Talk:Truth/Archive 15

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Weird Section

Alright, I know I'm not the only one who found this section weird and unhelpful. I leave it here on the off-chance there is anything of value in it. Feel free to revert... iggytalk 06:40, 30 June 2006 (UTC)

==Additional observations about truth==
Honest intentions play a unique role in the ethics of epistemology. Jurgen Habermas understands truthfulness to be one of the dimensions of valid speech.[1] The moral importance of honest intent is underscored by the remarks of Buddha: “Herein someone avoids false speech and abstains from it. He speaks the truth, is devoted to truth, reliable, worthy of confidence, not a deceiver of people. Being at a meeting, or amongst people, or in the midst of his relatives, or in a society, or in the king's court, and called upon and asked as witness to tell what he knows, he answers, if he knows nothing: "I know nothing," and if he knows, he answers: "I know"; if he has seen nothing, he answers: "I have seen nothing," and if he has seen, he answers: "I have seen." Thus he never knowingly speaks a lie, either for the sake of his own advantage, or for the sake of another person's advantage, or for the sake of any advantage whatsoever.”[2] In its most extreme form, the obligation to tell the truth may manifest itself as a strong form of evidentialism, which holds that "It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything on insufficient evidence".[3]
It reads like an elephant took a rather large dump. •Jim62sch• 00:16, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

Correspondence theory

Is this sentence related to some form of new-age mysticism? "Correspondence theory traditionally operates on the assumption that there is an objective truth with which humans are capable of being properly aligned." Properly aligned? What role does astrology and pyramid power play? OK seriously, this sentence and those that follow will not be of any help to most of our audience. In addition, parts of it seem to be OR. I think the best approach may be to start over -- put each section in talk and let the group of us discuss the best way to get the point across, and, frankly, forget about what is already written.
As part of my job, I edit the work of others -- this section would be one I'd delete and send back for a major rewrite. •Jim62sch• 17:01, 30 June 2006 (UTC)

OK, let's get started. ... Kenosis 17:07, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
Made a minor change in first paragraph. First sentence of second paragraph now reads like this:
  • Correspondence theory traditionally operates on the assumption that truth is a matter of accurately copying "objective reality" and then representing it in thoughts, words and other symbols.[4] ... The footnote cites to:See, e.g., Bradley, F.H., "On Truth and Copying", in Blackburn, et al (eds., 1999),Truth, 31-45.
The last sentence of the second paragraph refers to proponents of constructivist, consensus and pragmatic theory, all of which focus on the human role in forming conceptions of truth. Correspondence theory does not make these points of emphasis. Though some versions no doubt try to incorporate them, that is not the view of correspondence theory. (That was the point of the part of the paragraph about language translation too--if the translations are not exact, we get different so-called "objective" relationships.) Will try to find a cite for that.
Anything else? ... Kenosis 17:22, 30 June 2006 (UTC)

The first paragraph looks great! I just edited the second -- revert it if you hate it.
One thing, I don't know what to do with this, it doesn't really fit: Commentators and proponents of several of the other theories introduced below also have asserted that correspondence theory neglects the role of the persons involved in the "truth relation." Template:Fact Template:Or
Also, Kant has to go: synthesize it and use it (the whole quote) as a ref (footnote). •Jim62sch• 17:30, 30 June 2006 (UTC)

How about something like: "Proponents of several of the additional theories below have gone farther to assert that there are yet additional issues, such as interpersonal power struggles and other factors involved in deciding what is seen as truth." ... Kenosis 17:43, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
Will get to Kant. Need some time to synthesize without sacrificing the basic observations about circularity, if at all possible. That helps to set the reader up for Pragmatic theory, among others. ... Kenosis 17:43, 30 June 2006 (UTC) ... Jim (and anyone else), I'm forced to break from this for now and will get back to the task of synthesizing Kant blockquote a bit later, along with any other relevant issues. Kudos; thanks boss. ... Kenosis 17:48, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
Yes, that's a great rewrite. Should we include "personal bias" in there as one of the other factors?
Synthesising Kant might be the biggest challenge of this entire should be all downhill from there (of course, there's still Pierce to contend with!) •Jim62sch• 17:55, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
I like the illustration of "geist" even better (Is it "mind" or "spirit"), but that one will work quite well. Gottago for now... Kenosis 18:08, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
Thanks. Well, I tackled Kant - I hope I didn't bruise him too much. Feel free to comment, change it, take it out and shoot it, etc. •Jim62sch• 19:26, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
Back briefly. I should pull that stuff about Kant's view for the present. The way I see it, the real purpose of that paragraph's insertion was to prove to readers why philosophers have so often not been content to rest with correspondence theory, maybe to set up for explaining just how complicated it got a century after Kant. Trust me, it got so complicated that this section is not the place to present that material. It can be done in a separate section such as, say, "More on correspondence theory". You should also know that Correspondence theory includes Tarski's semantic theory and other notable slants, and Tarski was one of the ones seeking a language-independent truth predicate--it's an acknowledged classic among philosophers. Making this and other things understandable will be a challenge that will last for awhile, but it can be done in the end, or at least reasonably summarized in plain English with "main article" links as we do around here with highly complex slants on subjects of common interest. Some of these are soooo complicated they should be left out of the article on truth for sure, since we're not writing for professional philosophers here... Kenosis 20:04, 30 June 2006 (UTC) I should add a qualifier to what I just said, lest a troll happen by and notice a fine detail. Tarski has traditionally been classed under correspondence theory discussions, but since deflationary theory became known as deflationary theory, he has one leg in each camp (posthumously--rolling over until each leg gets its own tombstone). That's one reason (in addition to readability) why it's quite sensible that his theory goes after the deflationary theories are introduced. Could be done differently, but that's a sensible way of organizing. ... Kenosis 20:22, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
Looks and sounds good to me. •Jim62sch• 00:17, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

fuck you —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:52, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

Forgive me for my impudence in this matter, but reference to the distance to the moon is a Pragmatic approach to correspondence and does not necessarily represent the correspondence theory. My reasoning for this comes from my personal understanding that correspondence theory lends to an objective truth outside and regardless of any use-value of the proposition, whereas within a Pragmatic approach truth is oft cashed out strictly in use-value. My suggestion then would be to relocate this part “For example, there is a true distance to the moon when we humans attempt to go there, and this true distance is necessary to know so that the journey can be successfully made.” to the section on Pragmatic truth theory, or do away with it altogether. Thank you for you time. --18:31, 20 February 2008 (UTC)Lasttruth (talk)

Section 1.2: Truth as expressed more generally

This section appears to be the source of the OR problem. It rambles quite a bit, and contains no citations. Semeiotic is specific to Charles Sanders Peirce; but the links to Hermeneutics and Semiotics could be re-worked into another section - the part of the intro that talks about truth and meaning, perhaps? Cybernetics (the article) says nothing about truth; Physical symbol system is a stub, and again says nothing about truth.

Is there anything worth keeping here? Banno 23:38, 1 July 2006 (UTC)

Certainly not the way it's currently written. •Jim62sch• 00:24, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
Indeed this section does seem to constitute OR, but it raises the question of how to integrate philosophical notions of truth that do not fit well into the pre-given categories (thinking here particularly of thinkers like Nietzsche, Foucault, Heidegger, and Nishida) — and indeed, earlier theories of truth (particularly Aquinas whose verum est adaequatio intellectus et rei which is only formally similar to correspondence theory). Any thoughts? iggytalk 03:30, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
Aquinas actually did use the Latin word correspondentia to refer to a relationship between thought and reality, at least in one place. Although, as I indicated already within the various protracted discussions now archived, Russell was responsible for making the term widely known as such in the context of establishing correspondence and coherence as competing tensions. Kant did use a term readily translatable as "correspondence" too, though was not exactly, shall we say, popular reading. There's a place for all of this if priorities are kept in a reasonable sequence for the article. I suspect someday it'll be either a fairly lengthy article and/or have many linked offshoots and a reasonable way of giving readers a pathway to their particular foci. The section currently being discussed (Truth#Truth as expressed more generally) might be a reasonable place to start with such views as just mentioned by lg0774 (and Banno in next talk section below). Just vaguely hypothesizing here, perhaps Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre, Derrida could be one thread. For now, how about starting by slightly retitling this section and begin briefly summarizing some of these views subsectioned by author, then see where it goes? ... Kenosis 04:26, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
And yes, I am in favor of jettisoning that whole meandering beginning to "Truth as expressed more generally". There are plenty of ways of summarizing the "realist" vs. "anti-realist" distinction without getting bogged down in it. ... Kenosis 07:30, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
My point about Aquinas is not so much about the particular words used as the meaning of those particular words within context — for example, Aquinas admits something like revelation as a basis of truth (as opposed to the expression of correspondence theory on this page — the correspondence with fact). That said, I would favor eliminating the section under question, as it is just as much a straight-jacket on notions of truth currently not included in the "Major theories of truth", as, (1) it focuses exclusively on truth in sign relations and (2) it seems to develop no new ideas of what truth is itself. As to the single thread, I am not so sure how well that would work. For example, Heidegger takes one notion of truth from Aristotle and applies it to Nietzsche; Foucault takes Nietzschean truth in a different direction. iggytalk 04:18, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
Agreed lg, yes Aquinas was variously on both sides of that "fence". Personally I think it's time to begin including some of these views you just mentioned, And this section seems a reasonable place to add this type of material, organizing as necessary along the way. ... Kenosis 16:48, 4 July 2006 (UTC)


I've deleted the section. Here is the dif: [1]. Banno 21:44, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

  • The discussion of "realist" theories is unsupported by citations, and appears to cross over with the previous discussion of the distinction between substantive and robust theories.
  • Much of the writing is confused - for example, "meaning-bearing element" is unexplained, and precedes the introduction of signs in the section Approaches relating to signs in general
  • look, I could go on, and will if need be; but basically the whole section sucks.

My recommendation is to re-insert anything of use into other parts of the article. Banno 21:51, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

This removed from first paragraph of Pragmatic theory:
The link to rationalism directs the reader to a poorly developed article, and the idea of summarizing "realist" approaches to truth is at least postponed for the present. I assume at some point we'll get back to a brief synopsis of how this concept of "realist" cuts across the various theories according to a number of writers, but for now it's here for future reference. Or, with a rewrite, this whole discussion of "realism" could very reasonably be worked into the article on truth theory. For now, in my estimation of it, the current article reasonably covers the basic concept with its references to "objective", especially with respect to correspondence and pragmatic theory. ... Kenosis 04:19, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

Truth and Power

A section is needed on Nietzsche and Foucault (at the least). Banno 23:44, 1 July 2006 (UTC)

Nietzsche! Nietzsche! Nietzsche! (OK, he's one of my favourites.  ;) [[User:Jim62sch|<font

Truth in Jurisprudence

I just noticed that this section of the article (in Truth#Truth_in_specialized_contexts) might violate NPOV because it says nothing about Klingon or Ferenghi jurisprudence. More seriously, this section is written about common law jurisdictions (UK, US, etc.). Should this be qualified in some way? I believe it's quite possible some jurisdictions might actually refer to their courts as, for instance, "finders of truth", but don't know for sure. The idea of referring to a court as a "finder of truth" gives me the willies-- not completely sure why at the moment; maybe it reminds me of Orwell, or maybe of recent events in the US. ... Kenosis 17:06, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

In German criminal procedure, which is an inquisitorial system, the evidence phase of the court proceedings is often referred to as Wahrheitsermittlung, which means something like "determining the truth", or "investigation of the truth". --LambiamTalk 22:12, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

A great example of a true statement in court is simply having many pictures of a crime scene, many witnesses that all have enough consistent statements about who was there and what was done. True statements about the past are very common and often very consistent among any witnesses that were there, and what can be determined with photos, science, and qualified experts. This is some food for thought.

--joseph 06:16, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Order of presentation of notable philosophers' views

I have no extremely strong opinion on the order of presentation of the views of notable philosophers on "truth". I do, though, happen to think the historical order of presentation (chronological) is a more relevant way of presenting these views. This is because each of these philosophers was building in various ways on the work of those that came before. ... Kenosis 19:24, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

I agree, and suggest to use the date of birth for ordering, while also indicating for each the life period, such as "Aquinas (c. 1225 – 1274) and the scholastics" and "Baudrillard (b. 1929)".  --LambiamTalk 21:54, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
Agreed. Chronological ordering makes the most sense as one can follow the flow of the philisophical discussion. &#0149;Jim62sch&#0149; 22:14, 31 July 2006 (UTC)


I care little for puritanical views, thus I have restored La Vérité as an appropriately stylised representation of Truth (unless, of course, one is a fan of that priggish jackanapes John Ashcroft who draped various nude statues in cloth). Also, since the likelihood of Jesus and Pilate ever having had any conversation is slim to nil a picture of such an imaginary event is hardly fitting as a depiction of "truth". &#0149;Jim62sch&#0149; 22:24, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

I well remember my trip to the Louvre, and seeing small French schoolchildren sitting in front of a huge nude painting, while their teacher lectured on the subject of art. That the picture of truth should raise even an eyebrow, much less a protest, just shows how far removed from reality some Americans are. Rick Norwood 22:59, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
Some? It's our national gift to the world. ;| &#0149;Jim62sch&#0149; 08:24, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
Truth is usually held as being something of such holy value (even to those who have no belief in God) as to not be mocked by pictures of naked women (not that I hold all such picutres to necessarily be in any way pornographic - though many times they are insulting to human sensibilities).
I do not mean to show how much of a philistine that I am by requesting the removal of this undoubtedly great piece of art. I propose a culturally unbiased view of truth (ie: one that's not French, or affiliated to any nation's work). Perhaps a mathematical depiction? I think that many individuals look upon Euler's formula as being true in its beautiful simplicity. Surely this is only a small request for such an important article. If wikipedia can't get the Truth right - what can it do?

Nukemason 14:59, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

As much as I don't want to give into prudery or priggishness, it does seem like this painting raises more eyebrows than necessary -- and that the painting does not add to the informational nature of the article. I at least think that it should be father down in the article rather than the first thing one sees -- perhaps in Truth#Classical_philosophers. Also, I think that it's a rather male perspectve that a naked woman represents truth or virture, and a naked man represents strength or power -- a somewhat biased view (both culturally and in terms of gender). Thanks, BCorr|Брайен 14:59, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

Note: La Vérité ("Truth") by Jules Joseph Lefebvre is a suitable illustration for the article Truth. It would be contrary to Wikipedia's policy on censorship to remove it without a compelling reason. Please refer to WP:NOT#Wikipedia is not censored. In other words, my dear followers of the John Ashcroft principles regarding art, the picture stays. &#0149;Jim62sch&#0149; 15:15, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
I agree with the above, it seems however, that someone keeps moving it to a place further down the article and without coming to any agreement about moving it here on the talk page. Since most people I've read above seem to want to leave it on the first page and not move it, I tried moving it back, however, last time I tried fixing unauthorised changes, I was blocked from the system.--Lucaas 23:31, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Jim and Rick as well; I'm just tired of arguing about it, or even reading others arguing about it. There's no compelling reason to remove it, nor is there a compelling reason to keep it either. Someone (I think it was Stevertigo) moved it down in the article a couple weeks ago; I moved his preferred pic farther down in the article, added a few more pics, and there they've sat until now. i frankly don't see the need to have any images up front in an article like this; they're nice little touches, but really don't explain anything anyway.
I should also say, though, it'd be nice to have a better photo of Habermas... Kenosis 00:01, 18 August 2006 (UTC)


I can't see what this adds to the article. Nor is it particularly clear what it is supposed to show. Banno 20:24, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

Frankly, I'd like to see every single one of the pics gone from the article. La verite doesn't explain anything, the Pilate/Jesus pic doesn't explain anything, and none of the others do either. The only one that explains anything at all is the diagram, however simplistic and limited it is. Is it possible to get a consensus to remove all images from this article?... Kenosis 22:30, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
I think this diagram is misleading and only refers possible to Plato's view of truth as justified true belief. Yet even he thought that the fiction of a Final Judgment would serve society well (see The Republic). The other images give artistic expression to something, ie, truth, that is hard to describe. I think Lefebre's painting expresses both the idealism of the shining globe and the pragmatism or realism of the beautiful woman; wasn't the Trojan war fought over Helen? tercorss 23:30, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
In fact, the description given in the wikicommons for that diagram is not even close to the whole story. I don't even want to go into it right now, but justification and refutation of belief is one of the most central problems of epistemology and "philosophy of truth" right up until today. After you get past that, it's all constructivist in one form or another, including the concept of episteme. (And by the way, constructivism and pragmatic theory are not analytic philosophy by any reasonable characterization of what is ordinarily meant by analytic philosophy).
Either way, I'd like to see all of the pics out of there myself, because they are more of a source of dispute than the damn article itself, and they explain absolutely nothing--squat, to the readers. I don't mind them being there, but the frequent arguments over them outweigh what they add to the article in my opinion. ... Kenosis 01:18, 2 August 2006 (UTC)
Sorry was not aware of these disputes about the pictures, but I think my explanation of the symbolism might help, no?
Yes, I was mistaken about constructivism being analytic but it is not a term I'm aware of these philosophers using or being easily categorised as, let us say it is at least an Anglophone term. That pragmatism and contructivism flow from Hegel is undisputed but I think both fail to capture Nietzsche's point of view, he held against pragmatism by suggesting that the answer to what was useful was itself problematic, his ideas of the Genealogy of truth are closer to the mark. tercross 23:30, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

Recent attempts to rewrite intro

The intro was hashed over and over by many editors some months ago. The longstanding version introduces the subject properly. Contrary to recent attempts to qualify the disagreements of definition of truth as limited to philosophy, after much research by many editors it was quite clear that even dictionaries differ widely in how to define it. Please do not change it into a personal POV about the subject. ... Kenosis 15:47, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

I agree that the intro is good overall, but it needs some mention of the many fields of knowledge that have great agreement about what true statements are and what they mean. To enter the whole debate with the idea of mere perspectives and only disagreement is quite misleading.

I hope you will reconsider. At least edit it better, and do not just delete it all over and over. Thanks for your consideration and all the excellent work you do. I mean no harm. I want to help edit this to include a better explanation about those who claim a very clear and precise idea of correspondence theory.

--joseph 06:10, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Hi Joseph. I appreciate the comments. The added material did not belong in the section on Correspondence theory. It may have a place in other sections. I also think you may have a point about the intro, and the idea that there are certain agreements within limited fields about the idea of true/false propositions in limited realms such as the digital data realm, logic and math. Once of the problems is a lack of sourcing (WP:VER, WP:OR). Also, the added material needs some more work on the writing to make better sense and not be "all over the place" in its meaning. A great deal of debate went into arriving at that brief intro, by at least seven or eight editors. ... Kenosis 06:24, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Malaprop Lead & XS Reverts

JA: I count 3 reverts by User:Stevertigo since this one:

15:14, 2 August 2006 Stevertigo (Talk | contribs) m (restoring my lede reverted by Kenosis - not an anon - not "vandalism" of course - just a clarification to make a sad theoreticist intro a more balanced and happy one)

JA: More importantly, the lead he/she keeps insisting on is not even grammatical. Jon Awbrey 17:01, 2 August 2006 (UTC)


You can gang up and count reverts all you want to. It would be easier if newbie editors such as yourselves would simply edit the material rather than revert it. -Ste|vertigo 19:01, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

See WP:CIVIL and WP:NPA, and not that you're biting the right people, but also WP:BITE. With the type of attitude you've displayed here over the course of the past few days, it will become increasingly difficult to assume good faith re your edits (see WP:AGF -- "This policy does not require that editors continue to assume good faith in the presence of evidence to the contrary. Actions inconsistent with good faith include vandalism, personal attacks, sockpuppetry and edit warring). In addition, in looking over your failed self-nom for Admin, you are exhibiting the same behaviours presently that caused your nom to be voted down 38-16-5.
Your rewrite of the LEAD brings nothing to the article except more words that don't really say anything. Your removal of La Vérité, obviously without having read this discussion page, was inexcusable and just this side of vandalism. I'd suggest you rethink the position you wish to take on this article -- the intro took much work, and much time by very seasoned editors to get it to a neutral definition. Obviously, anything that does not help to move the article forward in the same vein will be problematic. (i.e., POV edits like the removal of La Vérité will be reverted as NPOV vios.). &#0149;Jim62sch&#0149; 10:19, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
I don't particularly think I've actually done anything that should justifiably be the target of Stevertigo's anger. But I felt the need to request sanctions for the four reverts today, so now he has a reason if he insists on it. Three reverts, notification given, then a fourth, should be known to be OB on the WP. It is nonetheless heartening to see some kind of comment on the talk page. As indicated above, this intro was hashed over many times by many editors, and the longstanding version tells the reader like it is. The article then proceeds to introduce the various perspectives. May I suggest reading the various perspectives, then checking several dictionaries to confirm the legitimacy of the longstanding lead in this article? ... Kenosis 19:36, 2 August 2006 (UTC)
No anger. I simply dislike having my work undone for sake of some notion of preservationism --particularly for a lede which I myself largely defined and had made some arguably strong improvements to. All of which led to this version, which forms the basis for a consensus formulation upon which others can work from. My recent edits were thus inline and limited to the consensus form, and only clarified some ambiguities and biases implied in the current minimalist version. Further, this version does not adequately approach the basic requirements that a lede be descriptive enough to stand as an article. Some of us use navpops to preview linked articles from within articles we are reading, and this, along with other factors ("Wikipedia 1.0," readability) shapes our view that ledes need to be substantive and not excessively terse. Apologies for the reverts - I should have gone straight to talk. But then, so indeed should have you. -Ste|vertigo 20:33, 3 August 2006 (UTC)
That you were reverted by several different editors should tell you something regarding the edits, I would think. &#0149;Jim62sch&#0149; 10:22, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
Kenosis SV

Common dictionary definitions of truth mention some form of accord with fact or reality. There is, however, no single definition of truth about which scholars agree, and numerous theories of truth continue to be widely debated. Differing opinions exist on such questions as what constitutes truth, how to define and identify truth, what roles do revealed and acquired knowledge play, and whether truth is subjective, relative, objective, or absolute. This article introduces the various perspectives.

The word truth, according to common dictionary definitions, has some form of accord with fact or reality, and is strongly tied to the concept of "veracity." However, "truth" is often used within the context of philosophical arguments, as well as within particular conceptual frameworks, which attempt to expand or redefine its definition according to the view from within those frameworks.

There is no single definition of "truth" about which people can agree, and numerous views, beliefs, and theories about the nature of truth continue to be widely debated. As such, there is a great variance of opinion with respect to such questions as, what constitutes truth, how to define and identify truth, what roles do 'revealed' and 'acquired knowledge' play, and whether truth is best defined as subjective, relative, objective, or absolute.

This has already been repeatedly discussed on talk by numerous editors, and I properly summarized the results above. Read the article, familarize youself with the fundamental problems the subject presents to phiilosophers and other commentators, and read the archives. It took a great deal of work and discussion to arrive at the longstanding intro. ... Kenosis 00:20, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

Getting the Lead Out

JA: SV, some history. Up until 12 May 2006 or so, this editorship was operating on a consensus basis, and every line in the article had been gone over multiple times by multiple editors until there was a genuine if somewhat grudging consensus about it among those with the intestinal fortitude to stick around. That is no longer the case with the article at large, which remains under the ban of a NPOV Dispute so severe that the present stick-arounders are not even capable of the minimal respect for other POVs that would be tokenized by their leaving the maintainance tag on the article. It is not even strictly true that the present lead is the consensus version, as we quit having consensus when a couple of admins got into the fray, and simply imposed their preferences by fiat without going through all the bother of the incremental, iterative process that had been the rule before the not so happy Fall. Still, the present lead does retain some ragged remnant of the consensus that once existed, and so I maintain a certain nostalgia for it. Jon Awbrey 14:36, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

JA: FYI, the last actual consensus version read like this:

Common dictionary definitions of truth mention some form of accord with fact or reality. There is, however, no single definition of truth about which scholars agree. Numerous theories of truth continue to be widely debated. What sorts of things can properly be called true or false? What tests can establish a claim as being true? How do we know something to be true? Which truths, if any, are subjective, relative, objective, or absolute? Does truth, as a concept, have a rigorous definition, or is it unavoidably imprecise?

As I recall, additional consensus had been reached to remove the question marks and syntax them as affirmative statements. This was done in order to avoid the repeated insistence by passersby to try to answer the questions right in the intro. More, the slight move towards standard Wiki lead format was hard to object to, since it seemed to represent an improvement. The brief last sentence tacked onto the end of the current intro was added by me just a couple days ago. ... Kenosis 16:01, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
1) Jim's cut in was improper, and his complaint about biting the newbies is misplaced - that policy applied only to very new people who dont understand the process. Older newbies that should know better should at least be reasonable. The intro is still terrible and does not meet Wikipedias standards. What to do about it? -Ste|vertigo 00:36, 5 August 2006 (UTC)
Mea maxima ultima altima culpa, sed dixisti "It would be easier if newbie editors such as yourselves..." ergo quem dixerim? &#0149;Jim62sch&#0149; 00:15, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
Look, I'm so sorry, very apologetic, like mea culpa mea maxima culpa. But the "standards" here are in fact "guidelines" and not a homogenous formula that editors can't override for any given article if they see good reason to within the local expression of the consensus process. In the context of intense disagreements that have come across the talk page and edit history, we've learned that several of the editors of this article know this subject as well as nearly anyone around, at least a couple know it better than most college philosophy professors, and many more participating editors have at least looked at the subject more deeply than the vast majority of people. The current intro properly reflects the consensus we'all came to, thus requiring some very persuasive and specific arguments to merit even looking at it in detail again, and also requiring a reasonable new consensus in order to implement major changes to it. ... Kenosis 04:31, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

JA: What's an oldie to do? I would suggest trying to make your criticisms both constructive and explicit. It would also help if your "improvements" were grammatical and exhibited a grasp of the subject matter, which they do not currently do. Just to be explicit, the sentence, The word truth, according to common dictionary definitions, has some form of accord with fact or reality, and is strongly tied to the concept of "veracity", makes no sense at all. Jon Awbrey 01:32, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

JA: Question marks considered beneficial. And here I should have thought that stimulating passers-by to try and answer a philosophical question was the very mark of success in this endeavor. Silly me ... Jon Awbrey 04:00, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

Ken: I understand that there is some protectionism associated with this article, and that its due to trying to keep things from falling apart. But philosophy is ultimately dependent on words, and so our descriptions of philosophical concepts are not just about philosophy, but our use of language. So while the guidelines are not homogenous, they do point to a methodology and a basic standard for what the intro should contain, and that trancends any protectionism associated with a particular article. I understand that there is some fear that any changes will only cause things to fall apart. Thats not a fear I share. JA: the addition of "veracity" was simply to denote, according to a basic rule of disambiguating related terms, a difference between "truth" as the word is used philosophically, and "veracity" which is generally applied to particular arguments. Hence, looking at the basis of any philosophical (including religious) concept of truth, we must define the underlying logic which applies to the word -ie. its definition. From there we can talk about how controversial truth is. This version, while somewhat more subtle, is not much better that Rick Norwoods' version: "truth is a statement that corresponds with reality. If someone says, "It is raining," and it is raining, then the statement is the truth. If it is not raining, then the statement is a falsehood." -Ste|vertigo 12:08, 5 August 2006 (UTC)
Cool. Yep. That's where it all started, repeatedly in fact. What you're referring to is Bertrand Russell's definition from Problems of Philosophy in the early 20th Century, and it's a classic definition ("Truth consists in some form of accord with reality").. I briefly had advocated in support of Rick Norwood's preference to include that definition or a close variation thereof in the introduction, and some knowledgeable editors raised POV hell about it. Fact is, it's not so simple as just "correspondence with reality". ... Kenosis 15:22, 5 August 2006 (UTC)
Kenosis SV

Common dictionary definitions of truth mention some form of accord with fact or reality. There is, however, no single definition of truth about which scholars agree, and numerous theories of truth continue to be widely debated. Differing opinions exist on such questions as what constitutes truth, how to define and identify truth, what roles do revealed and acquired knowledge play, and whether truth is subjective, relative, objective, or absolute. This article introduces the various perspectives.

The word truth, according to common dictionary definitions, has some form of accord with fact or reality, and is strongly tied to the concept of "veracity." However, "truth" is often used within the context of philosophical arguments, as well as within particular conceptual frameworks, which attempt to expand or redefine its definition according to the view from within those frameworks.

There is no single definition of "truth" about which people can agree, and numerous views, beliefs, and theories about the nature of truth continue to be widely debated. As such, there is a great variance of opinion with respect to such questions as, what constitutes truth, how to define and identify truth, what roles do 'revealed' and 'acquired knowledge' play, and whether truth is best defined as subjective, relative, objective, or absolute.

Back to Webster

JA: I'm warning ya — don't make me turn this car around ... Jon Awbrey 15:32, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

SV: Im warning you, dont make me quote Mencken on philosphy. -Ste|vertigo 21:19, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

This article is part of the Philosophy WikiProject, if someone wanted a dictionary definition they would go to a dictionary. It sounds like a school essay beginning with a dicitonary definition. I suggest it goes staight to the point of what someone might be looking for looking it up. I also think the image on the top is so narrow that it is hard to make out what it means.--Lucas 23:21, 5 August 2006 (UTC)[This comment left by [[User:Tercross] here]]

Well, here's what the Wiktionary says, not that it's anything but a brief statement of correspondence theory:
  1. That which conforms to reality.
  2. The degree of correspondence between a representation and what is being represented.
Suggestions? ... Kenosis 23:37, 5 August 2006 (UTC)
Actually I'm sorry I asked already. As I reread the above, the statement "...staight to the point of what someone might be looking for looking it up" obviously means "... straight to my preferred theory rather than summarizing the various theories below..." ... Kenosis 23:54, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

No, straight to the point of an encyclopedic explanation or summary of expertise, rather than a dictionary definition 20:11, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Which, with eight or nine editors participating in the formation it, leads the intro to where it is at present. ... Kenosis 20:23, 16 August 2006 (UTC) ... There are actually also about eight or nine major theories of truth, each of which involve their own slant on the topic, and a whole slew of minor slants which often don't bear any resemblance to one another. The decision was made to keep'm separated, and just tell it like it is. ... Kenosis 20:31, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

I wouldn't suggest that it'd be easy but it is a valid criticism. Perhaps some general information placing the article within the main areas, philosophy, epistemology. Thus avoiding those recent mistaken additions I dont think the defintion at the moment actually adds anything since most people already have at least a rough idea of what truth is to them and in my opinon the naivety of the dictionary definition is misleading. Perhaps some etymology of the word and related words? Lucaas 20:55, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Fine: Truth < ME treue < OE treow(e) (faith) < IE *dree- <*deru > TREE, (firm (as a tree)). This etymology only works for some Gmc languages, indicating that the concept is somewhat newer than the break-up of PIE and PGmc into separate languages. &#0149;Jim62sch&#0149; 23:13, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
I get:
The stem forms perhaps show a different ablaut grade, u beside eu, eo, whence OE. trúwa, trúa, faith, good faith (see TRUCE), trúwian to TROW, trust, confide, and ON. trúr true; but, as tr does not appear before the 13th c., when u and eu (ew) in other words had phonetically fallen together, it is possible that ME. truthe really comes from OE. treowe. See also TROTH
Good point about the languages, we could also look at veritas and aletheia.
--Lucaas 00:55, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
Alethia is simple: alpha-privative plus lethe (forgetfulness), so, not forgetful (< PIE *laidh-, root *la, hidden). Psychologically, that's a very interesting constuction.
Veritas <PIE *weros, to be friendly, to be true. > Ger, wahr true, OE waer, a compact.
Bodha (Sanskrit)<PIE *bheudh- to be alert. ("to bid" is a cognate)
Pravda (Russian) <PIE *reg- right (we get rule, regulate, reign, raj, etc from this root).
Unforunately, I don't know the Persian word for truth, but if I can find it, I'll pass it along. &#0149;Jim62sch&#0149; 01:28, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
That is interesting Jim, just by the etymologies we include almost all the overwrought theories of philosophy, English:truth as certainty, Slavic: truth as power, Greek: truth as revelation, etc. What about Hebrew?
This is one argument not to use the opening line giving the English dictionary's Victorian prejudice toward truth as correspondence.
--Lucaas 23:21, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, I stop at Indo-European languages, I've never taken more than a cursory glance at Semitic languages. Although you do raise a good question. It'd be interesting to see what the tri-literal is to determine to what other Semitic words (Hebrew, Arabic, Aramaic, etc.) it is related. &#0149;Jim62sch&#0149; 23:47, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

The Devil and Noah Webster

JA: Da capo al infinito ... In a case like this, it's perfectly acceptable, and perhaps even preferable, to begin an article with a synopticon of dictionary definitions. I wrote five or six of these myself just last winter. The array of meaning is actually quite rich in all of the customary connotations of the word, both salient and silent, and, no, despite some opinions to the contrary, none of these nuances boil down to "the correspondence theory of truth", partly because they encompass such a diversity of senses and partly because there is no such thing as "the" X theory of truth, in particular, where X = correspondence. And starting with dictionary entries is a perfectly good way of reminding readers of this fact, since all intelligent readers are used to the idea that dictionary entries are not "real" definitions, but only tell us about the customary linkages among largely undefined words, pointing for instance to further undefineds like accord and correspondence in the case at hand. And intelligent readers understand what a far cry dictionary entries are from any brand of theoretical definition of a concept. But at least a competent synopsis of lexical glosses serves to get the article off . Jon Awbrey 02:00, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

See New essay Wikipedia:You Are Probably Not a Lexicologist or a Lexicographer (WP:NOTLEX). Please feel free to have it out there once and for all. MPS 15:48, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Added subsection

I just added a subsection on Mencken. Seems to me he had a great deal to say about truth that, while perhaps not suitable for the introduction of the article, might perhaps be worth quoting a few of his often-insightful aphorisms. ... Kenosis 03:50, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

JA: Yes, the line between journalism and philosophy having been erased of late, let me put in a word for Mark Twain. No doubt others will have their favorites. Jon Awbrey 04:00, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

Well, maybe there's a mathematico-logical solution to the editorial quagmire that might inevitably result. Perhaps ultimately a section on Tony Soprano's views? ... Kenosis 04:26, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

JA: Ha! I'm glad somebody got the one about "da capo". Jon Awbrey 04:50, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

Mencken and Twain sound like good choices. George Bernard Shaw might be good, even Oscar Wilde (although he was a bit odd). Actually, something on Eric Blair's writings, not just 1984 but his essays, as well as Huxley's novels (especially A Brave New World and Point Counter Point) and his essays could work. Maybe a Clockword Orange, too. Wait, this sound like a new spinoff article -- Truth in Novels.
And yes, this article sometimes seems like it has an infinite loop. To score it as an opera beyond Wagnerian proportions da capo al infinito might be appropriate, with a parenthetical ad libitum added in for good measure. Talk page might need fortissimo added. &#0149;Jim62sch&#0149; 11:07, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
Actually I think Jim may have meant Wignerian, as in Wigner's friend ("n'n'nice kitty").;-) ... Kenosis 12:47, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
The solution for infinite loops is to fork when there is enough material: "Truth in fiction" maybe. :} -Ste|vertigo 20:00, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

JA: I haven't checked lately — who can keep up wit da sooth'o'da'week? — but we used to have sections on truth in art, truth in fic, truth in lit, and so on, and these are perfectly acceptable topics, but not everybody who draw(l)s a truth is able to say zactly how he or she or it manged to do that. Jon Awbrey 16:06, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

Ah - John beat me to it. -Ste|vertigo 20:03, 7 August 2006 (UTC)


A careful analysis of what Kant is saying here can help to explain why there are so many theories of truth on the contemporary scene

Who says it does? Banno 20:17, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

JA: That was a rhetorical segue. Feel free to write your own. Jon Awbrey 20:20, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

I think what Banno means is where's your source - an often used diatribe. -Ste|vertigo 01:53, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

JA: The purpose of that segue was simply to introduce the quotation from Kant, and the source was given for that. What I wrote by way of introduction seemed like common sense to me at the time, but what's common is common for everyone, to adapt a line of mother wit. At any rate, the rewrite has rendered the issue moot. Jon Awbrey 02:04, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

Half-truth; Truths Paradox

(I was in the process of modifying this posting when I noticed too late that it was linked to another site...please advise...)

In the bible is this remarkable story of Adam and Eve in the garden, opening this 'pandora's box' by taking of the tree of knowledge and believing that they would be like God to know the Truth, as God would.

Having discovered the negative dimension to Truth back in 1994, it is with great priviledge that I make this entry concerning Truth.

There are several new dimensions to the concept of half-truths. Several new types have been recently identified and presented to with corresponding changes to the definitions to the concepts of 'truth' and 'lie'.

One particular type of half-truth is the statment that is part of a greater truth. This suggests the half-truth is in fact a truth, yet it may form a deceptive lie; the paradoxical nature of truth.

This phenomena also allows for truths, minor or half-truths to be both aboslute and relative; a duality of truth. ( Source: The Jesus Christ Code. ) The classic example is the two opposite sides to a coin, each representing an absolute truth, both relative to the frame of reference. It is also important to appreciate that a coin has three sides, and the third is not visible from either side, the depth of truth; which raises the question who knows The Truth in the infinite sense ?

The philosopher, Alfred North Whitehead, is quoted as saying, "There are no whole truths; all truths are half-truths. It is trying to treat them as whole truths that plays the devil." So Mr. Whitehead comes close to suggesting that all truths are half-truths, yet does not label them as potential lies. While Mr. Whitehead does mention the devil he may be closer to the truth of this matter than he may have ever believed.

Truth appears dimensional, that is it exists in true nature on different levels, within certain 'boxes' of philosophy. The challenge of connecting truths within different levels is the challenge of logic.

When one views the hidden and deceptive world of half-truths, in reference to the original sin and the garden of eden, the potential origin of this inability to see this negative side to truth may be explained.

A scientific model for Truth can be found in LIGHT. The refracted colors of colorless forming the political half-truths of Truth.

In the matter of intentional lies, it is a fact the current definition of 'truth' makes no mention of 'half-truths', the bible says that the devil lied to us, ie Adam and would this be considered an intentional lie to us by the devil ?

(Source: The Jesus Christ Code. Caesar J. B. Squitti )

--Son of Maryann Rosso and Arthur Natale Squitti 17:32, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

This is intereseting, perhaps you could add a section to the main article "truth in politics" and read some history on it, add a paragraph on that history and then you'll have plenty of scope for saying "half truths" (of which, luckily, I've never been told).--Lucaas 03:10, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

NB to contributor: Please remove the copyright symbol from this page, along with all material for which copyright is claimed. Thank you, Jon Awbrey 17:54, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

Thanks ! CS

Of course, there's just one problem: see WP:NOR &#0149;Jim62sch&#0149; 01:32, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

The work has been published in various media forms for the past 17 years, and on a website.

--Son of Maryann Rosso and Arthur Natale Squitti 19:13, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

The website fails WP:RS. As for the rest, he who asserts must prove. &#0149;Jim62sch&#0149; 21:39, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

Any reference to Truth should include a mention of Jesus Christ considered the son of God by some, a prophet by others, but no doubt a philosopher of sorts.

Most notable claim involving truth, is the quotation, " "I am the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6) [5]

More directly was the claim by Jesus Christ to be "The Light of the World".

The first chapter of the Gospel of John can be divided in two parts :

The first part (v. 1-18) is an introduction to the Gospel as a whole, stating that the Logos is "God" (divine, god-like, a god according to other translations) and acts as the mouthpiece (Word) of God "made flesh", i.e. sent to the world in order to be able to intercede for man and forgive him his sins (The Good News of the Gospel). This portion of John's gospel is of central significance to the development of the Christian doctrine of Incarnation. Comparisons can easily be drawn from this part to Genesis 1 where the same phrase In the beginning first occurs along with the emphasis on the difference between the darkness (such as the earth was formless and void, Genesis 1:2) vs light (the ability to see things not understood/hidden by the darkness, John 1:5). The summation of this comparison occurs in the statement, the law given through Moses...grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (v. 17, NIV). Here John successfully bridges the gap for the reader -- including Jewish readers well-versed in the Torah -- from the Law to the One who would fulfill the Law (such as the requirement of animal sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins, Hebrews 9:22), Jesus.


The second used light to provide us with a concept as a gateway to a deeper understanding to Truth, as Jesus himself had said, the life, the truth and the way, to it.

Uh, no. &#0149;Jim62sch&#0149; 23:47, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

Removed material

I've removed the following sentence from the intro to the section on "Philosophy of truth". The reason I removed it is in the edit summary. ... Kenosis 04:52, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

  • The basic rule of non-contradiction is applied in logic and math to determine whether statements contradict, and therefore one or both statemnts must be false. ... 04:52, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

Just a note: Contradiction, may involve two seperate dimensional half-truths, where both are true, merely different dimensions, or relative views...both involve minor truths. IE square root of 9 is +3 and -3 ....

--Son of Maryann Rosso and Arthur Natale Squitti 18:48, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

This just removed from the section on "Correspondence theory", for reasons given in the edit summary: ... Kenosis 04:58, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

  • In logic and with the scientific method the notion of true and false statements is widely accepted because of specific and clear evidence. The most primitive definition is by demonstration, such as pointing to the real, universal, existing sun or moon and giving it an etymological, common, or even a new name. The statement that the sun exists is true, just as many other natural facts, sensory observations, can be proven by anyone, at anytime in history, and anywhere. There is the true existence of the sun even with a variety of more specific definitions about the changing sun. Universal facts and claims of knowledge are widely accepted and agreed upon by many in all nations, and throughout history, because of the universal nature of giving evidence and proof for one's claims that are not mere opinions or superstitions. The scientific method that uses true or probable statements, induction, and deduction has discovered true and probable conclusions about the world around us that very few can deny. ... 04:58, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
The statement that the sun exists is not true. All we can say is that it existed 8 minutes and 20 seconds ago (roughly). If it blinked out at the moment you read this, you'd be oblivious to its demise for 8 minutes and 20 seconds. Thus, we assume that it exists at this particular moment based on experience and an expectation of continuity. &#0149;Jim62sch&#0149; 23:39, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
It is, of course, possible to assume that something is true and for it to actually be true. It is also possible to assert something without actually knowing it. For instance, when people lie. Also, when people make mistakes (a phenomenon which has been known to occur from time to time). Jim62sch, the third and fourth sentences you wrote in the above do not support the first two sentences. Sententiae tuae prima secundaque non sequuntur. Suppose someone says "the sun exists", and eight minutes, twenty seconds later you find out that it, in fact, did exist at the time the statement was made, what you find out is that the statement was true when it was made. (Assuming some reasonable choice of intertial frame of reference). 06:31, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

Taking the idea of truth and true statements in math, logic, and science seriously

The introduction needs some impartial and open minded editing.

That there are some true statements about some subjects and things is widely accepted and universal in math, science, law, and logic. Even in the subject of history all will agree, based on clear evidence, that Hitler existed. It is not just about mere perspectives, and in some branches of learning there is no great disagreements about what the ideas of true and truth means. The introduction needs to mention the common and ancient definition of true statements and propositions. There is no justice in rewriting such an ancient idea in such a relativistic way. Who gave some of you the great authority to redefine such an important and ancient etymologically defined word? To claim that there are no true statements and no partially agreed upon ideas of true statements is the most dogmatic and imposed idea that I have ever heard of. The introduction as it is now is scary, not very open minded, and makes a great and final universal claim that there are no great agreements and proof about some well defined and clearly argued for true statements, only disagreement and mere perspectives about the ancient idea of truth and true.

Thanks for listening and considering my argument seriously, with no personal attacks please. Thanks for all the great work that you do on Wikipedia. I acknowledge that a lot of great work has been done already. I ask for some minor edits based on good arguments and persuasive evidence. Where do you see the failure of what I am saying. I would love to know. Assuming that you agree that we can know about some things.

--joseph 06:39, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Interesting and thank you. What can we conclude from the above?
First, that the writer has an absolutist sense of truth, at least judging from his question regarding "redefining" the word. And yet, he qualifies what appears to be a belief in the absolute by citing on the one hand "there are some true statements about some subjects and things is widely accepted and universal" and on the other, a requirement that truth be "based on clear evidence". In the first case, wide acceptance does not make something true in the absolutist sense, it merely means that it is widely accepted, thus its truth is relativistic. After all, for many years, it was widely accepted that the sun went round the earth. Did that acceptance make it true? If wide-acceptance is our criterion, then yes, it was true. In the second case, using the same model, if "clear evidence" is the criterion, then yes, based on the knowledge of the time it was true, although today, based on both wide-acceptance and clear evidence it is false.
Second, the author makes a statement requesting, "no personal attacks please", implying that he sees as a truism that personal attacks are bad. But, does he see this as an absolute? His other statements would seem to indicate that he sees this as a qualified truism, after all how else could one reconcile his request with, "Who gave some of you the great authority to redefine such an important and ancient etymologically defined word?" So then, is the author more interested in absolute truth, or relative truth?
Thus, the article is written as it is written. &#0149;Jim62sch&#0149; 17:03, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
In response to the above, it is difficult to label anyone as absolutist or relativistic. Depending on the specific issue and statements made, one might have made either kinds of statements, or perhaps there are other possibilities. A human is not some label we put on them, but a great mix of opinions, knowledge, and statements both true and false can come from the same person. It is also possible to have both correspondence theory and wide acceptance working together in some way because they are not necessarily exclusive and contrary. As for the question of authority, it was perhaps too leading. Sorry, my mistake. There are authoritative claims made on Wikipedia, and there are problems that can arise from this, and perhaps a more general question is about who has the last words on any specific claim? There is editing that goes on, but there can be the rule of the majority, or the rule of those who can delete faster and more often. It really is ironic that we all use computers that are built because so many have true knowledge about how to program and build them. Again, it seems to me that one of the most absolute statements that anyone can make is that there are no true statements anywhere, at anytime, by anyone that is based on correspondence theory and wide agreement because correspondence actually works. The claim that there is no truth cannot be true, yet it can be imposed by the majority or by the most willful. Perhaps we are being armchair philosophers while some scientists and others who have truth claims are building these computers for us to use, and cars that work for us to drive. This is an interesting debate, thanks for the comments and criticism. This ancient debate will not go away anytime soon. In fact, some extreme and radical Muslims, who often think thoughts that we are not used to, would call most of us the great Satan and prefer to chop off our heads. Perhaps it would be more fun to debate if God exists or not, then we can decide if true statements exist or not.
--joseph 03:31, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
There are at least four major substantive theories of truth (the article stretches it to five, separating out consensus from constructivist theory). Here's a simple fast-and-loose description of a few of the issues that make it not-so-simple as we'd sometimes like to believe. Correspondence theory is very often taken as the initial view. Problem with correspondence theory is that it quickly arrives at a point where most people will say, essentially "well, OK, so how do ya' explain this or that?" Fact is, it turns out there's no such thing as a pure correspondence, and that it's a social process wherein ideas are exchanged and folks develop mutually shared exchanges of words and, presumably, of the concepts involved. Those concepts are never exactly alike between two individuals, let alone all humankind. Enter constructivist theory. Not only do people mutually shape ideas of truth ("Is dat true, Clem?" "Yep, Festus, y'kin take that one to the bank,"). it turns out that even the "authorities" on the subject, the dictionaries, textbooks, encyclopedias, etc., help to shape what is held to be "truth". In Turkmenistan today, for instance, there is only one set of truths--those of Turkmenbashi. Turkmen today have very good reason to believe in constructivist theory, and to varying degrees most humans have some degree of reason to sense the constructivists have something constructive to say about the issue in even the most free-thinking societies. Coherence theory is about, in part, how truth "hangs together", about that funny feeling one gets when something doesn't fit into the body of thought or belief each of us develops as we progress through life. It's also about logical and mathematical coherence. ("If it doesn't fit, you must acquit"; or, "Run JavaScript = False"). Sometimes logically coherent systems do not necessarily have anything to to with reality, and at the very least require a method of justification, which both scholars and people in general don't always agree how to do. Pragmatic theory is a synthesis of sorts, involving elements of correspondence, coherence and constructivist, with a central premise that truth is verified, in the end, by applying it rather than merely by thinking about it. There you also run into the problem of "well, I tried it and it didn't work that way for me"; "are you sure we're talking about the same thing?", etc. etc.
Then there are the "deflationary theories", which assert that when Clem tells Festus he kin take that one to the bank, he's doing nothing more than expressing agreement with the idea Festus put forward. And that is all that need be said about the word "truth", leaving the rest of the analysis to the separate issue of epistemological justification (how to prove, verify, or otherwise gain agreement that the word "true" is properly applied to something, ideally beyond merely agreeing to call it truth).
This very fast-and-loose sampling of issues merely touches the surface of why there is no one view or definition of truth. Certainly the intro could read differently, but the numerous editors that were involved chose to write the intro to keep it simple and to the point, and leave all the complicated and often contradictory stuff in the individual sections. ... Kenosis 01:49, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

One thing that should come out of this discussion is an attempt to have all Wikipedia articles indicate what paradigm they are using for the article to write it.

I notice that some such articles do that, witness "Evidence (legal).

The point is that it makes a big difference in what area you are discussing the topic.

There is logic and truth in various areas, but often they have nothing to do with each other, except peripherally.

A scientific truth is different than a logical truth or a legal truth or a philosophical one. I find the articles on Wikipedia often do not indicate which of these perspectives they are using for the article. That makes the article almost useless or even worse than useless, due to one being unable to separate out which perspective is being explained. —The preceding signed but undated comment was added at 00:46, August 24, 2007 (UTC).

correspondence theory

In logic and with the scientific method the notion of true and false statements is widely accepted because of specific and clear evidence. The most primitive definition is by demonstration, such as pointing to the real, universal, existing sun or moon and giving it an etymological, common, or even a new name. The statement that the sun exists is true, just as many other natural facts, sensory observations, can be proven by anyone, at anytime in history, and anywhere. There is the true existence of the sun even with a variety of more specific definitions about the changing sun. Universal facts and claims of knowledge are widely accepted and agreed upon by many in all nations, and throughout history, because of the universal nature of giving evidence and proof for one's claims that are not mere opinions or superstitions. The scientific method that uses true or probable statements, induction, and deduction has discovered true and probable conclusions about the world around us that very few can deny.

Correspondence theory is used by all of us, and used very often. You cannot walk down the street with dangerous cars passing by if you do not have any correspondence theory that works because it actually does accurately describe some of what exists.

--joseph 06:39, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Truth definition from Objectivism

How come the article does not mention Objectivist_epistemology? Here is a possible start: "Truth is an epistemological unit: the recognition of a fact." There is not a single word 'recognition' in the entire article. I propose to start a section on Objectivist view on 'truth'. Oleksandr 18:47, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Given the current organization of the article, which took very extensive work by many editors and countless person-hours, I'd suggest putting Ayn Rand in the notable philosophers section, and proceeding from there. What you've pointed out also anticipates the need for a future section on epistemology generally, with one or more "main article" links to the appropriate topic fork(s). ... Kenosis 18:59, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
The Objectivist view of truth isn't notably different from the garden variety correspondence theory as presented here and in its own article, as your quote indicates. --Christofurio 23:40, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

Pic again

I'm tired'a arguing about this pic every two weeks. We compromised a couple weeks back the last time editors were moving images back and forth, and ended up with no images up in the intro. Now La Verite is in the article twice, once in the intro and once farther down. This is not an issue of censorship or defending anything; the image doesn't explain anything about truth and neither do any of the other ones, so there's no need to have La Verite, or any of them, up front in the article. ... Kenosis 23:19, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

Yep, trying to provide tangibility to an abstact is perty near impossible. And you kin take that to the bank.  ;) &#0149;Jim62sch&#0149; 01:36, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
Well Keno, I dont think president Bush will be looking in at it, in his own immortal words: "One of the great things about books is sometimes there are some fantastic pictures." Lucaas 01:02, 18 August 2006 (UTC)


Unsure about this new section on Whitehead, quote is out of context. At least with the earliar Adam/Eve story, it was intersting; "Mythology about Truth" might be an interesting section to add.

On Whitehead: What is truth for "process philosophy"? Not sure what the point of existing paragraph on him is. Should we also include all other quotes, Shakespeare, plus anyone vaguely witty, whenever they use the word "truth"?

Much better to remove this section and update the Hegel section, wherefrom Whitehead got his ideas on truth (as something that moves, is realised/revealed, and NOT 'constructed' as it hints earliar) and is more interesting.Lucaas 23:24, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

Truth in Science

This may be a silly point - but would it not make sense to hold truth in science to be *the* truth according to which humans live?

Yes, it would not. Banno 22:19, 10 September 2006 (UTC)
It would be an extremely controversial point, at the least. Just for example: I don't know how my life is changed by whether physicists discover proton decay in one of those big underground tanks where they've been waiting on that discovery for twenty years now. Certain models as to the unification of forces will change, and that may or may not indirectly affect my life or that of later generations if I don't live long enough. In the meantime, the truth according to which I live is the truth of the phenomenal world, where tables are solid brown objects and my body is another solid object which might bump into the table if I'm not careful. --Christofurio 20:40, 12 September 2006 (UTC)

I don't think thtat this is a silly point, though it needs some development and disambiguation. It is controversial, but certainly there are contemporary philosophers who hold the view that truth in science is the same as truth in our everyday lives. But there are variations which you don't distinguish. One might think that it's correspondence in both. Or constuctivist. Or pragmatist. -Christofurio, consider the difference between what is known and what is true but unknown. 11:47, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

We can consider that difference if you like, but the anonymous editor above spoke of scientific truth as the truth "according to which humans live." Known truth is that according to which we live. At any rate, I didn't say that the observation was necessarily wrong, only that it was "extremely controversial." You said the same, without the adjective. --Christofurio 13:20, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

Proposed correspondence-theory material

I have removed the following newly added material from the section on "Correspondence theory" for discussion and sourcing.

  • Philosophers who adhere to this theory state that underlying this theory is the notion that the human being's intelligence and sense perception are capable of capturing the essence of the known object. Most of these philosophers also warn that to deny this capability risks falling into relativism, whereby each person constructs his own truth, and thus lives egoistically, out of touch with the demands of reality. .... 16:45, 16 September 2006 (UTC)

The first sentence presumes an "essence" of known objects. The term "essence" is traditionally a troublesome one in philosophy in the context of both ontology and epistemology. The second sentence, in my estimation, would need to be (1) properly sourced as to who or which group of philosophers holds such a view, and (2) placed elsewhere because it is a counterargument which appears to involve some kind of broad psychospiritual slant, using as it does "constructs", "egoistically", "out of touch with the demands of reality", etc. And the assertion "to deny this capability [of capturing the essence] risks falling into relativism" is a whole argumentative line of thinking that sounds, offhand, like a form of essentialism overlayed with a Jungian POV. ... Kenosis 16:45, 16 September 2006 (UTC)

I would have just taken it out and shot it. &#0149;Jim62sch&#0149; 20:36, 16 September 2006 (UTC)

"Notable Philosophers"

What criterion are being used for inclusion in this list? Can anyone add their favourite? Perhaps those that consist of a quote should be removed? Banno 01:50, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

Personally I have no objection to Bohr and Whitehead being included for now. If it gets out of hand, there'll be a stronger basis for removing some of the less "notable" views. Maybe I'll defer to Jim62sch; if he really wants he can take a couple out and "shoot them", as he said above. As long as there are no serious objections by other editors to such a removal, I'll support it. ... Kenosis 02:26, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

Correction to 'Philosophy of truth' opening paragraph needed

The opening paragraph of 'Philosophy of Truth' reads: "Questions about what is a proper basis on which to decide whether and to what extent words, symbols, ideas and beliefs may be said to be true, whether for a single person or an entire community or society, are among the many important questions addressed by the theories introduced below." This is misleading, because words and symbols might refer or represent but it is never appropriate to describe them as true or false. This is also the case for most ideas, e.g. "Let's go to the shops." Surely it is more appropriate to list the entities that the theories consider to be truth bearing?

I suggest "Questions about what is a proper basis on which to decide whether and to what extent claims, propositions, and beliefs may be said to be true..." Comments please.

(Thanks, Kenosis, for fixing my erroneous edits - in both cases I misunderstood the established text.) Inabyssian 19:13, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

Inabyssian, I appreciated seeing the obvious thought that went into your edits yesterday.

The editors here have been through this essential discussion at least a couple of times before (now viewable in the lengthy archived discussions from earlier in 2006). The current wording arose as an NPOV way to try to avoid unnecessary disputes over the article being biased towards "correspondence theory", and also several other issues involved in this inherently broad topic. Perhaps Banno, Jim62sch and others recall the lengthy wrangling and the long, unweildy list of "entities" that the article ended up with in addition to claims/propositions and ideas/beliefs. Others argued for "sentences", "signs", "truthbearers" and a host of other "entities" along the way, and it ended up wildly out of control and highly unstable. The introductory paragraph currently introduces the broad topic, with sections for each of the four basic classes ot theory (five with "consensus theory", which is arguably a subset of "constructivist epistemology"). Correspondence theory has a main-article link in its respective section, and that article still needs a great deal of work. That article on correspondence theory appears a reasonable place (one of at least several possible reasonable approaches) to summarize or discuss more specifically the issues that surround the concepts of "truth-bearers" signs, symbols, propositions (communicative entities) as well as ideas, concepts, beliefs (mental entities) as they are argued to "correspond" to a hypothetical "objective" reality. Similarly, to the extent that propositions may be said to "cohere" within a consistent system of some kind, coherence theory of truth would be a reasonable place to discuss this aspect as it relates to the kinds of entities under consideration for their possible "truth value", as well as as it relates to consideration of an entire internally consistent schema or system.

As to the current introductory paragraph, "words" and "symbols" are already mentioned, so there is no need to begin adding additional terms applied to various types of groups of words at that initial stage of introducing the section to the reader of the article, at least in my view. .. Kenosis 01:08, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for the history of this discussion - I can see this issue would have been quite a slog! It certainly makes good sense to discuss 'truth-bearers' in more detail elsewhere, but nevertheless it seems a mistake that this opening sentence mentions candidates for truth-bearers, namely words and symbols, that can't be and aren't said to be, true by any of the theories described, or indeed by any theory of truth. Of course they play a role in all of the theories, as do beliefs, claims, propositions, etc, but since words and symbols are never 'true,' (they may or may not correspond or represent, etc, which is a different matter) their prominence in the introduction seems misleading (at least to me). Anyway, thanks for the response. Inabyssian 08:19, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

Yep, understood, sort of. Whether words and symbols are of necessity properly termed truth-bearers tends to be a product of correspondence theory analysis (see, for one instance, the article on "Correspondence Theory of Truth" in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy online). Over the course of the 20th century, correspondence theorists as a group have had a tendency to get tangled up better'n a darned frantic cat with an infinintely long ball of yarn. Perhaps the articles on truthbearer and correspondence theory are more appropriate places for that material. ... Kenosis 09:56, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

The Stanford Encyclopedia article indicates only that truth-bearers may be understood as composed of words, at least for the Correspondence as Isomorphism approach - this does not support the sentence as it stands. I seem to have been pigeon-holed as a correspondence theorist (nothing could be further from the truth (!)) - this is the only reason I can think of as to why I don't seem to be able to make clear my objection to the sentence as it stands. Yet my point has nothing to do with the correspondence theory; as I tried to point out in my last comment, no theory of truth treats words or symbols as truth-bearers, so a sentence that suggests that they do is misleading. Words and symbols should not be mentioned in this sentence. Oh well, I seem to be repeating myself/labouring the point - perhaps I am so far wrong that I'm lucky I've been treated politely. Enough from me - thanks for responding :-) Inabyssian 12:06, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

As I understand Inabyssian's point, it can as it were be split into two parts. Allow me to explain it in a silly way. Part 1. Imagine that this opening para contained this: "... to decide whether and to what extent articulated sounds, graven images, ideas and beliefs may be said to be true, ...". Wouldn't you think then: What? Sounds, images..., what has that to do with anything? Without going into a discussion as to the ability of sounds and images to function as bearers, it ought to be clear that these are not appropriate notions for being listed here. So OK, let's leave them out. Then we have: "... to decide whether and to what extent ideas and beliefs may be said to be true, ...". Part 2. Now you think: Hmm. Ideas and beliefs... a bit thin. Indeed, something is missing. What should we add back in? Maybe "phonemes, graphemes"? No, not quite right. Then "syllables, signs"? Nope. What about "words, symbols"? Same problem: not appropriate. Last try: "claims, statements, propositions". Well, yes, appropriate, but it gets a bit long. So let us remove some from the list "claims, statements, propositions, ideas and beliefs" that are redundant.  --LambiamTalk 19:17, 7 October 2006 (UTC)
Hold up a second please. This analysis, in saying "What about "words, symbols"? Same problem: not appropriate." just ran by the already existing language in the article at about 70 miles an hour. "Words" includes truthbearers, propositions, sentences, clauses, pharases, etc., etc., anything linguistic that carries meaning with the intent to convey a concept or image to another person. "Symbols" readily includes a variety of additional forms that are capable of having communicative value, including math symbols, pictoral images and can even include metaphors and other analogies. The last time around we had an absolute quagmire, in part because "truthbearer" is a categorical term that includes a number of communicative entities, with disagreement among different published writers about the range of entities that are properly termed truth-bearers. There also has never been full accord on the meaning of "propositions" ever since it was first proposed in the early 20th Century, in part because of the confusion about whether it is the sentence, phrase, clause, etc. which is the proposition, or does it need to be interpreted and argued what is the underlying meaning that is the actual proposition, so there is a whole tangled mess of debate right with that set of issues alone. For one thing, each word of a concise phrase or sentence tends to have a truth value or a meaning involved; there's a big difference between the conjunctions "and" and "or", and between the articles "the" and "a", etc., etc. Additionally, there is lack of agreement across the disciplines (notably semiotics, liguistics and philosophy) about the words "sign", "symbol", "signal" and a few others. A word can be a signal, and so can a nod of the head. The existing language accommodates these and many other points of great confusion adequately by the use of "words, symbols, ideas and beliefs". Admittedly it is a bit of a stretch to shoehorn physical gestures such as a nod of the head, into the existing language in the article ("words, symbols, ideas and beliefs"). A physical gesture certainly is covered by the concept truth-bearers; but truth-bearers is a confusing concept for the uninitiated, and tends to be specific to correspondence theory, while the words "words, symbols, ideas and beliefs" run across all five of the major theories that the section proceeds to introduce to the reader. This is an introductory sentence to a long, long, section, and as such is not, in my opinion, the place to get bogged down in this whole quagmire or give a long laundry list of specific terms. ... Kenosis 19:52, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

Examples of words include 'cat', 'dog,' etc - no truthbearers, propositions, sentences, clauses, or phrases, can be found in this list. Symbols are forms with communicative value, but communicative value is not truth. Words and symbols carry meaning but can never be said to be true. It is a mistake to use these terms instead of terms like proposition and claim, however problematic they are; to do so is to replace a problematic term with one used incorrectly.Inabyssian 22:22, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

Of course it's true that a single word generally does not of itself have a truth value when held out in isolation from a "statement" of some kind ("statement" being yet another candidate for the laundry list of possible entities to be subjected to consideration for their possible truth value). The word "words" includes all linguistic strings, including all of the above and much, much more. As I said, I don't believe this is the place for a laundry list. Incidentally, "utterance" is one of the commonly offered candidates too.

What is being suggested for that introductory sentence of the "Philosophy of truth" section? To replace "words, symbols, ideas, and beliefs" with what? ... "strings of words"?... Kenosis 02:43, 8 October 2006 (UTC)

For simplicity, my preference is "statements and beliefs", not really a laundry list. I see "proposition" as essentially a synonym for "statement", while "claim" is subsumed by "statement" (a claim is a statement put forward as being true). The problem with "utterance" is the same as for "word" or "string of words", namely that many utterances, such as "gosh" and "my o my", cannot meaningfully be subjected to a truth examination. We need noun phrases that cover such things as "Water is wet" and "The Moon consists of Emmenthaler cheese" while excluding "Come here!", "pflrfllpl", and "ɮɥʡʉʲɽЋ".  --LambiamTalk 04:19, 8 October 2006 (UTC)
Among the limitations of using "statements and beliefs", to name just a couple: ideas under investigation or held in suspension without necessary belief as to their truth value; math and logic symbols or sets of symbols in the setting of correspondence, coherence and/or pragmatic theory. Believe it or not, a great deal of thought went into picking those four nouns in order to avoid a POV coming primarily from correspondence theory analysis. ... Kenosis 05:16, 8 October 2006 (UTC)
If the terms 'words' and 'symbols' include strings of words or sets of symbols (which I don't agree that they do - else the opening sentence could be understood as referring to 'strings of ideas' or 'sets of beliefs'), then they are too broad, because such strings or sets include many things that have no truth value. The term 'ideas' has the same problem. I feel it is best to limit this list to things that do have truth value, but I also don't see how the suggested terms have any POV problem - the suggested terms are used by all theories of truth.Inabyssian 06:47, 8 October 2006 (UTC)
The exsiting words were intended to be broad enough to accommodate the entire range of entities that could potentially be subjected to consideration under any of the five major theories (conspicuously absent are "things", including "things-in-themselves", i.e. noumena). These four words ("words, symbols, ideas and beliefs") do in fact cover the broad sphere of linguistic and symbolic communicative entities, as well as the broad sphere of mental entities. Note very carefully that the language does not say "a word, symbol" but uses the plural form to accommodate the extremely wide range of entities that can readily come into play across the five theories. This includes literal statements, figurative statements, jokes, stories, movies, paintings, totem poles, masks, photographs, mathematical and logical symbols, phrases, propositions, cynical statements, questions, answers, evasive answers, sarcastic statements, inadvertent mistakes, intentional deceptions, half-truths whether literal or pictorial, physical evocations intended or interpreted as having a meaning, groupings of varying kinds of communicative entites such as truth-bearers, utterances, sentences, groups of sentences taken in context both with one another and in context with the wider setting in which they're placed, provisional propositions, assertions, hypothetical questions, hypothetical answers, fictional material, memoirs, and non-fiction, , and mental entities such as thoughts, mental images, ideas generally, mild intentions, firm intentions, musings, firm beliefs, tentative beliefs, symbolic thought, categorical thinking, stream of consciousness, hallucinations, fear-based avoidance thinking, groupthink, zeitgeist, individual geist, shared mentality, etc., etc., etc. ... Kenosis 17:30, 8 October 2006 (UTC)
While I believe that a great deal of thought went into picking those four nouns, which were introduced in this edit, I do not see that the particular formulation was the result of a consensus process; at least, I can't find it discussed on the talk page. I do not blame Kenosis for that; at around the same time I posted this comment. It was quite impossible then to have a meaningful discussion, thanks to the prolixity of one now permablocked editor. I find myself in agreement with Inabyssian on this (in my opinion minor) issue. I too fail to see a POV risk.  --LambiamTalk 13:15, 8 October 2006 (UTC)
The sentence currently under discussion was initially introduced in April, roughly 1700 edits ago. April 20th-23rd were very busy days for this article. At the beginning of April 20, the article looked like this. By the end of the April 22 it looked like this. In between, the initial form of the sentence now under discussion was introduced as a lead-in prior to the beginning of the then-section "Major theories of truth" here. Then, on April 23 I introduced the sentence as a beginning of that section here in a slightly different form than it exists presently. As sections were changed and moved around by various editors including myself, the sentence was moved around accordingly and also removed for awhile. I reintroduced it on June 18 here with roughly the current phrasing. On June 25 I moved it here. Then on June 29 found its way to the beginning of the section, then later the same day I moved it to its existing position as a lead for the section on Philosophy of truth, with the current wording put in place to avoid the repeated problems involved in using more specific language of what the five major theories were assessing as having some potential relationship to the word "truth". That language has been fairly stable since then. If it needs to be more explicitly consensused or changed, that's certainly OK with me. ... Kenosis 18:10, 8 October 2006 (UTC)

Multi-dimensional truths

Multi-dimensional truths.

In the arena of mathematical truths, one plus one equals two, but only within certain dimensions.

In the pure concrete world 1 + 1 = 11, in the pure abstract world 1(a) + 1(b) = 1(c) where 1(c) is greater than the other two. Example the amalgamation of one city with one city is still one city.

What i call 'thinking outside books'

We must appreciate that many truths are based on the relative position of reality subject to the realities of position.

The Jesus Christ Code.

While this may be (original research that I cannot quote, someone else can quote it, as it is not their original research)

--Son of Maryann Rosso and Arthur Natale Squitti 09:24, 19 October 2006 (UTC)


This section seems to me to be too brief. My recollection is that he describes truth an power as two sides of the same coin; bringing to the fore the difference between the analytic approach and the continental approach by emphasising the political impact of what is true and what isn't. I;m sure that his writing should have more prominence, but not being that interested in continental philosophy, I don;t have the citations at hand. Someone must. Banno 22:11, 28 October 2006 (UTC)


I've substantially re-structured the article. The aim was to bring disparate sections together in the hope that they can be linked by some sort of narrative. Comments? Banno 00:06, 29 October 2006 (UTC)

Interesting approach. Among other things in the way here is that the scholastics, if the editors ever get around to developing that little section, are not properly sectioned under classical philosophy. Alfred North Whitehead isn't continental, and Fromm very arguably doesn't belong in that grouping either. I'm a bit disappointed that the trio of "Truth in Mathematics", "Truth in law" and "Truth in science" never came to fruition to round out the perspectives, but personally can live with what you've done, so long as the basic presentation of the four or five major "substantive" theories and the deflationary theories remains fundamentally intact. (I also wonder how long it will take before someone comes in and says essentially, "well, technically the "Formal theories section aren't formal, but rather are yada-yada..."? I think I can hear it already: "The mathematics section is actually composed of arguments about formal proofs rather than formal theories of mathematical proofs", and "Tarski's semantic theory is a metaproposition, not a formal theory." or whatever.) Overall I have no objection to attempting this approach. ... Kenosis 00:55, 29 October 2006 (UTC)
Then replace Classical with historical or ''antiquated and remove Whitehead (which doesn't add much anyway). I think we can get away with leaving Fromm where he is. I'd like to fill out the formal maths section more, which contains the proto-"Truth in Mathematics" stuff. Perhaps we can work on it together. Glad the changes didn't meet with outright rejection - thanks. Banno 04:12, 29 October 2006 (UTC)


I believe I started the inclusion of Kripke [2]; as I recall Nathan Ladd placed the present version, after some discussion (see archive 4); it of course is quite different from what is in the actual Kripke article. Nathan appears to be inactive at present. Banno 20:52, 5 November 2006 (UTC) Kenosis, is the reference I provided sufficient? Banno

The Truth

If something has arguments on whether it is true or false, then it is in fact not true. The only thing that can be true is something universally accepted, such as this statement "The sky of the planet Earth appears to be the color blue to those who do not suffer from color blindess". Everyone agrees on that being true I'm sure. Anyway this article makes truth seem as if it's an opinion. The Truth is what is. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 20:46, 20 December 2006 (UTC).

Truth and The Truth

The article might want to distinguish truth from the Truth or Truths. Examples of the latter are commonly found in religious texts eg John 18:37, 'witness to the Truth', and the Buddhist Noble Truths. m.e. (talk) 10:11, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

Universally Accepted?

There are no Universally Accepted propositions.

Is the sensation which I call blue really the same as that which my neighbor calls blue? Is it possible that a blue object may arouse in him the same sensation that a red object does in me and vice versa? (Bridgman, P. W. - Logic of Modern Physics - p30 - Nobel prize winner in 1946)

"The Truth is what is" smacks of the Correspondence Theory, which has been Discredited.

According to this theory (correspondence), truth consists in the agreement of our thought with reality. This view ... seems to conform rather closely to our ordinary common sense usage when we speak of truth. The flaws in the definition arise when we ask what is meant by "agreement" or "correspondence" of ideas and objects, beliefs and facts, thought and reality. In order to test the truth of an idea or belief we must presumably compare it with the reality in some sense. In order to make the comparison, we must know what it is that we are comparing, namely, the belief on the one hand and the reality on the other. But if we already know the reality, why do we need to make a comparison? And if we don't know the reality, how can we make a comparison? (Randall, J. & Buchler, J.; Philosophy: An Introduction. p133)

The Randall book is an excellent introduction to philospophy.

--Berjm 16:49, 31 December 2006 (UTC)Berjm

Augustine's contradiction

There is an explicit contradiction in Augustine's definition. He first says: "Even if every created thing ceases to exist, Truth will continue to exist.", and then "Without a mind, truth could not exist." Does anybody know of some author who has pointed to this specific contradiction?

Didn't Augustine believe in the existence of One mind that was not a "created thing"? I'm not sure I see the alleged contradiction. --Christofurio 20:27, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

There is no contradiction. Truth exists in the mind of God. Rick Norwood 14:58, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

Statement; is it possible, that truth may be an "unconscious object"? (an attempt to define a model of Truth?)

Is it possible that truth may be an "unconscious object" common to all? unconscious = Truth", "My" definition of Truth - the degree of best fit, of data coming in from the reality, super-imposed on an "unconscious" philosophical model of reality and interpreted as a feeling. Example I point at an "object" a person is sitting on and call the "object" a "chair", other people in the vicinity of the object have the same model which they call a "chair”. In this case the object "chair" is a truth for all the people perceiving the object. (This truth is this case, is limited by the experience of the reality, these viewers have had i.e. how evolved is their conscious model of reality?) Absolute truth is an unconscious (objective) model, which describes all objects, events, perceptions, nothing is left out of this model. This model is common to all in this reality, though only part of the model is conscious, i.e. accessible to any one individual’s conscious mind, at any given point of time.Allan52 08:40, 4 January 2007 (UTC) Alan

" truth is verified and confirmed by the results of putting one's concepts into practice."

Pragmatic theory


The three most influential forms of the pragmatic theory of truth were introduced around the turn of the 20th century by Charles Peirce, William James, and John Dewey. Although there are wide differences in viewpoint among these and other proponents of pragmatic theory, they hold in common that truth is verified and confirmed by the results of putting one's concepts into practice.[7]

Removed section on Augustine of Hippo

I've removed this subsection, which was among "notable philosphers' views of truth", and am placing it here for now. The main reason is that this presentation of Augustine is more theology than it is philosophy of the concept of truth. and, it is excessively lengthy and was in drastic need of being more concise and organized to fit the article on truth ... Kenosis 04:04, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

  • ===Augustine of Hippo===

Augustine’s definition of Truth.

  • 1. Truth Exists:-

It is self-defeating to deny the existence of truth. If someone claims that “Truth does not exist”, then we can counter by asking if the claim is True or False. If the claim is False, then Truth Exists, and if the claim is True, then Truth Exists.

  • 2. Truth is Unchangeable:-

It is impossible for truth to change. What is true today always has been and always will be true. All true propositions are immutable truths. Pragmatic views of truth that imply that what is true today may be false tomorrow are untrue. If truth changes, then pragmatism will be untrue tomorrow, if indeed it could ever be true.

  • 3. Truth is Eternal:-

By extension of its Unchangeable nature, Truth must be Eternal. Even if every created thing ceases to exist, Truth will continue to exist. But suppose someone asks, “What if truth itself should someday perish?” Then the truth that “Truth has perished” would still exist eternally. Any denial of the eternity of truth turns out to be an affirmation of its eternity.

  • 4. Truth is Spiritual:-

The existence of truth presupposes the existence of minds. Without a mind, truth could not exist. The object of knowledge is a meaningful thought which resides in one or more minds.

  • a. Truth is Not a function of Matter:-
    The existence of truth is incompatible with any materialistic view of man. Materialists believe that all thinking and reasoning is merely the result of the motion of particles in the brain. But one set of relative physical motions is not truer than another set. Therefore, if there is no mind, there can be no truth; and if there is no truth, materialism cannot be true. Truth cannot be a function of the position of material objects because if a thought was the result of some physical motion in the brain, no two persons could have the same thought. A physical motion is a fleeting event different from every other motion. Two persons could not have the same random motion, nor could one person have the same random motion twice.
  • b. Truth is Not a function of Time:-
    If thoughts were the result of physical motions in the brain, memory and communication would be impossible. We are able to recall the past because we have minds and not because of the motion of particles in our brains. Thus, if one is able to think the same thought twice, truth must be independent of time.
  • c. Truth is Not a function of Space:-
    Truth is independent of Space as well. Not only does truth defy time and matter; it defies space as well. For communication to be possible between two or more people, the identical truth must be in two or more minds at the same time. If, in opposition, anyone wished to deny that an immaterial idea can exist in two different minds at the same time, his denial must be conceived to exist in his own mind only; and since it has not registered in any other mind, it does not occur to us to refute it!
  • 5. Truth is Superior to the human mind:-By its very nature, truth cannot be subjective and individualistic. Truth is immutable, but the human mind is changeable. Even though beliefs vary from one person to another, truth itself cannot change. Moreover, the human mind does not stand in judgment of truth; rather truth judges our reason. While we sometimes judge other human minds (as when we say, for example, that someone’s mind is not as keen as it should be), we do not judge truth. If truth and the human mind were equal, truth could not be eternal and immutable since the human mind is finite, mutable, and subject to error. Therefore, truth must transcend human reason; truth must be superior to any individual human mind as well as to the sum total of human minds. From this it follows that there must be a mind higher than the human mind in which truth resides.
  • 6. Truth is God:-We have seen that Truth exists, is unchangeable, eternal, spiritual, and is superior to the human mind. But only God possesses these attributes. If we substitute the word “God” for the word “Truth” in the list of attributes, we see that:
  • God Exists-
  • God is Unchangeable-
  • God is Eternal-
  • God is Spiritual-
  • God is not a function of Space, Time or Matter-
  • God is Superior to the human mind-
  • These attributes apply equally to Truth and God, and only to Truth and God.

Truth and God are identical. Truth and God are convertible. Truth is God. God is Truth.

  • No created thing possesses the attributes of Truth or God. There can be no True propositions about created entities, including numbers, geometric patterns or so called “laws” of science because they are all dependent on Space, Time or Matter. The only true propositions are about God.
  • In other words, Knowing Truth is Knowing God. Truth is Knowledge of God.

Truth in religion should go

We need to delete the entire Truth in Religion section. The whole point of theories of truth is to find the common denominator of all truths, regardless of their domain. Otherwise, what's to stop someone from adding dozens of "Truth in blah" sections, where "blah" is replaced by any domain you can think of: biometry, astrology, magic, alchemy, ... etc. -- 03:23, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

Dear anon IP This section is intended to accommodate widespread beliefs in truth as argued to be spiritually revealed, or which are otherwise advocated by religions based upon particular kinds of assertions and upon the manner of deducing such concepts that religions may assert to be truth. To date, it appears there's a need in this article to accommodate this point of view in the use of the word "truth". Incidentally, perhaps you might choose to take a username and give other users something with which to associate your edits other than an up-to-12-digit number (and, such a choice would in the future eliminate another potential issue, which is that an IP address usually can easily be geographically located even without any special knowledge other than the address). More importantly, though, I would want to thank you for your well-thought edits, especially to the section on "Types of truth". ... Kenosis 03:37, 16 January 2007 (UTC)
I realize that some people think religion has revealed truths, but even assuming there is such a thing, revelation is a method of justification, not a type of truth. The thing that is being revealed is the same kind of thing that is discovered by science, or proven by deductive logic, or hidden by liars, or seen in the bottom of booze bottles by drunks. Truth is truth regardless of how it is discovered. We should not be letting this article indulge people in the failure to distinguish questions about the nature of truth from questions about how truth is discovered. There are other articles in the wiki for the latter issues. Moreover, it would be wildly non-standard, and thus original research, to include a section about so-called revealed truths in an article about the nature of truth. -- 04:42, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
FWIW, I agree with KillerChihuahua?!? 04:44, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
Fair enough, KillerChihuahua. As user: points out, "revelation" in the context of religion is a "justification" for the belief in such method(s) of discerning what one might regard as truth. Perhaps this section could be replaced with a more explicit analysis of what that means. Assuming the possibility of a reasonably stable consensus on this issue, I certainly would not object. ... Kenosis 06:05, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

As to the additional issue raised by that "[t]ruth is truth regardless of how it is discovered", I would say, as Pink Floyd previously said in a particularly memorable lyric, "welcome to the machine". See, circular argument, and innumerable related topics such as, for instance, Truth#Truth in religion. ... Kenosis 06:10, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Ah, good catch, yes I was agreeing on the Remove religion bit, not the rest of the comment. Truth is subjective, regardless of how it is characterized. One puppy's opinion. KillerChihuahua?!? 12:17, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
Well, this issue of "what is truth?" is an extremely tough one for sure, as evidenced by the four or five competing substantive theories and the several "minimalist" theories that essentially dismiss it as a useless term which largely neglects the issue of epistemological justification. And then there's the additional complication that some of the theories attempt to integrate theories of justification into theory of truth, most notably the pragmatic theories. In other words, there's no wide agreement where the study of "truth" ends and where "epistemology" begins (i.e., should the word "truth" only be applied to intentional acts of stating one's knowledge to another--not lying--or is it properly extended into theories of knowledge?, how is it that we might know a statement to be accurate and useful?, along with other related questions).

I'm going to take the affirmative step of retitling it to "Religious perspectives on truth" just to tide it over for now. Too often we see WP users adding material of this kind, and I don't at the moment see how it's feasible to put that cork back in the bottle in any stable, long-term way. ... Kenosis 15:48, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

It seems to me that you are reacting personally to the material on religion. If we are going to have four or five different secular versions of truth, then we should at least respect the religious version, which makes as much sense as at least three of the secular versions. Also, if the Augustine section is not well written, it should be rewritten, not removed. Augustine is a major writer, his views on truth should be respected at least as much as the views of obscure modern academics. Rick Norwood 14:54, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

I think you may have misunderstood my point. It is not there are religious and secular "versions" of truth and I want to eliminate the religious ones. The problem is that there are no religious versions of truth, not in the sense of "version of truth" that would apply to an encyclopedia article about truth. There are different religious versions about what is or isn't true, and about how truth is obtained/justified; but there are no religious theories of what truth is. There have been religious writers from time-to-time who claimed that they were dealing with the question of "What truth is," but it always turns out on actually reading the works in question that they were answering either "how do we obtain truth?" or "what is true?". What you are calling the "secular versions" are theories that really are about the nature of truth. Hence, they really belong in an article that is itself about truth. But the religious doctrines mentioned in the article do not belong, not anymore than particular theories of physics or astronomy or astrology; because just as the latter three theories are not about truth, neither are the relgious doctrines. -- 02:57, 29 January 2007 (UTC)
I agree, Rick, about the section about religious perspectives on truth. As I see it, there is an ongoing potential for workable balance between excessive presentation of religious POVs on the one hand, and complete exclusion on the other hand, even despite the tendency for users to occasionally introduce awkward volumes of religious material that is essentially proselytizing theology or dogma. This kind of material tends to be relatively difficult to sort through for editing purposes, in part because it is often justified by revelation rather than some more particular set of observations about the world. Yet, it is possible to accommodate it, which the article already does.
As to Augustine, I don't have the time to parse out the theology from the observations about truth and distill it down to a summary of reasonable length. Just because Augustine keeps using the word "truth" doesn't necessarily warrant the inclusion of such arguments in this article either. It's granted that he's a major writer, philosopher and theologian, but he's not really a major commentator on theory of truth. For example, in his dissertation on Christian Doctrine, he has a lengthy analysis of things and symbols or signs (classical semiotics, really), and then turns around and says that the signs and symbols (including words) are "things" too. Then, he basically argues that there are seven steps to wisdom: fear of God, loyal obedience (or faith), scientia (or knowledge), strength, good counsel, purity of heart, and then wisdom. About the issue of truth, he's basically arguing that "God" is truth, and that so are the scriptures. So it's not really an an analysis of truth, but more of an apologetic theology. Nonetheless, his view appears to deserve inclusion in the article, but in much shorter form. I just don't have time at present, nor handy access to the sources, to try to distill the recently donated material and meet WP:VER, and it's quite possible I'd feel the need to start from scatch. Rick, maybe you could throw something together about Augustine's view of truth? and we'll hack away at it as time permits?
Rick, it's nice to see your name here again, incidentally. ... Kenosis 18:33, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

I don't know enough about Augustine's view of truth to work on that section. From what you say, it sounds as if, in the terms used by the scholastics, he was a realist (words are things) rather than a nominalist (words are merely signs), but an Augustine scholar should write that section of the article. I backed off from Truth because I am a mathematician, not a philosopher. Most recently, I let myself get lured into a cat fight over Philosophy, where there are dozens of reverts and rereverts and it seems like hundreds of pages of argument being written every day. I think I'll be happier over in mathematics...or maybe Star Trek. Rick Norwood 23:50, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

I believe the section should stay. Enlightenment is the revealing of truth experienced by an individual. nirvana2013 07:44, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

why... this page protected?!--Ioshus(talk) 22:29, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

At least someone add la:Veritas. Sheesh...--Ioshus(talk) 22:30, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

Removed and placed here for discussion

I've removed this section, which was placed by an anon IP, and am putting it here to save it just in case. Reasonas are 1) It's not a minimalist or deflationary theory; 2) Risenzweig can't seem to be found on a Google search; 3) it doesn't appear to merit a section based on Rosezweig's name. It may, though, be a useful insight for the future in the article to the extent we can find sourcing for it. ... Kenosis 15:39, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

====Rosenzweig's theory of truth====
Benjamin D. Rosenzweig contends that truth should not be defined in terms of any of the "theories of truth" but instead left as an ambiguous term that can be better specified by referring to the theory by which a particular instance of reality is being evaluated. For instance one could suggest that according to consensus truth the theory of evolution is not yet proved but coherence truth dictates that it is proved according to the requirements set forth by the scientific community. ... 15:39, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Maybe you can't find it cause you can't spell it. It's Benjamin D. Rosenzweig... not "Risenzweig" nor "Rosezweig". He is a distinguished German professor currently teaching epistemology and political science at the University of London.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

To the contrary, I copied and pasted the name in the Google search, along with the word "truth". Try it, and perhaps show us where he comes up on the search results, if at all. Either way, he's not adequately notable to build a section around his name in an article such as this. If sourcing can be provided, it may make sense to integrate his observation into another place in the article, citing to him. Thank you for the info. ... Kenosis 16:59, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
Certainly he's not notable enough for the main article. Banno 18:31, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Simply because the great google search engine provides no results does not make a man's theory any less valid. I know he has had several books published in Germany. I'll do some research.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Some verifiable perspective on this would be appreciated. See also: WP:Notability. Thanks much. ... Kenosis 02:45, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

"The work must be prescribed as a textbook, a reference work, or required reading in an undergraduate- or graduate- level course; which is not taught, designed, or otherwise overseen by the author; at several independent accredited universities."

I'm afraid he's not achieved that level of notability. I still believe that the proposal is worth a footnote of some sort.


Sorry, I'm not sure how to add that the ref for 44 is Simplywater 19:33, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

For now, I simply changed the reference to (see plain links without square brackets).--Kevinkor2 01:29, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

Examples please

It would be great to show examples of statements which would be true under some of the theories but not true under other(s). James S. 20:57, 9 March 2007 (UTC)


Listen, my friends, who have assembled, nurtured, and protected this gem of an article on truth. I came by here as a user, looking for connections to what all the wonderful women and men of history have written about truth. And what I found here was -- not only incredibly useful in saving me time to dig through to get to all of what you have mined already for me here -- but also very inspiring to me in providing me with a concrete example of a Wikipedia page that is perfect. And I know it will evolve. Go forth, thank you. And my congratulations to you. --Rednblu 02:00, 24 March 2007 (UTC)


Someone should add a link to Validity in the Logic links section. Unfortunately, if I do it, I'll screw up the columns... FerralMoonrender 01:20, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

Baha'i position on Truth

I am new to this, so apologies if I am approaching it the wrong way. I was wondering if a Baha'i perspective to truth could be added to this page, as in the faith the founder states that "Truthfulness is the foundation of all human virtues" (Baha'u'llah quoted in Shoghi Effend - Advent of Divine Justice, p. 26) so it may be interesting to add.

--Shinshin 15:18, 16 April 2007 (UTC)--Shinshin 15:17, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

Revise Buddhist section

The Buddhist section is pretty weak; all that is discussed is the concept of the "Four Noble Truths". While this does contain the word "truth" in it, the Nobel Truths are really more about psychology than epistemology. However, I do think that the concept of truth and how human beings can discover truth is central to Buddhism. Buddha said that the ultimate source of suffering was ignorance or delusion. I'd like to totally re-write this section to discuss the Buddhist view of the importance of truth and the problem of delusion and self-deception. My sources would be directly from online transcriptions of the Pali Cannon such as and maybe a few modern books on Zen.

I've never edited a Wikipedia article before so any hints would be welcomed. Mattcool97 22:48, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

Has this interest been gone? I don't see any improvements on this subject. --Gotti 17:30, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

Duality of Truth.

Duality of Truth.

Two of the greatest errors in the perception of Truth, is the inability to see two properties. The duality of truth, (original research) and the divisive nature of truth, the Light theory of truth. (orginal research)

The first relates to the second definition of half-truth, circa 1994 whereby a truth is absolute, yet relative to the perseptive of the observer. A classic old story is that of the blind men and the elephant, however, seldom if ever is the appropriate duality of truth conclusion reached.

The second relates to the divisive nature of truth, relating to the rainbow of truth, that is that while The Truth is colorless, a truth is merely part of the whole truth. To understand this concept puts one on the way to understanding the divisive nature of Truth. I would suggest that this was the intended suggestion of the prophet Jesus Christ, who claimed to be the way, the life and the truth, and also the light of the world. What I call the bridge between science and religion.

I hope someone has time to consider the important implications of this original research into expanding the definition of truth.

--Caesar J. B. Squitti  : Son of Maryann Rosso and Arthur Natale Squitti 21:13, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

2+2=4 and deduction "truths"

Hello User:Transitioner - Thanks for recently providing a hotlink reference to "unversalism". However, I've had to revert two examples of "universal truths". 2+2=4 is not a universal truth. While it is true independent of location in space and time (i.e. "everywhere in the universe" as was stated), it is only true in certain mathematical systems. In others, like e.g. a modulo 3 ring, this is not true, instead, 2 + 2 = 1 there. Similarily with laws of deduction and inference, which are true in formal Logic; nevertheless, logic is a defined framework, relative to which the laws of deduction and inference are true. Thanks, One4OneWorld 19:05, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

I have reverted and rewritten

1. Such dependence on abstract issues does not negate the articles claims about lack of dependence on time and space.

2. It is perverse to remove mathematical examples but leave in economics and ethics.

1Z 20:59, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

Your rewrite looks good to me and accomodates my concern I had with the initial post. We need to provide a better reference to who actually holds these believes (individuals, groups, organizations, etc). Reference to universalism alone appears a bit too ambiguous. And I also agree that the two examples with economics and ethics appear insufficiently motivated. So, to the least, we're now having examples from mathematics, logic, microeconomics, and ethics. Thanks, One4OneWorld 00:15, 6 June 2007 (UTC)

Oi! You! SIMPLIFY!!!!!

Imagine that you're a semi-literate dude who has a very low comprehension of English. Imagine that you would like a nice, short, workable definition of truth that is 99% correct for most of what you will be doing (kinda like how Newton's laws of Physics are 99% correct unless you travel close to the speed of light, etc....). Anyhow, the point is this. This wiki article is probabably too long to provide a *pragmatic* defintion of truth (which is really what it should do!). Can't we have a simple phrase-based definition of truth so that that may be placed at the introduction to this article?

Also, are there any further religious one-liners that people would like to add about truth? Maybe some proverbs and so forth?

Back to work...

Perhaps an article on how politicians sometimes (only sometimes?) have an inclination to either distort or misrepresent the truth would improve the livings standards of everyone contributing to this article. 20:43, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

The simple answer to the question in the first paragraph is "No, it's not simple" -- please see the talk page threads and the 14 archives of talk.

As to the question in the second paragraph, it's a bit of a balancing act. The worms are already out of the proverbial can, and every once in awhile a participating editor tries to put a few back in the can, so to speak.

As to the third paragraph, see, e.g. lie, bullshit, half-truth. Maybe try politics and follow links to see where they go; there are existing articles on political corruption, political scandal (broken down by country) -- who knows, maybe there's room for a new article on this issue, which would require defining the topic and using WP:reliable sources showing this dimension of politics that the anon IP mentions here. ... Kenosis 22:04, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

Don't forget truthiness. --best, kevin [kzollman][talk] 22:16, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

Split Truth (religious)

The material on truth in religion should be moved into a separate article. The present article is way too long. The main article should maintain its emphasis on philosophy. Removing the religious material will also give the main article a better chance at stability. Banno 23:10, 30 June 2007 (UTC)

There being no objections, I will commence the split. Banno 19:12, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

I think the article can withstand it either way. But personally, I'd like to see a section on "truth in religion" remain, with a link to a main article. The reason has to do with the important concept called "justification". A brief section noting that "religious truth" typically is justified, in the minds of those asserting it, to scripture, "faith", or other form(s) of religious authority, would be important to this article I would think. This would, if implemented, allow further discussion of these methods of justification to be discussed at greater length in the new "main article" being proposed by Banno. ... Kenosis 02:49, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

I agree with Kenosis. There should be a short (less than 10 lines) section on religious truth. It should mention the idea of revealed truth, the idea of inspired truth, the "two truths" so popular in the middle ages, and maybe the quote, "The truth shall set you free." All linked to "Main article: religious truth". There are several other sections that could be split off in this way. Rick Norwood 14:21, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

All good points, and much as is outline in the relevant policy, Wikipedia:Summary style. I'll do the split soon, but will need all your input into what stays and what goes, since I have no strong preferences on the topic. Banno 02:01, 8 July 2007 (UTC)


I have simply copied the content of Truth#Religious views to the new article, leaving a copy of the first paragraph here as a lead-in to the new article. Others, especially Rick who seems to have a handle on what is needed, might like to change the paragraph here and the new introduction inthe other article. Banno 03:28, 8 July 2007 (UTC)

Particular care is going to be needed to ensure that Truth (religious) does not turn into a POV fork, I suggest keeping a close eye on it in relation to this, the main article. FeloniousMonk 04:09, 8 July 2007 (UTC)

Truth in art

  • What happened to any attempt to deal with "truth in art"? --JimWae 18:47, 7 July 2007 (UTC)
Truth is beauty and beauty truth. That's all I know and all I need to know. Rick Norwood 14:35, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
Is the statement: "Truth is beauty and beauty truth" a true statement or a beautiful statement?Lestrade 15:56, 14 July 2007 (UTC)Lestrade

Math and Half-truths

In the world of truths concerning math, (original research lead) there is the inheret logic of math that suggests a multi-truth solution to a basic algerbraic problem.

1 + 1 = 2 or 1 + 1 = 1

The solutions are based on the relative nature of what each 1 represents.

--Caesar J. B. Squitti  : Son of Maryann Rosso and Arthur Natale Squitti 15:31, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

"inherent"........"algebraic" Lestrade 15:52, 14 July 2007 (UTC)Lestrade

Thanks...on the one hand we expect perfect spelling, to an imperfect concept like Truth or Math

--Caesar J. B. Squitti  : Son of Maryann Rosso and Arthur Natale Squitti 20:44, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

Caesar, the Wiki cannot publish original research, and the resources used used must be reliable. Banno 22:43, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

dictionary definition

I wonder if would care to explain why he is so determined to remove this definition of truth. Rick Norwood 12:39, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

I am not, but I assume that s/he is deleting it because it adds nothing to the article and detracts from the beginning of the article. It adds nothing to the article because the meaning of 'truth' is commonly understood by English language teachers. It detracts from the article because it gives a disjointed, one sentence beginning that does not link into the next paragraphs. Anarchia 00:36, 27 July 2007 (UTC)

I agree that its inclusion results in a disjointed lede. When the first sentence resembled "Most dictionary definitions of truth mention agreement with reality" there was more of a connection to the rest of the lede - making it clearer that defining truth is a task not easily achieved --JimWae 05:16, 27 July 2007 (UTC)

I, for one, have no objection to JimWae's formulation of the first sentence. I just don't want the article to begin by giving the impression that nobody knows what "truth" means. I'm a mathematician, not a philosopher, but I believe that everybody knows what "truth" means except for philosophers. I tried to get some sort of common sense notion of "truth" into the article, but was shot down for "original research". Thus the reliance on a dictionary, which is not "original research".
I would like to see the article begin with something like this,
Truth is language which accurately describes physical reality. Because the correspondence between language and reality is always less than perfect, philosophers have offered a variety of "theories of truth".
But evidently this constitutes "original research". Rick Norwood 12:43, 27 July 2007 (UTC)
It is not a good definition. "truth" is not a kind of langauage in the sense that French is.

The def. begs the question against non-physical reality (possibly including maths!) 1Z 13:05, 27 July 2007 (UTC)

Hmmm... 'everyone knows what "truth" means except for philosophers'... A philosophers response: Non-philosophers often think they know what they mean by certain terms, but discover that their understanding is limited or flawed when they probe it (hence, Socrates and the Socratic method). Dictionary definitions are of limited (if any) use when trying to sort out such questions.
The sentences you propose above fail both to give the commonsense understanding of truth and the reasons for philosophers' arguments about the nature of truth. I suspect that what you want to say is that people's commonsense notion of truth is that a statement is 'true' when it corresponds to the way the world actually is. So, to paraphrase Tarski 'Snow is white' is true if and only if snow really is white. If t his is what you mean, then someone should be able to come up with a reference to some generally accepted book where this is said, and the article could begin with some statement resembling my one above. Would that help? (And, yes, you get into debates about the truth of mathematical concepts when you accept teh commonsense view, but that is just part of the reason why there is a 'truth' article.)Anarchia 21:13, 27 July 2007 (UTC)

I respectfully disagree.

First, in response to Peterdjones, I did not say truth was a "kind of" language. I said "Truth is language..." in the same sense that "Cats are animals." Some language is "true", some animals are "cats".

In response to Anarchia: you claim dictionary definitions are of limited (or no) use. I claim they are the only definitions that really count. Words are used to communicate. Dictionaries, and only dictionaries, provided common ground. Unless, like some scholastic philosophers (and some mathematicians), you want to prefix everything you say with a long list of definitions of the way you intend to use various words, then you cannot assume the person you are talking to (unless she is a fellow specialist) knows anything but the dictionary definition of a word, if that. To 99 people out of 100, "truth" means correspondence to reality. And the hundredth person will still jump out of the way if he thinks "Here comes a truck!" is a true statement.

I have absolutely no objection to this article discussing the various philosophical views about truth. Certainly, the article should mention that no correspondence between language and reality is ever complete or perfect. I think a good paragraph or two on the special meaning of mathematical truth is appropriate. Where we differ is that you want to begin with the complex, the specialized, and the esoteric. I've written enough articles on mathematics to be convinced that you begin with the simple, the general, and the commonplace. If we reject dictionaries, then no communication is possible. Rick Norwood 14:18, 29 July 2007 (UTC)

Short lead

WP:LEAD says articles of this length should have three or four paragraphs for their lead. Is a two or three-paragraph survey summary of the article feasible? ←BenB4 14:38, 19 August 2007 (UTC)

I like what you've done with the introduction. Do you want to try to turn it into a short summary of the article? Rick Norwood 14:57, 19 August 2007 (UTC)


I have no objection to the attempted rewrite of the first sentence/paragraph of truth. But, this article was one of the worst tarpits on the wiki until a number of us dug in on it roughly a year ago, and involved extremely time consuming research, point/counterpoint and consensus process to get to its current form. I'll support your proposed rewrite, but please articulate a case for it on Talk:Truth. Thanks. ... Kenosis 15:34, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

you are right. I am not proposing to do anything controversial. Clearly, the "factual" aspect of the word has some preponderance today. It will still not do to distill secondary and tertiary meaning and present it in the lead as "a common dictionary definition", without giving others. The meaning of "truth" is clearly, and according to both dictionaries cited, (1) faithfulness, fidelity, honesty in general, and (2) factuality, agreement with reality. I am not trying to muddy the issue, to the contrary, I insist the semantic facts belong on the table. --dab (𒁳) 15:52, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
the problem is that "truth" is both a neurological (mental, psychological) phenomenon, and an abstract empiricist (scientific, logical) concept. My involvement is due to the fact that I noted myth goes completely unmentioned in the article. This is unpardonable, since myth is at a very deep level closely related to the psychological notion of truth (while, ironically, "myth" has a secondary meaning of "untruth"). The dilemma is reflected in the existence of truth (religious). A more valid dichotomy would be truth (psychology) vs. truth (logics), since "truth" in the sense of "fidelity, good faith" goes far beyond religion in particular. Again, I do not intend to unduly mix the logical and the psychologial concepts, to the contrary, I want to make plain their correlations.

I have inserted the following:

Thus, truth in its original sense is the quality of "faithfulness, fidelity, loyalty, sincerity, veracity",[ OED on true has "Steadfast in adherence to a commander or friend, to a principle or cause, to one's promises, faith, etc.; firm in allegiance; faithful, loyal, constant, trusty; Honest, honourable, upright, virtuous, trustworthy; free from deceit, sincere, truthful " besides "Conformity with fact; agreement with reality; accuracy, correctness, verity; Consistent with fact; agreeing with the reality; representing the thing as it is; Real, genuine; rightly answering to the description; properly so called; not counterfeit, spurious, or imaginary."], and the narrowed sense "in agreement with fact or reality" is a secondary development coupled to the process of "Enlightenment" in 17th century philosophy.[ Attested since the early 17th century. E.g., Shakespeare in As You Like It (5.4) has "If there be truth in sight, you are my daughter."]

this state of affairs needs to be reflected in the lead. To give "a common dictionary definition" in the lead, but picking a secondary meaning instead of the primary one clearly qualifies as weasling and/or cherry-picking. --dab (𒁳) 16:08, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

As I said on Dbachmann (DAB)'s talk page, I support the use of a broader definition in addition to the correspondence-theory-based definition presently included in the article. DAB implemented that proposed change here and I reverted, but am prepared to support the inclusion of the broader definition, on the condition that it's very brief and that it immediately moves on to the statement that there are competing theories, none of which have gained complete scholarly agreement about being a definitive description of "truth". If Dbachmann(DAB) adds it again, I'll leave it stand with the provided OED reference and maybe see where it goes from there, what kind of tweaks may be offered by passersby and/or the long-term participants in this article who are familiar with the debates that have attended to the article. ... Kenosis 16:19, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
I am saying everything I wanted to say in the "Etymology" section. I do not demand that the lead is burdened with this over-much. Clearly, etymological (terminological) background was missing from the article, but if people will let my discussion under "Etymology" stand, I'll be content. --dab (𒁳) 16:43, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
I like it, and am interested in seeing whether it'll hold up well. Myself, I'll gladly defend the new first sentence as superior in terms of WP:NPOV, given several past assertions of a correspondence-theory bias in the article. ... Kenosis 17:33, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

"Semantic field"? Banno 23:47, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

I have problems with that, too. I hope "meaning" is an acceptable alternative. ←BenB4 03:05, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
fair enough :) --dab (𒁳) 16:00, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

solipsistic truth

When you trace out all availible information from science and experiences, they all trace back to one core understanding, namely, that everything perceived is generated by the perceiver and is thus not a completely reliable guide to reality nor truths about reality. What is a dreamer to do? The dreamer explores his dreams and notes consistancies and descrepancies and developes a concept of truth which arises soley from consistancies of experience. There can be consistancies among dream characters which do not match the dreamers experiences. Like when everyone tells the anorexic that she is as skinny as a skeleton but her perception is that she is grossly fat. Most dreamers are unaware that they are dreaming until they awaken and most anorexics will likewise perfer their personal perception over everyone elses and see them as insane or delusional until other expeirences become more difficult to reconcile and ignore. The man of faith accepts the ideal world he has been taught to see over the world he experiences and believes that the experienced world is a delusion. The buddhist is taught that the world of experiences are samsara or delusions of the mind and to seek something beyond expeirences in deep meditation. I have concluded that experiences are facts, [B]elief [S]ystems about them are largely BS. and so I live every move as a gamble to some degree and use science as the best odds maker I have discovered so far.Jiohdi (talk) 16:14, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

These are beliefs discovered by most people in their sophomore year. Rick Norwood (talk) 18:58, 8 February 2008 (UTC)


I have just posted this:

Philosopher and theologian Joseph Ratzinger, before his election as Benedict XVI, explored the relationship of truth with tolerance,[9] conscience,[10] Freedom,[11] and religion.[9] In consonance with Aristotle and Aquinas, Ratzinger affirms that human reason has the power to know reality and arrive at the truth, and for this he alludes to the achievement of the natural sciences. He sees that "the modern self-limitation of reason" rooted in Kant which views itself incapable of knowing religion and the human sciences such as ethics leads to dangerous pathologies of religion (terrorism) and pathologies of science (ecological disasters and destruction of humans). He thinks that this self-limitation, which "amputates" the mind's capacity to answer fundamental questions such as man's origin and purpose, dishonors reason and is contradictory to the modern acclamation of science, whose basis is the power of reason.[9][12] While he states that relativism is acceptable in political options,[9] he warned of a relativism without limits, a "dictatorship of relativism," and he traced the past century's violent ideologies to a totalitarianism which "absolutizes what is not absolute but relative," converting partial points of view into absolute guides.[13]

Ratzinger is one of the most prominent thinkers of today. He is now viewed in Germany (the country of philosophers) as the number one thinker surpassing Gunther Grass, Jurgen Habermas. See here. And he has written extensively on the problem of truth as an academic. I believe he should have a place among the notable views. Moreover, as Kant is allowed to critique Aristotle and Aquinas, Ratzinger should be allowed to critique Kant. Marax (talk) 09:27, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

  • Kant was not a moral relativist. If Ratzinger has an answer to the antimonies, he should have addressed them. Instead we have what amounts to (as summed up above) either an ad hominem or a disappointment that Kant did not self-censor mentioning them. If this bbelongs anywhere, it is in the religious section, but even there it is little more than a feeble attack on Kant --JimWae (talk) 19:34, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, Jim Wae. :) I hope I can answer your concerns. Let me go through them one by one.
"Kant was not a moral relativist. If Ratzinger has an answer to the antimonies, he should have addressed them." What we have here is what Ratzinger thinks about truth, and that is what Wikipedia looks for. Wikipedia is not asking for what an author should have written or not, or whether what he wrote is true or false. The basic criteria why an author is included are notability and verifiability. Since this is a "fact about an opinion", the neutrality aspect is also covered.
"Instead we have what amounts to (as summed up above) either an ad hominem or a disappointment that Kant did not self-censor mentioning them." I am sorry but I do not see any attack on the person of Kant. Ratzinger's view is a philosophical and historical critique of ideas.
"If this belongs anywhere, it is in the religious section, but even there it is little more than a feeble attack on Kant." Ratzinger's words are all in the philosophical realm as he does not quote the bible nor church teachings. And his ideas are not limited to religion since he talks about human sciences and natural sciences, about pathologies, terrorism and ecological disasters -- basically, secular matters.
I hope the relevance of Ratzinger in this article and section has been addressed. Marax (talk) 06:51, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
  • I'm not sure that "Kant was wrong because people have used some of his reasonings to justify a dangerous moral relativism" counts as a noteworthy theory of truth. Most of the section is not even "about" truth, but about the dangers of moral relativism --JimWae (talk) 07:05, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
I believe (1) the theory is noteworthy per se if it explains many contemporary problems, and (2) the thinker himself and his works are noteworthy. I suppose googling Ratzinger or Benedict XVI would produce more hits than some of the other thinkers mentioned. His book Truth and Tolerance is an important book.
I think the theory of truth that he is expounding hinges on the capability of reason to know reality, which he supports through a positive route (the achievement of the natural sciences) and a negative route. By showing the dangers of affirming the contrary of his theory, he strengthens his theory. And I would say that the paragraph corresponds in length to the paragraph quoting Kant's critique. Marax (talk) 08:29, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

  • If any of this is to stay, the part that is a theory of truth needs to be more clearly & concisely outlined. His theory seems to be that religious truths are facts (and facts not different in KIND from facts of science) which are directly ascertainable by some inner process - some intuition. This, however, is NOT the process by which scientific facts are arrived at (even though he compares religious truths to scientific facts)
    • This is not a view original to Ratzinger, and it is misleading to present it as "his" view. Ratzinger is a notable person - but he has NOT made any notable contribution to theories of truth - he has summarized an ancient view - an ancient pre-Socratic view.
  • All the stuff about the "dangers of moral relativism" points to a principle sometimes summarized as "by their fruits you shall know them" - a principle that would tell us a lot negative about organized religion as well. This criteria is similar to consequentialism - a criteria that Catholicism elsewhere teaches is wrong
  • --JimWae (talk) 19:56, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
  • As so muddily presented, this view is not so much a theory of truth as it is a theory of falsehood - as in "Kant MUST be wrong because...., and he COULDN'T be right because...., and he HAS to be wrong because..." From what I have seen so far here, its underlying principle (intuitive truth?) is obscured by its main focus on criticizing Kant, and there is little to NO exposition of how "truth" might be determined. --JimWae (talk) 20:55, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
  • This view ultimately rests on a subjective determination of truth (intuitive subjectivity a la Kierkegaard) - inescapably leading to the very relativism that Ratzinger is trying to avoid. It seems to be little more than muddled word-play to convince himself and followers that tolerance for other religions does not lead to accepting the relative truth of other religions, and thereby the relative truth of one's own religion.
  • Perhaps this section demonstrates the need for a Keats theory of truth. Is "Ratzinger's" theory discussed by other non-partisan theorists? -- and attributed to Ratzinger? If not, we have yet another reason to move this to the religious truths section -- if indeed it even belongs there --JimWae (talk) 22:03, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
Thanks again, JimWae. :) Since I see that you are analyzing for the most part Ratzinger's ideas, let me copy here what I wrote above: "What we have here is what Ratzinger thinks about truth, and that is what Wikipedia looks for. Wikipedia is not asking for what an author should have written or not, or whether what he wrote is true or false. The basic criteria why an author is included are notability and verifiability. Since this is a "fact about an opinion", the neutrality aspect is also covered."
"there is little to NO exposition of how "truth" might be determined" The exposition on Whitehead also does not determine the how. This illustrates what I wrote above: "Wikipedia is not asking for what an author should have written or not, or whether what he wrote is true or false." I believe that Wikipedia merely presents what a writer wrote, and takes very special care that Wikipedia editors do not tinge the exposition with their own demands and requirements. Please keep in mind that the title of the section where this falls under is "Notable philosopher's views". It does not say theories on how truth is determined. The title is general enough to include how truth relates with other things, and other general issues on truth.
"From what I have seen so far here, its underlying principle (intuitive truth?) is obscured by its main focus on criticizing Kant". The section on Kant right now merely describes his critique of Aquinas and Aristotle. Again, this shows that what is important for Wikipedia is an exposition of what is important for an author.
"he has summarized an ancient view - an ancient pre-Socratic view". As written, Ratzinger's ideas, are in consonance with Aristotle and Aquinas (who are post-Socratic), but more importantly he discussed terrorism and ecological disasters which were hardly there during pre-socratic times, and are mostly modern problems.
"directly ascertainable by some inner process - some intuition". Ratzinger does not use the term intuition but reason. The Wikipedia article on reason might be able to shed a bit of light on this issue. Or the Catholic Encyclopedia article.
"muddy". I would beg to disagree on the use of this qualifier. Clear thinking and Ratzinger are almost synonymous in discussions about Ratzinger. Many writers refer to "clarity" as one of the best ways to describe Ratzinger.
What I can do is to describe in more detail what Aquinas meant by truth. How it is arrived at. This would be interesting for Wikipedia readers. Thanks. Marax (talk) 04:17, 24 March 2008 (UTC)
  • The reason there are no sources that can be used to show the unoriginality & lack of focus in Ratzinger's presentation is that only his supporters take him seriously. The section, besides wandering off-topic, appears to be little more than a cheering section to get his name to appear in the article. While HE may be notable, his views are not notable except among his supporters and they do not form anything new in the history of discussion on the topic. The focus on personality (getting HIS name & HIS picture in the article) detracts from whatever relevant (repackaged) points that might be worth adding to the article. His notabilty is based on his position, not on any contribution to the topic --JimWae (talk) 08:31, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

I believe this was a good-faith addition, but it is perfectly clear that the Ratzinger/church publications are not third-party secondary sources about either him or his views. Reliable third-partysecondary(preferably philosophical) sources are essential in establishing a notable view. Thus, I removed it. Modocc (talk) 21:04, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for bringing up this point, Modocc. My apologies for reverting your edit. I tried to check WP:NOR and WP:Notability and I did not really see any prohibition in using church publications in citing a church figure talking about a philosophical, non-church issue. I believe it would be consistent with the sourcing of this article and other articles which follow Wikipedia policies to allow sourcing of materials on Ratzinger from publications which may be church related.
Perhaps I might have misunderstood your point as you might have been referring to additional third party sources in order to boost the claim that the work of Ratzinger is notable enough to be cited. I have found this site of First Things which features an article about the book Truth and Tolerance of Ratzinger. The writer is Paul Griffiths of the University of Illinois. He is Schmitt Professor of Catholic Studies in that university. There is this other site from the prestigious Acton Institute which also reviews the book. I have also recently read a series of articles in one of the latest issues of the academic journal Scripta Theologica of the University of Navarra analyzing Ratzinger's famous Regensburg Address which discusses the self-limitation of reason, truth and Kant. I hope this helps to clarify this issue.
As regards the issue raised by Jim on how self-limitation of reason leads to pathologies of religion and science: First, before directly replying to this, let me repeat what I have said twice before: Wikipedia is interested in verifiability more than truth. I can assure you that I read this part in Truth and Tolerance and therefore this is verifiable and thus I would highly recommend that you read the book. :) As to the logic behind Ratzinger's ideas, I would say this: the self-limitation of reason is a sort of prohibition for the human intelligence to delve into the rational basis for ethics and discussion on religious issues. This leads therefore to irrational pursuit of what religious scriptures might say to the believer, as what happens to terrorists or to a moslem prohibiting Christians to have churches in moslem lands, thus infringing on rational idea of respecting the basic human right of exercising one's religious beliefs. It can also lead to lack of rational reasoning on ethical issues surrounding the use of science (eg what the Soviet Union did in Chernobyl) because ethics is not in the realm of empirical sciences. I also hope this helps to settle this issue. Marax (talk) 09:20, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
You can also verify another version of these statements in the Regensburg Address which is among the footnotes:
this method excludes the question of God, making it appear an unscientific or pre-scientific question. Consequently, we are faced with a reduction of the radius of science and reason, one which needs to be questioned. I will return to this problem later. In the meantime, it must be observed that from this standpoint any attempt to maintain theology's claim to be "scientific" would end up reducing Christianity to a mere fragment of its former self. But we must say more: if science as a whole is this and this alone, then it is man himself who ends up being reduced, for the specifically human questions about our origin and destiny, the questions raised by religion and ethics, then have no place within the purview of collective reason as defined by "science", so understood, and must thus be relegated to the realm of the subjective. The subject then decides, on the basis of his experiences, what he considers tenable in matters of religion, and the subjective "conscience" becomes the sole arbiter of what is ethical. In this way, though, ethics and religion lose their power to create a community and become a completely personal matter. This is a dangerous state of affairs for humanity, as we see from the disturbing pathologies of religion and reason which necessarily erupt when reason is so reduced that questions of religion and ethics no longer concern it. Attempts to construct an ethic from the rules of evolution or from psychology and sociology, end up being simply inadequate.
MY BAD, I should have said that secondary sources are needed and not third-party. See my discussion on sourcing Ratzinger's views on the agnosticism talk page. In light of this being a somewhat different subject, I need to take a wiki break for a couple of days before I can assess the significance of your secondary sources. Best. Modocc (talk) 22:31, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
As for the points inserted of Pius IX, an article by Edmund Shahanan, etc, I believe these should be in a section on Pius IX or Edmund Shahanan not a section on Ratzinger. Moreoever, I see that these statements are more about knowledge of God and not about truth per se. Also some portions of the insertion sound like original research. I have therefore removed them, based on these considerations. Marax (talk) 02:59, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

Section consistency and NPOV

I just removed a Word to Avoid (claim) that was used for the correspondence theory, a word that is hardly used in other theories in this article. The word "claim", seen at the very beginning of the section, weakens the credibility of the theory and forewarns the reader that what he is about to read can be dubious. This may imply a problem of NPOV or neutrality.

I also find the two paragraph criticism of correspondence theory within its own section unusual in the whole article. It is, I believe, one of the few instances, if not the only one, where there is a disproportionately big amount of criticism found in the same section. I believe that this has to resolved, for it shows an inconsistency in the article.

It seems to me strange as well, that Alfred Tarski's theory is mentioned here with this special phrase: "whose semantic theory is summarized further below in this article." Marax (talk) 09:30, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

Removed first sentence

I have removed the following NEW sentence from the very top of the article:

The word truth labels or describes particular arguments or statements as being in accord with reality —in opposition to statements which are false.

One reason I did so wass because it appears to give a preferential treatment to the correspondence theory of truth. The language/syntax also has problems. I do not see that it contributes anything new (that is not also contentious) to the article. --JimWae (talk) 04:19, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

Tarski's formulation not given sufficient weight

As it is the bridge between the mathematical and philosophical concepts and that held by most modern scientists and mathematicians. Lycurgus (talk) 21:51, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

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  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Ratzinger, Truth and Tolerance: Christian Belief And World Religions, Ignatius Press 2004
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