Theory of Knowledge PowerPoint Presentation, PPT - DocSlides

Theory of Knowledge PowerPoint Presentation, PPT - DocSlides

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TOK. Lecture 4: The nature and value of truth. What is truth?. Like the questions “What is knowledge?” and “What turns a true belief into knowledge?” asked in lectures 2 & 3, the question “What is truth?” is a conceptual question.. ID: 241838

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Slide1

Theory of KnowledgeTOK

Lecture 4: The nature and value of truth

Slide2

What is truth?

Like the questions “What is knowledge?” and “What turns a true belief into knowledge?” asked in lectures 2 & 3, the question “What is truth?” is a conceptual question.

We can’t answering it by drawing up a list of truths.

Rather, we need to work out what conditions need to be met for a statement or belief to count as true.

Slide3

The democratic theory of truth

The democratic theory says that a statement or belief is true if and only if everyone (or at least the majority of people) take it to be true

.

Problems with the democratic theory:

Couldn’t everyone believe something that was false?

Might

this theory lead

to

relativism?

Relativism about truth is

the

idea that a statement could be true for one individual (or the members of one group) but false for another individual (or the members of another group).

Do we want to say that a statement is true for the members of a given cultural group if and only if all (or the majority of the)

the members

of that group take it to be true

?

Slide4

The pragmatic theory of truth

The pragmatic theory of truth says that a statement is true if and only if a person’s believing it helps them to achieve one or more of their goals.

Leads to relativism: the idea that statements could be true for one person but not for another.

Problematic for other reasons

too –

there seem to be

many false statements such that

believing them will help someone achieve one of their goals.

For example:

A belief that “

The job interview is at 10am” when it is really at 10:30am, and the bus that would get me to the interview by 10:20am has broken down.

A belief that “

There are no cigarettes in the glove-box of my car” when there are cigarettes in the glove-box of my car, and I want to quit smoking.

Slide5

The coherence theory of truth

The coherence theory of truth says that a belief is true if and only if it coheres with (fits into) a coherent system of belief.

Like the pragmatic theory, the coherence theory of truth seems to lead to relativism

.

Couldn’t my belief system be just as coherent as yours despite the fact that we believe different things?

This may be seen as an advantage or a disadvantage depending on where you stand vis-à-vis relativism.

The coherence theory is also

susceptible to the “coherent fairy story” objection

.

Couldn’t my beliefs cohere with each other despite the fact that my belief system as a whole bears no (or very little) relation to reality?

Slide6

The correspondence theory of truth

The correspondence

theory says that a statement or belief is true if and only if it corresponds to (matches up with/agrees with) reality.

Pros:

Seems to line up pretty well with our common-sense ideas about truth.

Doesn’t

seem to

lead

to relativism.

Seems to match up to what scientists mean by “truth”.

Cons:

It is not really clear what it is for a statement (a chunk of language) to correspond to – or fit with - a state of affairs (a chunk of reality).

Slide7

The value of truth

According the late 19

th

Century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, truth has become something of a religion for

modern, western man.

Nietzsche claims that

modern man has killed God (that’s OK, we created him anyway) and erected truth in the place of God.

Nietzsche is at least right about our placing great value on truth.

But, isn’t Nietzsche wrong about our love for truth being akin to a religion?

Calling it a religion makes it sound irrational.

But isn’t the value we place on truth completely rational?

Slide8

Truths that are clearly valuable

A true belief about the location of one’s car keys is clearly better than a false one.

A true belief about the location of the ATM machine is clearly better than a false one.

A true belief about the weather is clearly better than a false one.

Slide9

Truths that are clearly detrimental

But hang on, doesn’t it depend on the context?

A true belief about the location of one’s car keys

could be worse than a false one if you are drunk.

A true belief about the location of the ATM machine

could be worse than a false one if you are a compulsive gambler on a gambling binge.

Could a false belief about the weather ever be better than a true one?

Slide10

The Oppenheimer problem

Science

seems to be very good at uncovering truths about the natural world.

Sometimes we assume that scientific truths are so valuable that uncovering them has to be a good thing.

Oppenheimer, the scientist whose work made nuclear weapons possible, came to doubt this idea.

What do you think?

Slide11

Journal entries for this week

Which theory of truth do you think is the best, and why?

Slide12

Discussion questions for this week

Is the fact that a theory of truth leads to relativis

m an advantage or a disadvantage of that theory?

Can you think of another case in which a false belief is more advantageous than a true one?

Should scientists think about the possible consequences of their work? Or, should scientists be motivated solely by a desire to uncover truths about the workings of the natural world?

Slide13

Reading for next week

Dombrowski

et al,

Theory of Knowledge Course Companion

Read

from the beginning of chapter 2, How do we know? (page 31), to the end of the section on sense perception (top of page 32)

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