Tuesday, October 25, 2005

truth or dare?


What is the nature of truth?
Is truth a static body which you can put boundaries around and is completely unchanging?
Do the boundaries of truth remain flexible? I mean do they operate under a set of principles much like physics or biology but are not restricted to a specific quantifiable entity.
The reason I wonder this is because of how we arrive at truth.
First of all truth is a completely subjective process based completely on what I am conditioned to understand and the faculty I have for comprehension. (agree or disagree)
Secondly I wonder this because of our inherent response to truth. Truth seems to have always defined the finiteness of our behavior. It assumes a controlling role over every perceivable human function.
Let me give you a little story to spark your thinking
Back before Columbus proved Aristotle’s ridiculous idea of a round earth, many people lived and died with what we would now call falsehood. Falsehood they considered to be truth. In saying that truth is static it could be assumed that once discovered truth remains unaltered. But in this case where truth is actually false the onus lies in the discovery which is completely dependant on human volition. So when our access to truth is completely voluntary can there be such a thing as restricted objective truth or is truth an endlessly expanding reality spanning correlated to human perception.
Obviously how we are responsible to truth is hugely impacted. Morality and function are affected as is most importantly our concept of God. Do the principles of truth allow us to hold two seemingly opposing truths in tension or are there boundaries around which we must falsehood?
out

12 comments:

Clinton said...

I've always held truth to be an absolute. I recognize, however, that not all which I hold to be true, may in fact be true. My "knowledge or perception of truth" is limited to my education and/or experience.
i think ...

Ryan Dueck said...

"But in this case where truth is actually false the onus lies in the discovery which is completely dependant on human volition"

I think you know where I stand on this one Dale, however I just want to probe your analogy a little. Was the truth value of the proposition "The earth is round" in any way altered by the fact that a human being finally understood it to be so? I don't think so. On the contrary, the statement was just as true in 300 B.C. as it was in 1492 A.D. It didn't BECOME true when it was discovered. It simply was always true, and was finally discovered to be so by human beings.

"So when our access to truth is completely voluntary can there be such a thing as restricted objective truth or is truth an endlessly expanding reality spanning correlated to human perception."

I'm still going to disagree with you here. Our access to truth does not change what is in fact true. It may APPEAR to be an endlessly expanding reality, but this does not force us to claim that what is true changes. We simply apprehend more of what is real and true over time. Human beings perceive incorrecly far too frequently for me to believe that the nature of truth - what is in fact true about the world - is tied to our ability to understand it.

Incoming... said...

i understand that just becuase i cannot perceive something does not negate its existance. In that sense i suppose truth would have to be objective - or not necessarily controlled by the limitations of my perceptions. But this doesn't really tell us whole lot about truth does it. If the only access I or we have to truth is through subjective processes than it is impossible for me or anyone to know the entire boundary of absolute truth because these processess are limited by time and space and my own finite capacities. If this is true than we can say that our understanding of truth is in nature utilitarian - in that it must function with the limitations of my perception. but this also does not give us any more clarity on whether or not truth can be absolute with distinct objective boundaries. If we say there is objective absolute truth that statement must be based on faith that it is so. there would seem to be no way of testing truth comprehensively to negate the need for faith. unless you can come up with one.
we than must admit that reason (the deduction of truth through perceptions) seeks an impossible goal when it strives to define truth absolutely. saying that does not force us to abondon reason as a worthwhile pursuit but it informs us of its limitations.
so then because of all this I wonder if truth then is in many ways relative to set of principles which are governed more by the discipline of faith?
i know that's not really the point of the original post but hey i make the rules...

Freezer said...

Perhaps we think too highly of our own intellect - even those who teach or are being taught in higher knowledge. Dale perhaps you touch on something profound when you relate truth to faith. Ryan there is absolute truth correct - but we are naive to think that any single one of us has the market share of that truth unless it is founded upon a faith in the one who is the truth.

My thoughts of late have been in the embodiment of truth with the lives of believers. (again not the intent of the original post - but I'm playing by Dale's rules.)

Incoming... said...

what do you mean by embodiment of truth?

Incoming... said...

what i am wondering about is whether truth is not so much a set of propositional realities as a collection of faith postulates...

Jerry said...

It think only God can see how his objectivity, little by little, enters and therefore becomes a part of our subjective minds.

Paul Morgun said...

Can truth be more then ideas, perspectives...truth is in my understanding Jesus...anything else we claim or claim to understand can be objective, but truth remains Jesus.

Incoming... said...

Paul, tell me more about truth being Jesus - is our access to truth relational? Does truth function like a personality then?

Freezer said...

What I meant was along with my thinking regarding the rise of individualism in the context of Christianity. Are we personally saved or is my life with Christ something that only exists in the context of a fellowship of believers and then it is in the context of this fellowship of believers that the truth which is Jesus Christ dwells. The revelation of that truth is not something that I can claim individually as complete authority rather in the context of my brothers and sisters.

Paul Morgun said...

I think to answer that I John 1:3-6 comes to mind. With out getting into a huge debate about what it means to do what Jesus commands, I do think the truth being Jesus promts us to live as he has instructed and examplified...its a small attempt to answer a really big question. How we view anything in life, begins with our acceptance or denial of Jesus being God, living, dying for us and ressurecting.

Incoming... said...

thanks