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Excerpted from Geisler and Feinberg’s Introduction to Philosophy: A Christian Perspective (Baker, 1980). What is Truth? Major Theories of Truth From Geisler.

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Presentation on theme: "Excerpted from Geisler and Feinberg’s Introduction to Philosophy: A Christian Perspective (Baker, 1980). What is Truth? Major Theories of Truth From Geisler."— Presentation transcript:

1 Excerpted from Geisler and Feinberg’s Introduction to Philosophy: A Christian Perspective (Baker, 1980). What is Truth? Major Theories of Truth From Geisler and Feinberg’s Introduction to Philosophy: A Christian Perspective

2 Excerpted from Geisler and Feinberg’s Introduction to Philosophy: A Christian Perspective (Baker, 1980). 1.The Coherence Theory of Truth Spinoza, Leibniz, Hegel, and F.H. Bradley. A statement is true if and only if it coheres (is consistent) with all of the other statements of that system.

3 Excerpted from Geisler and Feinberg’s Introduction to Philosophy: A Christian Perspective (Baker, 1980). 1.The Coherence Theory of Truth Rationalists—the system is a comprehensive account of the entire universe (or of reality) Logical positivists—the system includes all of the statements in the scientific picture of the world (as described by the contemporary sciences).

4 Excerpted from Geisler and Feinberg’s Introduction to Philosophy: A Christian Perspective (Baker, 1980). 1.The Coherence Theory of Truth This has some merit…we do tend to reject a statement that contradicts what we have already embraced as truth (or contradicts our experiences/observations).

5 Excerpted from Geisler and Feinberg’s Introduction to Philosophy: A Christian Perspective (Baker, 1980). 1.The Coherence Theory of Truth Coherence is a necessary condition of truth, but not a sufficient condition. A statement may be coherent with one system and incoherent with another. A statement may be coherent with a system but not applicable to the real world. Two different—mutually exclusive, but coherent—systems are logically possible.

6 Excerpted from Geisler and Feinberg’s Introduction to Philosophy: A Christian Perspective (Baker, 1980). 2.The Pragmatic Theory of Truth Charles Sanders Pierce, William James, and John Dewey. Pierce—truth is related to (observable) practice(s) [“Opinion that is fated to be ultimately agreed to”] Truth is related to practical consequences

7 Excerpted from Geisler and Feinberg’s Introduction to Philosophy: A Christian Perspective (Baker, 1980). 2.The Pragmatic Theory of Truth James—concerned with the effects of a belief in the private and personal life of an individual So…an individual could regard… religious beliefs as true if they provide “vital benefits” Truth is determined by consequences

8 Excerpted from Geisler and Feinberg’s Introduction to Philosophy: A Christian Perspective (Baker, 1980). 2.The Pragmatic Theory of Truth Dewey “Warranted assertibility” An idea becomes true when their “draft upon experience” is verified by the promised facts. Thus, truth follows inquiry—and “happens to an idea” when it is verified (“warranted”)

9 Excerpted from Geisler and Feinberg’s Introduction to Philosophy: A Christian Perspective (Baker, 1980). 3.The Performative Theory of Truth P.F. Strawson True and false are not descriptive words, but performative expressions—one is not making a statement, but performing an action. When you say, “It is true that…”, you are agreeing with, accepting, or endorsing a statement.

10 Excerpted from Geisler and Feinberg’s Introduction to Philosophy: A Christian Perspective (Baker, 1980). 3.The Performative Theory of Truth Later Strawson admitted that “true” has an “expressive” meaning as well as a “performative” meaning. Strawson modified his position after hearing criticisms of it.

11 Excerpted from Geisler and Feinberg’s Introduction to Philosophy: A Christian Perspective (Baker, 1980). 4.The Correspondence Theory of Truth Aristotle, G.E. Moore, and Alfred Tarski. Truth consists in some form of correspondence between 1. a belief or a sentence and 2. a fact or a state of affairs.

12 Excerpted from Geisler and Feinberg’s Introduction to Philosophy: A Christian Perspective (Baker, 1980). 4.The Correspondence Theory of Truth Moore—a proposition is identified with the meaning of an indicative sentence. Something is apprehended (in understanding a sentence) by us that is more than the mere sentence. The proposition is the bearer of truth or falsity.

13 Excerpted from Geisler and Feinberg’s Introduction to Philosophy: A Christian Perspective (Baker, 1980). 4.The Correspondence Theory of Truth When a belief is true, that which is believed is a fact. When a belief is false, that which is believed is not a fact.

14 Excerpted from Geisler and Feinberg’s Introduction to Philosophy: A Christian Perspective (Baker, 1980). 4.The Correspondence Theory of Truth Tarski—truth is a property of sentences— in a particular language…and involves a relationship (correspondence) between a sentence and reality.

15 Excerpted from Geisler and Feinberg’s Introduction to Philosophy: A Christian Perspective (Baker, 1980). Verification Principle A J Ayer ( ) For a statement to be meaningful (true) it must be either 1) purely definitional or else 2) verifiable by onor of more of the five senses. All other statements (ethical, theological, metaphysical) are nonsense or meaningless. Logical Positivism Self-refuting

16 Excerpted from Geisler and Feinberg’s Introduction to Philosophy: A Christian Perspective (Baker, 1980). Falsification Principle Anthony Flew and Karl Popper Any statement or proposition is meaningless unless it is subject to falsification (at least in principle) Flew used it to challenge a belief in God Self-refuting But Flew recently changed his mind…


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