Truth

More on truth. Much is written on the philosophy of truth and meaning, what it means for something to be true or untrue, and this thing, in philosophy, is often a statement in a language.

1. If only one person existed in the universe and he spoke a sentence, would the sentence be true? What difference would it make if it were not true? What difference would it make if the sentence was nonsensical, or it's truth not ascertainable? If the same outcome came from each option then each option is equally as true as each other, therefore labels such as truth or falsehood when applied to a statement depend only on the action caused by such statements. This applied even mentally; if every flow of information in the mind of the speaker was the same for a true statement and a false statement then neither truth or falsehood would exist.

2. Can truth be language independent? Two creatures exist that cannot pass information to each other, can one express a truth to the other? No, because the word "express" implies the passing of information!

3. Can the truth of something be determined without communication? What communications are needed - transmission from the thing to the reasoning mind, then transmission of the result of the reasoning to another mind. Can only the first part work alone? Can a truth be transmitted to a mind and remain true? No, because whether true or untrue or nonsense, the same outcome would result... but what if the reasoning mind recognised a truth or untruth or nonsense? Then the recognition was an "internally social" factor, a second part of the mind compared the incoming information with past experience and assessed an opinion about truth or falsehood. This opinion does not guarantee the actual truth of the experience. Also, without any past experience the truth factor cannot be determined.

4. There are no minds in the universe. What is true and what is untrue? The question is nonsensical. Everything is true, nothing is untrue, or nothing is true and everything is untrue, because there are no minds to decide or act on the decision. The word truth has no meaning without a social context. In this situation there is simply existence.

So what can be said about the universe at all, if the truth of anything cannot be expressed? Surely, this is a nonsense. Even these words are expressed, and it's paradoxical to express that truth cannot be expressed. These words are expressed to others, and the validity of those words can only be assessed by others. If nobody ever read these words then their truth wouldn't be in question. If someone did, then their truth would be for that person to determine by reason, and yet never perfectly verify because verification would exclusively depend on information from other sources, including reasoning and memories, none of which are universally reliable.

Copyright © 14 August 2014 by Mark Sheeky