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StaffPenguin Flight LogTruth is Not What You Say It Is Because A Lie Is...

Truth is Not What You Say It Is Because A Lie Is A Lie.

Image of a rose

I had an idea the other day – and as it passed by my little weak brain – the idea almost faded. At first the idea blossomed like a flower in the spring but quickly turned to nonsense. The core portions of the thought though pinged around in my head until today – when I realized “Good Ideas are more than a passing thought.” Good ideas should be written down for others to read, so that the reader may disagree or agree.

My rose was but an attempt to think about science, truth, popperism, and falsification. More precisely, my thoughts were about how to deal with a liar. Liars piss me off and for 20 plus years I’ve silently wondered whether a lie can be identified using the scientific method (popperism and falsification).

Basically my thought, my rose, is that truth cannot be determined because language is not precise; however, a false statement can be identified as false. This is possible through even the worst uses of language. Therefore, the method of finding the truth is to remove the false statements, leaving truth to stand alone.

I’ve never read Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus by Ludwig Wittgenstein. It is freely available and only approximately 75 pages. Sadly, I have no will or interest to read something that doesn’t match my poor understanding of philosophical language. My fear has been that my poor language skills would cause me to misinterpret the meanings of his words. This would (via my thought process) lead to an even greater harm in misunderstanding positivism and modern social group thinking.

In other words – I’ve been attempting to think for myself and not be influenced by other’s writings. It is my lack of clarity in my own thoughts that need to be refined before torn and shredded by others.

Basically Wittgenstein’s ideas regarding truth is defined by facts, propositions, and objects built by pictures. OK. Maybe that is a poor explanation and I’m sure a lover of philosophy can explain it in a precise manner.

Regardless, his work influenced many people, including a postmodernist female who stated on numerous occasions that no truth exists therefore she can say anything she wants and others must accept her ‘version’ as truth because she says it is truth. Or something like that. Her words suggests she accepts a version of a postmodern pragmatic theory.

Anyway, I disagree.

Lately I’ve had to deal with two people with this same philosophical underlying principle: truth is what I say it is, at this moment, and I can change my version any time I wish. These types of people are challenging to me and so I’ve struggled not to let my own belief system of truth rule and not reflect upon their statements.

Truth is not what we say it is or what we want it to be at a particular moment or during a particular situation, rather truth is a fact. Truth is an elemental fact, a basis of which our world is built. Truth is not perception. When we are honest brokers then we attempt to use language to describe truth – and our language may be interpreted by others as truth or misinterpreted as truth.

The difference then between a cynical explanation of truth and mine lies in our statements regarding interpretations of truth. An interpretation is not truth but a point of view (using language to describe the view) which may or may not represent the fact or truth. This differs from justifications of actions created by our minds after we’ve taken action.

Anyway – all of that nonsense hides my epiphany. While pondering truth, I came to the conclusion that there is no observable universal truth because we can argue about variables influencing our view of truth. Instead, we must rely on falsification. Yeah – maybe not exactly popperism – but a version of falsification to a degree of uncertainty.

We may not know what is true but we can determine if something is false to some degree, and with some certainty. It is through falsification that we learn to be better skeptics and remove versions of a statement and narrow the lens to focus on important elements of a statement to determine whether or not the statement or description is false.

Following this line of reasoning, if you suspect someone is telling you a version of truth that is verifiably false, then listen to the language carefully. Ask questions to understand the context of the language then determine if there is consistency. The inconsistency is the key identifying element that a false statement is being presented. Truth may be hidden by false statements, therefore, it is worthwhile to remove false statements in order to get a glimpse of truth. You still will not know the truth but you can certainly know the false statement.

Layne Heinyhttp://www.layneheiny.com
LPH is a high school physics teacher interested in the Apple iPad and iPhone, Microsoft Surface, Tablet PCs, and other mobile devices. He resides with one large dog who begs for pizza, hamburgers, French fries, and anything else on the dinner table.

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