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PhilosophyGround >> Is truth important? If so, why?


2/25/11 11:57 AM
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sakbjj
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3/2/11 5:52 PM
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Joe Ray
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Nietzsche questioned the value we place on truth.

He also stated that the truth or untruth of a morality, religion, culture should not be the criterion of whether we accept it or not. He believed we should accept such things on the basis of whether or not they make us stronger.

Therefore he is not opposed to ancient pagan religion, even if it is demonstrably false. Nietzsche was well aware it was essential as well as being indicative of the strength and vitality of ancient Greek and Roman culture.

Christianity however, comes along and makes the claim to absolute & universal truth and condemns all other claims as false.

This was indeed a novelty in the polytheistic world, where people accepted the existence of other's Gods and truths.

Christianity has therefore raised truth to the highest of values and in doing so sows the seeds of it's own demise.

Because when one applies the criterion of truth to Christianity in the form of the scientific method, it crumbles.
3/2/11 5:58 PM
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Joe Ray
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The falseness of a judgement is not necessarily an objection to a judgment: it is here that our new language perhaps sounds strangest. The question is to what extent it is life-advancing, life-preserving, species-preserving, perhaps even species-breeding; and our fundamental tendency is to assert that the falsest judgements (to which synthetic judgments a priori belong ) are the most indispensable to us, that without granting as true the fictions of logic, without measuring reality against the purely invented world of the unconditional and self-identical, without a continual falsification of the world by means of numbers, mankind could not live — that to renounce false judgements would be to renounce life, would be to deny life. To recognize untruth as a condition of life: that, to be sure, means to resist customary value-sentiments in a dangerous fashion; and a philosophy which ventures to do so places itself , by that act alone, beyond good and evil.” (Beyond Good and Evil, 333)
3/5/11 11:01 AM
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Dan O'Connell
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ttt
3/22/11 2:36 PM
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Old Red Belt
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If you lie about something it only leads to backing it up with other lies. The truth is the end.
8/15/11 10:45 PM
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Atecexa
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"Because when one applies the criterion of truth to Christianity in the form of the scientific method, it crumbles."

Please explain that to me

Truth can only be absolute, to say that truth is relative is a self contradictory phrase.
8/16/11 2:49 AM
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Joe Ray
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Because if you wish to judge Christianity and every claim it makes according to the standards of science, it is proven false every single time.

8/16/11 11:07 PM
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Atecexa
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Well first of all we need to determine if your use of the word "Christianity" is even correct and second of all every time the Bible references anything scientific it is 100% accurate 100% of the time. David wrote in the Psalms about the sphere of the earth and the countless stars thousands of years before telescopes...how could he possibly have known that? But in any event in response to your original statement of "Because if you wish to judge Christianity and every claim it makes according to the standards of science, it is proven false every single time."

Give me a specific example and I will explain to you why you are wrong, or at the very least out of context or misguided/ignorant of the truth.
8/17/11 5:43 PM
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Joe Ray
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Oh my, where does one start?

On the creation of the universe, of earth and of man.

Scientifically, the bible has been proven wrong on all of these.


8/18/11 8:17 AM
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Perturbation
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Atecexa - David wrote in the Psalms about the sphere of the earth and the countless stars thousands of years before telescopes"


Mathematicians figured out the earth was a sphere thousands of years before the bible said it.


And you don't need a telescope to see stars. Walk outside at night and look up.
8/23/11 9:56 PM
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Atecexa
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OK first of all thousands of years before the Psalms were written (the reign of King David) would have been when roughly?

No crap you can see stars but it was not until the invention of the telescope did man fully know that the stars were infinite nor did we have any clue to the real vastness of space.

Also how do you explain the knowledge of the levitical medical and sanitation practices without it being divinely inspired? Modern man did not learn of microorganisms, germs, and bacteria until very recently. And the dude in Austria was not the first guy to figure out that it was bad to go around delivering babies after working in the morgue without washing up...the levites had it downpat thousands of years prior
8/25/11 5:40 PM
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vermonter
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Edited: 08/25/11 5:42 PM
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Zeno,

"If you found out tomorrow you existed in someone else's dream, a video game, the Matrix or anything else, but still held onto all your memories what would be the difference between you're reality and "true" reality? "

You seem to be making here the same fundamental mistake made by Descartes in the Meditations (so you're in good company). Epistemological access to some fact (or lack thereof) does not mean a new ontological category is in order. Descartes said that: because he knew that he existed a priori, but he could not be sure his body or brain existed, they must be two different things (body and soul). Where he was incorrect, however, is that the truth value of a proposition (e.g. "i exist" or "my body exists") is independent of one's epistemological access to that value.

The arguments about Nietzsche seem to be based a bit more on the topic of the importance of truth. E.G. doesn't matter if Christianity is true or not, people who go to church live longer (which is a fact, as far as i know). However, if belief in a pagan religion makes a people stronger, than there must be a fact about the strength of the people irrespective of the value we place on it (which seems to be high, according to Joe Ray's post). Saying that the truth value of religion is less important than the truth value of strength is fine, but it's still a discussion of truth, and at least some of it seems to be important.
8/25/11 6:14 PM
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vermonter
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"If our universe was willed into existence simply by God's own volition, what is the difference between the world we create in our dreams and the one God has apparently willed to exist? What happens when God wakes up? "

The answer to your topic question seems to be contained in the question itself. We don't create a new universe when we dream. The difference would be that one is a dream, and one is the creation of a new universe. Think of Plato's shadows on the cave wall analogy. Our perception of reality (including our dreams) is a part of reality, but not all of it.

As for your second question, it seems a bit rhetorical but i guess i'll give it a go anyway. Sleeping (and dreaming) is a biological function, something a non-biological entity (e.g. the judeochristian god) doesn't need. The question seems moot to me, but to answer it as is: if a god decided to do something that resembles sleep, when that god woke up, what happened then would also be that god's will, much like what happened before.
8/25/11 7:58 PM
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Perturbation
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Atecexa - OK first of all thousands of years before the Psalms were written (the reign of King David) would have been when roughly?


Psalms said the earth was flat...
8/26/11 9:05 AM
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vermonter
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zeno,

Thanks for the discussion.

"My point was that this "reality" is just as fleeting as any one we may hypothetically play around with in thought exercises. I'm more concerned about the nature of the "true" than the nature of the "reality." "

It seems, based on the reading of your post, you may subscribe to some sort of idealism or, at least, relativism? Just trying to get an understanding of where you're coming from.

Personally, I think there is a truth about what exists and what doesn't irrespective of our knowledge of it (I.E. there doesn't need to be people, or experience, for something to exist). I suppose this would make truth reducible to existence (i'm not sure that truth actually needs to be something else).

If reality were relative, however, i cant see that truth would have much importance, because it could change based on our perception of it...
8/26/11 9:58 AM
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vermonter
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"I'm not even sure you actually addressed the issue other than simply dismissing it"

I was attempting to address your questions, but perhaps to obliquely in retrospect. I think our philosophies may be different enough that a more basic look is in order.

The crux of the question, as i understand it, is as follows:

"what is the difference between the world we create in our dreams and the one God has apparently willed to exist?"

It seems, also, that there is an implication that the two are either very similar or share the same properties. I ignored this implication in my first response, but perhaps i have more work to do than that if i want to create a satisfactory answer. It seems obvious to me, but perhaps not to someone with a fundamentally different philosophy.

First of all, i think it needs to be clarified to what extent your are looking for differences. I could simply say "they aren't the same," meaning they are not identical, and this (for me anyway) is sufficient to establish a difference between the two. We know this a priori because the dream world is contained inside the god-created world, but not the other way around. Ergo, they must be different.

I suspect you somehow mean something else... Based on the rest of your post it seems that you wish to imply there is a transience to the universe much like there is to a human dream?

One major difference between the two "worlds" would be that a god (presumably the judeo-christian one is being referenced) would have created something physical from nothing, which would be within the realm of possible for an omnipotent being (by definition). When a person dreams, however, they have not created anything physical from nothing. There would be only neurological activity using existing neurotransmitters and electrochemical gradients, or the building of these with existing substrates.

It seems this creation of something physical is not only a difference, but a reason to doubt transience. Additionally, from my prior post, a god doesn't need to dream, nor do we have any reason to believe that the universe was created by such an event, either biblical or physical. You would seemingly need to overcome Occam's Razor to indicate otherwise.

As it is, I would say there are considerable differences, both a priori and a postiriori, between a dream and the creation of the universe by a divine being. Also, i'm not sure you would have an easy time convincing a theist that the intentional willing of the universe into existence by the judeo-christian god was actually just a very robust dream. i.e. There isn't a historical precedent for your question either.

"do you believe in God and if so are you religious"

No, and no.
8/26/11 10:22 AM
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vermonter
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"We all experience "reality" in different ways, it appears. My reality, my perspective, is much different than yours. The reality of a schizophrenic is much different than mine"

Again, check out arguments against Descartes position, which has some important similarities. Simply because people have a different perspective, isn't sufficient for most philosophers to consider a new ontological category, or entire reality. While it could be true that reality is relative, our perspective or experience of it is neither necessary, nor sufficient for relativism to be real. (As an aside, keep in mind here, that even if relativism is real, there would then be an absolute truth value of that fact, so not everything could be relative. In other words, relativism would have to either be true for everyone, or false.)

"We subscribe to the idea that visions, scents, noises, sensations on our skin, are actually outside stimulus."

Actually, as written, i'm not sure many philosophers or scientists would say this. Check out Locke in regards to primary and secondary properties (although this may be hard to swallow as a relativist...). E.G. what we perceive as vision is the interaction of the light that eventually reaches our eyes with the micro-textures of the surrounding environment. An idealist would probably say that there are only secondary properties (as written), and thus, without people, there would be nothing.

"Let's say a coma patient has mentally fabricated a mini-world in their mind to live in. Their world is no more or less "true" than ours. The "truth" is that both are just as fleeting."

I can certainly say how a relativist would believe that.
9/1/11 8:20 AM
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vermonter
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Zeno,

"What is it for something to be true? Is this something that exists independant of particular things, or is it a quality which they possess? "

I'm not sure it's either. I touched on this in a prior post, but honestly i haven't given it much thought. I am a ruductionist in practice, so i'd say that truth is reducable to existence. In other words, if something exists, it's true, if not, then false. I certainly do not believe it to be an independent property or form. This would be a very basic view though, as we often ascribe truth to statements, but i think ultimately this sort of reductionist view is something i'd subscribe to.

"If I said all things must be red, or not red, could I make the claim that redness is the most important quality and we ought to aspire towards it? "



To what? Redness or not redness? Since the latter is 50% of your expression, wouldn't that make not redness just as important as redness? That's a bit of conjecture just for effect though :)

What you describe here is a priori knowledge. Something we could know independent of experience (i.e. logic). Notice here that even if i were completely blind, i could still say everything is red or not red (in other words, even if i had no experience of it, it would still be true in virtue of the meaning of the words. Also, notice that you would merely be colloquially describing everything. If all things are (=) red or ~red, then all things = all things. Not much to aspire to here, and the same could be said of any property. Also, importance is a tricky word. It might be important to you to be not red even if, together, being red or not red describes everything.
9/1/11 8:39 AM
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vermonter
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"It's interesting to me the way you described our dreams, preexisting neurons and what not. It appears the laws of physics may act in a similar manner, preexisting foundation for the rest of reality to be based upon. "

I'm a little confused by this statement. I would say that mind (dreams included) exists within reality, and reality is subject to physical laws (being a physical thing). It may be more accurate, however, to say that physical laws are a part of reality as well, hence my confusion with the statement. There maybe some metaphysical questions that could never be answered (why doesn't gravity repel objects instead of attract them?), but the foundation of dreams doesn't seem to be an echo of reality, just an example of it.

"Have you seen Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman?"

Yup, interesting show. The consciousness episode was a little hokey, but treated much better than the topic normally is!

"I know it touches very lightly upon these sorts of concepts, but one of the interesting things I've seen on the show was where they compared our universe to a computer program. "

Which episode was this in? I'll check it out if i see it. In what way did they make this comparison?

"Any way I look at it, whether the physical world exists in some sort of more "real" sense than dreams, visions or computer programs, it is still so fleeting that the gravity of it is reduced immensely. "

I wonder what you think there was before there were people? If your intuition is that there is something independent of human existence, you may wish to move away from the idealist mentality. Don't forget, however, that even an idealist has to still live a life that at least appears to be physical. Ultimately the gravity of it should still be there :)
9/3/11 12:23 AM
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Atecexa
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Isa 40:22 [It is] he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof [are] as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:

The verse I was thinking of is actually in Isaiah, could you please quote me the verse from Psalms that said the world was flat? The original hebrew word which we derive circle from which I cant type with a qwerty keyboard refers to a sphere not a 2 dimensional flat circle. It is found in the strongs concordance H2329 here is the url http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?strongs=H2329&t=KJV

At the end of the day without trying to make myself out to be smarter than I am and sound like some ancient Kung Gu master sitting on a mountain top that people travel the world to talk to. Reality is reality regardless of how you percieve it or what you think of it. Your perception does not change reality. Perception is not necessarily reality. If you get hit by a bus walking across the st then no matter how you choose to percieve the event, nothing changes the fact that you got hit by a bus. Truth is truth regardless of whether it works for you or not or whether you choose to believe it or not. The old addage of 2+2=4 no matter what is about as simple as it gets and it really isnt any more complex than that. All the gobblydeegook that philosophers try to come up with to over complicate the world to make themselves seem great do not change the simple facts of reality and truth.

If truth is relative can the statement truth is relative be true?




9/4/11 10:16 PM
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vermonter
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"At the end of the day without trying to make myself out to be smarter than I am and sound like some ancient Kung Gu master sitting on a mountain top that people travel the world to talk to."

Not to worry, i don't think you're in danger of someone mistaking you for being smarter than you are.

"Reality is reality regardless of how you percieve it or what you think of it. Your perception does not change reality."

It's pretty ironic after my last statement that i actually agree with you here. I'd better keep reading...

"Perception is not necessarily reality."

Phew! I was concerned that we may agree until i got to this part. Thank goodness!

Perception is always contained within reality, necessarily. Whether it accounts for what is, and to what extent, is irrelevant.

"If you get hit by a bus walking across the st then no matter how you choose to percieve the event, nothing changes the fact that you got hit by a bus."

This is circular logic if used as an argument against an idealist position. You have assumed the physical and that the bus you perceive exists independent of experience, but an idealist would merely say that, chosen or not, your perception of a bus is not accurate. If there are no buses, you can't be hit by one. (More accurately, they would likely say that there are buses, but only as non-physical constructs of X, X being whatever their ontology would account for.)

"Truth is truth regardless of whether it works for you or not or whether you choose to believe it or not."

Truth is truth! I like it. But wait... what is truth again?

"The old addage of 2+2=4 no matter what is about as simple as it gets and it really isnt any more complex than that."

Your equation is true a priori, but "it" is more complex than that. Not all truths are a priori. In fact, i don't think anyone on this thread has disputed a priori truths, but rather are actually discussing truth as a hole, which is, here again for emphasis to make sure you understand, actually more complex than you seem to think.

On an unrelated note, "2+2=4 no matter what" is not an old adage. Pretending it is will not make you appear wiser.

"All the gobblydeegook that philosophers try to come up with to over complicate the world to make themselves seem great do not change the simple facts of reality and truth."

Wow. Way to bring it home in a way that only you can brother. Do you actually know what philosophers do? How about scientists? Theists? I would love to get a video of you trying to have a discussion with a room full of academics. I think i'd actually pay a door fee for the privilege. Like one hour of you trying to tell these people like it is.

Atacexa: "No you're just complicating everything! Truth is truth. It's just that simple."

You can't put a price on humor of that quality... Oh! I think your entrance music to the event should be "Miracles" by ICP. BWAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! No one work has ever fully captured the scope of your reasoning i think.

"If truth is relative can the statement truth is relative be true?"

Sure... for some people.
9/7/11 10:31 PM
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cincibill
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Zenoplata - The question is whether or not there is an objective truth.

So often we hear claims like, "Too bad it was only a dream." or "How do I know this reality is the REAL reality?"

What criteria differentiates something as being true or real? Are a madman's thoughts not as valid as those of a sane man if he experiences them in the same manner? That is to say, if his mind fabricates realities much in the way ours supposedly sorts through random phenomena and creates the senses.

If you found out tomorrow you existed in someone else's dream, a video game, the Matrix or anything else, but still held onto all your memories what would be the difference between you're reality and "true" reality?

So no, the "truth" is not important. Am I advocating lying for personal gain? No, I would not intentionally lie because it will eventually come back to bite you. But on a more metaphysical level, no the truth does not matter, all that matters is that you accept whatever reality appears to be around you and live within it to the best of your ability.


And if your reality values truth?
8/5/12 11:56 AM
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brannnon
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Truth will impact your existence so yes, I imagine it does matter.

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