As was mentioned on the previous page on reflection, I am seeking Truth and using reflection, while also reflecting in each case on whether I am ever able to have a thought/experience while also, at the same time and in the same way, not having that thought/experience. Reflection is aware that I am searching and so it begins by reflecting on what exactly I am searching for and how do I find it. I will start with what I am searching for, in other words...
What is Truth?
Reflection looks back at my everyday life and recognizes that I make use of a notion of truth. I start with everyday uses of the concept of truth and I abstract and generalize to discover the concept I use.
Consider the following, which are written with a particular lived out experience in mind:
1. "I have thirty-two dollars in my wallet." 2. "I am seeing a ghost right now." 3. "Prince Albert Victor was Jack the Ripper." (I have no opinion on this) 4. "The man I saw running from the scene of the crime looked like this." 5. "I hear a certain noise and my car is making a particular movement. I have a flat tire." 6. "The dream I had is prescient." 7. "If I want to put my wallet right there I can let go of my hand and it will fall to that spot and stop." 8. "Unicorns don't exist."
Truth is a complicated concept. It can be positive or negative. It can be about the past, the present, the future, or the timeless. It can be about physical things, metaphysical things, abstract things, numbers, categories, and identity. It can use propositions, experiences, mental representations, meaning, understanding, and hypothetical expectations. And they sometimes make use of other background beliefs that are not explicitly stated or thought. This is not intended to be an exhaustive list. I allow for further development here and for other things that can be true other than propositions, experiences, mental representations, meanings, understandings, and hypothetical expectations. I only offer a brief list to show some of the breadth and varied forms Truth deals with.
Reflecting on what Truth is, reflection realizes that the concept of truth has three parts: the pointer, pointing, and the pointed at.
Each of the examples above is a pointer. The pointer is always some type of phenomena, e.g. proposition, experience, mental representation, meaning, understanding, or hypothetical expectation. However, what makes a phenomenon a pointer is if it is used by the phenomenon of pointing, in order to point at something else. The pointer phenomenon can have its own internal complexities drawing relations between various parts, each acting as their own pointers. For example, the pointer is present as a single whole, but it has parts. We can can find an abstracted, generalized form in each one of the examples that shows an over-simplified reduction to the phenomenon that will be used to point.
1. "I have thirty-two dollars in my wallet." or "X is in Y." 2. "I am seeing a ghost right now." or "X is a member of category Y." 3. "Prince Albert Victor was Jack the Ripper." or "X is identical to Y." 4. "The man I saw running from the scene of the crime looked like this." or "X looks the same as Y." 5. "I hear a certain noise and my car is making a particular movement. I have a flat tire." or "X is occuring." 6. "The dream I had is prescient." or "X will occur." 7. "If I want to put my wallet right there I can let go of my hand and it will fall to that spot and stop." or "If X, then Y." 8. "Unicorns don't exist." or "X is not in Y."
Each of these is presented as a phenomenon, and then can be used as the pointer when pointing makes use of them. They are all phenomenon and are presented with a particular lived experience in mind, but they can be translated into language with words, so that the pointer is often possible to translate into what is called a proposition.
Let's take the first sentence. What I am asking when I ask if the sentence is true is whether there is the exact amount of $32 dollars in the spatial location inside my wallet at the present time. If there is $32 inside of my wallet right now, I say that the sentence is true. If there is not $32 dollars, I say the sentence is false.
We sometimes translate the thoughts, mental pictures, experiences, understanding, or hypothetical expectations into language. A language is a collection of signs or symbols that are arbitrary and empty in themselves but joined together within a greater context of understanding, use, syntactic rules, etc., come to signify other things in a way that is meaningful and useful for a subject. Translating thoughts, mental visuals, experiences, understanding, and hypothetical expectations into a language of words can't always be done, but when they can be translated into language they are represented by a collection of signs that we call a sentence. If a sentence is about a particular thing and says something about that thing, we call this type of sentence a proposition. In a proposition, one part of the sentence will pick out a particular thing (the subject), and this subject is then related in a particular way to something else (the predicate). So we often speak of the predicate as saying something about the subject. As in the first case above, we can sometimes think using a proposition.
In this example, a sentence is said in my head that has meaning to me. This is using language with words to make a proposition. Each word in the proposition has a function to allow me to give the proposition meaning. The sentence was not worded "There are thirty-two dollars in a wallet." or, "If one looked in the wallet, one would find thirty-two dollars." Words like "I have" mean that the thirty-two dollars belongs to me and is capable of being within my possession. The sentence uses the words "thirty-two dollars" to refer to a specific numerical value ($32 worth, regardless of the number of bills or coins) of a particular type of thing (valid U.S. currency), but not an individual thing (not particular coins or bills, like the twenty with Angela's phone number on it, and the quarter with Washington's eye scratched out, etc.). The word "in" indicates a specific spatial relationship of the money to something else. The word "my" means that the wallet belongs to me. And the word "wallet" indicates the physical object within which the money is to be found, the thing that the money has the spatial relationship of being "in" to, and it is something I will recognize.
However, even though my sentence is worded "I have $32 in my wallet," some of the words are merely required to think such a sentence in English. Let's say I believe my wallet is in my pocket. My sentence is thought with what is inside of the wallet in mind. I make no thought of myself, nor of my ownership of the money or wallet. I might think such a sentence, with words like "I", "have", and "my", but I am only focused on the amount of money in the wallet. These other things are background beliefs, the situational context in which I think the sentence, giving it an additional sense that is not explicitly considered when thinking it but is implicitly implied. When I say the word "I", I don't think about myself, I just understand what function that word serves in an English sentence, and if I have to account for its reference then I have the ability to access specific information about it. The word "have" gets its meaning from the context of the rest of the sentence, but my ownership or possession of the money is not what is being meant or focused on by the utterance of the sentence. And again, the word "my" does not make me think of my ownership of the wallet, though one could extract that meaning from the sentence if one was so inclined.
The functional use of this sentence is actually more akin to "There is thirty-two dollars in this wallet." What occurs when thinking the original sentence is that I use words, as empty signs, that refer to other things. And the only references that are actuated in my stating the proposition, in my example, are to the money, to the wallet, to their spatial relationship to each other, and to a particular location in space. There are other background beliefs, but they form a contextual backdrop if I need to acquire more information, they aren't consciously meant in the thought of the proposition. I refer to the amount of one type of thing inside another thing. The word "thirty-two" does not pull up a mental picture or the thought of a number, it stands in place of such a thing, but I know how to perform a process to check if something is that amount, and if I need to I can access more information that would tell me if it is greater or lesser than some other number. And the word "wallet" refers to a physical object that has a particular position in space based on a background belief outside of the sentence. I don't bring up a mental picture of the wallet, I just mentally point to the location where I believe the wallet to be. However, if I seek more information about this wallet then I can bring up associated words, mental pictures, descriptions, etc., but these are not present, they must be accessed. And the word "in" does not pull up a mental picture of something being inside something else, it is just used with understanding about what type of spatial relationships would count. This refers to a specific type of spatial relationship which I can just identify.
This example occurs in the present, it uses meaning through language to create what is true or false, and it is refering to what is in an exact place in space and time. This sentence uses a lot of words that have meaning in the context of the whole sentence, and ultimately within the context of unstated, unthought background beliefs, but what the sentence is doing in use is much simpler.
In "I am seeing a ghost right now," I have written it as a sentence, but its original form is not language, so it had to be translated into language. When I have an experience of seeing something that my mind identifies as a ghost, I do not think in words, "I am seeing a ghost right now." Instead, I just have a visual experience and my mind identifies it as a type of thing and I immediately become frightened. In this thought I focus on the phenomena presented to my eyes, and I interpret it as an object in space, but something about the the way the object looks makes me identify it as a particular type of thing. So I refer to that object in space, and I refer to a particular categorical concept, and refer to a particular thing's relationship to its category. If my visual experience is of the type of thing I have identified it as being then I say that my thought is true. If my visual experience is only a trick of my eyes or is of something other than the type of thing I identified it as, then I say my thought is false. This example occurs in the present, it uses an experience to create what is true or false, and it is refering to a particular thing as being a member of an abstract category.
In "Prince Albert Victor was Jack the Ripper." (I have no opinion on this), I have written it as a sentence. This is asserted using mental pictures before my mind's eye. The use of mental pictures is identifying two or more different mental pictures as refering to the same physical object. If the person I am intending to refer to by the specific mental picture of Prince Albert Victor is the same physical personage as that of my mental picture of "Jack the Ripper" then I say this is true. If no such person exists or they are not the same thing, I say this sentence is false. My mental picture of Prince Albert Victor is refering to a person in the past. I do not also think of additional characteristics but I can if I need to access them. My mind identifies that physical object as being identical to the physical object that is refered to by my own created mental pictures of Jack the Ripper which is associated with other created mental pictures representing his acts. I have an understanding of what these pictures mean, without having to access specific facts or other characteristics of Jack the Ripper, but again, I feel the ability to access more information if I need to. So both mental pictures are asserted to refer to the same object, this identity is understood in my references. This example occurs in the past, it uses meaning through mental pictures to create what is true or false, and it is refering to a relationship of identity of two physical objects in the past.
In "The man I saw running from the scene of the crime looked like this," I have written it as a sentence, but its original form is not language, so it has to be translated. In relation to the subject of the crime I pull up a memory of what the person looked like within the context of what I remember him doing at the time I saw him. I might pause my memory, or take the man out of the context of the memory and picture before my mind's eye what he would look like looking at him from the front, perhaps even creating this from having viewed other perspectives. If the man who committed the crime does look like the mental picture I have before my mind's eye, I say that my statement is true. If the person who committed the crime does not look like the mental picture, then I say that my statement is false. In this case, my mental picture refers to something I saw in the past, which in turn refered to a particular person involved in an event, I am recalling something from the past and making a timeless comparison, it uses a memory and brings up a mental picture before the minds eye and asserts that the mental picture before my mind's eye looks the same as the physical person somewhere out in the world does, and I pick this person out by linking him to who I had witnessed at the event I am recalling. There is a reference to a memory, a reference to the person at that time in the past, and now to that person as he was in the past. This example uses memory and mental pictures with significance, no language. This example occurs in the past, it uses meaning through mental pictures to create what is true or false, and it is refering to a physical objects appearance that is not in a specific place or time for me but that is connected to an event in the past.
In "I hear a certain noise and my car is making a particular movement. I have a flat tire," I have written it as a sentence, but its original form is not language, so it has to be translated. I hear a noise, I feel the car doing something, and I have an understanding of what is happening. I believe that the tire is flat without any words in my mind or mental pictures of a flat tire. I use background belief about the sound and the motion of the car, and a reference to an object in physical space as being in a certain state, but in a state of understanding and realization. This example occurs in the present, it uses understanding to create what is true or false, and it is refering to the cause of what I presently experience.
In "The dream I had is prescient," I have written it as a sentence, but its original form is not language, so it has to be translated. I have a dream, which is mental experience, and I just believe that it will happen. This example occurs in the past about the future, it uses meaning through mental experience to create what is true or false, and it is refering to what will occur at some time and place in the furture.
In "If I want to put my wallet right there I can let go of my hand and it will fall to that spot and stop," I have written it as a sentence, but its original form is not language, so it has to be translated. I want to put my keys in an exact position in space, and I just believe that if I hold my keys over the spot and if I let go of them that they will fall and land in that particular spot. I must make use of background beliefs and understanding for this thought, which is mental experience, and I just believe that it will happen. This example occurs in the future, it uses understanding through a hypothetical to create what is true or false, and it is refering to what will occur at some time and place in the furture.
From these sentences I can see that truth, at least in my natural everyday life, can be about the present, past, future, or the timeless. It can be about things in space, or the spaceless, about phenomena, the abstract, the physical, or the metaphysical. Truth can be made using meaning through words, mental representations, understanding, hypothetical expectation, or experiences. This scope may be refined or expanded later, but as it appears right now it is broadly inclusive.
Now if I just think about thirty-two dollars being in my wallet, it is not the same thing as thinking "There is thirty-two dollars in my wallet." Reflecting on these two thoughts we discover they have different structures. In the latter thought part of the thought points to something beyond the thought itself. It points to a yonder thing, transcending what is present in the mind, and says something about that thing, that it is one specific way and not another. The former thought does not have this pointing to a beyond. It is complete in itself. The first thought will be described as using one's imagination, or contemplating a possibility. The latter type of thought will be called an assertion, because instead of being simply a phenomenon, the additional phenomenon of pointing uses the former in its pointing. So a phenomenon that points, i.e. a pointer being used by the phenomenon of pointing, with pointing together make what is called an assertion.
The same is the case for all the examples above. If I just think about a ghost being in the room with me, or if I see something and think "What if that is a ghost," it is not the same thing as the thought "I am seeing a ghost right now." The latter is making an assertion, and so part of the thought points to something else beyond the thought itself. It points to a yonder thing, transcending what is present in the mind, and says something about that thing that it is one specific way and not another.
In all of the examples above, the parts join together to make a assertion. An assertion points to a beyond, but when we reflect on what we are pointing to as that beyond, we discover a concept which is a background belief, a belief unconsciously being made use of, to the understanding of what an assertion is. So in the sentence, "I have thirty-two dollars in my wallet," the assertion is that it is the definite case or state of affairs that there is exactly thirty-two dollars with a precise spatial relationship to an exact physical object. The assertion has parts, as was discussed before, but these parts are actively pointing to things, and as these parts combine they become the thought, mental pictures, experiences, understanding, hypothetical expectation, or meaningful proposition, that points to this "something beyond" which makes any of these an assertion. What makes something the type of thought that involves truth is whether the thought points to the "something beyond", i.e. if it asserts something; so a thought, proposition, mental representation, meaning, understanding, experience, or hypothetical expectation, is not true or false in itself, if and only if it is asserted in thought is the condition for its truth or falsity.
Now we must reflect on the background concept we discovered, the "something beyond", the pointing to the yonder. We will call this concept, that is active as a background belief in assertions, this "something beyond" that is pointed at, as "reality".
What is the pointed at, i.e. What is Reality?
Reality is the central and the single most foundational concept for my system.
The word "reality" is merely a sign and can be used to refer to anything. I am not interested in what a language or a person or a society may choose to have the word "reality" refer to. The word itself is only a tool. I am interested in a particular concept that I make use of, whatever one wishes to call it. Throughout this exposition I choose to use the word "reality" to refer to this particular concept.
It is important to realize that I am writing about a concept, not a word. What I mean by the concept is itself. It does not mean something outside of itself. Carefully reflecting on this, I have no thought of the concept being something other than what it is, or meaning something other than what it means. Any suggestion that I mean something else by reality cannot be thought. The concept is right here in my mind, there is no mistaking it; it is what it is. The consideration that error is possible when dealing with the concept is nonsense to me; asking me to think of something that is not what it is, my mind is left empty and blank.
Truth depends on the concept of reality. I have clear understanding of many things from my everyday life. For example, I have a clear understanding of a fact about a thing. I also have a clear understanding of something being in space. I have a clear understanding of members in a category. I have a clear understanding of a totality of individuals. I have a clear understanding of something being present or absent. I have a clear understanding of definiteness, i.e. of a thing being one way and not another. These are all simple experiences of my everyday life that I completely understand. The concept of Reality is a generalized, abstraction of these things I clearly understand.
Reality is the concept of absolute totality. It is a vague concept that is directed to an all-inclusive, transcendental yonder or out-there that has static parts. Characteristics, as defined by concepts derived from experience, are: definiteness, stasis, permanence, substantive, all-encompassing and all-inclusive, independence from my thoughts and experiences, non-perspectival transcendent being. Reality is a concept refering to that, conceived as a static totality.
Assertions are usually about a specific part of reality but they are still always using the same concept of Reality.
Reflection looks at what is meant by "Reality". Reality is the definite, all-inclusive.
Possible origin of the concept of Reality
There are a number of simple thoughts found in experience. One simple thought is definiteness. The experience of definiteness asserts a particular thing to be a particular way. It acts as a lasso roping in a fact. It is obstinate and defiant. It makes something stand salient and erect. It is something I constantly experience, yet I constantly overlook its presence. It is always ignored yet it is always present as a background fabric holding other thoughts in their place for me to inspect.
All of these definitions must be defined in terms of simple experiences, since they are generalized abstractions of simple everyday experiences. I have the experience of directedness, which is a mental pointing at a thing. I have an experience of parts of totality. I have an experience of presence and absence. "Being" is presence within the totality. "Definiteness" is understood through our experience of a blinding flux without anything standing out, and the experience of something standing out as a something. Something is what it is. "Reality" is definiteness of being. I have an experience of definiteness in my experience of the world. Objects stand out as being a certain way, even if limited to being that way at a specific moment in time, and this concreteness screams out at me.
Reality could also be an abstract generalization of this specific definiteness of objects within the totality of a backdrop of the world. In other words, in my everyday natural experience of the world I may see an object and it is there, as it is, within the totality of the world, unquestioned and salient, and there is a very unique experience of its presence as a specific thing for me within that unquestioned world. Perhaps my concept of reality is an abstract generalization of this experience and understanding given to me in my everyday experience of the world. It does not make it invalid to subsequently question whether the world that gave me my concept of reality is itself real. The concept stands on its own, though it does seem counter intuitive since it is the origin of the concept.
Take as an example what I do when I recognize that "The apple is red." I understand my specific belief and assertion and experience of the apple being red, but reality is seen as a place where the totality of all of these types of facts about anything reside in a definite state. My concept of reality takes my understanding of a specific fact, the relation between the subject and the predicate, and it moves to include all facts about all things and puts them into some all-inclusive container, to just be as they are.
Take another example as an understanding of a thing being in space. One should have a clear understanding of what it means for something to be there in space. Now generalize that to all things, and make it abstract so that it is not just about being in space, but simply being there within the totality.
Take as another example a thing being present in your mind, say a red circle. Now generalize that to all things, and make it abstract so that it is not just about being before your mind but simply being present in a totality of things.
The concept of Reality treats all things as members of an all-inclusive group. And all of these things are just seen as having discrete factual definiteness, i.e. they are one way rather than another. So Reality is simply the definite, all-inclusive. Things are there, as they are, without me or anyone else, to be discovered or not, they have thereness and definiteness.
Correspondence, the intention of Pointing
Now reflection looks at what is the relation between the thought, meaning through words, mental picture, experience, understanding, hypothetical expectation, etc., and the reality it is pointing at. Reflecting closely on what is meant when I assert one of the former to point to reality, I discover I mean that one of the former is alike, or similar to, a part of reality. I have an experience of similarity in my everyday life. I understand exactly what is meant when I think that two shades of color are similar, or that a shape before my mind's eye and one before my eyes are similar, or that two songs are similar, etc. This understanding of similar is used when a pointing phenomenon points at a part of reality. However, when I use a mental picture to refer to a physical object, I understand that the part of reality I am refering to is a different type of thing than a mental picture, so I mean that there are similarities in particular ways, not that the two things are identical. The same kinds of internal relations hold in both, certain parts or aspects are isomorphic between the two things. I realize that this is just using circular definitions, but I understand exactly what is meant by similarity, and I do so through an experience of it, and this experience is what I'm trying to communicate. I am moving beyond definitions to the phenomena and experiences themselves, and there is no circularity here.
Now, as was written above, if I just think about thirty-two dollars being in my wallet, it is not the same thing as thinking "There is thirty-two dollars in my wallet." Reflecting on these two thoughts we discover they have different structures. The former thought might be similar to reality in some way, but it is only a relation of similarity between the meaning through words of this sentence and a part of reality. In the latter thought it is an assertion.
The act of assertion in relation to the concept of reality has some implicit background beliefs. The mode of the assertion, i.e. whether it is thought, meaning through words, mental picture, experience, understanding, hypothetical expectation, etc., is viewed as subordinate to reality. The former is meant to represent, or be like the latter, not the other way around. Reality is taken to be superior. So the relationship favors one as an attempt to copy or represent the other. With this relationship in mind, the similarity between them becomes a new concept. This closest possible similarity of two things, while allowing for the differences necessary of their kinds of things, and the subordination of the other to reality, we will call "correspondence".
Correspondence is the greatest similarity that can be thought/experienced while only allowing the differences that their different types require to be within that type. So when we make an assertion we are trying to say the relation between the pointing phenomenon and the part of reality that the pointing phenomenon is pointing at is one of the utmost similarity. In other words, the asserted thought, mental picture, experience, understanding, hypothetical expectation, or meaning through words, etc., corresponds to a part of reality I am intending to point at.
It must be noted that an assertion can be positive or negative. Whether positive or negative the assertion either corresponds to reality or it doesn't.
What is Truth?
The structure of all truth-bearers appears to be the same. There is an action of directedness or focus on a thing, be it a thought, relation, mental representation, experience, phenomena, meaning, understanding, expectation, etc. This is the pointer object, whatever type of thing it is. There is also a pointing to a transcendent thing, understood as reality or a part of reality. This is the transcendent entity, whatever type of thing it is. A relationship of correspondence is intended between the pointer object and the transcending entity, the pointed at. If the pointer object corresponds to the transcendent entity, then the assertion of the thought, relation, mental representation, experience, meaning, understanding, hypothetical expectation, etc., is true. "True" is what we say of the "subjective" part of this relationship, because that is all that is present for us to describe or talk about something as being true, we don't have any transcendent entity to do this with. If the two do not correspond, we say that that the particular asserted subjective refering object is false. If there is no assertion of correspondence, and a thought, or whatever, is only similar to a part of reality, then we speak of the former and the latter as merely being similar, as a particular part of reality, i.e. as the specific relationship between two parts of reality, not as the former being true. Because in this case reality is not being referred to, and the subjective part is only an object, not an object that points to something else. Truth intends a specific type of relationship between the two objects. Truth implies that a thought, or whatever, is being considered or taken as something more than itself, as the relationship between itself and reality, i.e. the two parts of reality, is of a particular kind.
Truth, then, is asserted: thought, mental picture, experience, understanding, hypothetical expectation, or meaning through words, corresponding to reality.
The word "truth" is merely a symbol and can be used to refer to anything. I am not interested in what a language or a person or a society may choose to have the word "truth" refer to. The word itself is only a tool. I am interested in a particular concept that I make use of, whatever one wishes to call it. Throughout this exposition I choose to use the word "truth" to refer to this particular concept because it would facilitate communication with many readers since the word "truth" has been used in the language of others in similar contexts. I actively make use of this concept and this concept is what the content of this site is centered around.
In its simplest translation from how it is used in thought into ungrammatical English language, "truth" refers to the concept that "this similar that", or using correct grammar, "this is similar to that". I have an experience of a particular mental action of directedness, it is a pointing or intentionality in the mind that looks toward or accentuates other exact thoughts or experiences. Each element of this translated definition refers to a simple experience that one has that this directedness points to. "This" is the implementation of an action of reference to a thought or experience that is before one's conscious mind. "Similar" is a particular concept derived from a particular experience. "That" is the implementation of an action of reference to a part of reality, with the concept of reality as a background belief.
Altering this rough translation to be a bit more sophisticated in its English form, "truth" refers to the concept that "A particular thought or experience corresponds to reality."
It is important to realize that I am writing about a concept, not a word. The concept is right here in my mind, there is no mistaking it; it is what it is. No error is possible when dealing with the concept. The concept involves reference to a thought or experience occuring right now before my conscious mind (this), which is what it is and cannot be mistaken for something else; a concept of similarity right before my conscious mind, based on experiences that I am familiar with as I frequently experience similarity as its own unique phenomena (similar), which is what it is and cannot be mistaken for something else; and an experience of directedness using a concept of reality to point transcendentally to a vague beyond (that), the concept of which is what it is and cannot be mistaken for something else.
The degree of similarity required for correspondence in truth is vague and undefined. It obviously intends a very high degree of similarity between my thought and the part of reality I am singling out and pointing at, whether such a part of reality is actually there or not, but it can be different to a minimal degree due to possible differences inherent in their types of being depending on what is being refered to. This is problematic and threatens to undermine all attempts at discovering truth, and it must be investigated further.
Reflection on the concept of Truth
Reflection recognizes that the concept of Reality, as being the definite, all-inclusive, would also include the thoughts, mental pictures, understandings, hypothetical expectations, experiences, and propositions that are asserted and not asserted. For I cannot form a thought of an all-inclusive category that does not include all things. So what I mean by reality must have as parts of it these thoughts, mental pictures, understandings, hypothetical expectations, experiences, and propositions.
A question may be asked of whether this definition of truth is true. The answer I have to answer is "yes, without possibility of error." Given what was written above, what I mean by "truth" is that an asserted thought corresponds with part of reality. The thought itself must be viewed as part of reality. So in asking if this concept of truth is true, I am asking if a part of reality corresponding to a part of reality corresponds to a part of reality. I can think of a part of reality corresponding with a part of reality, i.e. the thought corresponding with itself, but I can't think of a part of reality corresponding to a part of reality not corresponding to a part of reality. My concept of truth is what it is, it is the relation of a part of reality corresponding with itself.
Any other definitions of truth, and all theories of truth, are not dealing with what I am dealing with here. For whatever reasons or causes those thinkers have made their concern something other than the correspondence of an asserted thought, mental picture, understanding, hypothetical expectation, experience, or a proposition, to reality. They can use the word "truth" to refer to anything else they want, but they will simply be dealing with a completely different subject than what I am dealing with here, i.e. they will be dealing with something other than which assertions correspond to reality.
So, for example, if I experience a red square, the impression I have of the red square is true if and only if I assert that there is a part of reality that corresponds in its redness and its squareness to the impression that I am currently directed at. In other words, I see a red square and while I'm directed or focused on this red square in my experience I assert this is similar to an almost identical degree with a part of what is out there, represented in a general and vague way by my concept of reality, and if part of that reality is actually a similarity of almost identical degree between the part of reality containing my experience and the part of reality I am attempting to point at, then my assertion is true, if not it is false.
A question may be asked of whether my concept of reality is true. Perhaps reality is just an ever-changing, indeterminate flux. If the flux is too extreme I don't have any thought of such a reality because even the thought of flux and change requires a definite static fact about what was before and a definite fact about what comes after. A conceivable degree of change is still part of my concept. So my concept of reality is the only one I have, I haven't been presented with any others. My concept of reality is still general enough, it does allow for some variance within its conception (the degree of statis and flux). My concept of reality is one particular thought, and my concept of reality also includes all of my thoughts as being part of reality, so if my concept of reality is false then it would mean that my concept of reality cannot be in reality what it is to me, but I cannot have any thought of one of my thoughts being something other than what it is. So my concept of reality being false is incoherent to me. If my concept of reality involved its being an indeterminate flux then my concept couldn't be what it is to me, so that is also incoherent. So the only positions that are coherent are my original concept of reality, or that there is a complete separation of being between reality and my subjective states, in other words, that my thoughts are not facts in reality but are their own being separate from reality, but what then is the relation between the two realms?
The Importance of Language
Most of the assertions we make, i.e. most of what is true or false, aren't made in language, but language allows for making some assertions that could not be made otherwise. In the assertion "Jim and Jane are similar in many ways," the correspondence isn't between Jim and Jane, it is between their similarities and reality. I use the words to assert the proposition but there isn't the presence of what similarities I mean. I could not think of all their similarities at the same time to be able to assert them all at the same time in any other way. That is why language is necessary. I can use meaningful signs to assert, and if I need to I can access more details, but otherwise the signs can refer to all these similarities without their being present. Language will be a subject that will be dealt with in more detail at a later time.
Clarifying the Structure of Truth
It is important to realize that there are two realms we are dealing with: the realm of phenomena and the realm of reality. We have seen that the very concept of Reality means the realm of Reality entails the realm of phenomena. So because we are dealing with two realms we are also dealing with two types of directedness, to the phenomenal and to reality. The square I see is a phenomenon, and I am directed at it in the phenomenal realm, in other words I can focus on it or be thinking about it, etc.; but it is a pointer pointing to the pointed at, it is pointing beyond itself to a part of reality, and so I am also directed to its being an entity in reality. Regardless if they are metaphysically identical, I am directed to it in two different ways. It is like the Morning Star and the Evening Star. They are metaphysically identical but not logically identical to me.
How do I find truth?
Through reflection on what is happening in all cases of truth-seeking I discover that I am searching for which asserted refering objects correspond to reality.
In order to find truth I must find something that indicates the truth to me. This is called the criterion of truth. If I am seeking the truth, then I will want my assertions to be true, not false. So the criterion of truth must not fail in indicating the truth. If my criterion of truth sometimes fails then I will not be able to tell the true from the false. If I honestly seek the truth then I will investigate to find the correct criterion of truth.
Problems with Truth
What degree of similarity counts as correspondence?
Is abstraction a legitimate move?
Is generalizing a legitimate move?
Is objectifying similarity a legitimate move? I only have experience of subjective similarity, I have no concept of objective similarity.
Truth presupposes a dualistic metaphysic of subject and reality.
It should be noted and realized that all talk of reality, facts, truth, etc. are all making use of concepts, not entities in themselves. All that we ever deal with are concepts. When talking about reality, we never grasp reality itself, we only grasp our concept of it and.
An irony of this page on Truth is that not one thing on this page is true. One must read it and give the sentences meaning, which will then point in the mind of the reader, and then the thoughts or meanings will be true or false.
The concepts that make up the concept of truth are: assertion/pointing object, transcendent entity, correspondence, and reality.
assertion or pointing object - either thought, mental pictures, understanding, hypothetical expectation, experience, or a proposition that is pointing to a part of reality.
Transcendent entity - part of reality that is pointed at.
Reality - is a vague concept that is pointing to a transcendental yonder or out-there. Characteristics, as defined by concepts derived from experience, are: definiteness, permanence, substantive, all-encompassing and all-inclusive, independence from my thoughts and experiences, non-perspectival transcendent being.
Correspondence - is a concept based on the experience of similarity and then projected onto a selected part of reality, but it requires the utmost degree of similarity possible between two different types of things, their differences only being in respect to the differences inherent in each thing's type.
Truth - assertion (e.g. a pointing thought, mental picture, experience, understanding, hypothetical expectation, or meaning through words) corresponding to reality.