Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course

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Can Absolute Truth Exist? (Epistemology Final + 3 Posts)

A lot of our knowledge is based upon what we believe to be true, but we’ll never be able to confirm what we believe unless we can prove that what we believe will function the same way every time, unchanging. This a problem many philosophers face, and the lack of any hard, factual unchanging attributes in our universe could potentially undermine our perception of the world. This idea sparked my interest in Justified True Belief versus Truth and the importance of finding Truth.

  • Knowledge is not the ‘purest’ form of information
  • Knowledge is what our self is constructed from
  • Knowledge is not trustworthy

These were my three initial propositions of knowledge, and though I find each topic uninspired interesting in its own right, I found my first and third propositions, knowledge is not trustworthy, and knowledge is not the ‘purest’ form of information to be the most important and valuable, but I’ll get to that later.


The Reading

My reading began with the googling of “Is Absolute Truth obtainable” because why should I think for myself is I can just spew someone else’s argument? The general consensus in all the articles, blogs and discussions was that no, Truth is not obtainable because we as humans have limited perception. The closest we can get is Justified True Belief.


Discussion

I discussed Truth, True Belief and Justified True Belief with Brian, Kyle and Alejandro. We discussed if Truth could be achieved or if Justified True Belief was the limit. We believe that humans can never confirm Truth, because we are limited by our bodies and also the concepts of the universe, like probability.


Active Learning

For my active learning I provided a guitar lesson. I figured that bestowing my knowledge about something as abstract as music would be interesting, and potentially inspiring. A lot of what my student believed to be true was false, or not too close to the truth. She gained knowledge and had her previous beliefs, or her previous knowledge, corrected. This was interesting to me as it could apply to any facet of our lives. Even the most fundamental of concepts could be proven wrong at any point. Paradigm shifts are common place in human history, which just reinforced my belief that Truth is an important goal.


 

Truth with a capital T, the truthiest truth of all truths, is something that cannot be disproved, an unarguable attribute to the universe. Unfortunately for us, our senses limit our knowledge. There are things that we cannot perceive or interpret, such as gravity. We can spectate the effects of gravity on things we can perceive, but not gravity itself, for example. Believing that gravity will pull objects to earth’s center is Justified True Belief as we have documented it happen all the time.

My initial thought of this topic was: “If we can’t really prove anything because our senses are like wishy washy or whatever, then how could we possibly prove something to be True?”
From what I understand, we can’t ever reach Truth, but people way smarter than me have decided that we’ll just have to deal with it and accept certain things as True, as long as the logic behind said things is airtight.
The power of the internet bestowed upon me the concept of an axiom.
An axiom is a statement or concept that is so well proven within it’s own paradigm that it is considered True without questions asked. A simple example of this is that:
A+B = B+A
All this is argued and proven in Alfred North Whitehead’s 1910 publication Principia Mathematica, a two hundred page paper attempting to prove principles of math through logic equations. Yes, this was indeed a paper that tried and successfully confirmed that 1+1 equals 2.

So in conclusion, Truth is unobtainable. We can reach and justify logical conclusions in order to accept something as True, which may not be enough for some, but it is just something we have to accept if we don’t want to live in an endless existential crisis wishing for some unobtainable fact.

 

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