And That’s The Truth!
Philosophy is defined as the love of wisdom. Its primary aim is the search for truth. But, what is truth? Philosophical theories abound! At one extreme is the view that there is no such thing as truth, which, if true, is false! At the other extreme is the theory that there is such a thing as truth, but it cannot be attained, which, if true, we would never know! Between these two extremes philosophers have developed four significant theories of truth: the Correspondence, Coherence, Pragmatic, and Authoritarian theories. The Correspondence theory proposes that a proposition is true if it corresponds with the facts, that truth is grounded by an objective reality, independent of what we believe. The Coherence theory proposes that all we need is consistency among accepted beliefs at any given time, and that truth does not depend on an external reality. The Pragmatic theory suggests that truth is a matter of “what works,” what is beneficial to believe, thus context, intent and outcome are important, and facts and consistency are essentially irrelevant. The Authoritarian theory proclaims that truth is a matter of what the reigning authority says is true, because the authority “defines” what is true, regardless of facts or personal beliefs. Religion comes to mind here, but also totalitarianism. These four theories of truth cannot all be true. In fact, they may all be false. Sign up and find out! Join Terry for a fast-paced, fun-filled week seeking the truth! (No prior background in philosophy required.)
Suggested Readings: Students should Google “philosophical theories of truth” and read any and all entries!
Terry Goode received his Ph.D. in philosophy from Wayne State University. He has taught philosophy at the University of South Carolina, UW-Fox Valley, and UW-Oshkosh. He regularly teaches philosophy for the Clearing in the winter and for Bjorklunden in the summer. Prior to his retirement in 2007 Terry owned and managed two technology companies; and was a senior technology officer and served as a business consultant to a number of firms in the Fox River Valley. He and his wife, Pamela, are retired in Baileys Harbor and are active volunteers in many Door County organizations.