Updated: Feb 12
JT Bogden - Everyone is talking about truth and there are self-proclaimed keepers of the truth. Usually, these keepers of the truth are found in social media, so-called fact-checkers, and mostly on the Political Left. But have you noticed there are fact-checkers on the Political Right who counter the fact-checkers on the Political Left? If the facts are the facts then why are we confronted with opposing 'facts'? The truth is the facts do not matter and the issue is not about truth. The issue is about the idea, view, or opinion. Selective facts, regardless of the strength of veritable truth, are chosen to support whatever the issue is about. So, what is a person to do? Moreover, The Naked Truth Report is about the truth but the truth often seems elusive and even ethereal at times.
Truth has deep roots steeped in world history. The question of truth goes as far back as the ancient Greeks who studied truth with great fever. The great Philosophers all wrestled with the notion of truth and philosophy breaks everything substantive into being, essence, and virtue. In this case, truth relates to virtue which is goodness, morality, and the quality of being useful. Pontius Pilate jeered, "What is Truth?" circa 35 AD. Pilate was acknowledging that truth can be fleeting.
We need to get a grasp on what is truth! Then, we need to understand how to discover the truth by understanding what truth is. Quite frankly, this is why the Doctor of Philosophy, Ph.D., exists and the truth is central to becoming a Ph.D. Although, many PhDs are using the discipline to manufacture truths rather than discover truths. They create doubt using skepticism.
The Past and Post-Modernism
The recent surge in relativistic truths emerged out of post-modernist pop culture. Postmodernism appeared during the 1940s and gained widespread acceptance during the 1960s. The postmodern movement questioned reason and the notion of absolute universal truth. The postmodernist argued that truth is contingent upon historical and social context being partial and 'at issue' rather than complete and certain. The core message of postmodernism is pluralism, relativism, and human identity is a social construct rejecting any notion of certainty and absolute values or belief. The challenge of postmodernism is that it lacks coherence, is hostile to certain or absolute truth, and causes problems for reliable information and knowledge.
I must stress that information and knowledge are not one and the same. Information is a statement of quality or character traits of a person, place, or thing regardless of whether the information is true. Knowledge is the accumulation of relevant information which in combination reveals some sort of higher meaning regardless of any truth or not. Thus, there has to be some sort of dogma to discern the truth. The science of epistemology is the study of the extents and limits of truth and knowledge.
Generalized Definition of Truth
Truth as defined in many dictionaries is the state, quality, or fact that is empirically verifiable. The dictionary definition is a very narrow definition of truth. A more generalized definition of truth is needed.
Truth is, of course, the opposite of falsehood. Falsehoods arise from human behavior involving lies, deceit, ambiguity, ignorance, innuendo, obfuscation, pride, selfishness, etc... These factors distort truths or create pseudo-truths.
Truth is a property of reality. Reality is based on a person's worldview. Any truth must be evaluated with respect to a worldview seeking the strongest support. This creates the problem of a person's fundamental belief system becoming challenged which we will explore later in this discourse.
A generalized definition of truth for the purposes of this discourse is:
A combination of facts and factors that combine to support, in a repeatable and verifiable manner, either through direct evidence or deductive reasoning claims of truth.
Theories of Truth
There are different truth theories that hold a much broader definition. Five mainstream theories are the:
Correspondence Theory: Truth propositions correspond to the facts.
Semantic Theory: Truth is a property of sentences.
Deflationary Theory: A statement is true is just to assert the statement itself.
Pragmatic Theory: Defines Truth in terms of utility.
Coherence Theory: Any proposition must be coherent with a specified proposition set to be true.
Most of these theories have serious problems of various sorts and were advanced to counter the Correspondence Theory of Truth. For example, The Pragmatic Theory was advanced to support relativistic truths based on usefulness which we have rejected in this study.
Modes of thought or ways of thinking span several forms to include; critical thinking, analytical thinking, instinctive or gut thinking, creative thinking, etc...
In the American pop landscape, theory-based thinking emerged about 1900. This shift in thinking replaced any justification for belief or investigation into a matter with fantasy, ideas, and interesting notions that had no basis in reality. A good example of theory-based thinking is the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI. Without any basis other than the idea that there may be life elsewhere, SETI began searching. They formulated the Drake Equation, Figure 1, which is supposed to suggest the possibility of the number of off-planet civilizations Earthlings could communicate with.