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Do I need (to know) the truth?

  1. Aug 13, 2009 #1
    Do I need (to know) the truth?

    Seems the problem is twofold (at least):

    http://www.modern-thinker.co.uk/1a%20-%20Phil%20and%20Psy.htm#Need [Broken]

    For existentialist I read: To separate the need from truth is to live by idea's - highest ideals.

    So it seems the only way to achieve and maintain good life is by not needing anything but just live by idea?

    Link between need and truth is metaphysics. Did I understand this one correctly?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 24, 2009 #2


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    I didn't read your link but the question is easily answered.

    The truth is that which you experience, not what you know. So, no, you don't need to know the truth. You need to experience it.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  4. Aug 25, 2009 #3


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    never send to know for whom the bell tolls … it tolls for thee

    Can you handle the truth? :wink:

    o:) ignorance is bliss! o:)

    (:biggrin: i'm so happy!!)
  5. Aug 25, 2009 #4
    I believe that these things, like philosophy and metaphysics, are illusory.
    I don't think we need philosophy or metaphysics at all, to live.
    And in fact, some may say life is purer when it's not clouded by thoughts.
    All we really need to live is food, sleep, anything else we add on top is purely our own creations, and those creations are neither true nor false, they are just valued that way subjectively.

    That's what that quote makes me think of..
  6. Aug 25, 2009 #5
    This is a good example of the fact that philosophy is largely a lot of crap.
  7. Aug 25, 2009 #6
    Not so fast, experience often doesn't correspond to truth. Our senses and our interpretations of our senses are frequently wrong. If we can't rely on our senses, how can we know what truth is?
  8. Aug 25, 2009 #7


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    What you believe is the truth... for you.

    For instance. When you're in the house of illusion at the fair the illusions convince your visceral reactions to automatically react to falling, cramping or other responses where there are no actual causes, just tricks of perspective etc. Yet, your body is experiencing what the experience is telling it is true. So, here the truth is that we have been duped by converging or diverging lines that evoke a response, a real, experiential truth.

    So, even the intelligence, the "knowing" of the "truth" that this is the "house of illusion" is over-ridden by the experience of our genetically and environmentally built-in reactions to these precursors to the evocation of our responses.
  9. Aug 25, 2009 #8
    Define 'truth'.
  10. Aug 25, 2009 #9

    Depends on your mindset. Would you rather have the ugly truth over a beautiful lie?
  11. Aug 25, 2009 #10


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    Truth is a moment when every person, animal, plant etc... (verifiably) experiences the same thing. Like a sunrise or sunset or a rainy morning.

    From there you have to extrapolate to apply the condition of the term to intellectual concerns.
  12. Aug 25, 2009 #11
    No, that doesn't work either. There have been numerous examples of large numbers of people in a mass hysteria, all wanting to believe the same thing. Tests of eye witnesses have shown that people see what they want to see or what they expect to see. Scientists go to great lengths to make sure their personal biases haven't influenced their observations.

    Republicans and Democrats can read the same article and have a completely different interpretation of it. How does one explain all the different religions, all convinced that only they know the truth?

    What is the truth in a courtroom? Whatever the jury decides? What would scientific theories be like if science were conducted in a courtroom like the law? The proponents of two competing theories would present their cases in front of a jury and the jury would decide which one is true. (Isn't that a little like what philosophers do?)

    Except for mathematics, truth can probably only be approached but never attained by attempting to eliminate all personal bias from ones investigations and then only after the findings have been verified over and over again, but still always leaving room for revision.
  13. Aug 26, 2009 #12


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    The truth about the mass hysteria events is that you have only read about them and so not experienced them. So you have no first hand experience of the phenomenon and can only convey the reports you've seen in articles or books etc. So, having never experienced them myself I can only say I don't know the truth about them.

    Similarly with most reports. The only truth we are aware of about studies, assassinations, moon landings, space walks, world war two and so on is that we have been given reports about these phenomena. Most of us have not experienced them. What evidence does each of us personally have that they are truths?
  14. Aug 26, 2009 #13
    My reference to mass hysteria wasn't about whether I believe them, it was about the experiences of the people in the mass hysteria, experiences that most people would consider extremely unlikely.

    If a person goes to Lourdes and experiences indications that he/she no longer has arthritis or whatever, does that make it true?
  15. Aug 26, 2009 #14


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    All that's true is that you have heard about the person being relieved of their condition.

    They may have been paid to say they were cured and they may have actually been cured of their condition. We don't know the truth or, at most, the "whole truth" until we've investigated Lourdes, the claimant and the surrounding circumstances. In doing so we bring ourselves closer to experiencing the phenomenon of relief from arthritis via Lourdes, and thus we are closer to understanding the truth.
  16. Aug 29, 2009 #15
    whether one needs to know or ought to know truth is completely subjective.
    truth has no objective value, because values are not objective: what is desirable or ought to be done is completely relative to individuals, groups, societies and species.
  17. Aug 29, 2009 #16


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    As far as I know, truth has nothing to do with "what ought to be done". Truth is a simple, objective description of what has been ,is being or will be done.
  18. Aug 30, 2009 #17
    Truth is relative.

    Absolute truth may or may not be relative, but what is it? God?
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2009
  19. Aug 30, 2009 #18


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    If there's a difference between truth and absolute truth then the difference may be this:

    Truth = the accurate and objective description of an event

    Absolute truth = the event
  20. Aug 31, 2009 #19
    And I agree. But the thread is not about what is truth.
    The OP is asking if one needs to know the truth, or if one ought to know the truth. But while truth may be objective, what ought be done is not. Hence why there is no objective answer to the issue the OP is addressing - the answer is subjective, it is relative to individuals, groups, societies and species.

    Last edited: Aug 31, 2009
  21. Aug 31, 2009 #20


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    I think there is a need to know the truth about certain matters. If people didn't know the truth about what happens when they light themselves on fire, there'd be a lot of crispy mess to clean up around town.

    If people didn't know what happens when you jump off the 22nd floor of a building, there'd be a very messy street below.. and a lot of missing employees.

    edit: And... not knowing the truth about certain events means they will be repeated (which can be tragically messy too):
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