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## Is it true that knowledge is the same as truth

Is it true that knowledge is the same as truth

You are asking whether it is true that T=K (knowledge and truth are the same). From your asking this, I conclude that you don't know whether T=K. If truth and knowledge were the same, then lack of knowledge would be lack of truth. So, assuming T=K is true, we derive the conclusion that T=K is false.

Better then to suppose that knowledge and truth are not the same.

And of course they aren't. Something may be true and yet not be known by many or not be known by anyone at all. For example, take the following two sentences: "with optimal play, white can always win in chess" and "it is not the case that, with optimal play, white can always win in chess". One of these sentences is certainly true; but no one yet knows which one it is. (Or, if anyone does now, they haven't told me, so I don't know which is true.)

You are asking whether it is true that T=K (knowledge and truth are the same). From your asking this, I conclude that you don't know whether T=K. If truth and knowledge were the same, then lack of knowledge would be lack of truth. So, assuming T=K is true, we derive the conclusion that T=K is false. Better then to suppose that knowledge and truth are not the same. And of course they aren't. Something may be true and yet not be known by many or not be known by anyone at all. For example, take the following two sentences: "with optimal play, white can always win in chess" and "it is not the case that, with optimal play, white can always win in chess". One of these sentences is certainly true; but no one yet knows which one it is. (Or, if anyone does now, they haven't told me, so I don't know which is true.)

## In response to a recent question about philosophy (http://www.askphilosophers

In response to a recent question about philosophy (http://www.askphilosophers.org/question/3529/), Oliver Leaman made the claim that, "there are no facts in philosophy." Briefly reviewing the definition of "fact" I see "something that actually exists; reality; truth." Can it really be that there is no truth in philosophy? It seems like the respondent has made an assumption that it very broad, fundamental, and contestable.

I think you are over-reading Oliver Leaman's point. He was contrasting philosophers to historians, pointing out that the latter can rely on a wealth of facts while the former cannot. So I believe he was referring to empirical facts ascertainable by observation, such as facts about bullets and bodies found underground beneath a Civil War battlefield. Such empirical facts constrain disagreement among historians (preventing historians from arguing that the battle was fought with swords and spears, for example). No such empirical facts constrain disagreements among philosophers - or so Leaman may plausibly be taken to have opined.

This claim is less sweeping and fully compatible with your suggestions that there are truths in philosophy. This suggestion seems right to me. Some philosophical arguments are sound, others unsound. Some philosophical positions are coherent, others incoherent. Some philosophical objections are decisive, others fail. It would be quite natural to say that such truths express facts: the fact that philosophical argument X is sound, the fact that philosophical position Y is incoherent, the fact that philosophical objection Z is decisive. But these were just not the kind of facts Leaman had in mind.

Is Leaman right to claim that there are no narrowly empirical facts in philosophy? I find even this more limited claim highly doubtful. It has been disputed in many areas of philosophy. An excellent example is W.V.O. Quine's seminal account of epistemology as continuous with empirical inquiries about mental processes like thought and perception - "epistemology naturalized." Quine's account has been influential also in the philosophy of science. Another example is ordinary language philosophy, which centrally draws on facts about ordinary language. Relatedly, Wittgenstein's later work depicts philosophical problems as arising from problematic uses of language and seeks to resolve such problems by paying close attention to how we actually use crucial words and expressions in our "language games." Further, in moral philosophy there is Rawls's view that principles of justice are formulated on the presupposition of, and in this sense depend upon, certain empirical facts - such as the "circumstances of justice" and various facts about human beings and their dispositions. To be sure, all these views have had their critics. For example, I have been involved in an exciting debate with the late Jerry Cohen who felt obliged to "rescue justice" from Rawls's understanding of it as fact-dependent. So I would not want to claim that there is as yet a settled agreement in any area of philosophy that empirical facts play a fundamental role there (as opposed to a role confined to the mere application of fact-independent philosophical methods and principles). But if empirical facts play such a fundamental role in just one area of philosophy, then Leaman's casual claim is incorrect.

I think you are over-reading Oliver Leaman's point. He was contrasting philosophers to historians, pointing out that the latter can rely on a wealth of facts while the former cannot. So I believe he was referring to empirical facts ascertainable by observation, such as facts about bullets and bodies found underground beneath a Civil War battlefield. Such empirical facts constrain disagreement among historians (preventing historians from arguing that the battle was fought with swords and spears, for example). No such empirical facts constrain disagreements among philosophers - or so Leaman may plausibly be taken to have opined. This claim is less sweeping and fully compatible with your suggestions that there are truths in philosophy. This suggestion seems right to me. Some philosophical arguments are sound, others unsound. Some philosophical positions are coherent, others incoherent. Some philosophical objections are decisive, others fail. It would be quite natural to say that such truths express...

## What is there to say/suggest that truth is nothing more than an agreed common

What is there to say/suggest that truth is nothing more than an agreed common perception of reality? I would really appreciate any type of response to this question, whether it be a reply, some suggested reading material on the matter or whatever it may be. Thank You, Christopher

If you wanted to say something in favor of this view, you might point to the absence of observed discrepancies between what we all believe and the truth. But, on reflection, this isn't a strong argument because there are observed discrepancies between what is commonly believed now and what was commonly believed at some earlier time. At the earlier time, p was commonly believed. Now not-p is commonly believed. If what's commonly believed were true, then both p and not-p would be true. But p and not-p cannot both be true. Therefore it is not the case that whatever is commonly believed is true.

Now you might say that what you mean is that truth is nothing more that what's commonly believed throughout the ages, the future included. So here is an argument against this revised view. There are lots of propositions about which there is no common belief shared throughout the ages: neither p nor not-p have been commonly believed. Does it follow that neither p nor not-p are true? For example, it has not been commonly believed throughout the ages that the sun is larger than the moon. Nor has it been commonly believed throughout the ages that the sun is not larger than the moon. Would you then want to conclude that neither belief is true: it is not true that the sun is larger than the moon and also not true that the sun is not larger than the moon?

If you wanted to say something in favor of this view, you might point to the absence of observed discrepancies between what we all believe and the truth. But, on reflection, this isn't a strong argument because there are observed discrepancies between what is commonly believed now and what was commonly believed at some earlier time. At the earlier time, p was commonly believed. Now not-p is commonly believed. If what's commonly believed were true, then both p and not-p would be true. But p and not-p cannot both be true. Therefore it is not the case that whatever is commonly believed is true. Now you might say that what you mean is that truth is nothing more that what's commonly believed throughout the ages, the future included. So here is an argument against this revised view. There are lots of propositions about which there is no common belief shared throughout the ages: neither p nor not-p have been commonly believed. Does it follow that neither p nor not-p are true? For example, it has not been...