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Thread: What is truth? Meaning or Fact?

  1. #1 What is truth? Meaning or Fact? 
    The Doctor Quantime's Avatar
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    I've been pondering a while now, truth is often used as a way to get what we want, and to validate our points. Such remarks as, 'The truth says it all', 'theres no denying the truth' and 'Tell me the truth', we can all get around that one.

    So is truth actually a statment of fact or meaning. By this I am reffering to fact in the sense that the speed of light is constant, concrete. And by meaning I refer to actuality, which can be twisted.

    To get a spark in this discussion here is a famous statement:

    "I am not seeing someone else, thats the truth".

    So what in case is truth? What is it humans mean it by? Fact or meaning, or something all together? This is just philosophical.


    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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  3. #2  
    Forum Professor Obviously's Avatar
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    Feelings has nothing to do with truth. Feelings decides what is truth based upon the ego, but it's not neccessarily truth. What truth is can be based upon perception, but what truth really is is fact. You don't trick reality.


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  4. #3  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    first, you need to distinguish between truths and Truth

    the first one is all those little facts that obviously tell you something about the world around you (e.g. if you jump from an airplane at 30,000 ft, your chances to come out of it alive are nil)

    the second is often the one discussed in philosophical treaties are just a human construct to try and collate all those little truths into one grand overarching concept

    while the first type demonstrably exists, it is far less clear whether the second type has any "Ding an sich"
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  5. #4  
    Forum Ph.D.
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    "What then is truth? A mobile army of metaphors, metonyms, and anthropomorphisms -- in short, a sum of human relations, which have been enhanced, transposed, and embellished poetically and rhetorically, and which after long use seem firm, canonical, and obligatory to a people: truths are illusions about which one has forgotten that is what they are; metaphors which are worn out and without sensuous power; coins which have lost their pictures and now matter only as metal, no longer as coins.
    We still do not know where the urge for truth comes from; for as yet we have heard only of the obligation imposed by society that it should exist: to be truthful means using the customary metaphors - in moral terms, the obligation to lie according to fixed convention, to lie herd-like in a style obligatory for all..."

    Friedrich Nietzsche, On truth and lie in an extra-moral sense

    All these ideals, truths, moralities are human, all-too-human. And even that, we may question, to what extent they resemble only a cultural predisposition - something to be overcome. Or perhaps not, and humanity is something to be overcome.

    In the case of MarnixR's definition of 'truths', inferences made from empirical data - you don't need to use an etiquette of truth or fact for that. There are more accurate terms.
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  6. #5  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    why the urge for truth ? to start off with the little truths : you want to be able in some limited fashion to predict the outcomes of your actions in the near future, and this depends on the template you hold in your head to be true to reality

    by extension people have tried to lump all those little truths together into one big Truth, which they hope will be even more powerful to keep them in good health in a larger number of circumstances

    this extension is in many cases unwarranted, as it tends to be culturally predefined, and therefore lacks the universality one should expect of a proper Truth
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  7. #6  
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    I'll never really understand why such a simple word as 'truth' causes the Nietzsches of this world to spasm and regurgitate large sections of Websters, I am convinced [some] such people are no more than tailor's to the emporer!

    Next time a 5 year old asks you 'what is the truth', quote Mr U.

    Mr U, please, think for yourself and stop just reprinting the words of others, :-D

    You could have said "It's like a tree, we all know what a tree is, yet we cannot provide an absolute definition since all trees vary, you can say it's green or tall but these are generalisations". (god that's a crap example!).

    OK, of course you can explain things as Nietzshe and others did but before you do look at whom you are addressing, Svwillmer is [I believe] one of the younger members of our forum and deserves an answer he can readily understand, if not he may ask you for a word by word explanation of your post!
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  8. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Megabrain
    I'll never really understand why such a simple word as 'truth' causes the Nietzsches of this world to spasm and regurgitate large sections of Websters, I am convinced [some] such people are no more than tailor's to the emporer!
    Well, you know what Nietzsche said about convictions, lies and truth.

    Next time a 5 year old asks you 'what is the truth', quote Mr U.

    Mr U, please, think for yourself and stop just reprinting the words of others, :-D
    Why? Nietzsche says it better than I would. I don't see what 'thinking for myself' has to do with it.

    You could have said "It's like a tree, we all know what a tree is, yet we cannot provide an absolute definition since all trees vary, you can say it's green or tall but these are generalisations". (god that's a crap example!).
    Quite a crappy example, indeed. Besides, why would I want to resort to such bland examples when Nietzsche framed it so.. truthfully?

    OK, of course you can explain things as Nietzshe and others did but before you do look at whom you are addressing, Svwillmer is [I believe] one of the younger members of our forum and deserves an answer he can readily understand, if not he may ask you for a word by word explanation of your post!
    If he has question or wants a word-to-word explanation, he'll ask and I'll answer. It would be pedantic to assume he could not understand, a priori.
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by HomoUniversalis
    Well, you know what Nietzsche said about convictions, lies and truth.
    Something about being an enema ?
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  10. #9  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HomoUniversalis
    Well, you know what Nietzsche said about convictions, lies and truth.
    what DID Nietzsche say about convictions, lies and truth ?
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  11. #10  
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    I think it was something like "Convictions are greater enemies of the truth than lies" or similar.

    (except he probably could not say it that simply)...
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  12. #11  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    seeing that he was german, he probably used several paragraphs to express the idea
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  13. #12  
    Forum Ph.D.
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR
    seeing that he was german, he probably used several paragraphs to express the idea
    In fact, Nietzsche expressed in one of his aphorisms that he desired to say in a couple of sentences what others wrote in books.

    So, what works have you read in German that you base this mighty generalisation upon?
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  14. #13  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    i once had to translate a number of german patents where mile-long sentences filled lightyear-long paragraphs, which led me to believe (maybe unfairly) that german is a rather wordy language
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  15. #14  
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    Truth in the examples you have given is confused with rationality. Pure truth is undefinable as it could not be represented by something that it is not, and still be considered truth. however, rationaly sterile notations of truth exist (mathematics for instance). truth could only be known as rationality (meaning), however that does not negate it's existance, devoid of such a human construct.
    -jon kuder
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  16. #15  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Truth is relative, subjective, ephemeral, malleable and transient.

    Pretty much like life, really.
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