That title is a wee bit over the top. A bit. Here’s the real deal: I am the RCIA sponsor this year to a very bright young man, 16, who asks a lot of good questions and really seems to want to understand things. But he, alas, is a product of the schools, and therefore has systematically been denied any whiff of real education.
So, I thought to myself, I did, that maybe I could hook him on some basic logic and philosophy and steal him from the clutches of those who would dumb him down and control him. I could feed him just a bit of real, honest thought. Seemed like a plan. But given the realities of modern ‘education’, I should keep it real short.
Here it is: a one page outline of Truth. What do you, my esteemed readers, think?
An Introduction to Truth, Facts, and Reasoning
Truth: A man is said to have the truth when his understanding corresponds to reality.
Necessary Truths: Those things which must be true if anything is true. Or, put another way, those things that must be true if you know anything at all about reality. Necessary truths do not depend on anything in particular you see, hear, feel, smell, etc., but rather must be true IF you see, hear, feel, smell or touch ANYTHING AT ALL.
The study of Necessary Truths is called metaphysics. (Today, the term metaphysics is applied to all sorts of stupid ideas, but this is what it means when used correctly.)
Necessary truths include:
- An objective world exists. We call this world ‘reality’.
- Truth exists. We can understand reality, at least some parts of it, at least a little.
- The law of noncontradiction: A thing cannot both be and not be in the same way at the same time.
- All the other rules of logic. We use those rules to understand the rest of reality, but the rest of reality doesn’t help us in any way to understand those rules.
- The rules of math. Same as the rules of logic.
Conditional or Contingent Truth: Truth that depends on conditions or assumptions. Conditional truths all take for granted the necessary truths. You can’t have any conditional truths without the necessary truths.
Conditional truths are very important. Almost everything we know are conditional truths.
Facts: Units of conditional truth created when the necessarily true rules of reasoning are validly applied to observations.
Conditional truths include:
- All science. All science begins with observations and measurements, which are conditional because we can get them wrong. Science applies the rules of logic and math, which are necessarily true, to those observations and measurements to create scientific facts.
- All theology. Because it includes revelation and observation!
- All philosophy besides metaphysics.
Informed Opinion: A kind of conditional knowledge that has not been thought through completely, such as what a good craftsman knows about his craft. He hasn’t worked through all the logic or examined all the assumptions, but he ‘knows’ what works.