View Full Version : Philosophy of Truth - Epistemology

Petros Agapetos
10-12-16, 05:23
What is Truth?
An event is a quantified aspect of reality. A fact is an observed event. Truth is a relation between a theory about events and facts. A statement about a relation between events is true if the relation is a fact. For example: “Elephants can be green”. The facts are “elephants” and “greenness”. The ‘can be’ relation is one between events, so the statement is sensible. However, due to contingent natural restrictions, the skin of an elephant cannot be green in our world, so the statement is not true. A state of affairs or a situation is a way the actual world must be in order to make some given proposition about the actual world true. A state of affairs (a situation) is a truth-maker, whereas a proposition is a truth-bearer. Whereas propositions can be true or false, state of affairs either obtain or fail to obtain.

In logic, necessity and sufficiency are implicational relationships between statements. The assertion that one statement is necessary and sufficient condition of another statement means that the former is true if and only if the latter is true. That is, the two statements must either be simultaneously true or simultaneously false. Necessity and sufficiency indicate relations between conditions or state of affairs, not statements.

Truth bearers = beliefs, statements, propositions, judgments, assertions, utterances, sentences, thoughts, ideas, etc.

Truth makers = facts, state of affairs, events, things, tropes, etc.

Correspondence Theory of Truth states:
“X (truth bearer) is true if and only if X corresponds to some Y (truth maker)”
“X (truth bearer) is false if and only if X does NOT correspond to some Y (truth maker)”.

Basic Fact Theory states, a truth bearer is true if there is a fact about the world that corresponds to the statement of fact. The Basic Fact Theory of Truth implies that anything, even things that do no bear truth, like objects, are false because they do not correspond to a fact, and non-truth-bearers become in fact false. This theory also does not permit more than true/false truth values (bimodal theory of truth).

State of Affairs Theory states, a truth bearer is true if there is a state of affairs that obtains. And under this theory, “X is false if and only if X corresponds to some state of affairs Y that does not obtain”. The state of affairs theory of truth commits one to including state of affairs that do not obtain as true. Also, it does not permit negations of logical truths.

Facts without Being Theory states “X is false if and only if X corresponds to some fact that does not exist”. It might seem that this helps to resolve some issues of falsehood for the basic fact theory, but it commits us to a sort of Meinongian ontology allowing for facts that don’t exist to correspond to truth bearers. This theory allows for objects not to be false and allows for a third truth value other than true/false.

Miscorrespondence Fact Theory states “X is false if and only if X miscorresponds to some fact”. This theory attempts to avoid any commitment to either non-obtaining state of affairs or non-existent facts. However, it is difficult to ascertain whether miscorrespondence is applicable to false truth bearers. Miscorrespondence theory may be insufficient to account for moral truths.

Facts and state of affairs are made up of things like objects, properties, and relations. Truth bearers on the other hand are made up of words, concepts, and other truth bearers. Isomorphic structures are ones that resemble each other in structure, even if they don’t resemble each other in content. The idea of isomorphism as a way to explain correspondence is that truth bearers are built with the same structure as the facts and states of affairs that they correspond to.

“The ant is black” – ‘The ant’ is a particular; ‘is black’ is a predicate, where black is a property.
The truth bearer “The ant is black” can either correspond or miscorresponds to ‘a black ant’.

Petros Agapetos
10-12-16, 05:24
Correspondence Theories of Truth

Logical Atomism (Russell & Wittgenstein) regards the simplest facts and simplest bearers of truths as ‘atomic’. Thus atomic statements are those truth bearers which o0ne cannot represent with logical operators, such as: ‘or’, ‘and’, ‘implies’, ‘iff’, ‘not’, etc.
The statement “Either the ant is on the desk or on the pencil” is thus a molecular truth statement.
There is no isomorphic relationship between negation and reality, as well as between disjunction and reality. Thus molecular truth statements are broken down to their atomic truth statements.

Correspondence is limited to atomic sentences only. These are sentences without logical operators. For the logical atomist, molecular sentences with logical operators do not have truth values determined by correspondence, but rather by the truth of their atomic parts.
If a statement contains a negation, as in, “Karl is not naïve”, the truth of this would be determined by the truth of the claim “Karl is naïve”, and not by the ability of the original statement “Karl is not naïve” to correspond to reality. This applies to all logical operators.

Logical Subatomism
Whereas logical atomism breaks down truth bearers to things that can be separated by logical operators, logical subatomism breaks truth bearers down even further to simply names and predicates. The names need not refer to the objects that satisfy the properties denoted by the predicates. The truth of the atomic statements is determined by the success or failure of the names to refer to objects that satisfy the properties referred to by the predicates, not the correspondence of the statement to some state of affairs or fact. The truth values of molecular statements are then determined by the truth values of the atomic statements as in logical atomism. For the logical subatomist, a singular truth bearer is true if and only if the object that is denoted by the name satisfies the predicate by that object instantiating the property to which the predicate refers. Consider the statement “Karl is strange”, the subatomist would look at the name Karl and see if it succeeded in referring to an object which satisfied the property referred to (strangeness) by the predicate (is strange) to determine a truth value.

The Standard Correspondence Theory of Truth assigns truth values (true/false) to molecular, atomic, and subatomic truth bearers using some rule of truth making. All statements correspond to some truth maker in the world.
Here are objections to the Correspondence Theory of Truth:

1) Paris is beautiful
2) If I had been at the concert, I would have enjoyed myself
3) If I were studying philosophy professionally, I’d be much better at lecturing philosophy.

Petros Agapetos
10-12-16, 05:25
Identity Theory of Truth
The truth bearer is identical to the truth maker. Hence truth lies in the identity of truth bearer to truth maker rather than correspondence.
Sentences contain words, not the meaning of those words, or the acceptance of those words as true, which are importantly different from things that we make them represent. The statement “the pen is on” seems importantly different from the state of affairs of “the pen being on” (they do not seem identical since paper and ink or phonemes do not make a pen being on something). The identity theory would state that the proposition “the pen is on” is identical to the state of affairs of “the pen being on”.
A relatively weak version of Identity Theory which uses judgments as truth bearers is known as “Primitivism”. A judgment is the relation of a person to a proposition such that the proposition consists in the very things that the judgment is about. Under this conception, the proposition that I am judging to be true just is identical to the state of affairs in the world. The problem here is there are no necessary and sufficient conditions for truth. We can offer theories of judgments but not of truths under Primitivism. My judgment that “the pen is on something” is not definitely true nor false (undefinable property of some judgments, but not others. This theory leaves truth as a primitive concept, hence the name Primitivism.

Bertrand Russell (in trying to save the Primitivist Identity Theory) explains that having a relation of judging exists between a person and multiple objects in the world. Truth is presented as those judgments that bear the correct relation to the objects in the world. This ends up being a sort of correspondence theory of truth then, since the judgment contains the relation of judging while the world does not. Thus they merely correspond rather than being identical. Judgments are not identical with reality. Consider the proposition “the pen is on the desk”. The property of ‘being on’ is being judged regarding the pen. What is true is the relation of judging, not the objects in the world themselves.

Other ways of saving the Identity Theory of Truth besides Primitivism and Correspondence Theory is to distinguish between facts and state of affairs in order to separate true and false propositions. In this theory, a fact is a state of affairs that obtains (that is, is true in this world). We have propositions that are identical to states of affairs that exist whether or not they are facts (i.e. whether or not they obtain), and these states of affairs are made true if they obtain (truth).

Disjunctivist Identity Theory
There is only one true judgment and all other judgments can be measured in truth by comparing them to that true judgment. A judgment is more true the more identical it is to reality; therefore, it is more false the more different it is from reality. A judgment is more true if it bears more in common with the one true judgment which encompasses everything. Under Idealism, the perfect judgment is the one that simply is reality rather than merely describing reality. Almost nothing is completely true, unless it encompasses all of reality.

Deflationary Identity Theory distinguished between Robust and Moderate Identity Theories: Robust theories take separate truth bearers and truth makers and try to show how they are the same thing. Moderate theories do not actually define truth and falsehood; they merely identify facts with true thoughts.

Quietist Identity Theory describes truth in terms of a way of thinking. If you are thinking truly, the thing that you are thinking is the case. For the Quietist, as for the Deflationist, any talk of truth bearers and truth makers leads to correspondence theory of sorts. When we have a thought that is true, what we are thinking is simply the case. It does not correspond to some fact of the matter. The true thought simply is the case, such that truth is a property of thought. It does not have to correspond to some fact of the matter. This theory offers truth as a primitive concept (as primitivism does), but does not offer an account for truth in the first place.

A comprehensive Identity Theory has not yet been achieved. Attempts to create one inevitably fall into primitivism, deflationism, or a correspondence theory of truth.

Petros Agapetos
10-12-16, 05:27
Coherence Theory of Truth
The Coherence Theory of Truth allows for truth bearers to be true if they cohere with other truth bearers.

The differences between Correspondence Theory and Coherence Theory:

1. The relation is cohering, not corresponding
2. The target of the relation is a truth bearer, not a truth maker, or it may also be viewed as the truth maker in this case being simply another truth bearer.

Something can be made true by other propositions (truth bearers). The beliefs or propositions that do not cohere are false.
There are two principle points of disagreement amongst Coherence Theorists:

1. What constitutes the coherence relation?
2. What constitutes the set of truth bearers that can bear this relation to a proposition?

One possible option for the coherence relation is logical consistency. Basically, a new truth bearer is true if it is logically consistent with the set of propositions already held, where logically consistent propositions are those that are both true in at least one possible world. That is, it is logically possible for all the truth bearers to be true at the same time, such that no subset of all of the truth bearers included imply a contradiction.

Another possible option for the coherence relation is entailment. Therefore, the truth bearer would be true iff it was entailed by our coherent set of truth bearers. If we then take “entailment” to be logical entailment, this would mean that there is no way that the truth bearer in question could be false. This means that we avoid the contradiction that can arise with consistency, since if the set of truth bearers that we have logically entails the proposition that means that there is no way that the set of truth bearers could even be consistent with the negation of the proposition.

Now, treating the question as to what constitutes the appropriate set of truth bearers that bear the coherence relation to a proposition.
1) Some coherence theorists hold that the set of propositions is the largest set of consistent propositions that are actually believed currently by people.
2) Yet others hold that it is the set that will be held by humans when they reach the limits of their finite reasoning and investigative capacity.
3) Yet still others claim that the set of propositions is the set that is believed by the omniscient. This latter type of coherentism fits in well with theistic idealist explanations of reality.

Petros Agapetos
10-12-16, 05:29
Two Paths to Coherentism

One generally arrives at a coherentist theory of truth through one of two paths:
1. Either metaphysically one is an Idealist and therefore needs a notion of truth that does not rely on the external world
2. Or epistemologically one is a coherentist about justification and wants one’s notion of truth to match one’s notion of justification

For the Metaphysical Idealist, there is nothing for the truth bearer to correspond to in their ontology. Since all the Idealist has in their ontology is beliefs and other mental states, it makes sense that the things that would make the beliefs true are other beliefs. For some Idealists this means that truth comes in degrees.
Clarification: Coherentists are not committed to the denial of the outside world (Idealists hold that it is mental in nature), just the denial that such a world has any connection to truth. According to the coherentists it is not the physical world that makes what we say true, but the physical world would go on existing in some way separate from what we say about it. What we say about the world is not made true by the physical world. The external world may or may not exist, and if it exists, it may or may not be physical in nature; Idealists hold that is mental in nature. What we say is made true by the set of beliefs that we hold together. Another Clarification: Idealists may not be coherentists about truth, they may also hold the Deflationary Theories and Identity Theories of truth. Moreover, there is an important difference between Coherence Theories of Truth and those of Justification. Often but not always, philosophers will hold both.

Coherence Theory of Truth:
If a truth bearer coheres with some specified set of beliefs, then it is true. Coherence is what makes a belief true, not what gives us a reason to hold it.

Coherence Theory of Justification:
If a truth bearer coheres with our set of beliefs, we are justified in holding it. If a belief is true and it coheres with our other beliefs, then it is knowledge (no matter what one’s theory of truth is).

Clarification: A Coherence Theory of Justification does not necessarily imply a Coherence Theory of Truth! One could hold that what makes a proposition true is its correspondence to the actual world, but since perhaps we are skeptical that we can have objective access to the world, what makes us justified in holding a proposition is that it coheres with our other beliefs. Coherence theories of truth and justification are independent and can be held separately, independent of one-another. The Coherence Theory of Justification is an Internalist theory, and not a theory of external warrant.

One might hold that knowledge is a belief that is true and acquired through a reliable method. What makes the belief true is that it coheres with a set of propositions, but what make that true belief warranted is that it was acquired by a reliable method. Consider for example, “On what basis do you rely on sense data from your senses”? On their continued reliability of producing effective results.

There is an objection coined the “Specification Objection” to the Coherence Theory of Truth.
Ex1. Oscar died in his bed.
Ex2. Oscar was hanged by the neck until dead.

Yet only one of them is true. How would one discern the difference in the truthfulness of these claims?
One might want to say that we choose the set of propositions A1 (the set of propositions that make Ex1 true) that make the first statement true, since those are the ones that correspond to the facts but this makes the theory nothing more than a complicated correspondence theory or at least some kind of hybrid theory that attempts to marry the two theories together. It is not a solution for pure coherentism.

One might also take the set of propositions or beliefs that satisfied some criterion: it is large, it is comprehensive, it is simple (parsimonious), it is empirically adequate, and so on. Yet a problem arises when both sets are equally large, comprehensive, empirically adequate, etc. Or what if the one that holds the proposition that we consider false in fact satisfied the criterion more than the other system. Another problem of specificity might arise, for instance, what if Ex1 coheres with some criteria, and Ex2 coheres with other criteria. How could we identify the truth from amongst these two propositions Ex1 and Ex2, since it is the criteria that determine which proposition should be selected as true. It becomes evident that, in certain situations, it is impossible to pick the true proposition among two competing ones since they contain the very criteria that tell us which system should be picked.

Consider humans and more technologically advanced civilization: When each of these species reaches the end of their reasoning capacity, they have a coherent set of truth bearers, but the two set are in some way contradictory. Which is correct? There is no proof that we will all come to the same conclusions and in fact, such problems as the problem of underdetermination seems to point to many of our conclusions being arbitrary and irrational.

The “knowing that you know” regress objection to the Coherentist Theory of Truth:
For the system of beliefs, the coherentist is committed to the claim that all of those beliefs are in fact believed. But what makes the claim “the system of beliefs is believed” true? Is it that it coheres and is part of the system? This would mean that “the system of beliefs is believed” must itself be believed. This will devolve into an infinite regress requiring us to believe an infinite number of propositions or else ground claims like “the system is believed” in some fact about the world.

This regress can be thought of as virtuous and a property of truth itself rather than of coherence theory since it essentially applies to correspondence as well (which will have to engage in the same kind of regress). Consider for example:

1. “The spider in on the web.” For Coherence Theory to find this true it must be the case that.
2. (1) Coheres with the system. But for that to be true (for 2 to be true), then it must be the case that
3. (2) coheres with the system
However, this same regress is applicable to Correspondence Theory of Truth also. Consider for example:
1A. “The spider is on the web.” For the Correspondence Theory to find this to be true, it must be the case that
2A. (1A) corresponds to some fact about the world. And for (2A) to be true, it must be the case that
3A. (2A) corresponds to some fact about the world.

Thus, this regress is not inherent to Coherentism, but rather to Truth itself!
However, this infinite regress problem and its responses only applies to those who are correspondence theorists, but not to the skeptic. If there is a systematic problem with truth, that it requires us to have either an infinite number of beliefs (Coherence) or an infinite number of facts (Correspondence). The Correspondence Theorist might respond that there is no problem with an infinite number of beliefs being true, but there might be a problem with an infinite number of propositions being believed. For it may not seem strange that there are an infinite number of truths in the world, but it seems strange that we would have an infinite number of beliefs.

The Transcendence Objection to the Coherentist Construal of Truth:
There are some propositions that we consider true even though no one believes them or knows them to be true. They do not cohere with our system of beliefs, but none the less we consider them to be true. For example: we consider that one of the following statements is true: “Either the number of blades of grass in my backyard is odd or even. Yet neither coheres with our set of beliefs, even though one of them has to be true (so the sceptic rejects believing either proposition: “number is odd” and “number is even”) The Coherentist will have to give up on realism about truth. This means that they are denying the Law of Excluded Middle (LEM), since there will be some propositions which are neither true nor false (neither the proposition nor its negation coheres with the system). The principle of transcendence claims that statements can be true yet cannot be known. The Coherentist needs to find something other than classical logic to support their philosophy because they can’t help themselves to the central tenets of logic.

Outstanding Problem with The Coherence Theory of Truth:
In the end, while the coherence theory may escape being committed to things like Idealism or a Coherence Theory of Justification, it cannot escape the commitment to strange things like denying realism about truth.

Petros Agapetos
10-12-16, 05:33
Truth Bearers and Truth Makers
Truth bearers include sentences, tokens, propositions, judgments, beliefs, etc.
Truth makers include facts, state of affairs, events, etc.
Are there limits on those things that can be made true? Are there truths that cannot be made true by any truth maker?

Truth Makers
Beliefs are generally taken to a sort of propositional attitude, or opinion that one has about the meaning of a sentence. Belief is usually the propositional attitude which deals with accepting something to be true (either explicitly or implicitly).
Theories of Truth Makers include: 1. Virtue Theory; 2. Entailment Theory; 3. Necessitation Theory; 4. Essentialist Theory; 5. Axiomatic Theory; and 6. Grounding Theory

The Virtue Theory of Truth Makers:
The most basic theory which states a truth bearer is made true in virtue of the truth maker. The truth maker could make something true just by existing or because it resembles the truth in some way. This is the most basic theory, which is far from sufficient.

The Entailment Theory of Truth Makers:
A truth maker is a thing, the very existence of which entails that something is true, where entailment is a more clearly defined logical notion than stating in virtue of which something else is true. If some state of affairs exists, such as “The pen is on the table” coheres with our propositions or any number of other qualifications to be enumerated, then that logically entails that the truth bearer “The pen is on the table” is true. Note that it is impossible that this condition holds and the truth bearer fails to be true.



Truth Value













Where the statement being evaluated is P>Q.
An entailment is only false if the antecedent (P) is true and the consequent (Q) false. Note there is no way for the entailment statement to be false if the consequent is true Therefore, necessary truths are entailed by everything. For a necessary truth, it does not matter what the antecedent is (T or F) as long as the consequent is true.



Truth Value







Necessitation Theory of Truth Makers:
A truth maker is a thing that necessitates something’s being true. The modal concept of “necessary” means something that is true in all possible worlds. Some truth makers necessitate some truth bearer to be true if there is no possible world where the truth maker exists and the truth bearer is false, and there is no possible world where the truth maker does not exist and the truth bearer is true. Necessitation theory states that the existence of the truth maker is necessary and sufficient for the truth of the truth bearer.

Consider for example, the truth bearer: “The pen is on the desk” as true and yet there is not in fact a pen on the desk (in reality). There can be no possible world where this truth bearer is true yet there is not actually a state of affairs, facts, events, etc. A problem with this theory is that all necessary truths necessitate each other. They all exist in all possible worlds, and yet they are distinct.

The Essentialist Theory of Truth Makers:
A truth maker of a propositions is something such that it is part of the essence of that proposition that it is true if that thing exists.

The Axiomatic Theory of Truth Makers:
Perhaps our job is not to define the truth maker, but to show how it works with other concepts like truth and existence.
Axioms of the Axiomatic Theory of Truth Makers: Truth Axiom, Existence Axiom, Entailment Axiom
A truth maker is a thing, such that it makes it true that p implies p – The Truth Axiom
If a truth maker exists, then the truth maker makes it true that the truth maker exists – The Existence Axiom
If a truth maker makes p true, and p implies q, then the truth maker makes q true also – The Entailment Axiom.
It seems that by leaving a truth maker undefined and simply explaining how it interacts with the other concepts that we have in our theories would solve our problems. We have not given necessary and sufficient conditions for a truth maker, we have just explained how one interacts with other concepts. So some objections should be side-stepped. But even this minimal way to posit truth makers will lead to problems of its own.
If truth makers are closed under entailment, that is, if some TM (truth maker) makes a truth bearer true and that truth bearer entails something else, then the TM make that something else true as well. – Closed under entailment. Then this means that:
If the truth maker (TM) makes the truth bearer (TB) true, And TB entails something else (SE),
Then TM makes SE also true.

Since anything entails the Law of Excluded Middle (LEM), If there being a pen on the desk makes the claim true that “There is a pen on the desk” which in its turn entails all logical truths, the LEM included, then, the pen being on the desk (TM) makes the LEM true.

The Grounding Method of Positing Truth Makers:
Truth makers can be defined in terms of primitive notions of fundamentality and grounding.
A truth maker (TM) for some proposition ‘p’ in world ‘w’ is something such that TM is fundamental in ‘w’ and the truth of ‘p’ in ‘w’ is grounded in the truth maker (TM). Grounding is a fine grained enough to preclude such situations as “the pen being on the desk” making the LEM true, since one can distinguish between different entities (objects vs. logical truths). However, since grounding is a fundamental / primitive notion, often a comprehensive definition is not give, however there are explanations about the way in which grounding behaves with other ideas and concepts.
Grounding is an asymmetric relation: If the truth of X in ‘w’ is grounded in TM. Then TM is not grounded in the truth of X in ‘w’. If X bears this relation to Y, then Y does NOT bear the relation to X.

Grounding is Irreflexive: Nothing is grounded in itself.
Grounding is Transitive: If the Truth of X in ‘w’ is grounded in TM, and the Truth of TM is grounded in some TM2, then the Truth of X in ‘w’ is grounded in TM2.

Moral features are grounded in natural features. Mental properties are grounded in neural properties. Truths are grounded in truth makers.

Petros Agapetos
10-12-16, 05:35
Truth Bearers
Is it possible for all truth bearers to be made true by truth makers or other truth bearers? Now we will examine several theories not of what kinds of things truth bearers are, but of what the content of truth bearers can actually be made true by some truth maker. Is there a possible truth maker for all possible truths? Or are there truth bearers which cannot have a truth maker?

Maximalist Theory of Truth Bearers (Maximalism, the most intuitive position):
Anything that is in fact true has a truth maker.

The Liar’s Paradox of Maximalism: “This statement has no truth maker”
If it has a truth maker, then it is false, and it cannot have a truth maker. If it has no truth maker, then it is true that it has no truth maker, and thus has no truth maker (nothing makes it true).

Note that this problem should not lead us to:
(i) Reformulating logic; (ii) Getting rid of logic; (iii) Getting rid of the paradox
because we can simply reject Maximalism to make the paradox disappear. The paradox can be rendered moot (falsifical) by simply denying Maximalism.

David Lewis’ Problem for Maximalism

If it were the case that the statement “Nothing exists” (NU) were true, then there would have to be something to make it true, but then something would exist and make the statement “Nothing exists” false. It seems there is a statement that could be true and in some possible world is true and yet has not truth maker. Such that the truth bearer is “nothing exists”, yet the truth maker does not seem to exist. While the truth makers for atomic statements can be said to be also truth makers for disjunctions, conjunctions, and existentially quantified statements, they will struggle with negatives and universals.

Consider for example:
p = “There is a pen on my desk”; let TMp = Truth maker for p; Then
q = “There is an ant on my pen”; let TMq = Truth maker for q.
TMp = truth maker for both p and {p or q}
TMq = truth maker for both q and {p or q}

Negation is a problem for the Maximalist, since what make ‘not p’ true? What makes it true that “there is no pen on my desk”? There is no law of logic that can dictate what can be on my desk if a pen is not on it. One cannot say that because I have a computer on my desk implies I have no pen on my desk. We cannot seem to have negative truth makers. Similarly, universal statements, especially universal negations will be difficult to find truth makers for. What make is true that all swans are white? It seems somehow insufficient to say that what make the universal claim true is simply a conjunction of all of the truth makers for each individual swan (because suppose new swans will be born tomorrow, or that one hasn’t seen all swans to make an accurate inductive generalization, and so on). The deeper problem here is to say “no pickles are orange”. What makes this true? Is there going to be a truth maker for this in any possible world? Then what makes this true?

Optimalist Theory of Truth Bearers:
Optimalists try to avoid the problems of Maximalism by denying that you need to have truth makers for negative and universal statements.

The Liars Paradox of Optimalism:
“This statement has no truth maker”. If the statement has no truth maker, then it must be true, and therefore has a truth maker. But if it has a truth maker, then it must be false, which means that it has not truth maker and it thus true. Unless Optimalism can resolve the paradox, this might be a reason to reject it.

Theory of Supervening on Being:
Anyone who claims that truth merely supervenes on being has taken the role of a truth maker to the absolute minimum. If something is true, then it would not be possible for it to be false, unless:

i. Either things were to exist which don’t
ii. Or else certain things had not existed which do.

So, a statement like “there is a jar of pickles in my pantry” would be true since the only way that it could be false is if something which exists (the jar of pickles) did not exist. Similarly, the statement “unicorns do not exist” is made true because the only way that it could be made false is if something that does not exist were made to exist.

Petros Agapetos
11-12-16, 05:39
Truth, in metaphysics (https://www.britannica.com/topic/metaphysics) and the philosophy of language (https://www.britannica.com/topic/philosophy-of-language), the property of sentences, assertions, beliefs (https://www.britannica.com/topic/belief), thoughts, or propositions that are said, in ordinary discourse, to agree with the facts or to state what is the case.

Truth is the aim of belief; falsity is a fault. People need the truth about the world in order to thrive. Truth is important. Believing what is not true is apt to spoil a person’s plans and may even cost him his life. Telling what is not true may result in legal and social penalties. Conversely, a dedicated pursuit of truth characterizes the good scientist, the good historian, and the good detective. So what is truth, that it should have such gravity and such a central place in people’s lives?

Petros Agapetos
11-12-16, 05:40
THE CORRESPONDENCE THEORYThe classic suggestion comes from Aristotle (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Aristotle) (384–322 bce): “To say of what is that it is, or of what is not that it is not, is true.” In other words, the world provides “what is” or “what is not,” and the true saying or thought corresponds to the fact so provided. This idea appeals to common sense and is the germ of what is called the correspondence theory of truth. As it stands, however, it is little more than a platitude (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/platitude) and far less than a theory. Indeed, it may amount to merely a wordy paraphrase, whereby, instead of saying “that’s true” of some assertion, one says “that corresponds with the facts.” Only if the notions of fact and correspondence can be further developed will it be possible to understand truth in these terms.

Unfortunately, many philosophers doubt whether an acceptable explanation (https://www.britannica.com/topic/explanation) of facts and correspondence can be given. Facts, as they point out, are strange entities. It is tempting to think of them as structures or arrangements of things in the world. However, as the Austrian-born philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Ludwig-Wittgenstein) observed, structures have spatial locations, but facts do not. The Eiffel Tower (https://www.britannica.com/topic/Eiffel-Tower-Paris-France) can be moved from Paris to Rome, but the fact that the Eiffel Tower is in Paris cannot be moved anywhere. Furthermore, critics urge, the very idea of what the facts are in a given case is nothing apart from people’s sincere beliefs about the case, which means those beliefs that people take to be true. Thus, there is no enterprise of first forming a belief or theory about some matter and then in some new process stepping outside the belief or theory to assess whether it corresponds with the facts. There are, indeed, processes of checking and verifying beliefs, but they work by bringing up further beliefs and perceptions and assessing the original in light of those. In actual investigations, what tells people what to believe is not the world or the facts but how they interpret the world or select and conceptualize the facts.

Petros Agapetos
11-12-16, 05:44

Starting in the mid-19th century, this line of criticism (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/criticism) led some philosophers to think that they should concentrate on larger theories, rather than sentences or assertions taken one at a time. Truth, on this view, must be a feature of the overall body of belief considered as a system of logically interrelated components—what is called the “web of belief.” It might be, for example, an entire physical theory that earns its keep by making predictions or enabling people to control things or by simplifying and unifying otherwise disconnected phenomena. An individual belief in such a system is true if it sufficiently coheres with, or makes rational sense within, enough other beliefs; alternatively, a belief system is true if it is sufficiently internally coherent (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/coherent). Such were the views of the British idealists (https://www.britannica.com/topic/idealism), including F.H. Bradley (https://www.britannica.com/biography/F-H-Bradley) and H.H. Joachim, who, like all idealists, rejected the existence of mind-independent facts against which the truth of beliefs could be determined (see also realism: realism and truth (https://www.britannica.com/topic/realism-philosophy#toc276082)).

Yet coherentism too seems inadequate, since it suggests that human beings are trapped in the sealed compartment of their own beliefs, unable to know anything of the world beyond. Moreover, as the English philosopher and logician Bertrand Russell (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Bertrand-Russell) pointed out, nothing seems to prevent there being many equally coherent but incompatible belief systems. Yet at best only one of them can be true.

Petros Agapetos
11-12-16, 22:59
Do you find these materials useful?
Do you find it easy to understand?

What is your personal definition of truth?
Which theory of truth do you hold: Correspondence, Coherence, Identity, Deflationary, etc.?

Petros Agapetos
12-12-16, 13:18
Which is your theory of truth?
What is your personal definition of truth?
How would you philosophically analyze truth?
How do you feel about religious people hi-jacking this term and using it in Christian terms.?

I am curious what you think...