The Search for Truth

The search for truth has been one of the focal points of philosophical debate. With the many directions of developments about how to define truth concretely, it has been widely known that the search for truth entails the subjects of correspondence, coherence, pragmatical utility, unanalyzable property, and disquotation.

Seeing these competing definitions for truth, plurality of literatures has emerged aiming at clarifying each one of them and to expose the high points as well as the uncertainties of each theory. According to Aristotle,  To say of what is that it is not, or of what is not that it is, is false, while to say of what is that it is, or of what is not that it is not, is true.

In Aristotelian view lies the ongoing quest for the ultimate meaning of truth, one that is in harmony with several notions on the subject. This paper aims to venture on the profoundness of the search for truth through the theories of Renee Descartes and Plato.

Descartess definition of truth is an essentialist one. In his search for truth, he dared to question whether perception can lead to truth. It is noted that Descartes is included among those theorists who have their own inklings of the correspondence theory that says that certain belief or proposition is true when it corresponds to the way the world is.

In Descartess search for truth, he firmly concluded that the supreme dependence to perception opens the door to illusion and somewhat leads to rationalism. His rationalistic approach to the truth says that ideas are true if they are clear and distinct. A clear manifestation of this criterion must be the Pythagoras Theorem.

According to the theorem, geometry yields many truths and in relating this theorem to Descartess perspective of truth, it is noted that the Pythagoras Theorem will still remain true even if everything in the earth collides and ceased to exist. Descartes argues that the occurrence of self-reflection is indubitable-clear and distinct, thus it is true.

The cogito ergo sum argument validates this conception by declaring that truths are finite, timeless and akin to Platos ideal notions and forms. Upon observing the Descartess theory of truth, it is accounted that the consciousness is an examples of eternal truth due to its timeless characteristic.

Descartes focuses mainly on the knowledge of eternal truths spanning the truths behind mathematics and the other metaphysical and epistemological foundations of Science which could be obtained through reason alone. Upon observing Descartess knowledge of truth, it is declared that what seems to be true requires the experience of the world supported by the validation of the scientific inquiry.

Descartes also examines the case of dreams. According to the philosopher, even if dreams resemble like a genuine sense experience, they cannot render people with concrete knowledge. In addition, Descartes says that conscious sense experience can instigate many illusions making it doubtable.

With Descartess philosophy, it could be determined that the rational search for truth should doubt every belief and principle about reality. The truths are being obtained  without any assistance from sensory experience. Truths gained by reason should be dissected into pieces which the intuition can grasp. In this sense, people can be guided by reason alone in their pursuit of truth and knowledge.

According to Descartess, people should trust in their rational characteristic and learn to use their senses or intuition in making crucial decisions and in seeking for the truth.

On the other hand, the pragmatic theory of truth warns the people that if truths are harmful, they should shun them. Willam James s reconstruction of the pragmatic theory of truth declares that the  true is the name of whatever proves itself to be good in the way of belief, and good, too, for definite, assignable reasons.

Pragmatic theory of truth stresses that truth is basically the species of good. In this classic formulation, truth is described as the good of logic, in which logic is referred to as the normative science or an inquiry to the goodness or a value that searches for knowledge and the ways to achieve it.

According to James, the search for truth, for its own sake is a part of a necessary ordering of experience if human life is to be developed , preserved, and enhanced. By this notion, truth is a quality the value of that is confirmed through its effectiveness when applying applying conceptualizations to actual practice. Thus, pragmatic theory says that truth is verifiable to the extent that thoughts and perceptions correspond with the actual elements. The meaning of the truth, according to James, is realistic and follows the epistemological dualism of common sense.

The perspective of reality as being independent of senses, taken from ordinary social experience, lies at the base of the pragmatist definition of the truth.

James emphasizes that all true procedures must lead to the facade of directly verifying sensible experiences somewhere. The pragmatic theory of truth also goes beyond the depth of the scope of scientific verifiability and into the deepest knowledge of mystic information.

With the pragmatist view of the truth, it could said that the theory could  be applied as another dimension of Descartess search for truth. Jamess notion could serve as the continuation of Descartess theory because pragmatist concept of truth is focusing on the premise of verification and logic of good. With this perception, pragmatic theory of truth could be applied in the industrialized society wherein decision-making has been highly crucial.

The concept of good and the process of verification tell the people that those which are deemed to be true are still subject for verification in order to claim goodness and in order to recognize the true value of things that surround men.


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