Does Truth Exist?

Before we can determine the nature of truth, we must be convinced that such a thing actually exits. Some might take it so far as to question our own existence, but I think I will concur with Rene Descartes and conclude that since we are able to think about these questions then we must exist. Certainly, even the most esoteric of you could agree that if we do not exist then truth (and everything else, for that matter) is not really very important. So I will accept my own existence as fact and move on toward the question of truth, itself.

Many people believe that what is true for one may not be true for someone else. If this is the case then these “truths” are not absolute. The question the truth seeker must ask is whether these truths are derived or descended in some way from absolute truth or if truth is always relative. A third possibility is that any truth can be described in “if-then” form; that is that if given certain circumstances and conditions, then a certain truth becomes, in fact, true. Truth, then, is not necessarily relative, but it may be conditional. Another consideration that must be included in our quest is that belief does not constitute truth. Something does not become true simply because many people believe it or because it has been believed for a long period of time.

It would be ideal to start with a most basic and foundational morsel of absolute truth and follow it from conclusion to conclusion in direct fashion to determine what is true and what is not. Unfortunately this assumes two things. First that there exist such an absolute truth and second, that all other truth is derived directly from it.

Truth be told, Kierkegaard said the very same thing: “Life may only be understood backwards, unfortunately, it must be lived forwards.”

3 thoughts on “Does Truth Exist?

  1. this is a BRILLIANT example of someone who, instead of thinking for themselves, decide to quote and actually misquote ideas from philisophers who would more than likely die crossing the street becasue they were hit by a bus that they didn’t see so therefore they thought it couldn’t be true that there actually was a bus. I guess he is hoping that his regirguation of misunderstood (by him) thoughts will cause people to think that he is smart. Uh…. nope. Here is a clue – watch Good Will Hunting, esp. the bar scene, dilweed.

  2. Thanks for the comment Scott. I have seen Good Will Hunting, and I love the bar scene. I have to correct you, however. I did quote Kierkegaard (no misquote), and I have read many others, but I am not an educated idiot as you propose. In fact, in this post, I am merely posing a question, not proposing an answer, nor even claiming to have one at this point. I do think it better to get our philosophical ideas from writers of philosophy rather than the movie clips, but if that is where you find your wisdom then go ahead. I have my eyes open. I see the bus. I am at a loss as to why you would attack me in such a juvenile manner, especially when I haven’t even posed anything except an invitation to search for a source of truth. By the way, nice name-calling.

  3. I have limited formal education in philosophy. I have, however, studied intensely on my own, and I do a lot of thinking just for the hell of it. That said, it seems to me (today, anyway) that it may not even matter if truth exists. It is important to have structures and ideals to form ourselves around, but, outside of that, truth seems impotent. I say that for a couple of reasons:

    1)Absolute truth is likely to exist, mostly out of the probability that there is at least one “thing in and of itself.”

    2)That thing may appear to be any number of things to any number of people.

    No matter what we do, we cannot shed our own perception. Everything I see is the world according to N.A. Gonzo. You may see the same thing as something else entirely. And we’re probably both going to be off at least a little. If we put our perceptions together, we’re probably closer to the absolute, but we may also be moving farther away. There simply is no way to know.

    The only way to be confident in any kind of truth is to believe in a deity. And that whatever that deity says it the truth. But there again, who and what the deity is and what the deity means by what it mandates is subject to perception.

    It is an incredibly vicious wheel.

    If you want to read a more competent explanation of this idea, you might be interested in Nietchze’s “Will to Power”. It has a good explanation of nihilism and its futility, too. In the end, I feel that it is a solid text, however scattered. You may put it down feeling hopeful for humanity or you might set it on the shelf in utter hopelessness for yourself.

    It’s all a matter of how you want to look at it.

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