Thursday, December 18, 2003
Julia - Em...thank you for your contribution to the discussion of truth. I would dearly like to hear from Dan, Allie, Bruce, Greg and Eva on this. I have a general idea of what each might say, but how am I to be certain if I do not see it? *smile
Ah...that reminds me of yet another aspect of truth that might be addressed - the idea of moving beyond truth to knowledge. For generations, discussions of truth have been bedeviled by the question, "How could a proposition be true unless we know it to be true?" Aristotle's famous worry was that contingent propositions about the future, such as "There will be a sea battle tomorrow", couldn't be true now, for fear that this would deny free will to the sailors involved. Advocates of the Correspondence Theory and the Semantic Theory have argued that a proposition need not be known in order to be true. Truth, they say, arises out of a relationship between a proposition and the way the world is. No one need know that that relationship holds, nor - for that matter - need there even be any conscious or language-using creatures for that relationship to obtain. In short, truth is an objective feature of a proposition, not a subjective one.
For a true proposition to be known, it must (at the very least) be a justified belief. Justification, unlike truth itself, requires a special relationship among propositions. For a proposition to be justified it must, at the very least, cohere with other propositions that one has adopted. On this account, coherence among propositions plays a critical role in the theory of knowledge. Nevertheless it plays no role in a theory of truth, according to advocates of the Correspondence and Semantic Theories of Truth.
Finally, should coherence - which plays such a central role in theories of knowledge - be regarded as an objective relationship or as a subjective one? Not surprisingly, theorists have answered this latter question in divergent ways. But the pursuit of that issue takes one beyond the theories of truth.
Have a safe and joyful holiday break!
- posted by -g @ 6:49 AM | | 0 rocks in pond
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