• Pantagruel
    398
    Thinking about opposite philosophical views, like rationalism versus empiricism, or coherentism versus correspondence theories of truth, materialism versus idealism, do you think that one must ultimately be true and the other false? Or does every philosophical work stand on its own merits as something true, or possessing elements of truth?
  • A Seagull
    117
    Every philosophical work is false. Just that some are more false than others.
  • creativesoul
    6.9k


    Perhaps it's a mistake to think that they are opposing? Perhaps, both are right about some stuff, and both are incomplete and thus inadequate for accounting for everything. Perhaps the reason for this apparent chasm is that both sides work from the same inherently inadequate notions?

    That's what I've come to see.
  • Gus Lamarch
    57
    Or does every philosophical work stand on its own merits as something true, or possessing elements of truth?Pantagruel

    "Truth" is only the concept of a "Dominant Opinion". When the current "truth" no longer supports the method in which society behaves in such an age, it becomes a lie, and a new "truth" is constructed.
  • Pantagruel
    398
    Truth" is only the concept of a "Dominant Opinion". When the current "truth" no longer supports the method in which society behaves in such an age, it becomes a lie, and a new "truth" is constructed.Gus Lamarch
    So what criterion or evaluation would apply to works such as Plato's "Republic", or Hume's "Essay Concerning Human Understanding" then? Are these works of artistic fiction only, containing no content or substance?
  • Gus Lamarch
    57
    So what criterion or evaluation would apply to works such as Plato's "Republic", or Hume's "Essay Concerning Human Understanding" then? Are these works of artistic fiction only, containing no content or substance?Pantagruel

    In this case, they are the concept of the opinion of an individual. They only become "Truth" when they become the accepted opinion of the masses. It could be truth for Plato or Hume, but what is an individual "truth" in a sea of mass "truths"?
  • creativesoul
    6.9k


    Rubbish. You're conflating truth and belief.
  • Pantagruel
    398
    I think that both those works must contain "truths" within them.
  • Gus Lamarch
    57
    Rubbish. You're conflating truth and belief.creativesoul

    If for you, the concept that "truth" in reality doesn't exist, but is just a case of mass belief, is "rubbish", that's ok, for indeed, this is your individual "truth".
  • Gus Lamarch
    57
    I think that both those works must contain "truths" within them.Pantagruel

    "Your belief creates your truth"
  • A Seagull
    117
    So what criterion or evaluation would apply to works such as Plato's "Republic", or Hume's "Essay Concerning Human Understanding" then? Are these works of artistic fiction only, containing no content or substance?Pantagruel

    What is important is what one takes from these works..or not, as the case may be.
  • A Seagull
    117
    "Your belief creates your truth"Gus Lamarch

    Quite so.
  • creativesoul
    6.9k
    Your belief creates your truth...Gus Lamarch

    What's the difference between truth and belief?
  • Gus Lamarch
    57
    What's the difference between truth and belief?creativesoul

    Belief is the concept of accepting something as your truth, as the infinite self-realization, of acccepting something as your own. But "Truth" as I perceive that you see as "Absolute Truth" is moldable. If the majority says that something its true, it is, end of the discussion.
  • Pantagruel
    398
    This seems like a very subjective definition of "truth". Especially when the classical definition is that it is a belief backed up by evidence, corresponding or correlative facts.
    If so, does "The Republic" contain meaning only that is relevant to the time period to which it correlates? Or are there, in fact "eternal" truths? I guess a priori truths are that, but the wisdom that is in "The Republic" isn't a priori.
  • Valentinus
    625
    One could approach the question from a negative side. The different ways to understand truth as hidden collide with each other. Put this way, our ignorance can be ameliorated to varying degrees by qualifying how different kinds of information can be accepted as points of departure.

    In the analogy of the Cave, there are no reports of smart people watering their garden under the true sun. The enlightened one stumbles back to the others with dazzled eyes and a troubled mind.

    The distance between Hume and Kant was a disagreement upon how helpless they were in the face of how obscure causality is for the observer. Kant basically agreed with Hume but said it couldn't hurt to keep the hands on wheel rather than abandoning the enterprise to play backgammon.

    I could go on but why? I am not proving a truth by making these observations.
  • creativesoul
    6.9k
    Belief is the concept of accepting something as your truth, as the infinite self-realization, of acccepting something as your own. But "Truth" as I perceive that you see as "Absolute Truth" is moldable. If the majority says that something its true, it is, end of the discussion.Gus Lamarch

    So, let me see if I have understood you rightly enough....

    Belief is accepting something as your truth, wheres truth is if the majority says something is true, it is, end of the discussion?

    Nah...

    The majority can be wrong, and have false belief. Truth cannot be false. So, truth has nothing at all to do with majority consensus.
  • Wayfarer
    8.9k
    Thinking about opposite philosophical views, like rationalism versus empiricism, or coherentism versus correspondence theories of truth, materialism versus idealism, do you think that one must ultimately be true and the other false? Or does every philosophical work stand on its own merits as something true, or possessing elements of truth?Pantagruel

    One important factor, often overlooked, is to understand these terms in their historical context - what gave rise to rationalism, how empiricism became dominant, and so on. That actually amounts to a dialectic, which is a dialogue between opposing viewpoints, that gives rise to insights that may not be available to any of the protagonists’ own views.

    Also it's important to understand the underlying historical and sociological forces that find expression through these views. In that respect, understanding the 'history of ideas' is fundamental.

    The second point is to understand how one consciously or unconsciously adopts these various positions and what social and cultural forces drive those choices. So if the first point is dialectical, the second is critical. That kind of approach underlay Kant's critical dialectics, and the later 'historicist' readings of philosophy that grew out of it.

    Not a lot of people have any real background or understanding of these factors (and I'm claiming any particular expertise beyond general knowledge.) As a consequence they often express views which are held for reasons that they don't understand, as they're merely parroting the accepted wisdom, which in our day is generally confused.
  • Valentinus
    625

    I agree that the context in which the different propositions take place in is the first step that is not taken enough.
  • Pantagruel
    398
    I agree that the context in which the different propositions take place in is the first step that is not taken enough.Valentinus

    I think that is basically the whole premise of the science of "hermeneutics".

    I just finished a book called "Essay on Philosophical Method" by RG Collingwood - he was a significant thinker in the early hermeneutical school.
  • Valentinus
    625

    That is a good point. My only objection is that much of their wording stays out of the problems being wrestled with. It becomes too much of sports-like commentary upon how the contenders are doing.
    The point of view is outside of the struggle being observed.
  • Pantagruel
    398
    That is a good point. My only objection is that much of their wording stays out of the problems being wrestled with. It becomes too much of sports-like commentary upon how the contenders are doing.
    The point of view is outside of the struggle being observed.
    Valentinus

    Interesting. What exactly do you mean the POV is outside of the struggle being observed?
  • Valentinus
    625

    Compare, for example, the way someone like Plato is interpreted by the generations of people who have done it. Whether that be Plotinus or Strauss, they own their translations of what was meant by saying this or that.
    But those who would make the narrative about what was happening then and now, in order to make those expressions a part of explaining one sequence or another according to some measure, that is a different activity. Our desire for an encyclopedia of events makes the latter more attractive at the expense of the former.
  • ovdtogt
    356
    Truth must be placed within a context. For example, if you are building something you may consider 'the earth is flat' as true if you only consider a certain circumference (buildings, etc) However when you are building a long bridge you have to take into account that the earth is spherical.
    Einstein did not disprove Newton it is just that Newton's mathematics don't hold in Einstein's frame of reference.
  • Valentinus
    625
    The second point is to understand how one consciously or unconsciously adopts these various positions and what social and cultural forces drive those choices. So if the first point is dialectical, the second is critical. That kind of approach underlay Kant's critical dialectics, and the later 'historicist' readings of philosophy that grew out of it.Wayfarer

    This is a good point to emphasize since so many "critics" of points of view did not own their observations as a part of a dialectic.
  • Pantagruel
    398
    Compare, for example, the way someone like Plato is interpreted by the generations of people who have done it. Whether that be Plotinus or Strauss, they own their translations of what was meant by saying this or that.
    But those who would make the narrative about what was happening then and now, in order to make those expressions a part of explaining one sequence or another according to some measure, that is a different activity. Our desire for an encyclopedia of events makes the latter more attractive at the expense of the former.
    Valentinus

    I see. Interestingly, Collingwood's idea of philosophy incorporates both. He says that every philosophy is in part a borrowing of philosophies of the past and in part a collaboration with those of the present.

    He says "the business of philosophy is not to be an encyclopedia of knowledge".
  • Valentinus
    625

    I will check Collingwood out. I am not familiar.
    To be clear, I am not dismissing historical enterprises. For example, I think Hegel is really important to understand. His many descendants don't quite know what to do with the old guy. He has become a strange kind of patient zero to other events.
  • Pantagruel
    398
    Something really interesting, and I think it relates to the whole idea of contextualized truth. Also to my earlier question whether masterpieces of philosophy actually contained objective truth or only insofar as they were great pieces of writing.

    Collingwood says that "technical terms" are not fundamental within language because they require explanation. Because

    The business of language is to express or explain; if language cannot explain itself, nothing else can explain it.

    Based on this he argues that

    "The language of philosophy is therefore...a literary language, and not a technical.

    It makes me think of an observation by a systems theory philosopher I just read, that the foundation of any metaphysical theory is its "elegance" - ie. the overall narrative beauty of a metaphysical theory is the substantiation of that theory.

    Talk about merging subject and object.
  • creativesoul
    6.9k
    merging subject and object.Pantagruel

    A move most certainly needed in many respects...
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