Wednesday, December 10, 2003
 
Continuing Examination of Truth

Although we do speak of true friends and false identities, philosophers believe these are derivative uses of 'true' and 'false'. The central use of 'true', the more important one for philosophers, occurs when we say, for example, it's true that Montreal is north of Pittsburgh. Here,"true" is contrasted with "false", not with "fake" or "insincere". When we say that Montreal is north of Pittsburgh, what sort of thing is it that is true? Is it a statement or a sentence or something else, a 'fact', perhaps? More generally, philosophers want to know what sorts of things are true and what sorts of things are false. This same question is expressed by asking: What sorts of things have (or bear) truth-values?

The term "truth-value" has been coined by logicians as a generic term for "truth or falsehood". To ask for the truth-value of P, is to ask whether P is true or whether P is false. "Value" in "truth-value" does not mean "valuable". It is being used in a similar fashion to "numerical value" as when we say that the value of "x" in "x + 3 = 7" is 4. To ask "What is the truth-value of the statement that Montreal is north of Pittsburgh?" is to ask whether the statement that Montreal is north of Pittsburgh is true or whether it is false. (The truth-value of that specific statement is true).

The principal problem is to offer a viable theory as to what truth itself consists in, or, to put it another way, "What is the nature of truth?" To illustrate with an example - the problem is not: Is it true that there is extraterrestrial life? The problem is: What does it mean to say that it is true that there is extraterrestrial life? Astrobiologists study the former problem; philosophers, the latter.

In the first century AD, Pontius Pilate (John 18:38) asked "What is truth?" Jesus did not respond. He did say, when asked about the way, that he was the way, the truth and the life, and that no one comes to the Father except through him. (John 14:6).


- posted by -g @ 7:25 PM | | 0 rocks in pond



0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Archives:
September 2002| October 2002| November 2002| December 2002| January 2003| February 2003| March 2003| April 2003| May 2003| June 2003| July 2003| September 2003| earlyOctober 2003 | October 2003 | November 2003 | December 2003 | January 2004 | February 2004 | March 2004 | April 2004 | May 2004 | June 2004 | July 2004 | August 2004 | September 2004 | October 2004 | November 2004 | December 2004 | January 2005 | February 2005 | March 2005 | April 2005 | May 2005 | June 2005 | July 2005 | August 2005 | September 2005 | October 2005 | November 2005 | December 2005 | January 2006 | February 2006 | March 2006 | April 2006 | June 2006 | August 2006 | September 2006 | October 2006 | December 2006 | January 2007 | March 2007 | May 2007 | June 2007 | August 2007 | October 2007 | February 2008 | April 2008 | May 2008