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traineraz
What is truth? Is there an objective Truth, or is it all perception?

Alternately, is truth what we decide and/or create?
Hiram
An objective Truth is necessary. It is whatever actually is. Mercifully perhaps, we lack the capacity to grasp it completely.

Truth, as we know it, exists as an approximation of the whole Truth, much like the dots in a connect-the-dots drawing. Some have better perception than others and can see the patterns formed by the dots. They can't fill in the puzzle for us, but can give hints and pointers so that we can learn to see. These are the prophets and spiritual leaders whose ability to see the pattern is in direct proportion to the degree of persecution they suffer at the hands of those who want to copyright the dots. And maybe adjust a few. Just a few. It's for everybody's good; really it is. Beware of anyone who claims to have the dots all connected.

But what do I know?

user posted image
Absomphe
QUOTE (Hiram @ Jan 17 2005, 03:02 PM)
An objective Truth is necessary. It is whatever actually is.


I think you need to pay a visit to Room 101, my radical friend... tongue.gif
traineraz
But IS it, Hiram?

If we can't understand absolute truth, then how can we be sure there is such a thing?
Nate
Maybe I look at things a little too blackandwhitey, but truth is whatever actually happened or what someone was actually thinking rather than some absolute truth... It all depends on whether one tells the truth to oneself...

You know... I always hated Plato's allegory of the cave.
WhyteKnight
I don't know if it's possible to be certain there is an absolute or objective truth. Truth as we know it can only extend as far as the human experience or individual experience will allow. I think subjective truth carries more weight in regards to how people exist, though. Take for example the Sentinelese tribal people, who inhabit an island off the coast of India. These people live in what are basically sBONE age conditions and have almost no contact with the outside world. To the Sentinelese, one could probably say that the concept of something like an automobile doesn't exist. For these people it isn't true. I tend to think of the truth as that which can be readily verified, and the idea of a greater and absolute truth as more of a potential truth.
Hiram
There's a difference between knowledge and truth.

Ignorance does not cause the automobile not to exist; perceiving it does not prove that it does, but makes a stronger case. What's "true" for me or you and what the difference between them may be is irrelevant and has only to do with our individual access to data.

It is human arrogance that postulates that Truth has anything whatsoever to do with our capacity to comprehend it.

If anything exists at all - which it obviously does in some form - then Truth is necessary.

The problem of philosophy is not to determine whether there is a Truth, but rather to arrive at the best method(s) for defining it.

Basically, in terms of human perception, truth is the conformity of a proposition to the way things are. There are a variety of theories about how to approach an analysis of truth: the correspondence, coherence, pragmatic, redundancy, and semantic theories of truth.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE (Hiram @ Jan 18 2005, 02:29 PM)
Ignorance does not cause the automobile not to exist; perceiving it does not prove that it does

True. To conclusively determine the existence of the automobile, you'll have to stand in front of an oncoming one and see what happens.
WhyteKnight
True, human comprehension has little bearing on the existance of truth. But, without that comprehension the possibility of a truth can't be determined. It may not make it any less true, it just puts it beyond the scope of human understanding, which makes it not an untruth, but I suppose maybe a lack of truth would be a slightly better way to put it. That's more of what I was getting at. I think.
Grim
QUOTE (Hiram @ Jan 18 2005, 02:29 PM)
There's a difference between knowledge and truth.

Ignorance does not cause the automobile not to exist; perceiving it does not prove that it does, but makes a stronger case. What's "true" for me or you and what the difference between them may be is irrelevant and has only to do with our individual access to data.

It is human arrogance that postulates that Truth has anything whatsoever to do with our capacity to comprehend it.

If anything exists at all - which it obviously does in some form - then Truth is necessary.

The problem of philosophy is not to determine whether there is a Truth, but rather to arrive at the best method(s) for defining it.

Basically, in terms of human perception, truth is the conformity of a proposition to the way things are. There are a variety of theories about how to approach an analysis of truth: the correspondence, coherence, pragmatic, redundancy, and semantic theories of truth.

That isn't truth. That's confidence in the validity of one's definition of truth. Truth isn't conveyed or endowed through speculation, nor does it exist entirely outside of observation either - it is an empirical evocation indiscrete from perception. It most certainly isn't a requisite for existence, as much as a parlance particular to those which acknowledge their existence. Ask your pet what truth is and make a statement about his ignorance.
Kirk
Truth is music ,
it is math .
It is intimate to perspective ,
so everyone sees it differently.
truth is not reality ,
it is not beauty,
not subject to interpretation .
Truth is the underground stream ,
It is the perfect conspiracy.
Grim
Have I ever told you I love you, Kirk?
Kirk
Leave me baby,
I'm bad for ya.
heart.gif
Donnie Darko
QUOTE (traineraz @ Jan 17 2005, 04:33 PM)
If we can't understand absolute truth, then how can we be sure there is such a thing?

The best way we can be "sure" there is such a thing is to convince ourselves of it. My mom is completely sure that when she dies she will go off to heaven where the streets are paved with gold and Jesus will be her best buddy, and to her, that is an absolute truth. I personally require a bit more evidence and reasoning before I can be convinced of any "truths", but there's still plenty of things I hold to be absolutely "true".

For example, there are physical rules which keep the earth spinning, and keep us from flying off it into space. The existence of gravity is an absolute truth which can be demonstrated, just like the existence of light and matter, although gravity itself can be reduced to inconsequential levels, as can light and matter. For us to exist, however, and have brains which can think about "truth", all these things (and much more) have to be in perfect balance, otherwise we're fucking dead as can be.

So for me, the absolute truth is that there are many opposing forces which depend on eachother in order to exist. Certain arrangements of those forces can cause things to happen which are mostly beneficial to me, while other arrangements of those forces can creat conditions which are mostly harmful to me.

To be honest, I think the Taoists figured all that shit out a long time ago, that the only absolute truth is the co-existence of opposing forces whose existence mutually depends on the other's existence. I think we spend most of our time now trying to either resist or accept that truth. Sometimes a scientist, artist, philsopher, or whatever will illuminate a microscopic part of that truth, and that excites the shit out of me when that happens.

There may be other greater truths out there which are way the hell beyond my comprehension, and maybe some extraterrestrial being knows what they are, but based on my observations (which is the best I can do), I think there are plenty of things which are absolutely true for us humans and our solar system. We just know very very very little about them.

For any other information, please refer to Monty Python's "The Meaning of Life".
Grim
Whenever life gets you down, Mrs. Brown,
And things seem hard or tough,
And people are stupid, obnoxious, or daft,
And you feel that you've had quite enough,

Just remember that you're standing on a planet that's evolving
And revolving at nine hundred miles an hour,
That's orbiting at nineteen miles a second, so it's reckoned,
A sun that is the source of all our power.
The sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see
Are moving at a million miles a day
In an outer spiral arm, at forty thousand miles an hour,
Of the galaxy we call the 'Milky Way'.


Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars.
It's a hundred thousand light years side to side.
It bulges in the middle, sixteen thousand light years thick,
But out by us, it's just three thousand light years wide.
We're thirty thousand light years from galactic central point.
We go 'round every two hundred million years,
And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions
In this amazing and expanding universe.

The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding
In all of the directions it can whizz
As fast as it can go, at the speed of light, you know,
Twelve million miles a minute, and that's the fastest speed there is.
So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth,
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space,
'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth.
Absomphe
Thanks, Tom.
Hiram
"For her..." "To him..." "Ask the pet..." "To the primitive..." All you're doing is describing individual perceptions of what is true. I was addressing the question of whether truth is.

I'm simply saying that in a universe where anything at all exists in any form whatsoever, truth is philosophically necessary.

And grim, I don't think you closely read what I said.
Grim
QUOTE
There's a difference between knowledge and truth.


Yep.

QUOTE
What's "true" for me or you... has only to do with our individual access to data.


Yep.

QUOTE
what the difference between them may be is irrelevant...


No. This difference in perception may be the reason that two separate claims as to the truth of an occurence can be equally valid from separate frames of reference; it has been recognized not as a singular condition of the physical act of perception, but as a relativistic implication of the finite speed of light, that is the failure of simultaneity.

QUOTE
The problem of philosophy is not to determine whether there is a Truth, but rather to arrive at the best method(s) for defining it...
I was addressing the question of whether truth is.


Good. Then we agree. Philosophy should be set aside. Why bother with the extreme precision it demands of definitions when it isn't worth the fuss and it isn't necessary;). You can spend an eternity bringing definitions of truth infinitesimally close to some ideal, honest value, but the rub is whether you've proved or disproved the applicability of an idea, irrespective of the methodology used. The problem of physics, is to verify the correctness of ideas as they are applied to nature; why bother with the accuracy of a definition when the results of an observation and the inherent worth of an idea can be juxtaposed? If truth is invariably tied to observation, and observation owes itself to the full implication of causality, then even on the smallest of scales it is of empirical result (and expected) that such a supposition can fail [Case in point, in Q.E.D. emission can preceed an event (or you could just ask CeeGee)]. As long as observation and theory are to agree, a minimal set of conditions related to an occurence must be tested (even if indirectly), and the truth as espoused through observation and scrutiny - accepted, even at the risk of our cherished cause and effect. Truth exists free of causal ordinance. And for those who seek her out - in observing, they will find themselves indiscernable from the sight of her. (Sometimes the result of experiment is conditonal upon what one is looking for, take for example individual experiments into the wave and corpuscular nature of light. Or Bell's Theorem.)

QUOTE
Basically, in terms of human perception, truth is the conformity of a proposition to the way things are.

O.K. What else is there?

QUOTE
There are a variety of theories about how to approach an analysis of truth: the correspondence, coherence, pragmatic, redundancy, and semantic theories of truth.

What? Wouldn't one be enough? abs-cheers.gif
anticlimacus
QUOTE (Hiram @ Jan 17 2005, 02:02 PM)
An objective Truth is necessary. It is whatever actually is. Mercifully perhaps, we lack the capacity to grasp it completely.

Truth, as we know it, exists as an approximation of the whole Truth, much like the dots in a connect-the-dots drawing. Some have better perception than others and can see the patterns formed by the dots. They can't fill in the puzzle for us, but can give hints and pointers so that we can learn to see. These are the prophets and spiritual leaders whose ability to see the pattern is in direct proportion to the degree of persecution they suffer at the hands of those who want to copyright the dots. And maybe adjust a few. Just a few. It's for everybody's good; really it is. Beware of anyone who claims to have the dots all connected.

But what do I know?

user posted image

"Mercifully perhaps, we lack the capacity to grasp it completely."

I think that's very shrewd, Hiram. I found a nice
bit from Kierkegaard expressing much the same
idea:

If God held all truth enclosed in his right hand, and
in his left hand the one and only ever-striving drive
for truth, even with the corollary of erring forever
and ever, and if he were to say to me: Choose!-I
would humbly fall down to him at his left hand and
say: Father, give! Pure truth is indeed only for you
alone!

I think that's perhaps why Christ referred to him-
self
as the truth, because ultimately it's not so
much an issue of "cataloging" truths or scribing
mind-blowing epistemological texts as it is one of
deciding for which thing we will strive, with
this striving being the lens through which we inter-
pret the events in our lives. If we see the truth
through the wrong lens we gain little.

"Beware of anyone who claims to have the dots all
connected." Good again! The idea that one can
wrap up all the salient truths of life in a tidy pack-
age is absurd, and is one of the core reasons I left
Fundamentalism. As is probably painfully obvious, I
come from a conservative Christian perspective, but
the more I read the more I realized the Southern
Baptists may not have as tight a hold on reality as
they imagined (though I respect their tenacity on
core Gospel issues.)

I think I had something else to say, but it's ridicu-
lously late and my brain is beginning to melt. Also,
I polished off my bottle of Serpis but it wasn't en-
ough to make a decent glass so I topped it off with
Segarra and now I need to brush my teeth.

Please return to your pews and turn to page S476
in your hymnals...
anticlimacus
Sorry, didn't mean to quote Hiram's entire post,
comic and all.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE (anticlimacus @ Jan 19 2005, 03:16 AM)
If we see the truth
through the wrong lens we gain little.

Um, how can one see truth through the "wrong" lens, and what is it that makes that lens "wrong"? I understand the gist of your statements, but I just don't understand the value judgement placed on certain methods for the discernment of truth.

Being inclined towards a scientific approach, I personally believe one can learn and progress as a human best if through observation one learns first whether things "are" or "are not", and then only applies "wrong" or "right" when those observed things are deemed relevant to personal morality or survival.
Kirk
You can't handle the truth .
anticlimacus
The "lens" I was referencing is the worldview you
adopt. The scientific approach doesn't even begin
to answer the most foundational questions: Is there
a God? If so, what's his nature? Are humans bio-
logical entities only or do we have souls, etc.?

One can only apply "right" and "wrong" to obser-
vations in light of your beliefs on these foundational
questions.

On a sidenote, one can apply the "scientific" ap-
proach to the possible validity of a worldview. For
instance, we can argue the historical claims of the
bible in light of archaeological evidence, which goes
a long way in strengthening/debunking its moral/
spiritual assertions, therefore beginning to answer
the question of the rightness or wrong-ness of one's
"lens".

I'm surprised to hear a modern liberal like you using
the phrase "scientific approach." I figured you'd be
much more postmodern in your thinking! harhar.gif

Donnie Darko
QUOTE (anticlimacus @ Jan 19 2005, 04:15 PM)
The scientific approach doesn't even begin
to answer the most foundational questions: Is there
a God?  If so, what's his nature?  Are humans bio-
logical entities only or do we have souls, etc.?

Aha, but science certainly asks questions about origins of life, and is searching everywhere for the answer. Perhaps science will eventually determine the existence of a "soul" or perhaps they will find out there's no such thing. It's only a matter of time.

The important thing is to relentlessly ask questions, which science mandates. If God gave us reason, then science is God's work, since it is a field fueled by reason. Religion offers up plenty of ready made "answers" to these questions you speak of, but sadly oft times discourages asking questions whose potential answers are not already covered by religious dogma.

I'm not saying religion is bad or anything, or even that it is in direct opposition to science. I'm just saying that I place a lot of my faith in science (and also reserve a little faith for belief in extraterrestrial life) because science has delivered dependable results time and time again (though it is also imperfect and capable of error). I also find science fun and exciting. For me, religion tends to lose its shimmer rather quickly.

As far as your "lens" goes, I think viewing the world as a series of interdependent opposing forces eliminates the need for "right" and "wrong" distinctions, since the emphasis then becomes about balance as opposed to promoting the absolute "right" and fighting the absolute "wrong".

And as far as the references to me being liberal or post-modern are concerned, I do not understand since this conversation has nothing to do with those labels.
Kirk
wacko.gif
I can't believe the truth takes more than a paragraph to describe
such a simple thing ,
you over think it ;
It's a speeding bullet.
It's a mill -sBONE , a pile driver.
It's the last thing that goes through your mind
when you hit the windshield.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE (Kirk @ Jan 20 2005, 08:03 AM)

It's the last thing that goes through your mind
when you hit the windshield.

It's your ass?
le Gimp
QUOTE (Kirk @ Jan 20 2005, 11:03 AM)
wacko.gif
I can't believe the truth takes more than a paragraph to describe
such a simple thing ,
you over think it ;
It's a speeding bullet.
It's a mill -sBONE , a pile driver.
It's the last thing that goes through your mind
when you hit the windshield.

Last thing through my mind when I hit the windsheild was.

"Yup, this hurts!"
Kirk
Donnie: Yes
Gimp: Yup.
le Gimp
Next to last thing was..

"This is going to hurt!"
Absinthe-Curious
There can be no objective truth because man, by his very nature, cannot even hope to reliably reason beyond the realm of his experience.

For someone to try to reason beyond their own sphere of existence is impossible, to call your ideas objective is a delusion.

There is no universal objectivity, there can't be. Everyone sees the world in different ways, people function within their reality and as such have different ideas about everything.

Even something so fundamental as the word "Absinthe". Basic definition may be the same, but what it means to people will be completely different. There cannot even be objectivity in a common-language.

So far as I can descern there are no absolutes.
Hiram
QUOTE
There can be no objective truth because man, by his very nature, cannot even hope to reliably reason beyond the realm of his experience.
And there can be no such place as Spain, because the ants in my back yard cannot fathom its existence.
QUOTE
There is no universal objectivity, there can't be. Everyone sees the world in different ways, people function within their reality and as such have different ideas about everything... So far as I can descern there are no absolutes.
There is an objective truth. It is necessary. There is a universe, in and of itself, existing in its true form. Whether on not we can comprehend its true form and nature is irrelevant to its existance.

You're trying to define this in terms of human conciousness - whether we can perceive or define the truth.
jacflash
QUOTE (Hiram @ Feb 12 2005, 07:00 PM)
There is an objective truth. It is necessary. There is a universe, in and of itself, existing in its true form. Whether on not we can comprehend its true form and nature is irrelevant to its existance.

You're trying to define this in terms of human conciousness - whether we can perceive or define the truth.

Are you sure there is an objective truth? To whom is it necessary?

And in terms of human consciousness, have you ever tried asking yourself over and over, as a method of deep self-inquiry, what it is that you know to be true? Do you know, for sure, that the universe isn't just a creation of consciousness?

Try it sometime. You may find that the only thing you know to be real is your own awareness.
Absomphe
QUOTE (Hiram @ Feb 12 2005, 08:00 PM)
Whether on not we can comprehend its true form and nature is irrelevant to its existance.


Is it relevant to its existence, as well? harhar.gif
Absinthe-Curious
QUOTE (Hiram @ Feb 12 2005, 07:00 PM)
There is an objective truth. It is necessary. There is a universe, in and of itself, existing in its true form. Whether on not we can comprehend its true form and nature is irrelevant to its existance.

You're trying to define this in terms of human conciousness - whether we can perceive or define the truth.

We cannot ever know if it is an objective truth or not, so how then can you make the leap as to affirm that there is objective truth?

Quite simply, on what grounds do you confidently affirm something that by it's very nature can never be proven?

Of course I work from human consciousness, we all do. The problems arise when people seem to think that they can reson beyond human existence.
anticlimacus
Abs. Cur.: You're not being clear. First off, what
does "realm of his experience" mean? Do you mean
something one can't see or smell personally, or
something one lacks the ability to comprehend, e.g.,
(as Hiram said) I've never seen Spain, so I can't be
sure it exists, or I don't understand quantam physics
(I don't) so it must not be? And what, exactly, is
"reasoning beyond human existence"? Is that trying
to think like a lawnmower?

Jac: That's a neat trick, but the "truth" is you don't
live based on that assertion. You wouldn't be func-
tioning in society today if you did.
Hiram
You guys are missing the point: it doesn't matter what I know or any of us can prove.

If the universe was empty of life, with nothing to percieve it, it would still have its true form.

Leave minds and conciousness out of it. They're tiny and irrelevant to the universe.

QUOTE
Jac: That's a neat trick, but the "truth" is you don't
live based on that assertion.  You wouldn't be func-
tioning in society today if you did.
That's an uniformed assuption. That's the job of every philosopher.
Hiram
I'll leave the topic of Philosophical Necessity for later.
Absomphe
QUOTE (Hiram @ Feb 14 2005, 08:56 AM)


If the universe was empty of life, with nothing to percieve it, it would still have its true form.


With nothing alive to perceive it, how can you be so sure?

And then there's that other little nagging issue:

If there were nothing alive to perceive the Universe, who, or what would give a crap if it existed in its true form, or existed at all?

Philosophy. wacko.gif

jacflash
QUOTE (Hiram @ Feb 14 2005, 07:56 AM)
You guys are missing the point: it doesn't matter what I know or any of us can prove.

If the universe was empty of life, with nothing to percieve it, it would still have its true form.

How do you know? Why is that statement not an empty assertion?
Hiram
QUOTE
How do you know?
Suggest an alternative.

Existance is self evident, whatever its nature. Perhaps what we percieve is illusory, or fragmentary, but that's irrelevant.

Like the three blind men describing an elephant, it may be like a tree or a snake or a wall, but none - having experienced it - says "It does not exist."

A student of zen returns to his master's school and says, "I have just listened to the most amazing lecture! I have learned it is possible to prove anything with statistics! How do we reconcile this with our search for truth?"

The zen master nodded sagely and said, "My son, prove that you have no nose."

So the student began and -- through an exhaustive sequence of causality and rhetoric -- he seemed, at last, to have proven (beyond a mathematical certainty of doubt) that he did, in fact, lack a nose.

At which point the master hauled off and punched him right in the nose as hard as he could.

"My son," the master said. "Tell me what hurts."
jacflash
It's interesting that you respond with a koan. If a tree falls in the woods, unseen and unheard by any conscious entity, does it make a sound?

To be more direct, is reality unperceived still reality? Or is "reality" dependent on perception?
Hiram
But reality is percieved, consequently any speculation beyond that fact is academic and pointless. "What if... ?" is merely rhetoric.

QUOTE
Quite simply, on what grounds do you confidently affirm something that by it's very nature can never be proven?
It is proven! It can't be disproven! Existance is self-evident, even if one wants to take a solipsistic approach. If all is illusion, it is a real illusion and has a real, even if ever-changing form.

Existance and consciousness are the only things of which we can be certain. Even if I'm arguing with myself.
Hiram
This reminds me a lot of a conversation I had with a mulleted stoner who thought he was being philosophical by hypothesizing that since (1950's diagrams of) atoms resembled the solar system, how do we know our solar system is not really part of an atom in a giant dog turd?
jacflash
QUOTE

Existance and consciousness are the only things of which we can be certain. Even if I'm arguing with myself.


You must be. Or I must be. Or something. Because I think that's the point I was trying to make, damn it.

Only I would say that "awareness is the only thing of which we can be certain", which is almost but not quite the same thing.
jacflash
QUOTE (Hiram @ Feb 14 2005, 02:30 PM)
If all is illusion, it is a real illusion and has a real, even if ever-changing form.

To be mischevious for a moment: "real" to whom?
Absomphe
"Existence", and "mischievous", Gentlemen.

Proper spelling is a part of true reality, whether or not you perceive it. harhar.gif

Come back, Sixer.

Please. frusty.gif
jacflash
My spelling's gone to hell lately. I don't know whether it's due to aging or absinthism or overreliance on spellcheck, but it's discomfiting.
grey boy
It's what happens when ya
live in Bahstin.
jacflash
offtopic2.gif

My spelling was fine when I lived in Boston. It's gotten worse since I moved.
Absomphe
I hear that.

Moving to the Northwest has had the same effect on my spelllling.
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