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CRITERIA OF TRUTH

• Standards and rules used to judge the accuracy of statements and claims
• Tools of verification
• Standards to distinguish truth from falsehood
• Not all criteria are equally valid. Some are sufficient, while others are
questionable.
PRAGMATIC THEORY OF TRUTH
• If an idea works, then it must be true.
• The consequences of applying a concept reveal its truth value upon
examination of the results.
• Must be used with caution and reservation, due to its potential for false
positives.
COHERENCE THEORY OF TRUTH
• This refers to a consistent and overarching explanation for all facts.
• To be coherent, all pertinent facts must be arranged in a consistent and
cohesive fashion as an integrated whole.
• The main limitation lies not in the standard, but in the human inability to
acquire all facts of an experience. Only an omniscient mind could be aware of
all the relevant information.
• A scholar must accept this limitation and accept as true the most coherent
explanation for the available facts.
CORRESPONDENCE THEORY OF TRUTH
• A claim should correspond to its object.
• An idea which corresponds to its object is indeed true.
• Held by most philosophers to be the most valid of the criteria of truth
• Problem: Ensuring perfect correspondence requires additional tests
• What is posited VS What exists in objective reality
AUTHORITY
• The opinions of those with significant experience, highly trained or
possessing an advanced degree are often considered a form of proof.
• Their knowledge and familiarity within a given field or area of knowledge
command respect and allow their statements to be criteria of truth.
• Not an infallible criterion

and all B’s are C’s. o Syllogism: • All trees are made of wood. though not necessarily related. . • An elm is a tree. o Still a necessary condition for the truth of any argument • Strict/Rigorous Consistency: Claims are connected in such a fashion that one statement follows from another. should not contradict one another. o Inadequate as a criterion: It treats facts in an isolated fashion without true cohesion and integration. • Then an elm is made of wood. then all A’s are C’s.CONSENSUS GENTIUM • Agreement of the People • Holding opinions held by all people to be valid criteria of truth • The universal consent of all mankind. all humans holding a distinct belief proves it is true • That which is universal carries the weight of the truth • Laws of Mathematics • Not always reliable (the general belief that the Earth was flat and that the sun revolved around the earth) CONSISTENCY • Mere Consistency and Strict Consistency • Mere: Statements. • Formal Logic and Mathematical Rules o If all A’s are B’s. it is still an essential component in distinguishing truth from falsehood. • Strict/Rigorous Consistency: o Not always reliable o Premises sometimes require another test of truth o Strict consistency may produce results lacking coherence and completeness o Nevertheless.

• Ideas gaining the loyalty of multiple generations possess a measure of credibility. but are not observable by the unaided sense. TIME • Often referred to as the Test of Time • Over time. the more valid it becomes • Used to determine group decisions in democratic systems • Poor determinant of truth. doing what other people are doing. most likely it works. • First-hand observation becomes the standard of truth for a given claim. doing what is popular. • Insufficient: A host of natural phenomena are demonstrably true.CUSTOM • The belief that doing customary practices most likely prevents error • Using common vernacular. belief in superstitions • If something becomes customary. • Insufficient: Subject to similar flaws as custom and tradition TRADITION • That which is held for generations is true. the mere passage of time cannot adversely affect its validity. wearing common fashion. . subject to a lot of criticisms NAÏVE REALISM • Only that which is directly observable/perceptible by the human senses is true. If the belief is true. • Not a serious test of truth MAJORITY RULE • Statistical method of accepting assertions and proposals • The more people accept it. • Subject to the same criticism as Custom • It is possible for falsehoods to be passed down from generation to generation since tradition generally emphasizes repetition over critical evaluation. erroneous beliefs and logical errors will be revealed.

• Rationalists assert that certain rational principles exist in logic. and metaphysics that are so fundamentally true that denying them causes one to fall into contradiction.RATIONALISM • Regards reason as the chief source and test of knowledge • Any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge and justification • A methodology or theory in which the criterion of the truth is not sensory but intellectual and deductive • Rationalists believe reality has an intrinsically logical structure. ones in which the conclusion must be true if the premises are true. still others are knowable by being deduced from intuited propositions. warranted belief in it. are knowable by us by intuition alone. as part of our rational nature. • Because of this. Intellectually grasping a proposition. THESES OF RATIONALISM INTUITION/DEDUCTION THESIS Some propositions in a particular subject area. S. • Deduction is a process in which we derive conclusions from intuited premises through valid arguments. • Rationalists have such a high confidence in reason that proof and physical evidence are unnecessary to ascertain truth. ethics. • Intuition is a form of rational insight. • Intuition and deduction thus provide us with knowledge a priori. mathematics. that the number three is prime and that it is greater than two. rationalists argue that certain truths exist and that the intellect can directly grasp these truths. S. • We then deduce from this knowledge that there is a prime number greater than two. • We intuit. INNATE KNOWLEDGE THESIS We have knowledge of some truths in a particular subject area. for example. . we just “see” it to be true in such a way as to form a true. which is to say knowledge gained independently of sense experience.

• According to others. • According to the Innate Concept thesis. • The difference between them rests in the accompanying understanding of how this a priori knowledge is gained. • The Innate Knowledge thesis offers our rational nature. as part of our rational nature. • But rather we simply bring to light what we already know. INNATE CONCEPT THESIS We have some of the concepts we employ in a particular subject area. • The Intuition/Deduction thesis cites intuition and subsequent deductive reasoning. God provided us with it at creation. • They are part of our rational nature in such a way that. while sense experiences may trigger a process by which they are brought to consciousness. independently of experience. • The Indispensability of Reason Thesis . S. but the experiences do not provide us with the knowledge itself. • It has in some way been with us all along. • A rationalist adopting this thesis claims that we don’t really “learn” things in the traditional usage of the word. Our innate knowledge is not learned through either sense experience or intuition and deduction. • Experiences may trigger a process by which we bring this knowledge to consciousness. • Some claim that the Innate Concept thesis is entailed by the Innate Knowledge Thesis. the Innate Knowledge thesis asserts the existence of knowledge gained a priori. we gained the knowledge in an earlier existence. Still others say it is part of our nature through natural selection. • According to some rationalists. experience does not provide the concepts or determine the information they contain. • It is just part of our nature. • Like the Intuition/Deduction thesis. • A particular instance of knowledge can only be innate if the concepts that are contained in the known proposition are also innate. some of our concepts are not gained from experience.

The knowledge we gain in subject area. • It entails that knowledge can only be gained. redness.) situated in time and in space. but only as perceptual phenomena or sensory stimuli (e. Sense experience is our only source of ideas. or would be experienced under certain specifiable conditions. • To believe that a material or physical object exists is to believe that sense- data of various sorts have been experienced. softness. • Empiricists generally reject the Indispensability of Reason thesis. by intuition and deduction. dependent upon sense experience. • The Empiricism thesis does not entail that we have empirical knowledge. by experience. S. though they need not. • Empiricism about a particular subject rejects the corresponding version of the Intuition/Deduction thesis and Innate Knowledge thesis. • Objects are permanent possibilities of perception. are being experienced. it certainly does not give us superior knowledge. • They reject the corresponding version of the Superiority of Reason thesis. if at all. • Insofar as we have knowledge in the subject. • Empiricists also deny the implication of the corresponding Innate Concept thesis that we have innate ideas in the subject area.g. . • Since reason alone does not give us any knowledge. our knowledge is a posteriori. EMPIRICISM • The Empiricist Thesis: We have no source of knowledge in S or for the concepts we use in S other than sense experience. as well as the ideas and instances of knowledge in S that are innate to us. could not have been gained by us through sense experience. etc. • It holds that objects are dependent upon our perceptions of them. • They are bundles of sense-data situated in time and space. sweetness. • The Superiority of Reason Thesis The knowledge we gain in subject area S by intuition and deduction or have innately is superior to any knowledge gained by sense experience. hardness. PHENOMENALISM • It is the view that physical objects cannot justifiably be said to exist in themselves.