Truth: As fickle as love

No longer is “Truth an abstraction from Reality” but rather, “Reality is an abstraction from Truth.” It professes a newly discovered natural law (the law defining creation) and an umbrella law covering all known natural laws.

Are lies hidden within truth

Are lies hidden within truth

Truth Eternal and the Adversity of Diversity Law sheds new light on the problem of truth, and its power to create, sustain, and account for all things. It also seeks to convey some new insights into how truth inconspicuously pervades every element of creation. Silent and unseen, it grounds time and the flow of events within it Deception is universal because it serves a purpose – or, these days, many purposes. Mike Seccombe argues that the truth is more relative, and less valued, than ever.

As a child it was always required to be honest and tell the truth, even if that same truth were to land me in hot water. I could tell from my mother’s expression that this honestly being drilled into me may be either good, or bad. Either rewarding or punishing.

As an example, spilling milk on the floor or presenting a creative series of scribbles representing the world from a child’s eyes. The former a scowl, so ‘it wasn’t me’, The latter was naturally a rewarding experience as I could tell from the smile of my mother so of course this is my work. So what do we deduce from this.

Today discovering the truth on events requires in depth research. No longer can we simply agree the 6 o’clock news or the opinion piece gracing page three of The Times without question. But how many of us actually want to get to the truth?

The war in Iraq in 2003 was built on lies and deceit. The truth about the September 11 affair still appears blurred. The events surrounding JFK’s death now historically perplexing.

Remember the quick forgiveness of the American people of Clinton’s lies in the Lewinsky affair, in spite of the commentators’ widely held view that a president who behaved like that, whose personal morality was deplorable, could not stay in office.

The manipulation of imagery within film or stills now that all is digital is as easy as making a cup of your favourite brew. Newspapers invent images almost without thought and video imagery is easily manipulated to make us believe that what we see is real.

The philosophical question of “what is truth” is one of those classic issues that can tie the professionals into knots but leave the public bewildered. The void is probably between the philosophers analytical attempt at definition, versus the normal functional definition.

The functional definition is pretty straight-forward really. In our day to day existence a “true statement” is one on which we can rely, they are the statements that we can reliably use as premises for our reasoning about what we should do (be that something immediate and practical like how to start the car or something more broadly social like how to care for the poor or sick).The philosophers however get more tied up in it. The “correspondence theory of truth” is tied up with additional commitments to realism, and to a referential theory of language. In this case “truth” means something that corresponds to the real world.

This troika is, however, to a degree vacuous; most notably because it provides no method at all for determining “truthfulness”. We have no other direct connection with “reality” to determine the truthfulness of a proposition.

The point is that no matter how “confirmed” a scientific theory is, ultimately its truth is based on its acceptance and its acceptance is based on utility. That after all was the great point of Friedman’s Methodology of Positive Economics, it doesn’t matter if the theory is true (meaning here something like the correspondence theory of truth) so long as it produces useful results. That particularly spills over into ontology – does the use of the concept of “utility” actually mean we are positing the existence of the universal utility.

Ultimately from a social or biological evolution point of view it is pretty clear that humans couldn’t survive any other way. You couldn’t really live life not accepting that the bulk of other people’s pronouncements are indeed true. You couldn’t really at every turn go and investigate all the supposed evidence for any claim.

And even if you do go on an evidence search, it will be artificially constrained. The constraint may be other beliefs you already hold, or it might be cultural values.

The difference in a “digital philosophy of truth” as opposed to the most accepted version of scientific truth is the speed with which new statements can be propagated and the difficulty of challenging those that spread widely with facts (more correctly – alternative better supported observations).

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