What is Truth?

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by James R, Sep 11, 2022.

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  1. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Consider the following statements. Try to rank them on the following 7 point scale:
    Strongly agree - Agree - Slightly Agree - Neutral - Slightly disagree - Disagree - Strongly disagree

    I'm interested in your beliefs/rankings of these statements, so please post them. However, if you're doing so please enclose your answers in [spoiler][/spoiler] tags so that other people aren't influenced by your answers before thinking about the statements. It is better if you do not read other people's responses before posting your own.

    After a few people have posted their opinions, perhaps we can have a discussion about them.

    Here are the statements to consider:

    1. A statement is true when it corresponds to reality.
    2. We all share the same reality and only interpret it differently.
    3. Truth depends on the opinions and beliefs of people.
    4. People create words and define their meaning.
    5. A statement is true if everyone agrees it is true.
    6. Strong belief, even without action, can change reality.​
     
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  3. origin Heading towards oblivion Valued Senior Member

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    Very thought provoking!
    1. A statement is true when it corresponds to reality.
    Agree. The caveat is that not everyone will experience that reality, however everyone in my reference frame will experience the same reality whether or not they accept it.
    2. We all share the same reality and only interpret it differently.
    Disagree. I think we all agree in the order of events and reality in most circumstances, however 2 different people can disagree when an event happens for instance and they both will be correct. IOW they have different realities.
    3. Truth depends on the opinions and beliefs of people.
    Disagree. In most cases opinions and beliefs are irrelevant, but how about the statement "The rich having a higher tax rate is fair", the 'truth' of this statement is only about beliefs and opinions.
    4. People create words and define their meaning.
    Strongly agree
    5. A statement is true if everyone agrees it is true.
    Strongly disagree.
    6. Strong belief, even without action, can change reality.
    Strongly disagree

    Well, that's my thoughts, such as they are...
     
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  5. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

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    1. A statement is true when it corresponds to reality.
     
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  7. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

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    1. A statement is true when it corresponds to reality.
    Only if the statement DOES correspond to reality
    If the person putting out the statement has a distorted view of reality then no
    2. We all share the same reality and only interpret it differently.
    No Since reality varies according to location no
    3. Truth depends on the opinions and beliefs of people.
    Obviously no
    4. People create words and define their meaning.
    No people find something first then a word / sentence / ..... / encyclopedia is created to define (explain) meaning
    5. A statement is true if everyone agrees it is true.
    Obviously no
    6. Strong belief, even without action, can change reality
    Obviously no

    Interesting

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  8. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    1. A statement is true when it corresponds to reality.

    Slightly Agree.

    It's more to the point that _X_ simply works sufficiently or is adequate for the time being (practical). Revisions, refinements, new data, and critical analysis steered by new background conceptions can alter the status of supposed current "facts" in the future.

    Thus mitigating that _X_ ever was a perfect symbol representation of either certain perceptual content or an aspect of whatever supposed non-mental manner of existence (be-ing that lacks manifestation and understanding of itself).

    Some professions may establish their own instructive framework for their applicable practice/endeavor, thereby setting a precise-in-meaning nomenclature, definite principles and procedures, and possible immutable "truths" to be followed in the context of their work or skill-set. If that's a sub-category of "reality" the members are abiding in, then it's even more so a constructed one.

    A "reality" devoid of artificial abstractions altogether simply seems to be one's immediate experiences, prior to being assaulted by memory and usually biased intellectual processes. Extracting "truths" from the former entails bargaining with the devils of the latter. But some devils are much more reliable and fruitful than others.


    2. We all share the same reality and only interpret it differently.

    Agree.

    That is, if substituting "raw experiences" (mentioned above) for those cultural conceptions and theory-laden templates, with respect to whatever is meant by "reality".

    For instance, pouring gasoline everywhere in a house and striking a match will be perceived as burning it down (those direct phenomena happen, regardless of the unique footprint of acquired background theories that guide/infect an individual's cognition and understanding of those events in the following moments).

    A putative biological-independent world is nevertheless mediated by biological systems and their properties slash inherent biases for representation. But distribution of the same type "operating system" (brain, nervous network) in a species insures common ground in how the external environment is presented after information processing.

    While injuries, and genetic and prenatal development "defects" can introduce a small percentage of people into the population who see, hear, feel, think differently -- the unaffected majority is still universal enough for evolved organisms (the latter's compromised, non-ideal circumstances) achieving a degree of consensus. Those under the influence of hallucinogenic substances or suffering from psychological illness don't count due to the erratic, temporary modifications and non-global nature of their perception.

    IOW, what has traditionally mattered "reality-wise" is that most of us yield the same extrospective experiences when focused on a part of our surroundings (including everything disappearing after being struck by a speeding truck).

    It's difficult to see that changing even with indigenous and non-Western thought orientations being elevated by the Woke tsunami in science administrations. The latter would still pertain to interpretation and motivated reasoning AFTER the immediate content of the senses -- not altering the originally presented images, sounds, tactile sensations, odors, etc themselves.


    3. Truth depends on the opinions and beliefs of people.

    Slightly agree.

    With respect to "sanctioned truths" advocated by experts or establishment. Since ideological trends can trigger motivated reasoning and at least mildly affect publish or perish woes (that subsume publication biases), current frailties of peer review, statistical interpretations, provide impetus for fraud, the regulating policies of administrators of institutions, and other vulnerabilities raging in the academic world.


    4. People create words and define their meaning.

    Agree.

    Potential space aliens are excluded if they don't contribute to our lexicon, and future or current AI is a caveat if their word products are viably accepted and brought into popular usage.


    5. A statement is true if everyone agrees it is true.

    Disagree.

    It doesn't require consensus by everyone on Earth or even in the specific profession for an authority/administration to set _X_ as a fact within its domain.


    6. Strong belief, even without action, can change reality.

    Disagree.

    Personal thought orientations kept private from the public ("without action") accordingly have no capacity to alter particular conceptions or models of reality (even the very inconsistent ones). Of course, newly acquired beliefs might alter the already malleable, extrospective experiences of a person afflicted with psychological illness. But that's presumedly not applicable.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2022
  9. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    I find I can't offer a simple answer as requested until the nature of the "reality" as referred to in the questions is clarified. Otherwise I'd be saying "yes, if... but no, if...".
    Clarification would therefore be welcome: what is the nature of the reality (or what is meant by reality) referred to in the question?
     
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  10. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

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    Suggestion - use your own definition

    I suspect part of the discovery in the answers would be how posters define their reality

    Go with your gut and lay off to many ya buts

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    Did I break survey rules, by giving advice? If I did - sorry

    New advice, Sarkus ignore what I posted just answer the survey

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  11. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    I would be interested in how you see there being equivocation in reality.

    Do you have some examples? In particular, examples that don't depend on the very questions the OP is asking (or we'd simply have tautology)?

    In fact, I might go so far as to say the OP is asking you - by way of these questions - what you think reality is.
     
  12. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    There are 3 obvious notions of reality that are up for grabs: solely objective, solely subjective, or a combination of the two. Personally I'm not a fan of the solely subjective, but beyond that I've no overall preference, and happy to consider both.

    For example, do you think that there is someone you find beautiful that others do not? If yes, then one might say that your "reality" is that you find this person (X) beautiful, but that others might have a reality in which X is not beautiful. This is what some would refer to as your subjective reality. The objective reality might be that there is a person X, but our experience of that person, and subsequent interpretation of that experience, while subjective, might still be considered part of one's reality. One's upbringing, one's social circle, one's nurture, all inform that subjective.

    By simply referring to "reality" and requiring a response, one is requiring that one holds to a particular notion of reality, such as that there is only the objective, or that there is a subjective aspect to it (either in part or in whole). That's fine, and the answers one gives might suggest that view of reality without explicitly stating.
    However I'm happy with either notion (objective or objective+subjective) and don't claim one above the other, and happy to discuss both as the conversation lends itself.

    Short of giving two sets of answers, in which the answers might differ, but might also be the same but for different reasons, I'd rather try to understand what is meant by the terms used.
    If the intention is to gauge what people understand "reality" to be, well, this response might serve just as well.

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  13. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    This subject frequently boils down to, is there one "right" answer to questions like "is this the best policy".

    Some would argue that it is a subjective question and is determined more by culture and others would argue that if we can all agree that it's best to "do the least harm" or "do what contributes most to happiness" or some similar absolutes then there is only one "right" answer.

    My own position would be somewhere in the middle.
     
  14. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    I can't imagine the definition of reality in the context of the OP's discussion that would fit with "solely subjective". One certainly wouldn't refer to that idea so without explicitly including the qualifier.

    Put another way, are you sure you're not being needlessly pedantic? I mean, are we going to have to step back and first debate whether the whole world is an illusion and we are all just figments of the OP's imagination?

    It might use up fewer words/posts (and even drive the OP's ideas forward) if you simply took the initiative and stated, once, what your definition of reality (sans qualifiers) is (no need for an if/then), and answered the questions with that in-mind.
     
  15. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Then that's a problem of the questions in and of themself, if they require an a priori assumption about the nature of reality (i.e. that it is at least not wholly subjective)? And why do you think one notion of reality would require a qualifier while the others do not? And do you think the thread is therefore only for those that hold a certain view of reality?
    Pedantic? And there was me thinking this was the Philosophy forum. Ah, well. All I'm asking for is clarification from the OP.
    Giving a definition is to qualify. And, as stated, I don't have a definition of reality, as, unsurprisingly, the nature of reality is not something I find to be an easy thing to conclude upon. I am happy to work with any that the thread offers, otherwise it really is a case of if/then as I contemplate all possibilities that I consider reasonable. If you have a firm belief about what reality is, good for you. Although I note, despite using up more words/posts addressing me, you haven't actually answered the OP questions yourself, despite you clearly having no issue in doing so.

    But, if it helps, I could I answer with some generic responses that don't reflect what I believe, despite being asked for what I believe?

    Seriously, DaveC, if someone starts a thread with "What is truth" in a Philosophy forum, are you so naive as to think there are only simple answers to what on the surface might seem simple questions? If so, you're clearly not doing it right!

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  16. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Hm. How about this:

    What, in your opinion, was the nature of reality before there were critters around and therefore before there was subjectivity?

    Apologies, I didn't mean that as a jibe. I meant it in the truest sense, like the example: we don't first ask ourselves if the whole world is an illusion and you are all imaginative figments. That way lies paralysis, no?

    Why don't you simply provide it in your opinion?

    Oh. OK. That's going to be tricky then.

    Yes. I have reasons for that, though I saw no point in expressing them. But since you asked.

    My answers will be boring and predictable. Presumably, the OP is interested in views that don't mirror his own. (An assumption, granted, but I think it's a good gamble.)

    OK, so since you are agreeable to answering, why not just answer with responses you do believe?

    I'm not insisting or trying to get argumentative; I'm trying to converse without friction.

    I have no idea where you got the idea that I expected answers - let alone only simple answers - or that I am naive about it. That appears to walk and talk like a strawman (and a provocative one at that).

    'Responses' are not synonymous with 'answers'. It's a discussion, not a Q&A.

    Anyway, I don't mean to pull teeth; I just felt you made a request (for clarity) that, in my opinion, seems to miss the point of the thread. But I'm cool. Esp. since - as you point out - I don't (yet) have any skin in the game myself.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2022
  17. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    If one holds that reality is only subjective then reality pre-subjectivity is a meaningless concept. If one holds that reality is in at least some part objective then pre-subjectivity the reality would necessarily be wholly objective.
    How is that being pedantic? Pedantry is being overly concerned with unimportant/minor details. In philosophy there are few unimportant details, as the many Christian denominations would undoubtedly atest to.

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    Because...
    Yes.
    The OP would possibly have been better served giving his own responses and asking for disagreement, preceeded by one's notion of "reality" etc. That way one can do two things: 1. agree/disagree with his responses on the basis of the notion of reality he is using; 2. agree/disagree with the notion of reality he is using, and how that might affect the answers to the questions.
    I may do, but was looking for clarification to the term "reality" so that I could do them all in the same post.
    I understand.
    Answers are a subset of response. However, the OP has asked specific questions. He is therefore clearly expecting answers. I have provided a response, my response being to request clarification so that I can provide meaningful answers. Your response to my response... etc.
    To be clear, though, the OP is expecting answers. It is the entire purpose of the OP. Even you seem to accept that (note your above "My answers will be boring and predictable.")
    I didn't expect my request for clarification to be so controversial. I have a good idea as to the point of the thread, and can guess as to the motivation behind it.

    But I'll wait for clarification.
     
  18. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    1. A statement is true when it corresponds to reality.
    I agree.

    2. We all share the same reality and only interpret it differently.
    I slightly disagree. Life in the Ukraine today and life in the U.S. is not the same and it's not just a matter of interpretation. Physics remains the same however.

    Now we are starting to play around with the word "reality" and its different meanings.

    3. Truth depends on the opinions and beliefs of people.
    I disagree if "truth" is defined as objective. If we are talking about something subjective then the answer would be "I agree".

    4. People create words and define their meaning.
    I agree. This is objectively true.

    5. A statement is true if everyone agrees it is true.
    I disagree if we are talking about objective truth. If we are talking about morals, that's subjective and opinions do come into play.

    6. Strong belief, even without action, can change reality.
    I somewhat disagree. If we are now talking about subjective reality or "personal" reality then this would be accurate. If we are talking about science then science remains the same whether you believe in it or not.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2022
  19. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    Sorry. Just sounded like a fitting sub-topic for others to chime in on (somewhere else if not here).

    It was a period of existence without manifestation (invisible, silent, non-felt, etc). Which includes absence of discrimination into shape-like appearances, absence of conceptual discrimination (categorizing things) and absence of memory-dependent apprehension or verification of changes occurring.

    Well, actually it's still that way. But now contains those critters internally representing and "showing" their environment via multiple modes of experience, and [in the case of humans] classifying slash understanding such via the mediating tokens of language (which likewise present themselves as phenomenal sounds, images, tactile sensations [braille], etc.)
     
  20. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Obviously.
    But we're not being asked what "one" holds. We're being asked what we hold.

    In fact, I asked you what you think reality is before there were critters to have subjective experiences.
     
  21. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    And I've already told you that I don't.
    And I have given a response that encapsulates my thinking on it. You are otherwise trying to force me to state a position on the matter that I don't actually hold.
    If you want me to do that, which I am open to do, please clarify the nature of reality referenced in the questions that you'd like me provide answers for? If not, the best you'll get is "if/then... if/then..." etc, But then you don't seem to like those sorts of answers.

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  22. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    How unpleasant to meet Mr Eliot,
    with his features of clerical cut,
    and his brow so grim,
    and his mouth so prim,
    and his conversation so nicely
    restricted to "what precisely",
    and "if" and "perhaps" and "but".

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  23. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

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    Why didn't you put that as a answer?

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