Philosophical Musings by T L Hurst
by T L Hurst
Truth and Reality
This paper looks at the relationship between truth and reality. We examine what we mean by these terms, and we identify a number of other terms that are relevant...
As with all words, the word "true" means what you define it to. No more, no less. However, although superficially a simple concept, the truth can have many different meanings in different contexts. So this is an attempt to provide a comprehensive and consistent understanding of truth...
Truth in Observations, Beliefs and Ideas
Observations, belief and ideas are thoughts, i.e. they exist in our minds:
- An observation is something that is experienced. It may be real or an illusion. The person observing it does not necessarily believe it to be real, but it is true that they observed it.
- A personal observation is something that is observed by one person. So if one person watches an illusionist who is apparently plucking coins out of thin air, it is true that they see him pluck coins out of thin air, but that does not mean that they believe it, nor that it is real. It can be (and in this case is) an illusion.
- An shared observation is where a number of people observe the same thing. But no matter how many people see an illusionist pluck coins out of thin air, it still is an illusion.
- All observations are subjective, because they unavoidably involve interpretation. Hence there is no such thing as an objective observation. However, an observation can be objectively true, if it matches reality.
- An illusion is something that is observed, but is not real. It may or may not be believed to be real by the observer, but it is true that they observed it.
- A belief is something that is held to be real. It does not necessarily have to be observed, nor real, but it is true that it is believed.
- A personal belief is something that one person believes is true. So if one person sees an illusionist plucking coins out of thin air, and believes it to be real, that is a personal belief.
- A shared belief is held by more than one person. So if a number of people see an illusionist pick coins out of thin air, and believe it to be real, that is a shared belief.
© copyright T L Hurst 2015