Knowledge has a close relationship with truth as for belief to be knowledge, it must be true. Thus, it is necessary to understand the existence of truth in order to have a deeper understanding of knowledge. Therefore, this reflection will show the definition of «truth» for me and its characteristics in different culture or groups of people.
«Truth» itself is defined as «success in inquiry» by John Randall. The definition may also mean «verification» and it comprises all the three definitions of truth presented by The Correspondence, Coherence and Pragmatic Theories of Truth. The «success» means bringing scientific solution from the critical employment of the best method that we can develop to solve the «inquiry», the world’s problems. Thus, the «success» is worked out «through action» (in Dewey’s words) and it fulfills the criteria of truth as an agreement with fact or reality in the Correspondence Theory of Truth. The success must also be verified by our previous body of knowledge as a success (or a solution) to a problem that will be acknowledged by the society who understands the problem in the long run. Thus, the «Truth» corresponds to the Coherence Theory of Truth. Lastly, the «truth’ brings useful and helpful solutions or answers to problems thus; it also renders the Pragmatic Theory of Truth to be a fulfilled criterion.
Therefore, a true belief must give solutions or answers to people’s problems and is acceptable by the people’s body of knowledge, as well as, practical in their lives. An example of a true belief is a religion. The religion is a truth for a certain group of people who hold faith over the religion as it is acceptable by their knowledge formed through life experience. They also see the religion as the answers to their problems or questions about their existences in the world. Hence, religion brings values or solutions to this group of people. It teaches them values that are accepted as facts such as «killing innocent people is a sin» and this correspondence of religion values to reality shows religion’s conformity to facts.
Thus, truth may differ from one culture to another, as what may benefit or answer the problems of a specific group of people, may not be useful for another group. Religions are the example. The truth in Christian belief that heaven is the life after death do not synchronize with the truth in Buddhist saying that human keeps reincarnating until perfection is achieved. Then, it is also understandable that all these «truths» based on religions can be true at the same time eventhough they may not be all true for a specific individual. However, there is also a possibility that all these «truths» are false. It happens when during an individual’s death, nothing spectacular like reincarnation or the opening of the Heaven’s Gates actually occurs as this argument renders religions, with its values, to be useless and not corresponding to the facts. Ultimately, the false truths (in this case the religions) can not be considered as truth anymore for, basically, they are not true.
The possibility of false truth to exist then arises a question of whether truth does actually exist or that there is no truth at all. If all truths are false then there is no truth anymore and if truths are relative from one group to another, is there an objective truth? For a «truth» as «verification» may be a mere lie invented by a group of people to influence others. Then, the verification is not a truth anymore for the inventors know the actual fact of the truth as a mere lie. Another argument is the fiction story in a book. The story may be useful to the public or fulfill the criteria of the Three Theories of Truth but, still, people would never consider a fictional story as truth, would not they? The story may describe a factual incidence that can happen in a real life, give useful solutions or answers to the problems in life, as well as, introduce a new scientific theory that is relevant to our body of knowledge. However, can the story be accepted as a true story? A fictional story will remain a fantastic imagination of the writer only. Thus, it is shown that the three Theories of Truth are flawed and so, is it appropriate to use them in determining what is the truth?
Despite all these arguments, I still cannot claim that there is no truth. If I state that there is no truth, then, I would possess no knowledge for knowledge comes from true belief. Furthermore, without knowledge, what are the bases on which I put my arguments on claiming that there is no truth? I would only declare opinions which are unknown to myself because I have not even the slightest knowledge about those opinions. Hence, I believe that there is truth for knowledge does exist. However, I can be certain that objective truth will never be achievable by human as we are social beings and our views are affected by each other. We also have feelings and emotions that will hinder us from obtaining the objective truth. The truth is relative to our societies. Moreover, as the three Theories of Truth are questionable, I believe that people cannot comprehend «truth» completely at this stage and so, perhaps, the journey in finding the real truth and knowledge is still a long way to go.