Does Truthfulness Matter?

Discussion in 'The Backstage' started by Biddlin, Nov 15, 2020.

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Does Truthfulness Matter?

  1. Yes

    8 vote(s)
    88.9%
  2. No

    1 vote(s)
    11.1%
  1. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    Simple poll
     
  2. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    Far too simple a question. It has no answer.
     
  3. Von Trapp

    Von Trapp Well-Known Member

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    Since it's got a capital T I'm tinking it's a band. No, they don't seem to matter.
     
  4. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    Organisations that use words like Truth are interesting. They follow the same semantic rule as countries that include Democratic in their name, like Democratic Republic of Congo and Deutsche Demokratische Republik (the old East Germany). They have to be viewed with a deep appreciation for irony.
     
  5. Von Trapp

    Von Trapp Well-Known Member

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    Hahaha, yes, that's what I've always said as well! Same goes for "Peoples", which is usually anything but.
     
  6. Dale

    Dale Well-Known Member

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    In the old days I studied philosophy and focused on epistemology. Truth and reality are in some ways pretty elusive. Truth, for example, like history often rests with the victor (so to speak). As we are biological organisms we often do not experience reality directly, we develop percentions, that function well in day to day life. Those, however, are really not the same as "reality."
     
  7. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    There presumably IS an objective reality out there, although I have no way to discount hard solipsism. But we experience it through our senses which are demonstrably garbage. But they are all we have, and we have to deal with the world as we experience it through them. That means we get a lot wrong and it takes some real discipline to try to sort fact from illusion. That discipline is called science and so far it is the only demonstrably reliable system we possess for getting anything right.

    The concept of truth is one I would avoid whenever possible, since it deals only with the validity of statements made about reality and is hence of no intrinsic value. Science for investigation, falsifiability for testing and the logical absolutes as the foundation of reason are our only hope if we are to stand any chance of getting anything right.
     
  8. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    There is a difference between "truth" and "truthfulness."
    One may be truthful without claiming infallibility.
     
  9. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    The big difference is that truthfulness actually exists. It is the act of saying what one believes to be fact. Truthfulness has nothing to do with being correct. It thus has no value apart from giving the listener some idea of the prejudices of the speaker.
     
  10. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    I think it speaks to the teller's character.
     
  11. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    Just a paraphrase of what I said.
     
  12. Dale

    Dale Well-Known Member

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    "It is the act of saying what one believes to be fact"

    So, for you, it is a "personal truth" and truth is not independent of the person. It is in this case a synonym for belief. Now in our old epistemology days we would question the limits of such a premise. One can for example, believe that flying elephants (movies) truly exist. Or, perhaps sentient pickles. So as in the view you describe, truth and reality are in no way connected. So long as it is believed it is true.

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/t6fklhomy6veqlw/believe True.jpg?dl=0

    You actually contradict your own premise, as these 2 cannot both be "true."

    "The big difference is that truthfulness actually exists."
    "It is the act of saying what one believes to be fact."

    I posit one can believe things that do not exist as I have shown. Neither exist. I had a patient that believed he was a "fish" it do not make him a fish.
     
  13. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    You are confusing truth with fact. If a patient believes himself to be a fish, then he is being truthful when he says he is a fish. If he claims to be a fish in an act of deception, not actually believing it himself, then he is being untruthful. Whether he is or is not actually a fish is totally independent of his claims.
     
  14. Dale

    Dale Well-Known Member

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    Yes, presumably there is a reality separate from us. I also think you described the human dilemma of perception quite well. Now I am biased as I am a scientist with more than a few professional publications, and taught research and the philosophy of science at the graduate level for a couple decades. I get the utility. But, science is not perfect, it is functional. I too believe science is in most ways our best hope for locating a functional reality (functional solutions). The scientific method's primary goal is replicability. It is however based on the process of rejecting hypothesis. It develops a hypothesis and then throws every reasonable way it could be wrong at it, and these fail we assume it is true (here true means functional). However, in science things do not "officially" exist until we can measure them, and the other possibilities, and we do not know the limits of the human organism we do not know "for sure." Which is why in science we say, "The research to date supports." We rarely, if ever, as a good scientists think we have arrived. Science is funtional and develops functional (replicable) outcomes. However, "functional" and "real" are not really the same thing. As an organism we are hard wired to create meaning, it is why we see things in truly random events such as inkblots, clouds, etc. What we for get is a repicable set of actions is the the same as discovering a independent reality. In increases out functional skills.

    See Kuhn and the philosophy of science.

    "Science" once believed that phrenology was valid. Earlier "science" support the earth as the center of the universe (not just "the church"). The issue is not only that "we do not know what we don't know." Additionally, "we do not know what we are incapable of knowing due to our organisms limits." Theoretical physics these days has multiple theories that suggest the need for 6 or more (6+) dimensions to exist to make them viable. We have never measured anywhere near that many dimentions.
     
  15. Dale

    Dale Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps I do not understand the distinction as yet. How can something be a fact but not be true? I understand the social construction position that a personal "truth" is the reality that he operates within. Within social construction, which appears in my world closest to your premise, there are limits. When one's personal truth and the truth that is the real world (with limited understanding) collide personal truth loses.

    Help me out here. It appears you have personalized the definitions of words. Here is how I understand them. How do you define them, and how do they differ from one another?

    Oxford Dictionary

    truth

    /tro͞oTH/

    noun
    1. the quality or state of being true.
      "he had to accept the truth of her accusation"
      • that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality.
        noun: the truth
        "tell me the truth"

        what actually/really happened
        the case

        Opposite:
        lies
        the lie of the streets" data-hw="lie" data-lb="" data-tae="false" data-te="false" data-tl="en-US" data-tldf="" data-url="/search?safe=off&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS858US858&sxsrf=ALeKk03I_r_Na6Yow6tcGOlKUJGzdR18fg:1605738387739&q=define+lie&forcedict=lie&dictcorpus=en-US">
        fiction
      • a fact or belief that is accepted as true.
        plural noun: truths
        "the emergence of scientific truths"
    fact
    /fakt/
    noun
    1. a thing that is known or proved to be true.
      "he ignores some historical and economic facts"

      Opposite:
      lie
      the lie of the streets" data-hw="lie" data-lb="" data-tae="false" data-te="false" data-tl="en-US" data-tldf="" data-url="/search?safe=off&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS858US858&sxsrf=ALeKk03lfnzQXiRTc8BGY8ho6iLMhSzgSQ:1605738635858&q=define+lie&forcedict=lie&dictcorpus=en-US">
      fiction
      • information used as evidence or as part of a report or news article.
        "even the most inventive journalism peters out without facts, and in this case there were no facts"
      • LAW (Yes Law has its own separate definition of truth - Surprised?)
        the truth about events as opposed to interpretation.
        "there was a question of fact as to whether they had received the letter"
     
  16. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    Dictionaries are not useful. The don't really define words, they just give usages. But you have identified why the word truth is so useless. It is a weasel word of the first order, because of its association with truthfulness. Truthfulness is a measure of the sincerity of a person making a statement, and truth should derive from that. But it often doesn't; it gets conflated with accuracy. That's why it is never used in science.
    I too was a scientist until I retired a while ago, and some of my work is still flying around various planets.
     
  17. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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    I was going to make a more lengthy process of my take on this question and subsequent answers posited.

    But I will essentially leave it to the limit on how deep a rabbit hole I choose to go down.

    So, in our world where numerous scenarios can and do occur, truthfulness matters.

    For example, a person lives a law abiding life and does not commit illegal acts for which one may be charged and fined or imprisoned for. Chances are they will lead a life to remain free in society where no conditions of guilt will be present to be accused as a suspect to be possibly arrested, tried and convicted of committing a crime.

    Just as the lawful citizen can continue to live free within the law, it is also entirely possible they may be doing so, and an occasion may arise for either false accusations, or mistaken identity etc. to be imparted upon this individual. In other words, one may essentially come into the cross-hairs of law enforcement even when the individual had NOT committed a crime.

    So, truthfulness can significantly matter to the particular individual who values his status as model citizen vs. one that paints him as Public ENEMY NUMBER ONE.

    I can see several sides to this type story where truthfulness can make a huge difference in the final outcome.
    The citizen has evidence of his truthfulness that he did not commit any crimes or a particular crime.

    Law enforcement, judicial system either takes certain facts, statements, evidence etc as supporting the claim of innocence and thus truthfulness of the claims of the citizen.

    OR Law enforcement, judicial, is either truthful, complete, precise etc with their proof, statements, evidence, breakdown of the who, where, what, why,how etc the crime was perpetrated which either exonerates the innocent man and continues to pursue the actual perp. OR there stands a chance of a set of circumstances in the process by which despite innocence, the details are corrupted, falsified, or are even incomplete and "the wrong man" pays for the crime.

    So I contend, truthfulness does matter.
     
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  18. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    In that use of the word, yes it matters. But the senses are so flawed that a truthful eyewitness can easily put an innocent man in jail. And I'm pretty sure it has happened many times. Truthfulness doesn't imply accuracy - never has, and never will.
     
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  19. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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    I agree, Don,

    When I initially read this thread and thought about a viewpoint and logic for my answer, I had not even considered the reply I just made. Then as I was typing it, I recalled the incident where I found myself to be the one in the "cross- hairs" of the law man.

    My friend and I were doing yard work at my dad's house one summer day, his neighbor also asked us to do some for her and was paying us to tidy up her place.
    I left him to do the work and I drove to another friend's house to borrow a gas powered sidewalk edger. Since it was hot that day, as I was getting close to the job again, I stopped at a store to buy us some cold drinks. Just as I was about to back my truck out of the parking space, a police officer stopped me and asked for some details about my activities of the day.
    He then told me a truck like mine had been reported as involved in some type of crime(s) and could he get my ID, and run my license tag info etc.

    In the end, he found nothing untruthful about my statement of my activity, nor were there any red flags on the documents of ID of myself or my vehicle.

    That sure was a relief.
     
  20. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    No, but it does indicate honor.
     

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