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What is truth?


Well-known member
MHB Math Scholar
Feb 15, 2012
Think a bit about this, before you answer.....

Here are some of my musings on the subject:

Language, or almost any other means of communication, is a means of mapping our internal experience externally. Our internal experience (which includes, but is not limited to, our sensory data, our feelings, thoughts, our dreams and physical actions) is robust, varied and complex, and is likely impossible to fully communicate.

So, as is the case with many maps, language is not fully faithful. We include what we feel are the important features of our internal experience, and omit others. In the language of data transmission, language is simultaneously encryption AND compression.

For example, I might say: "My shirt is green" (in point of fact, I DO have a green shirt on at this moment). But what do I mean? Emerald? Kelly green? Fluorescent lime? I think we would all like to believe that since my shirt is, in fact, green, that what I am saying is an example of a true statement. Some possible ways of ascribing this value ('truth") to my statement:

Verifiablity (but this is not possible for blind people).
Falsifiability of the negation (but this is not possible for people with red-green color blindness, for example).
Consistency with repeated observation (but this seems to lead to the idea that truth doesn't exist UNTIL it is confirmed).
Logical deduction (perhaps coupled with wavelength analysis of light reflected off my shirt, and a suitable range given for "green"). This seems to rest on some "basic facts" which we can take as "axiomatically true". Which facts are these?

The more one thinks about this, the worse it gets....where can we even begin?