Truth and Imagination

“I know what I know!”

My experiences are my truth, my senses don’t lie and neither does my mind. Since the truth we live by daily  is based on the relativity of what it supports. All aspects related to it must also be relative.

Dictionary.com – Truth – “the true or actual state of a matter.”

Is the actual state of a matter what we are perceiving or is matter behaving in a way we wish to see matter behave? Or is matter itself capable of creating a state of existence, independent of for that matter? Is there any truth to matter or is truth merely a philosophy considered to be a matter of fact? If this seems confusing imagine being fully in charge of your world and still things turn out contrary to your will.

The following perspectives on truth or proposition of truth are found in Wikipedia under “Epistemic theories of truth.”

Perspectivist views

According to perspectivalism and relativism, a proposition is only true relative to a particular perspective. The Sophists’ relativist and Nietzsche’s philosophy are some of the most famous examples of such perspectivalism. There are four main versions of perspectivalism, and some interesting subdivisions:
Individual perspectivalism

According to individual perspectivalism, perspectives are the points of view of particular individual persons. So, a proposition is true for a person if and only if it is accepted or believed by that person (i.e., “true for me”).

Discourse perspectivalism (Conventionalism)

According to discourse perspectivalism, a perspective is simply any system of discourse, and it is a matter of convention which one chooses. A proposition is true relative to that particular discourse if and only if it is somehow produced (or “legitimated”) by the methods of that particular discourse. An example of this appears in the philosophy of mathematics: formalism. A proposition is true relative to a set of assumptions just in case it is a deductive consequence of those assumptions.

Collectivist perspectivalism

In collectivist perspectivalism, perspectives are understood as collectivities of people (cultures, traditions, etc.). There are, roughly, three versions of collectivism:

  1. Consensus
    A perspective is, roughly, the broad opinions, and perhaps norms and practices, of a community of people, perhaps all having some special feature in common. So, a proposition is true (for a community C) if, and only if, there is a consensus amongst the members of C for believing it.
  2. Power
    In the power-oriented view, a perspective is a community enforced by power, authority, military might, privilege, etc. So, a proposition is true if it “makes us powerful” or is “produced by power”, thus the slogan “truth is power”.
    This view of truth as a political stake may be loosely associated with Heidegger or with Michel Foucault’s specific analysis of historical and political discourse, as well as with some social constructivists.
    However, the Nazi mysticism of a communitarian “Blood community” conception radically differs from Heidegger or Foucault’s criticism of the notion of the individual or collective subject.
  3. Marxist
    Truth-generating perspectives are collectives opposed to, or engaged in struggle against, power and authority. For example, the collective perspective of the “proletariat”. So, proposition is true if it is the “product of political struggle” for the “emancipation of the workers” (Adorno). This view is again associated with some social constructivists (e.g., feminist epistemologists).

Transcendental perspectivalism

On this conception, a truth-conferring perspective is something transcendental, and outside immediate human reach. The idea is that there is a transcendental or ideal epistemic perspective and truth is, roughly, what is accepted or recognized-as-true from that ideal perspective. There are three subvarieties of transcendental perspectivalism:

Coherentism

The ideal epistemic perspective is the set of “maximally coherent and consistent propositions”. A proposition is true if and only if it is a member of this maximally coherent and consistent set of propositions (associated with several German and British 19th century idealists).

Theological perspectivalism

Theologically, the ideal epistemic perspective is that of God (“God’s point of view”). From this perspective, a proposition is true if and only if it agrees with the thoughts of God.

Pragmatic views

Although the pragmatic theory of truth is not strictly classifiable as an epistemic theory of truth, it does bear a relationship to theories of truth that are based on concepts of inquiry and knowledge.

The ideal epistemic perspective is that of “completed science”, which will appear in the (temporal) “limit of scientific inquiry”. A proposition is true if and only if, in the long run it will come to be accepted by a group of inquirers using scientific rational inquiry. This can also be modalized: a proposition is true if, and only if, in the long run it would come to be accepted by a group of inquirers, if they were to use scientific rational inquiry. This view is thus a modification of the consensus view. The consensus need to satisfy certain constraints in order for the accepted propositions to be true. For example, the methods used must be those of scientific inquiry (criticism, observation, reproducibility, etc.). This “modification” of the consensus view is an appeal to the correspondence theory of truth, which is opposed to the consensus theory of truth.

There is a feeling of being OK when the word true follows a shared perspective. I know – I’ve been on both ends of a compliment. Yet, is it true or is it just an agreement not bearing on understanding beyond our present reach of information?

I feel flattered when agreement is offered me and especially when someone thinks what I’ve shared is actually true. My imagination is my greatest advocate of what I wish to be true – playing tricks on my senses and creating reasons around what I choose to believe is real.

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