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“In the case of an ordinary illusion of the senses we often say: This object seems thus or so; but in reality it is thus … (but) the seeming is opposed to the reality only in so far as the chance experience of one point of view gets contrasted with what would be, or might be, experienced from some larger, more rationally permanent, or more exclusive and uniting point of view. ” Truth is the embodiment of reality; reality is the embodiment of experience. Yet, truth and reality are problematic concepts.
Reality, when expressed in categorical terms, is in itself manifest-creating concept; that is, there is no clearly defined boundary of finding the essence of entities. In short, an attempt to define reality will result to more questions. An attempt to examine the source or basis of reality will inevitably result to ambiguity. What is the implication of this fact to truth? Truth also becomes a manifest-creating concept. Its basis is, from a vantage point, a derivation of reality (Kant, 1786/1926). Here, there is a need to mention two bases of truth and reality.
For some philosophers, reality and truth are generally derived from sense experience. Aristotle once argued that the fundamental basis of reality is actual reference to existing objects. Here, reality is objective; truth is absolute. For other philosophers, rationality rather than sense experience is the formal basis of reality. Descartes, for example, argued that sense experiences often result to disconcerting assumptions of what is real and ought to be real (Descartes, 1637/1999). An example may suffice this point. Suppose an individual sees an oar in the water.
From sense experience, the individual will interpret the phenomenon as genuine phenomenon. However, the individual perception of what is real is compounded by illusory assumption of what ought to be real. Descartes argued that the oar in the water, when rationality is used as means to discern truth, is a reflection of an actual oar. 2) “The best definition of truth from a logical standpoint is that which is fated to be ultimately accepted by all investigators … (and not something to be identified with) some purely personal end, some profit upon which a particular individual has set his heart. ”
For many centuries, philosophers pondered on the best definition of truth. Perhaps, the most influential philosopher who developed a systematic approach in analyzing the nature of truth is Immanuel Kant. According to Kant, truth in categorical definition is a derivation of collective facts (Kant, 1786/1926). Kant argued that when a set of facts are accepted to be truth by rational individuals, then it is by definition, part of truth. Subsequent philosophers such as Whitehead and Russell expounded on the concept of truth. According to these philosophers, there exists a set of truths which in character is both relative and self-sufficient.
Truth is relative because the discretion of a group of rational individuals is also relative. It is self-sufficient because its consequence is self-compelling. When presented to different individuals, a truth compels the individual to believe and accept it as true. What is the general consequence of these assumptions of truth? In essence, such assumptions reject the notion of absolute truth. Absolute truth defines an epistemological basis of reality; that is, reality bounded not by the laws of nature, but by the law of necessity. One can refer to this reality as Being, Divine entity, or God.
However, absolute truth is not necessarily a definitive clause of a Divine entity. Absolute truth is assumed by some philosophers to be manifested in quintessential entities; entities which are purported to exist in reality. It may be argued that this interpretation of reality may be a personalistic interpretation of ends. In any case, it is possible to prove this assumption. References Descartes, Rene. 1637/1999. Discourse on the Method. London: London Publishing House. Kant, Immanuel. 1786/1926. The Critique of Pure Reason. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company.