True or false, probably a term most people are familiar with. Such a thing seems quite simple to comprehend, however determining whether something is true or not isnâ€™t the easiest of tasks. In order to determine if something is false, we must first establish what the truth is. The knowledge issue this brings up is: How do we know if absolute truth exists, and if it doesnâ€™t what type of truth does exist? This is dependent on our perception of the situation and our ability to reason out a conclusion.For this essay I will use science, mathematics, religion and ethics as my areas of knowledge. I will present both aspects of this statement and conclude with my own point of view.
Firstly, letâ€™s examine why it can be deemed true but before we do that we must define what truth really is. Truth can be defined as conformity to reality or actuality and in order for something to be â€œtrueâ€ it must be public, eternal, and independent. If the â€œtruthâ€ does not follow these guidelines then it cannot be â€œtrue. Obviously in contrary anything that goes against the boundaries of â€œtruthâ€ is inevitably false. To say that there is no absolute distinction between true and false makes one agree with a relativist point of view. Relativism is the idea that any point of view has no absolute truth or validity; it is the belief that they have only relative, subjective values, according to differences in perception and reason. (Bartlett, Jack) Â If we look deeper into this saying we can concur that anything that we take to be true is reversible.
We can never have a â€˜godâ€™s-eyeâ€™ view of the universe, all truths are a matter of opinion. Truth is relative to culture, historical epoch, language, and society etc. All the truths that we know are subjective truths (i. e. mind-dependent truths) and there is nothing more to truth than what we are willing to assert as true (Hammerton, Matthew). To reason these thoughts let us look at an area of knowledge-ethics. Ethical relativism represents the position that there are no moral absolutes, no moral right or wrong.
In this position all points of view are equally valid and the individual determines what is true for them. That the truth is different for different people, not simply that different people believe different things to be true. This position would assert that our morals evolve and change with social norms over time. This philosophy allows people to mutate ethically as the culture, knowledge, and technology change in society. (Ethical Relativism) Another area of knowledge that we can look at is science. For centuries scientists have debated how this earth really came into existence.We theorize that this great occurrence was the result of a â€œBig Bang,â€ but really what defines this statement, and what â€œtruthâ€ does it really hold? In fact there are so many theories in science that can be looked upon this way.
We consider some â€œtruthsâ€ because people internationally recognize them and believe in them, but the true question is what evidence do we have to prove them to be absolutely true? Another area of knowledge we can look at is mathematics. As discussed in our IB Math class, there are a variety of different ways that math can be axiomatized (i. e. uilt up from basic axioms). Some approaches use sets as the most basic objects, Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory, while others use Category Theory to provide the basic building blocks, and still other theories attempt to axiomatize only small portions of math, such as Euclidâ€™s Axioms of planar geometry, Hilbertâ€™s axiomatization of Euclidean Geometry and the Peano axioms for arithmetic. (Clockbackward) What is even worse, (when it comes to deciding what is true), than having so many conflicting viewpoints for constructing math, is that the axioms of these viewpoints are themselves not probably true?If you are, letâ€™s say, to assume that the many axioms of math are â€œabsolutely true,â€ then all the resulting theorems that can be derived from those axioms are also absolutely true. However, the axioms themselves must be accepted without proof in order for this process to work! In factuality, if we could even prove that the axioms were true then they would be called â€œtheoremsâ€ and not â€œaxiomsâ€! (Clockbackward) So we must ask ourselves, can anything ever be absolutely true? The word absolute itself means â€œcomplete and without restriction or qualification.
â€ (Wordnet Search) But how do we know certainly that anything is absolutely true?If not in this world… there is a possibility that in a universe different from ours, the laws of nature and science or ethics, for example, that we believe to be true, may very well be false! The other spectrum of this quote, which would be the view point of an absolutist most probably, would perhaps say that reality as we know it is absolute, so there must be a clear distinction between truths and falsities. An absolute truth can most simply be defined as an unalterable and permanent fact. Itâ€™s difficult to disprove the idea of absolute truth, since saying that there are no absolute truths-that it is bsolutely true that no absolute truth exists – is itself an absolute truth! There are a few things that we all agree are absolutely true, but they depend upon an agreement in definition. Take, for example, a situation where a person has a dog in his house.
Obviously, no one would agree, as an absolute truth, that this dog â€œWas the nicest dog in the world. â€ However, most people would agree, given evidence at that specific point in time, that there was a dog in the house. Some might quibble over the fact that people might define â€œdogâ€ differently; that is, some might not describe a wolf in a house as “a dog in a house. Many religions contain absolute truths. For example, a Christian might say, â€œ I know Jesus Christ is my Lord and my Savior. By following his teachings, I will enter into heaven when I die. â€ To the Christian this may be an absolute truth.
Imposing this statement on others is where this absolute truth, to the Christian, becomes debated. While many may agree that the Christian believes absolutely that Jesus is his Lord, they are unlikely to agree that Jesus is everyone’s Lord is an absolute truth.Proper functioning societies and communities often rely on certain agreed-upon truths, or conditional truths. For example, the country holds rape and murder as crimes and uses language to define rape and murder. The failure for a society to define such terms, and agree upon their definition could result in chaos. Thus while absolute truths may be hard to come by, and difficult to agree upon, some amount of truths are generally required for a properly functioning society. Whether these truths are absolute or universal is a matter that has been and will likely continue to be debated.
So to conclude this aspect, I would like to quote an excerpt from a speech made by Galt: â€œExistence is an absolute, a speck of dust is an absolute and so is a human life. Whether you live or die is an absolute. Whether you have a piece of bread or not, is an absolute. Whether you eat your bread or see it vanish into a looterâ€™s stomach, is an absolute. â€œ(Galtâ€™s Speech, For the New Intellectual, 173) So I ask, how can truth not be absolute? In my opinion I believe that something can only be false if it contradicts something that is absolutely true. If it contradicts something that is relatively true, it can’t be “false. This is why my opinion relates to the second aspect of this statement-that there are distinctions between absolute truths and falsities.
I believe that absolute truths most certainly exist. If we look around we can find examples in our lives that tell us or show us these truths exist. For example, it is a fixed, invariable, unalterable fact that there are absolutely no square circles and there are absolutely no round squares. We can debate about the parameters of defining what a square or circle is, but regardless the definition this â€œtruthâ€ is inevitable!So to conclude I quote Plato from one of his philosophical arguments against a relativist: “If you believe the truth is relative then you believe all views are correct, and if you believe all views are correct then you believe my views are correct, and since I believe truth is absolute, you must therefore believe truth is absolute. ” (Plato)Works Cited Bartlett, Jack. “Glossary Terms. ” My IDisk.
Web. 15 Oct. 2010. . “Ethical Relativism. ” AllAboutPhilosophy. org.
AllAboutPhilosophy. org, 2002. Web. 20 Oct. 2010. . Hammerton, Matthew.
“There Are No Absolute Truths. ” Socratic Society. 24 Mar. 2009. Web. Nov. 2010.
. “Is Math True? ” Clockbackward. ClockBackward, 18 Jan. 2009. Web. 07 Nov. 2010.
. Plato. “Plato Quotes. ” Quotes and Quotations at BrainyQuote. Web. 13 Nov. 2010.
. Van De Lagemaat, Richard. Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2005. Print. “Wordnet Search. ” Princeton.
edu. Princeton. edu. Web. 25 Oct. 2010. .
———————– Ryan Shimoga 000281-021 Examination Session May 2011 Word Count: 1434 |Theory Of Knowledge Essay: |â€œThere are no absolute distinctions between what is true and what is falseâ€ |
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