Of Truth, truths, and Ways of Knowing


Religions, beliefs, and worldview aside, we subscribe to different camps of epistemology. That is, we have varying methods and levels of acceptance to methods of acquiring knowledge. With the recent tragedies involving people committing lawless wrongdoings in the name of righteousness, it is simply frustrating to hear what these people deem as the only truth–and using it as justification for their transgression.

It begs the question, then, what is truth?

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I know it is oversimplistic, but there is a continuum. We need to see that there are ways to acquiring knowledge–truth–than just plain doctrine or opinion (capital-T truth). Those are not the only kind of truth. In a pluralistic society, we are constantly creating and negotiating multiple truths (lowercase-T truth). Through language and other modes of communication, we use different means to ascertain meanings. What is true to one may not always be the case for another.

A pluralist approach to understanding of truth maintains that truth requires different treatments for different kinds of subject matter. 

My aim here is not to argue for the subscription to a pluralistic view of truth, although that would make me very pleased, but the goal is to reveal that there’s underlying assumptions to how we come to know as true or not.

A quick Google Search would yield helpful definitions like these:

Objectivism: Reality exists independently of consciousness.

Positivism: All knowledge regarding matters of fact is based on the “positive” data of experience and that beyond the realm of fact is that of pure logic and pure mathematics.

Empiricism: All knowledge is derived from sense-experience.

Rationalism: Reason rather than experience is the foundation of certainty in knowledge.

Relativism: Knowledge, truth, and morality exist in relation to culture, society, or historical context, and are not absolute.

Constructivism: People actively construct or create their own subjective representations of objective reality. New information is linked to to prior knowledge, thus mental representations are subjective.

It is important for us to examine where our conviction resides. The way to choose to acquire truth impacts how we treat truth. For what it’s worth, I just hope that those of us who seek to confess truth would examine where/what our epistemology is subscribed to, and what we can do to be more receptive of others. I am just too tired of things people to justify their iniquity, especially, “I am right because I know the truth.”

P.S. Please pardon the poor spirit in this writing. I am really saddened by the Orlando tragedy and what that has become of in the news media.

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