

    For instance, let's say I say - and I wouldn't, because it is mad - that Reason is a Platonic Form. Well, a case would need to be made for that - but if such a case could be made, that would not affect my theory of truth.

    Another analogy: let's say that the best theory about what cheese is, is that it is congealed milk. Okay, well asking "what's milk?" is a legitimate question to ask, but it does not affect the credibility of the 'cheese is congealed milk' theory. And two people could coherently agree that cheese is congealed milk, yet disagree about what milk is (one thinking it is a basic substance, the other that it is made of tiny molecules, for instance).
  • creativesoul
    6.9k
    Reason has been shown to result in false conclusions. True belief exists in it's entirety prior to Reason. Thus, the following is rejected...

    ...'truth' is the property of being a proposition whose contents Reason asserts to be the case - is true.Bartricks

    Truth is correspondence between thought and/or belief and what's happened, is happening, and/or will happen.
  • Bartricks
    1.4k
    I don’t value ‘reason’ quite as highly as you do, by my estimates.Possibility

    Then you are not as reasonable as I am. I think our reason is our only guide to what's true. You, I suspect, like to put yourself in the mix as well and will only listen to reason if she seems to be saying things you already agree with.

    Truth is a shared meaning achieved without ignorance, isolation or exclusion of any kind.Possibility

    I have no idea what that means or why I should endorse it given that you have provided no argument whatsoever in support of it, whereas I have provided an argument - an argument you have ignored because it had assumptions (like, you know, every argument ever) - in support of mine.
  • Bartricks
    1.4k
    Please defend that claim without appealing to reason (which is impossible, of course, but that's the point - either you're just asserting things, which unless you're God counts for nothing, or you've got some kind of evidence to provide me in support of them, in which case you're appealing to Reason).

    Truth is correspondence between thought and/or belief and what's happened, is happening, and/or will happencreativesoul

    That's the correspondence theory of truth and I've already addressed it in the OP. It isn't a theory of truth, but a theory about when a proposition is true (which is different).
  • creativesoul
    6.9k
    Arguing for any claim is an appeal to Reason. I could set out an argument that some things exist in their entirety prior to my setting them out. It does not follow that those things are existentially dependent upon Reason. To quite the contrary, our understanding of them is.

    Truth is one such thing, as is true belief, meaning, and Mt. Everest.
  • Bartricks
    1.4k
    Arguing for any claim is an appeal to Reason.creativesoul

    Yes, that's my point - my point. So, you can't reject my argument on the grounds that I am appealing to reason, then, can you? Or that reason is unreliable - for any evidence that Reason is unreliable will itself have to involve an appeal to reason, and thus place some trust in Reason.

    Again, then, the first step in my simple argument involves no more than acknowledging this - acknowledging that we (reasonable people, that is) will only be fully satisfied that we have a true theory of truth on our hands if we are all sure Reason asserts it to be the case.

    You seem to be confirming, not denying this now.

    Truth is one such thing, as is true belief, meaning, and Mt. Everest.creativesoul

    Question begging in this context. You shouldn't, in the context of a debate over what truth itself is, assert what truth is. You need to argue, rather than just blankly state.
  • creativesoul
    6.9k
    I'm objecting to your definition of "truth" because Reason is both insufficient and unnecessary for true belief.

    Don't hold me to a standard of argument/justification that you yourself have yet to have met. It will not end well for you...

    Truth is correspondence.
  • creativesoul
    6.9k


    Are you denying that true belief exists prior to language?
  • Bartricks
    1.4k
    I haven't defined truth, so you're attacking a straw man.

    Truth is correspondence.creativesoul

    Until you provide some kind of an argument, that's like saying "truth is green" or "truth is blossom".

    Argue, don't assert.
  • Bartricks
    1.4k
    Are you denying that true belief exists prior to language?creativesoul

    Er, what? I'm talking about 'truth'. I have said nothing whatsoever about beliefs and language. Nothing.
  • creativesoul
    6.9k
    I'm talking about 'truth'. I have said nothing whatsoever about true beliefs and language. NothingBartricks

    Perhaps you ought start to think about them...

    Answer?
  • Bartricks
    1.4k
    No, not until you show me their relevance to the question.

    Whatever answer I give, it has no bearing on the credibility of my answer to the question "what is truth?".

    Focus.
  • creativesoul
    6.9k
    I have argued - argued, mark you - that truth is the property of being a proposition the content of which Reason asserts to be the case.Bartricks

    I haven't defined truth, so you're attacking a straw man.Bartricks

    I wouldn't be a nuthin with mah head all full 'o stuffins...
  • Bartricks
    1.4k
    That's not a definition. Water is H2o is not a 'definition' of water, for instance.
  • creativesoul
    6.9k


    It seems that you do not recognize the existential connection between truth and belief.

    If true belief is prior to language, then either so too is truth or true belief can exist without truth, which is nonsense.
  • creativesoul
    6.9k
    The criterion you've put forth for "truth" can be satisfied by falsehood.

    That's worth objecting to it.
  • Bartricks
    1.4k
    It seems that you do not recognize the existential connection between truth and belief.creativesoul

    I am sure that works wonders on drunks in bars, but I know what those words mean and it's nonsense. Something can be true and no-one believe it, and someone can believe something and it not be true.

    If true belief is prior to language, then either so too is truth or true belief can exist without truth, which is nonsense.creativesoul

    I am talking about 'truth', not beliefs. They don't depend on each other, contrary to what you've asserted, as a moment's reflection reveals. Once again, the fact a proposition is true does not entail that it is believed. And the fact a proposition is believed does not entail it is true.
  • Bartricks
    1.4k
    The criterion you've put forth for "truth" can be satisfied by falsehood.creativesoul

    How?

    I have argued that what it is for a proposition to be true is for Reason to be asserting that its contents are the case. How can that possibly be satisfied by falsehood, given that what it is for a proposition to be false is for it not to be true?

    Note too, I am not offering a criterion for truth, but saying something about what truth consists of.

    It is one thing to say when a proposition is true, it is another to say what the truth of it consists of.

    For example, saying that the sky is blue is one thing, saying what blueness itself is is another.
  • god must be atheist
    1.1k
    1.2k
    ↪Possibility
    I don’t value ‘reason’ quite as highly as you do, by my estimates.
    — Possibility

    Then you are not as reasonable as I am.
    Bartricks

    Not necessarily true conclusion. Just because someone does not value a quality in himself, does not mean that he has no high amounts of that quality. Your conclusion, Bartricks, is false.

    ------------------------

    ↪creativesoul
    Are you denying that true belief exists prior to language?
    — creativesoul

    Er, what? I'm talking about 'truth'. I have said nothing whatsoever about beliefs and language. Nothing.
    Bartricks

    Bartricks, Creative soul did not say "You've been denying the that true belief exists prior to language". He, instead, ASKS you, if you do deny it now. You did not answer the question. Which is your perogative, but then again, you have no reason to be surprised or act superior or indignant.

    ------------------

    970

    ↪Brett
    But the quest for the truth suggests that we are not content with things,
    — Brett

    I don't see the relevance. The question I am trying to answer is "what is truth?" Why truth is important is a distinct question. If you don't even know what truth is, how can you possibly hope to answer your question? My question is the more fundamental and so it must be answered first.
    Bartricks

    Actually, there is a relevance. Do we have a definition for god? For life? For love? No, we do not have objective definitions for these that are completely accepted by all. Yet we search for god (some of us), we search for life, even on different planets, and we search for love.

    NO, it is not necessary to have a previously accepted or internalized definition of it which applies to all in all situations and conditions, if you want to search for a thing or an ideal or a concept.
  • god must be atheist
    1.1k
    So what is truth, then? Well, I think the best way to proceed is to ask a slightly different question - when would we (that is, highly reflective rational truth-seekers) be satisfied that a true theory of truth has been described to us? That is, what would it take for us all to be satisfied that our question - 'what is truth?' - has been answered?Bartricks

    This makes truth a subjective thing... you are asking if we believe a thing is the truth, is it really the truth?

    And you answer this:

    I think we can answer that one decisively: all rational reflectors will be satisfied the question has been ansered when the answer is one that their faculties of reason represents to be true. That is, upon reflecting on it - upon applying their reason to it - they can see that if follows rationally from claims that are self-evident to reason. After all, it is precisley becasue the above theories do not seem to be like this that they are not universally accepted.Bartricks

    Please forgive me if I am wrong, and do correct me then, but you seem to be saying that we will be satisfied that the question has been answered when the question has been answered. You connect no truth values to whether the answer is true, or truly describes the truth.

    You instead say that reasonable fellers will take a reasonable statement as truth. If the reasonable statement of truth is given as true, then reasonable fellers will take that answer as the description of truth. That is not necessarily the real truth, though. And you know it too.
  • god must be atheist
    1.1k
    "I think we can answer that one decisively: all rational reflectors will be satisfied the question has been ansered when the answer is one that their faculties of reason represents to be true. That is, upon reflecting on it - upon applying their reason to it - they can see that if follows rationally from claims that are self-evident to reason. After all, it is precisley becasue the above theories do not seem to be like this that they are not universally accepted."
    — Bartricks


    There is one problem with this: Reason alone is not a determinant of facts. And truth depends on facts. Truth is actually the complete correspondence between events, facts, and things, and their descriptions and conceptualiziations in our minds.

    You say reason is enough to establish this. No, reason is not enough. You need senses that properly translate reality to images of reality in our minds that can be further manipulated by our minds. But this translation is not proven, will never be proven, to be foolproof. All translations can all be false (except for "Cogito ergo sum" et al.)

    Hence your definition of truth is not reliable. You did not account for perceptions being possibly false, and perceptions can't be proven to be either way (false or true).
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