1. NATURE OF TRUTH
Plato wrote, Socrates, the most influential philosopher in the history of western of thought, died knowing only one thing about the truth, that is, he did not know anything about the truth.
Truth is the final cause of philosophy. All the branches of philosophy endeavors to know the truth. However, truth is too elusive. The quest for truth has started long before the advent of philosophy and this quest continue until this post modern period.
But for purposes of the present discussion, let try to “understand” truth from the standpoint of Epistemology.
The word epistemology is derived from the two Greek words Epistem (episthmh) + Logos (logoz). Epistem means knowledge while Logos means science. Hence, it is etymologically defined as science of knowledge.
As a branch of philosophy, epistemology is defined as that which studies the sources, validity and limits of knowledge. It inquires into perception, meaning and truth.
Epistemology investigates the human knowledge itself from the standpoint if certainty, validity and truth – value of such knowledge.
3. ASIDE FROM KNOWLEDGE WHICH IS NECESSARILY TRUE, THERE IS ALSO KNOWLEDGE WHICH IS CONTINGENTLY TRUE.
Necessary truth is when there is a necessary conformity between the object and the knowledge.
Contingent truth is when sometimes there is no conformity or there exists a conformity between the object and knowledge.
Knowledge is an inner grasp and possession of reality or of an object.
Knowledge is necessarily true from the very perfection and nature of the object when it reacts certainly about the object which cannot be otherwise.
Knowledge is contingently true when somebody may affirm that someone for example he knows that he is accustomed to study such hour. Having presumed, therefore, that he is studying, the affirmation is but only contingently true; for some proposition can also be pronounced, even if he, on accounts of some other later besides the habit, is playing, and in this case, the affirmation did not conform to the object.
4. TRUTH IS AN ABSOLUTE THING
Truth is the conformity of thought and thing.
Absolute means perfect in itself; fixed; unchanging.
A thing is said to be absolutely true when it does not change with times, place and persons.
But, truth does not change with times, places, and persons.
Therefore, truth is an absolute thing.
a. This could be proven by experience. For example, it was once believed that the earth is flat; nevertheless, the earth is not flat. Nor was it flat when it was believed to be so.
What was true when such belief prevailed, is still true, and will be true forever. A mistaken judgment has been corrected but truth has not changed.
b. There are also statements which is fix in a point of time and it must always be understood with reference to that fixed point; such as twelve years ago I said “I am a little boy,’ and the statement was true. If pronounce the same statement today, it is not true. What was said twelve years ago was true. It will forever be true and will remain unchanged.
c. THERE ARE SIX STATES OF THE MIND WITH REFERENCE TO TRUTH
Truth is the conformity of thought and thing otherwise stated as the agreement between the judgment of the mind and objective thing judged.
State of the mind is the condition of the mind in reference to truth.
CLASSIFICATION OF THE STATES OF THE MIND
a. An indecisive state of mind is when the mind does not give a definite or positive judgment.
b. A decisive state of mind is when the mind has already made a decision or judgment and rests in it.
Indecisive State of Mind
IGNORANCE – the lack of knowledge in a subject capable of possessing it.
a. Privative Ignorance – lack of knowledge which one ought to have and reasonably be expected to have and so indicated a real privation in the subject.
b. Negative Ignorance – ignorance of knowledge which one is not reasonably expected to possess, so constitutes no real privation in the subject.
DOUBT – when the mind hesitates between contradictory judgments, unable to deliver either one or the other is true. Doubt, unlike ignorance, involves the presence of some knowledge in the mind.
a. Positive Doubt – the mind is in doubt by reason of apparently equal argument or reasons for each of the two contradictory judgments.
b. Negative Doubt – the mind is in doubt when there appears no good argument or reason for deciding either ways.
SUSPICION – when the mind begins, however slightly, to incline towards one of the contradictories, without definitely accepting it or rejecting the opposite judgment.
Decisive State of Mind
OPINION – when the mind definitely decides for one of two contradictory judgments having reasons for its decisions, bur realizing that, after all, the opposite judgment maybe the true one. Opinion involves definite pronouncement of judgment by the mind, but the judgment is not wholly.
CERTITUDE – is the unwavering assent of the mind to known truth. It implies no fear that; after all, the opposite may be true; instead it rigorously excludes such fear.
ERROR – the state of the mind in which that false is judged to be true, or that which is true is judged to be false.