Daily Archives: Tuesday, 12:00, August 23, 2011
What is truth?
In all honesty, I don’t and can’t know with certainty, short of being gifted by supernal magical insight, which I am most certainly not.
Of course, I’m also skeptical as to whether anyone else has special powers as well — Show me, for I take very little on faith of the sort favored by theists and paranormal believers.
As a skeptic, I strive to be a truth-seeker, not a truth-guardian.
But though I don’t have certain knowledge of truth (and anyone claiming to is very likely pretending to powers and knowledge they don’t and can’t have), I do have a few pretty good ideas as to what it should look like when something is likely to be the case.
I’ll note some…
For one thing, a knowledge claim should not involve arguments attempting to refute the existence of truth, knowledge, reason, or reality, which any such claim requires necessarily to be, well, true. No claim can possibly be true without a reality of some kind in which to be, the possibility of it being knowable, and some form of data input and cognitive processing by which it can then be known.
We are all of us motivated by a personal system of expectations about the world and value judgments — our subjective ideologies — and it is simply not possible for humans to be free of all bias in this regard.
No matter how unbiased we think we are…
But any claims we make concerning possible objectively true things, even reports of our subjective mental and physical states must be regarded with suspicion if obviously steeped in such bias.
Claims concerning scientific matters should not be made from a counter-scientific approach, since attempting to talk science, but thinking one’s own persistently mistaken views of it will not get one any real credibility, even if there isn’t a snappy, ‘knock-em dead’ counterargument at hand.
Silence, when it happens, is not necessarily a sign that one is right.
That’s why sound reasoning, careful choice of words, language as neutral and non-antagonistic as can be had, and clarity in meaning are so important for stating things more likely to be true, and why such inexpedient tactics are usually avoided by by those promoting specious or questionable claims.
There are more, of course, but my view is that what is true is so regardless of subjective opinions to the contrary, and facts about the world, and even ourselves, supersede anyone’s wants or beliefs, which I no longer view as being truly part of our core selves as is often claimed by believers.
…And so I ask:
What do you mean when you say ‘truth?’
How do you define it?
By what criteria do you assess it?
How crucial do you think it really is?
Which way to seek it do you think most effective?
Do you think that truth can exist on its own, or that it depends on belief?
TNQ is a question that I pose to you, my readers, and is posted intermittently during the week at 12:00 PM EDT. Do feel free to comment, and don’t worry yerselves overmuch… I’m not an ogre and I don’t bite…much.