The word ‘truth’ originates from the Anglo-Saxon word ‘treowe’ meaning ‘believed’. ‘Believe’ itself is from the word ‘gelyfan’, which means ‘to esteem dear’. Etymologically, ‘truth’ would be something accepted to be of some value, instead of essentially being right. ‘Believe’ is used in the more established sense, as in ‘I believe in communism’ which is different to ‘I believe that trees are used to make paper’.
How do we know what truth is? Most importantly, we need to utilize reason. We can’t just acknowledge things since simply because they align with our past thoughts or strengthen our prejudices or propose the world as we might want to see it. We need to consider the contentions and the proof, to work things out. We also need to look at the validity of the evidence. Most assumptions of truth are made from claim with little or no evidence. We should be reluctant to accept such statements. As the famous Scottish scholar David Hume put it: ‘A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence’. A personal experience or anecdotes of acquaintances may seem convincing proof, but our senses can easily disappoint us, and people can be seriously wrong, even if they are sincere. Most of the time when, when there is weak or inadequate evidence to form a conclusion. The simple phrase of ‘I don’t know’ can be a more tolerable response than rushing to conclusions with weak or incompetent evidence.
Furthermore, if the claim of belief is contrary to current knowledge, we need solid evidence. Sometimes it is ethically acceptable to deny a ‘new’ truth simply because it is challenging and conflicting the ‘old’ truth or belief. However most of the time, many claims that are contrary to current knowledge can be invalid. So, we need refined and consistent evidence to prove that the new truth is right. In order to abandon the ‘old’ truth to our newer truth or belief/s. Next, we should see if an assertion is observable, measurable and repeatable. If we are told that a specific type of medication is detrimental, a sufficient sample of patients and a proper control group can be used to test the drug. To verify the validity of this claim. If the claim- for example, using your phone before going to bed is harmful for your body and sleep- Has not been proven reliable, because we haven’t or can’t test the cogency of the statement. We would need to be very sceptical of the claim.
Accordingly then we must look towards the epistemic theories of truth that exist within the purvey of Philosophy. These theories of truth offer us certainty of knowledge if we follow the epemistic principles. These are notions of truth as it pertains to knowledge, belief and perspective. The distinctive claim of verificationism is that the result of such verifications is, by definition, truth. Put simply, verificationism is the doctrine that a proposition is only cognitively (thought) meaningful if it can be definitively and conclusively determined to be either true or false (i.e. verifiable or falsifiable).
Next, we should consider whether an assertion has been the subject. The best people to judge the truth of beliefs are those with relevant knowledge in the area. That means engineers are able to asses a claim on an engine better than, opposed to something an ecologist would specialize in. If a new belief or truth has not been verified or even been tested by those professionals that work alongside that specific area. One can be very sceptical of its validity, though we need to weigh the opinion of relevant expertise carefully. Of course, as we have seen before. Specialist can be wrong-especially when a new idea is doubted and especially when the new idea challenges a well-established older idea. However, most of us simply just don’t have the knowledge to make an informed decision, which is why we rely on proficient and experienced specialists to make the decision for us. Therefore, if the overwhelming majority of physicist’s state that the chemical Batrachotoxin is brutal to the human body or if the overwhelming majority of environmentalist’s state that global warming is a reality. If someone would disagree with these statements they would need strong reasons with verification to contradict these statements.
Next, we should be more inclined to accept the ‘truth’ from unbiased and independent organisations opposed to ones with high prejiduce. Studies have shown that citizens are more satisfied with democratic governments, because they have more effective mechanisms of spreading and establishing the truth.These processes include regular elections, free media, freedom of association, laws, court of law, open courts, free markets, educated citizens and consumers. Similarly, , companies and organizations funded by the government are more than likely to be reliable sources of truth.
I will provide you the following reasons why truth is important. Truth has its own virtue. Most of the time we expect and want people — including our relatives, friends, politicians, doctors and professional consultants— to tell us the truth, because we believe it is important to know the truth and to be honoured by the expression of it. Truth is an essential part of human culture and history. All of our past historic achievements is based upon truth and belief. Truth is one of the defining features that makes us human.
The pursuit of truth is a corollary to a a consistent and purposeful approach to our lives. If we do not know that statements are true, we can not make sensible decisions revolving around our life. For example If a specific make and model of a car is more fuel efficient, the information about the truth can help determine which one is bested suited for someone’s needs.
To conclude, truth normally leads to action. Truth has an instrumental value in its own, but also has intrinsic value. Given the choice between a life of unlimited happiness as a brain in a vat and a genuine human life, together with all its suffering and pain, most people choose the genuine human life. Plato Cratylus says in that aletheia ‘ truth ‘ in Greek is a compaction of the phrase ‘ a wandering that is divine. ‘ Since Plato, many philosophers have spoken in the same breath about truth and God. Truth has also been linked to things like freedom, justice and power. A famous philosopher called Thoreau once said, ‘ Rather than love, as money, as fame, give me truth. ‘