Tok Essay “There Are No Absolute Distinctions Between What Is True and What Is False”. Discuss This Claim

Topics: Truth, Definition, Alfred Tarski Pages: 4 (1278 words) Published: March 29, 2011

“There are no absolute distinctions between what is true and what is false”. Discuss this claim.

The complexity of this simple claim can be easily underestimated due to its simple nature, however to completely understand the true intricacy of the statement would require close analysis of its meaning and an understanding of the process that we go through in order to obtain knowledge. Definitions of truth can only be interpreted so far, however an understanding of how knowledge in obtained through the ways of knowing in each of the areas of knowing can provide further insight into the accuracy of the claim.

Distinctions can be made between true and false in the definitions of truth. Truth can be defined in various ways, from the neo-classical correspondence theory, Tarski’s recursive definition of truth, to even simplistic dictionary definitions. The correspondence theory is the idea that something is true as long as it corresponds with the way things factually are.[1] This theory is the recursive definition of truth, which reduces the factual ambiguity of a sentence, a colloquial example of a sentence with such characteristics is “ snow is white if and only if snow is white”.[2] This definition highlights that truth is only true in the relation to the facts. A less complex dictionary definition allows for the generalisation of the term, aiding in how applicable it is, for example truth can be defined as being “consistent with fact or reality; not false” (Princeton university, 2010)[3]. By examining these definitions of the concept of truth, it can be seen that there is a certain extent to which it conforms to objectivity; however, to define a distinguishing line between what is true and what is false is near impossible.

Truth also holds its own definition in each of the areas of knowing, each definition overlapping with a generalised definition of truth. In the natural sciences and mathematics, truth is apparent, also in history and...
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