Philosophical Fragments – Truth

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1.1 Truth does not inhabit the space of possibility, but rather, only inhabits the space of what is. Conversely, possibility merely exists in a realm of expectation. It can only hope for that which truth has already obtained.

One cannot “know” truth. If what is true is identical to what is, then only that which is, can obtain that truth. To assert that an individual is able to obtain the same truth is to make the individual identical to the thing that is true.

It seems that this is what Descartes saw, but was unable to articulate it properly because he was unable to properly understand his own subjectivity. Descartes was supposed to misarticulate it. What an odd paradox we find ourselves in: Descartes doubting was a product of his self. His inability to doubt his doubt was true only insofar as it was his own subjective doubt. For instance, there is no problem for Descartes to doubt some other’s existence. Instead, the problem arose in Descartes inability to doubt his own doubt because to do so would be to doubt the subjectivity necessary for his doubt to begin with. To doubt the other individual is merely the performance of an objective act.

Descartes had no notion of his own subjectivity insofar as it related to ontological truth. What Descartes encountered was a “moment” within his own subjectivity where ontological truth had revealed itself through the experience of his moment. That is, it was a moment where Descartes actually experienced himself.

The reason for Descartes misarticulation is due to languages inability to consume the ontological status of truth. To put it another way, the individual is unable to send out into the world the exact properties of the object using language without jeopardizing the ontological status of the objects true qualities. I am of course only speaking about truth in its absolute form. Certainly, we are able to chip off pieces of truth to send out into the world. The goal is always the same; namely, having the other individual apprehend our symbolic gestures as close as possible to how we have experienced it.

Truth is very much like a light. The further out into the world light travels, the dimmer it becomes. Moreover, the ability for something to be truer than another has to do with the point of view the individual has. Is the individual closer or further from the source?

There is yet another barrier for the totality of truth to overcome. That is interference. What if when we shine our light it happens to be foggy out? What if, some individuals are deeper in the fog than others? The deeper into the fog the individual goes the more convoluted truth becomes. One person believes the object to be a lamp light. Another thinks it could be a street light. However, only the individual holding the source of the light knows that it is, in fact, a flashlight.

But, in what way does he know of the flashlight? Is it that he has seen a thing called a flashlight on so many occasions that he has come accustomed to calling the device a flashlight? No, he is always stuck in a realm of possibility where he can doubt the existence of the thing he is holding.  However, what he is unable to doubt is the experience of the flashlight.

 

1.2 The question posed “what is truth/true” seems to be predicated upon the presupposition that truth exists out in the world somewhere in need of discovery. This idea necessitates some awkward entailments: first, since truth merely lays in wait, then truth becomes static and unchanging – absolute. Second, it assumes that truth can only appeal to knowledge – that there is something out there to be learned. However, this ideal places us in a Socratic paradox. That is, if truth exists within us, then we “know” it; but, we are unable to know to what extent we know it – we are unable to know how much truth lies within us. Conversely, we do not know, to what extent, we do not know. Therefore, if we know neither to what extent truth resides within us or to what extent it is yet to be discovered, then what is it we are seeking – what are we wanting to learn? If we do not know what we are seeking how, would we know when we found it?

What then is the object of our affections? What are we to learn if by learning there is a thing-to-be-learned? Therefore, we have been given teachers – great professors of “facts”. What should come about for the individual who is in possession of facts? Is it truth? Is it knowledge?

How is a knower of facts able to depart from what he knows, and move into what he is in need of knowing? Where does the individual’s ability to accomplish this task come from? Should this not be the precise role of the professor, to move her student beyond “knowing” and into “thinking”; for where are the thinkers of our age? Have they gone extinct? Has society cast them away and said “go now, we have no need for you. We have our answers!”

 

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Philosophical Fragments – Truth