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The truth about the truth

23 February 2014, 22:45

I’m looking for the truth like everyone else does. I'm looking for the truth, not for the sake of knowing it. I'm looking for the truth, because when I make a decision I would like to make it on the basis of true, objective information.

When I buy a tin in the shop I’m guided by the inscription on the label and I would like to find salted peanuts inside, instead of tomato paste.

By voting for a party which aims to reduce taxes, I don’t give them mandate to raise taxes. By picking the flower I don’t intend to harm the plant. By giving up my seat on the train I’m helping someone who is like me, just more tired. When getting up in the morning I’m going to have breakfast, not another dream.

To say that I possess true information I need to be able to check it. In many cases I have this opportunity. If the content of the can has the wrong texture and taste, the label lied. I can also check the truth of election promises, but usually a posteriori.

In fact, I can even skip the check (for example:  peanuts are not for me, but it is a gift); however important is, that there is at least potential possibility to verify the contents. This capability is essential so I could sensibly appraise any opinion or theory.

In real life there are situations when we have to make decisions as if we’ve had all the real, objective data needed to make these decisions, whereas in fact we didn’t have it at all. It doesn’t matter that virtually all of us - me too - consider plants lacking consciousness, people as entities with consciousness and this text as read awake. It is important that we are dealing with claims, whose truth can’t be established.

You can point at salted peanuts in a tin with your finger.

It is impossible to point your finger at consciousness of another man. Therefore from a variety of conflicting theories about the contents of the tin upon opening the tin only one survives.

Similarly, from a variety of conflicting scientific theories, usually only one survives. But the various conflicted theories about what consciousness is will remain, regardless of the attempts to redefine the problem so it would automatically put opponents out of the game. In the same way there are different models of conflicted philosophical or religious views. And they will also remain.

When you make an important decision you would like to know the truth after all. People often imagine themselves having a knowledge of what the world really is regardless of their imagination; figuring out what is the object of their observations objectively regardless of whether anyone perceive this object, or not; finding out what is the world in itself. In short - to find out what is absolute truth.

More - people often imagine that they’ve already possessed the majority of the most important knowledge about the truth. They imagine that they know not just what you are buying in the tin and which program to vote for, but also whether  they hurt or help others and whether they dream or not.

They imagine that what they hold in their hands is five rand coin, a real one, because someone else is willing to exchange it for a tin of peanuts, but also real because it is a piece of metal existing regardless whether anybody holds it in his hand or not.
 
In the next chapter ("Absolute truth: The theory ") we will show that the notions of such a knowledge are quixotic for a completely natural and fundamental reason. No, it is not because absolute truth doesn’t exist.

If my opinion means anything, I think that absolute truth exists. However, there is no logically correct way to determine whether and to what extent the results of any studies describe absolutely true structure of the world.

We will show this fundamental inability to establish it. We won’t express it in this way author’s opinion-based worldview, but the fact that it is a result of logic, the very foundations of human acquiring of what is called knowledge.

So if you look for the truth, it is good to look for the one that is possible to find, in theory at least. Truth defined in such a way, so one can distinguish it from falseness, in the same way one can say if label or election program lied, or not.

Decisions we make should be based on this consciously verifiable, pragmatic truth (chapter “Pragmatic truth: The theory”), at least these decisions are considered to be significant. Only then the decision making process can be supported by worldview, which gives guidance based on truth, which, theoretically at least can be distinguished from falseness.

It is enough to outline the design of philosophy that allows to organize the selection criteria to show that it is a feasible project. Analyzing this issue in the next two chapters ("How scientismist does it: The practice" and "How Santa does it: The practice"), we'll propose such a design.

At the end ("Result: summary and conclusions") we’ll draw conclusions of its existence, as well as conclusions of the inability to determine an absolute truth.

 At the beginning, however, we will prove the unavailability of the Absolute Truth.

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