I expect that some of you would have already started your Easter
holidays by Sunday. Lucky you!! Anyway, have fun and don't forget to
send us a postcard.
For the rest of us Sunday should provide us with a good discussion:
truth is so dear to us that we all have an opinion about it. We ought
to know the truth about truth next Sunday night. And if we don't we
can always try the ultimate method: vino veritas.
Have fun, see you Sunday
SUNDAY 6.00pm START at Molly Malone's Pub, probably downstairs, but
just in case there is no football on go to the very back of the pub,
then turn left and left again!
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Pub Molly Malone, c/ Manuela Malasaña, 11, Madrid 28004
metro: <Bilbao> : buses: 21, 149, 147
Truth features so prominently in our lives that sometimes we take it
for granted. This does not mean that we don't care. On the contrary,
we care so much that we have elaborate systems to ensure that we all
respect its importance. I'm thinking, for example, of perjury,
disapproval when we lie, the rituals of promising and so on.
What I mean is that we normally don't question everything that is said
to us. We don't pass everything that is said to us through some truth
verification machine. If we did this life would just be impossible to
live. It is like having to reinvent the wheel every time we need to
take a bus ride to the shops. It is not surprising, therefore, that
this is a big subject in philosophy and literature. For example, the
British library and The Library of Congress have more than 18,000
books with truth in their title between them.
There are two questions this can be asked about truth: what qualities
does truth bestow on propositions? What test or tests do we have to
perform to establish the existence of truth?
If we take the claim ''water is wet'' what we are saying is that water
has the quality of wetness. And wetness is not inherent to water only,
but to liquids. We have no problem distinguishing water from wet.
Let's take another example, ''the rock is wet''. We are not saying
that this particular rock is a liquid, and therefore attribute wetness
to it. Of course, what we are saying is that ''this particular rock is
covered with a liquid and as a consequence we can feel the wetness of
the liquid.'' We usually don't have problems with these expressions in
Take the propositions, "water is wet'' and "it is true that water is
wet.'' What is the difference between the first and second sentence?
One possible answer is that the first sentence is an epistemological
idea, expressed in linguistic form, and corresponds with reality. The
second sentence is confirmation of the epistemological idea expressed
in linguistic form and which corresponds with reality. We can all
agree about this.
But can we all agree about statements such as: it is true that
democracy is the best form of government? Not everyone on this planet
would agree with this. So by just adding truth to proposition it does
not make it true. Truth is not like salt or sugar, we add a tea spoon
of truth and things become true. Despite all this most people have no
problem using truth correctly.
We might fare better if we asked ourselves a different question. Does
truth matter? And if it does matter, why does it? Although there
might be a number of reasons why truth matters there are certainly
three important ones: it helps us with our decision concerning the
future. It helps us manage irrelevant or useless information (white
noise). Truth gives a certain type of meaning to our linguistic
utterances. Let's take an example of each.
If it is true that democracy is the best form government then one day
in the future we might feel obliged to change governments that are not
democratic. The truth of a statement can d