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Is pragmatic truth inherently less valid than other forms of truth? If a Hindu

Is pragmatic truth inherently less valid than other forms of truth? If a Hindu believes in the truth that Vishnu exists and a Muslim does not, how could they both be right? I don't know how to word this, but are the correspondence and epistemic theories of truth the most "true?"

This is a complicated matter. Realist views of truth, including versions of the correspondence theory, hold that reality cannot or should not be split into different venues in which, say, Vishnu exists and is divine for one person, but not for another. Realists, then, hold that if Allah exists, then it is false to claim that Allah does not exist. The term "pragmatic truth" is a little puzzling to me, but perhaps what you are getting at is the idea that matters of what we call "truth" may be treated in terms of justification. So, for Saladon to claim that there is no God but Allah and Mohammad is his prophet, is to claim that he is justified in making such a claim. I suggest, though, that such justification or epistemic theories of truth are themselves pretty hard to justify (and, hence, on its own assumptions, a justification theory of truth might not be true because it is not justified).

There may be one other angle to consider. Some apparent disagreements may not be radical. Consider a dispute in which one person claims that The Morning Star exists, but not The Evening Star. And her friend believes the opposite. Fortunately, they may both not be too far apart, because it turns out that what "The Morning Star" picks out or refers to is the same thing that is picked out or referred to by "The Evening Star": the planet Venus. So, to go back to your example, there might be room to debate whether what the Hindu believes is "Vishnu" might be the same reality that the Muslim believes is Allah. For a philosopher who explored and defended this position, see the work of John Hick.

This is a complicated matter. Realist views of truth, including versions of the correspondence theory, hold that reality cannot or should not be split into different venues in which, say, Vishnu exists and is divine for one person, but not for another. Realists, then, hold that if Allah exists, then it is false to claim that Allah does not exist. The term "pragmatic truth" is a little puzzling to me, but perhaps what you are getting at is the idea that matters of what we call "truth" may be treated in terms of justification. So, for Saladon to claim that there is no God but Allah and Mohammad is his prophet, is to claim that he is justified in making such a claim. I suggest, though, that such justification or epistemic theories of truth are themselves pretty hard to justify (and, hence, on its own assumptions, a justification theory of truth might not be true because it is not justified). There may be one other angle to consider. Some apparent disagreements may not be radical. Consider a dispute...

Is all truth subjective?

Is all truth subjective? A subjective truth is a truth based off of a person's perspective, feelings, or opinions. Everything we know is based off of our input - our senses, our perception. Thus, everything we know is subjective. All truths are subjective. Do you think all truths are subjective? If not, what is wrong with the above argument?

Your argument is:

(1) Our senses and perception are subjective.

(2) Everything we know is based on on our senses and perceptions.

Therefore

(3) Everything we know is subjective.

There is a well-known difficulty with this argument. It equivocates on "subjective". In the first premise "subjective" means something like the innocuous "possessed by a subject", but in the conclusion it is presumably taken to mean the toxic "not having any objective truth". There is also a doubt about the second premise. Many philosophers accept the idea of "a priori" truths, that is, truths that hold independently of experience, including mathematical truth and perhaps ethical truths, if there are any.

I suppose the worry your thesis and argument raises has to do with the meaning of "subjective" and the move that a given person's beliefs are based on the senses to the conclusion that "All truths are subjective." On subjectivity: I share the view that persons do indeed have feelings, perspectives, opinions, senses, and perception. We might also add reason, memory, emotions and passion, interests, drives, and so on. When we do know things based on such states or processes (for example, I know I am awake and writing to you), is my knowledge itself something we would call subjective? I suggest we would want to say that it is objectively true or the case that I am writing to you, and not subjective in the sense that it is only true from my point of view or because I think it is true. So, paradoxically, I think that if we do want to claim that there are subjective states that they really exist then we are in effect committed to holding that the existence of subjective states is an objective fact...

Are historical facts always true, throughout time?

Are historical facts always true, throughout time? Consider the fact that Barack Obama is the forty-fourth president of the United States of America. Was it true two hundred years ago? If someone in the nineteenth century had said "Barack Obama is the forty-fourth president of the United States of America", would it have been true?

This is an excellent question and one that is much debated historically and today. It has implications about freedom and determinism, logic, and the philosophy of God, good and evil. It seems that classical logic requires that propositions are either true or false. "Barack Obama is the forty-fourth president of the USA" appears to be a proposition. And we have found it to be true. But in that case, it seems that Obama could not have failed to have won the election against McCain. It has seemed to some (but certainly not all) philosophers that this would mean Obama's election was fixed in some sense, perhaps determined. Some who worry about this problem are theists who think that if God knows from eternity that in August of 2011 you would ask your question, then there is no possibility that you would not have typed in and submitted your question to Askphilosophers. For many theists, it is vital to affirm that creatures / human beings have free agency, otherwise it would seem that God has determined humans to be evil. The other worry about what is called future free contingents (the fancy term for propositions that refer to future events that appear to involve freedom and contingency) has to do with whether there even could be such future propositions. It seems that for a proposition to be true there must be SOMETHING in virtue of which the proposition is true. But in the 19th century, Obama did not exist; he did not exist then, nor was he existing in the 21st century. From this line of reasoning (which was probably Aristotle's), we should hold that propositions involving future free contingents are neither true nor false. Theists who take this position (like Richard Swinburne) contend that even an omniscient God does not know about future free continents. According to Swinburne, God knows all possible truths and because propositions about future free contingents is neither true nor false and thus cannot (by definition) be known by any being of any kind, such propositions about the future are not the sort of thing that even God knows.

This is an excellent question and one that is much debated historically and today. It has implications about freedom and determinism, logic, and the philosophy of God, good and evil. It seems that classical logic requires that propositions are either true or false. "Barack Obama is the forty-fourth president of the USA " appears to be a proposition. And we have found it to be true. But in that case, it seems that Obama could not have failed to have won the election against McCain. It has seemed to some (but certainly not all) philosophers that this would mean Obama's election was fixed in some sense, perhaps determined. Some who worry about this problem are theists who think that if God knows from eternity that in August of 2011 you would ask your question, then there is no possibility that you would not have typed in and submitted your question to Askphilosophers. For many theists, it is vital to affirm that creatures / human beings have free agency, otherwise it would seem that God has...

I recently had an argument in an epistemology class about the relationship

I recently had an argument in an epistemology class about the relationship between facts and human minds. I argued that a fact cannot exist until a human mind knows it. Most of the rest of the class (and the professor) argued that facts can exist independently of human minds. My professor's example: Every human being believes that the world is flat, when it is in fact round. I argued that the fact that the world is round did not exist until someone thought it. Can a fact exist without a human mind?

You are adopting a pretty radical position, for it seems like common sense for us to recognize as facts (or truths or as actual states of affairs) all sorts of things quite independent of human minds. Most of us would want to say (for example) that it was true that there was life long before there was intelligent life here on earth. Your professor's example is a little odd, partly because very few people have ever believed the earth is flat. (There is a good book on the myth of believing in a flat earth). But you might be able to defend your position as part of a philosophy of language, contending that facts are what correspond to or are referred to as sentences and simply hold the line about not recognizing facts until you have language-users. I believe Fred Stoutland holds that position, and Richard Rorty expresses something like that in The Mirror of Nature. Still, you are not in an enviable position in terms of arguments, as most of us would want to recognize that it is a fact that before there was language there was no language.

You are adopting a pretty radical position, for it seems like common sense for us to recognize as facts (or truths or as actual states of affairs) all sorts of things quite independent of human minds. Most of us would want to say (for example) that it was true that there was life long before there was intelligent life here on earth. Your professor's example is a little odd, partly because very few people have ever believed the earth is flat. (There is a good book on the myth of believing in a flat earth). But you might be able to defend your position as part of a philosophy of language, contending that facts are what correspond to or are referred to as sentences and simply hold the line about not recognizing facts until you have language-users. I believe Fred Stoutland holds that position, and Richard Rorty expresses something like that in The Mirror of Nature. Still, you are not in an enviable position in terms of arguments, as most of us would want to recognize that it is a fact that before there...