Critique paper Essay Example
A critique of theories of truth
For one to be in a position to make a judgement on whether a given assertion holds some truth or false aspects, it is necessary for one to have an understanding of what is implied in a statement claimed to have some truth value. This means that for people to have an understanding of what truth claims refer to, they must have a clear narrative on the meaning of the term truth. Just like knowledge, there are various challenges exhibited in giving a precise and a certain definition of the term truth. Philosophers have tried giving various definitions but the question of how true their definitions are arises. They have used various truth theories in an attempt of defining the term truth. According to them, a statement that talks about how the world is gives the definition of truth (Davidson, 1967). Some philosophers argue that the definition of truth occurs under the study of knowledge while others hold an opposite view; they argue that the study of the definition of truth should occur under the study of what is real.
Regarding the various definitions of the term truth from the truth theories, the definitions do not give a satisfactory explanation of what truth means. The correspondence theory and the coherence theory are the two main theories that give accounts on the definition of truth. Truth claims are categorised into the following types; empirical truth claims, and non-empirical truth claims. Theories of truth give various accounts on what truth is, but none of these accounts gives a certain definition of the term.
Types of Truth claims
There are two types of truth claims; they include empirical truth claims and the non-empirical truth claims. Empirical truth claims have the assertions that the verification of the empirical statements is done by checking the facts corresponding to the statement. Moreover, the statements that fall under the non-empirical truth claims are not verified on accounts of the evidence on the empirical claims. The statements categorised under this claim are abstract; they involve aesthetic, moral, mathematical and religious (Bergman, Karlsson and Axelsson, 2010).
The theories of truth
The correspondence theory of truth is an example of the theory that gives accounts on the definition of the term truth. According to the correspondence theorist, a statement is claimed to be true if it relates to facts. For example, if one states that he or she is standing, the statement can only be true if at the time of making the statement the person is standing. The act of one standing at the time of utterance is an essential and adequate condition for the statement being true. For people to claim the utterance to be true, they just have to observe the fact that one is standing. The theorist asserts that the considered condition for the truth of a statement is the statement correspondence with the facts (David, 2009).
Evaluation of the correspondence theory of truth
Despite the theorist much effort in defining what the term truth means, the theorist does not give a precise and a satisfactory definition of what the term entails thus facing objections. The correspondence theorist does not address the aspect of truth in the statements that do not seem to be having corresponding facts. The theorist asserts that these statements do not contain some truth elements in them and can only be considered to be false. In this statement, ‘You should do your duty’ the followers of the correspondence theory can give the truth account only by checking on the moral fact in the statement, and if the statement does not correspond to the moral fact, then it will be claimed to be a false statement. With my close evaluation of the correspondence theory of truth, I strongly object the views of the theorists for they do contain some problems in their attempt of giving a clear and a brief idea of what is claimed to be truth.
The world is categorised into the world of facts, the world of beliefs and statements. This marks my other reason for objecting the views of the correspondence theorists. The theory only focuses on the factual statements in its definition of the term truth. This is because factual statements are claimed not to be dependent on persons’ belief. The factual statements that are dependent on persons’ belief cannot make persons’ belief about those factual statements to be false. The aspect of recognising that a statement is a fact requires a concise interpretation. For clarity in their definition of truth, the correspondence theorist ought to offer appropriate and clear interpretations of what a factual statement entails.
The coherence theory is the other truth theory that gives an account of what truth entails. The arguments by the coherence theorist are contrary to those of the correspondence theorist. The coherence theorist focuses on a persons’ belief. According to the theorist, a persons’ belief can determine the extent to which a statement is claimed to have some truth, and also the belief can be used to determine a false statement. This theory does not rely on the aspect of facts corresponding to a statement. In opposition of the various assertions made by the correspondence theorist on the definition of truth, the coherence theorist argues that brute facts might be in existence in the world, but they are not accessible to people (Walker, 1989).
Evaluation of the coherence theory of truth
A persons’ belief does not give a definitive definition of truth; a belief can be considered to contain some truth aspects if it has the support of other beliefs. The belief should also be consistent with other beliefs. This then implies that where there is a form of inconsistency between various beliefs, some of those beliefs will have to be discarded for consistency to be restored. This is a clear indication of the weakness of the coherent theory in its attempt of defining truth.
The correspondence theory does not deal with statements that are not corresponding to the facts. For practicality, the correspondence theory is considered to pertain to only those statements corresponding to the facts and not those without facts corresponding to them. The theory is restricted to facts that can be observed; these facts are referred to as empirical facts. These are factual statements about the events of the exterior world. The coherence theory is found to work best in addressing the definition of what truth entails in place of where the correspondence theory has failed. It is used in explaining non-empirical truth claims. Facts such as moral and aesthetics are explained by the coherence theorists. Truth claims on things that are abstract are made by the use of coherence theory while on the other hand truth claims on the concrete things are made by use of both the correspondence and coherence theory.
Bergman, A., Karlsson, J. C., & Axelsson, J. (2010). Truth claims and explanatory claims An ontological typology of futures studies. Futures, 42(8), 857-865.
David, M. (2009). The correspondence theory of truth. Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy.
Davidson, D. (1967). Truth and meaning. In Philosophy, Language, and Artificial Intelligence (pp. 93-111). Springer Netherlands.
Walker, R. C. S. (1989). The coherence theory of truth: Realism, anti-realism, idealism.
More Important Things