The relativity of truth

Truth is the correspondence between the object (physical or abstract) and its idea. We normally think of truth as an identity; that is, as an idea that is a faithful reflection of the object. But in a monist world this is not possible.


Monism and truth. In a monist universe the correspondence between the object and its idea is never an identity. Objects and ideas have a place in space, either in our mind or the physical world. And space is totally asymmetric and dynamic. In a monist universe no place is ever the same and not two places are ever the same, therefore there can’t be an identity between the object and its idea. A monist universe is a world of differences, and among differences identities are not possible. So in a monist universe there are no absolute truths.

Truths instead, are approximations. The correspondence between the object and its idea is not an identity but approximations. And the validity of approximations depends on their internal coherence, or logical consistency, and their external coherence or consistency with the world and experience. So the more consistent the approximations are, the more truthful they become.

The subjectivity of truth. The problem with truths about the world is that the real world is not directly known to us. We know the world through perception and conception. And concepts belong to our subjective mental world (see subjectivity), while objects belongs to an objective physical world. These two worlds are not distinct: they both belong to the natural world and share the same nature. But they are indeed different. And among these two worlds there is no possible identity: our concepts are mental approximations and not faithful representations of the world.

The relativity of truth. Truth is relative because it depends on place and time; and place and time are never the same. Ideally, an absolute truth would be a universal and invariable identity between the object and its idea. But this is never realised. Instead of being universal and invariable, truths are relative to place, culture, person and time.

The unreality of relativism. Relativism is the idea that there is no privileged point of view, therefore all truths are relative and equally valid. All truths are indeed relative, but they are not equally valid. Truths are approximations to the world and not all approximations are the same. Some approximations are more consistent than others, therefore some truths are more truthful than others.

The progression of truth. The correspondence between the object and its idea then, is not an identity but an approximation. And this approximation becomes more truthful the more consistent the idea becomes with the object. Truth then, is nothing that we can ever reach. But it is something it is something that we can always expect to get closer.

The progression of truth is not an inevitable process. Ideas don’t naturally tend to become more truthful. Indeed, there might be obstacles for this to happen and the process can reverse. But the progression of truth is always a possibility.

The progression of truth

Mathematical truths

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