I have done quite a bit of study on this and I’ll have to say that perhaps aside from Doug all of us here are more likely than not going to fall into a philosophical quagmire if we try to discuss this.
There are two pretty good resources I offer for your own study, and suffice to say the philosophers who work on this stuff as a fill time career can not come to agreement on the matter.
Truth is one of the central subjects in philosophy. It is also one of the largest. Truth has been a topic of discussion in its own right for thousands of years. Moreover, a huge variety of issues in philosophy relate to truth, either by relying on theses about truth, or implying theses about truth.
It would be impossible to survey all there is to say about truth in any coherent way. Instead, this essay will concentrate on the main themes in the study of truth in the contemporary philosophical literature. It will attempt to survey the key problems and theories of current interest, and show how they relate to one-another. A number of other entries investigate many of these topics in greater depth. Generally, discussion of the principal arguments is left to them. The goal of this essay is only to provide an overview of the current theories.
The problem of truth is in a way easy to state: what truths are, and what (if anything) makes them true. But this simple statement masks a great deal of controversy. Whether there is a metaphysical problem of truth at all, and if there is, what kind of theory might address it, are all standing issues in the theory of truth. We will see a number of distinct ways of answering these questions.
You know, like a car accident, what is true for one, may not be true for another. Of course, there is sometime one party who flat out lies, but in such cases, sometimes the truth is only as it appeared to the person.
There’s probably also a difference between what truth is and what it is understood to be. As Chris says, truth (or reality) just is. But how it looks to us is another thing. Cultural values probably rarely even deserve the label “truths” since they’re just widely, strongly-held opinions. Scientific truths are a bit more solid, but even they have some level of uncertainty associated with them and may depend on frame of reference. All the dictionary definitions rely on some accordance with either reality or belief, but belief is relative and reality, though absolute in itself, is often not so clearly understood or perceieved. I, for one, am not a fan of the word in any grand metaphysical usage, though I’m happy enough with it’s day-to-day meaning (it’s “true” that I’m not a dolphin, it’s not “true” that… well, pretty much anything George Bush says
All scientific truths are incomplete and will always be incomplete.
Or, in other words:
There is no scientific truth that will ever be complete.
Personally, I don’t like using the words ‘uncertain, and incomplete’ in regards to scientific theories. Using such terms to regard scientific theories implies a belief that scientific theories can be complete and certain.
I prefer to regard scientific theories as usefull to degrees.
[quote author=“logicisrefreshing”]Well, I’ve thought about it some more and I realized that under my definition of truth, it’s a synonym for fact. My definition for truth isn’t what’s true to someone… it’s a cold hard fact.
So the existence of truth depends on your definition.
It’s true that unless there is a conceptualizing consciousness present, truth cannot be said to exist. That is, as long as you equate existence with appearance. That which appears, exists. That which does not appear, does not exist.
[quote author=“CoryDuchesne”]as long as you equate existence with appearance.
Existence is not the same as appearance. If it were, there would be no such thing as a mirage.
A mirage is something that appears to exist but in fact does not.
Similarly, there are many things that exist but that we do not perceive. They may be too small, too large, too far away or too well hidden. There are many things that exist that nobody will ever perceive.