What is Truth

Topics: Truth, Epistemology, Semantic theory of truth Pages: 5 (1514 words) Published: April 10, 2014

What is Truth?



Khalid Mohamed

For thousands of years the pursuit of knowledge and the definition of fact plagued philosophers. In order to define what knowledge truly is, fact must be defined as well. If something is a fact, then that must mean that it is truth. Facts and knowledge coexist with truth due to facts being true and incorrect statements being false. Ergo, knowledge can be seen as truth. Then the counterpart of truth; error is one of the main problems of the knowledge of truth (The Problems of Philosophy, 12). However a question that is frequently pondered is “What is truth really?” In order to answer this obscure question philosophers have fabricated many theories. The most famous of these theories are the correspondence and coherence theory. Other theories of truth use said theories as a foundation that later branch off into different directions (Encyclopaedia Britannica). I will examine the strengths and weaknesses of both correspondence and coherence theory while finally using the flaws and benefits of both theories to state my position on how truth is strictly subjective.

“To say of what is that it is, or of what is not that it is not, is true” (Encyclopedia Britannica). A quote from the renowned philosopher Aristotle where the “What is” or “What is not” is what the world offers us, essentially the material world, thus making the act of stating the “What is” as truth (Encyclopaedia Britannica). This quote allows people to understand the basis or the essence of correspondence theory. Correspondence theory is fundamentally tying in truth with what occurs around a person to a general degree which may lead to perspective related issues. This means that if something occurs or if something is and this something corresponds with what we believe or say then that is truth (Glanzberg). Accompanying this theory are common strengths and weaknesses.

A strength that coincides with correspondence theory is that it is a commonly held belief among people. Most people associate truth and fact with what they can see or prove with their eyes or their other four senses. Due to our drastically increasing atheistic science driven culture, this materialistic view towards the problem of truth is held as communal belief. Absolute fact is generally proven a-posteriori. Something is proven to be fact via a catalyst known as an entity (Glanzberg). An entity is a material factor and without an entity, there is only false belief (Glanzberg). However, the points previously stated also subtly alliterate the problems within correspondence theory as well. Some holes found in correspondence theory is that the theory only applies when looking at something from a metaphysical standpoint. This is owing to the fact that in order for correspondence theory to work, facts or entities are needed in order to have truths (Glanzberg). Also, correspondence theory only pertains to the fact spectrum of truth, whereas truth contains belief as well (The Problems of Philosophy, 42). Since it is clear that if there were no beliefs there could be no falsehood or truth, then in a material world that contained only fact and not belief, truth and falsehood would be impossible (The Problems of Philosophy, 43). In order for correspondence theory to be true you must assume that the world you perceive and how you perceive it via your five senses is fact. You must believe that the physical world exists and is apparent and communally perceivable to all. However, everything is not perceived the same way amongst every living conscious person. A color may be green to you because that is what you perceive, yet a color blind person may see gray. Both are true yet both are false as well (Truth and Progress, 22). This statement is now a paradox, thus alliterating the flaw within correspondence theory.

The other theory to solve the pragmatism of truth is called coherence theory. Unlike correspondence...

Cited: “Internet Encyclopaedia of Philosophy." Truth []. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2013.
Russell, Bertrand. The Problems of Philosophy. N.p.: Indo-European, 2010. Google. 2011. Web.
Rorty, Richard. Truth and Progress. Cambridge: Cambridge University press, 1998. Google
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