Philosophy & problem
There are three theories of truth namely correspondence, coherence and pragmatism. Correspondence theory, in its strictest form, holds truth to be a structural correlation between what is held to be true and what makes it to be true. For instance, a proposition, sentence, judgment or belief can be held to be true if they correspond to facts, events or the state of affairs.
Because of the inherent difficulty in defining such a relationship, the correspondence theory of truth is in most cases weakened to holding that a statement, proposition or belief is held as true since there are relevant facts to support it even in the absence of any correspondent structure. Another version which is even weaker holds that a proposition or statement is true if it simply explains things the way they are. Coherence theory of truth on the other hand holds that a statement, proposition or belief is true if it can be integrated in an orderly and logical manner into the broader and complex system of belief.
In other words, the truth of any sentence or proposition lies in whether it logically fits into the larger system. This however appears to be an odd way of describing truth since there is a likelihood of a belief being an inaccurate representation of reality and still fit into the larger and complex system of an inaccurate description of reality. According to this theory, the inaccurate belief will still stand as truth. Unlike the correspondence and coherence theories of truth, pragmatic theory of truth identifies the nature of truth with the principle of action (Cline, 2008).
The theory holds that truth does not exist independently in an abstract realm of thought. According to the proponents of this theory, truth is dependent upon social relationship and action and is thus a function of an active process of involvement with the world and verification. Put in its simplest form, the theory holds that one cannot conceive of the truth of a proposition of belief without conceiving of the importance of that belief in the world, if at all it is true. As such, the discovery of truth only takes place through interaction with the world.
Arguments for the existence of God There are four philosophical arguments for the existence of God. These include the ontological argument, teleological argument, cosmological argument and moral argument. The ontological argument for the existence of God attempt to prove the existence of God from the laws of logic. The theory argues that the existence of God cannot be denied once the concept of God is mentally grasped. Cosmological argument or the first cause argument attempt to prove the existence of God on the basis that the universe exists.
Since the universe exists, it must have a first cause since there is nothing that can come into existence without something to cause it to come into being. As such, nothing can come out of nothing. The universe thus was brought into existence by a being outside it. The argument demonstrates the existence of a being, a Creator that has an infinite existence. Teleological argument, also known as the argument from design, attempt to prove the existence of god from the fact that the universe is ordered.
The universe could not have been what it is in many respects. There would have been the possibility of the laws of physics being different with a different alignment of the planets and the stars (Gale, 1991). The first cause would have been a weaker or a powerful big bang. These possibilities would not have made it possible for life to exist and it can thus be claimed that humans are fortunate to have a universe that supports life. It becomes difficult for atheists to explain this good fortune as they hold the view that it is all a product of chance.
However, with the conception that god exists, the universe can be explained by its very nature and it therefore has a purpose to serve. Just like every watch has a watchmaker, so does the universe has its maker who is God. The fourth proof of the existence of God is the moral argument which attempt to prove the existence of God from the existence of moral laws. Moral laws have some elements of command an instruct individuals on what to do. However, commands cannot exist without someone to offer the commands.
The authoritative nature of morally offers testimony to the fact that a higher authority has offered essential codes to His subjects. Commands carry the same authority as the one who has offered them. For instance, the commands of a ruler carry more weight and authority than that of his subjects. Moral commands on the other hand contain ultimate authority and are to be obeyed under all circumstances. Their authority goes far much beyond human authority and must have therefore emanated from a being whose authority transcends all conceivable human authority.
The moral argument thus holds that the existence of moral laws pays testimony to the fact that there exists a being whose authority and greatness surpasses human conception and this being is the intelligence behind every conceivable entity. David Hume and John Locke’s account of human understanding According to Locke’s understanding of the nature of human beings, the mind of a newborn is like a blank sheet of paper and that ideas emanate from experience. As such, he was opposed to the notion of innate ideas.
He however agreed that some ideas are embedded in the human mind at an early age but still held onto the argument that the senses furnish such ideas as early as when the child is in the womb. Locke also argued that individuals do not possess innate principles. His idea was that innate principles would depend on innate ideas which do not exist. For instance, men cannot have an innate sense of worship if they cannot agree on the conception of God or his existence. His basic argument against innate ideas is based on the fact that there is no single truth that all individuals attest to.
Hume attempted to develop on Locke’s cautious empiricism by studying human nature through the application of scientific methods of observation. He held that men cannot depend on the common sense pronouncement of widely adopted superstition that define human conduct without giving any illumination neither can they achieve any genuine progress by ways of undefined metaphysical speculation (Hume, 2002). The alternative, according to him, was to do away with all easy answers and negate philosophical skepticism as the necessary point to start.
Hume’s position, when stated positively, is that human beings should attempt to observe how they live and function in the world since they actually live and function in the world. Attempting to discover the root of human belief is the basic principle that should be applied to any investigation of human cognitive capacities. The distinction of mental contents forms the beginning of Hume’s analysis of human belief (Muller, 2001). According to him, impressions form the direct, vivid and forceful result of immediate experience while ideas are mere reproductions of these original impressions.
He also differentiated between two sorts of beliefs: relations of ideas and matters of fact. Relations of ideas are beliefs based entirely on associations established within the mind. They can be demonstrated since they possess no external referent. Matters of fact on the other hand are those beliefs that purport to report the nature of existing things and thus, are in most cases contingent. Rene Descartes Rationalism is the position that the intellect, operating independently of the senses and imagination, may offer substantive truths about the nature of reality.
The rationalist sees the human cognitive faculties as differentiated into pure intellect, imagination and senses. According to them, the faculty that made knowledge possible to human beings was the pure intellect and this distinguishes from the empiricists who hold that knowledge comes from experience. One of the proponents of rationalist thought was Rene Descartes who held reason above experience. According to Descartes, one can discover the truth about the universe by employing pure intellect. As such, he ignored the importance of the senses which forms the basis of empiricists’ ideologies.
The main distinguishing features of rationalism and empiricism is that rationalists hold reason to be more important in knowledge acquisition while empiricists hold senses or experience to be the most important. Work Cited Cline, J. (2008). Theories of truth. Springer Gale, R. , (1991). On the Nature and Existence of God. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Hume, D. , (2002). Inquiries concerning Human Understanding and concerning the Principles of Morals Reprinted from 1777 edition, Third Edition, L. A. Selby-Bigge (ed. ), Clarendon Press, Oxford. Muller, J. (2001) Empiricism: On Hume and Locke. Oxford University PressSample Essay of PapersOwl.com