WHAT DOES TRUTH MEAN? (AND WHAT IS ITS ADJECTIVE FORM?)
Truth can only mean ‘descriptive testimony free of error, bias, suggestion, obscurantism and deceit’. In other words, speech, the semantic content of which corresponds with reality.
One speaks truthfully, or untruthfully , or honestly or dishonestly.
To be precise, one speaks honestly not having done due diligence, nor warrantying one’s speech. One speaks truthfully having done due diligence, and warrantying one’s speech.
So you might speak honestly – not having done due diligence on your speech. But that is not the same as speaking truthfully – having done due diligence on your speech. So you might give your honest opinion, but that differs from doing diligence that such an opinion survives criticism – meaning correspondence.
Both the physical sciences and law specialize in the art of due diligence. As an extension of law, anglo analytic philosophy attempts to specialize in the art of due diligence. Strangely, continental philosophy does the opposite.
But if speaking truthfully requires that we perform due diligence, and warranty our speech, then how does one perform such due diligence? How do we test correspondence? In the most simple of terms, a truth statement must be:
- categorically consistent (non conflationary)
- internally consistent (logical),
- externally correspondent (empirical),
- operationally possible (existentially possible),
- coherent categorically, internally, externally, and operationally (consistent across all tests)
- fully accounted (you haven’t cherry picked cause and/or consequence)
And if you want to claim it’s ethical and moral (and objectively legal):
- rational: consisting of nothing but a series of fully rational choices
- reciprocal: consisting of nothing other than productive, fully informed, warrantied, voluntary exchanges free of imposition upon others by externality.
We use the word ‘Truth’ in many, many contexts. Most of them somewhere between a convenience and a dishonesty. True, honest, logical, and good are independent concepts frequently conflated to attribute authority where it is absent.