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What Is Truth?

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What Is Truth?

What is Truth?

Plato and Peirce are two philosophers who had developed their perception on truth through their own experiences and observations. Through their different experiences and observations, both have come to develop an established belief of what truth is. Although, both philosophers have compelling arguments to support their beliefs on truth and do indeed share some minor similarities in thought on truth, alas, the glaring incongruities within these two philosophers' conclusions on truth allows no room for both notoriously insightful men to be simultaneously totally correct in their thinking about truth. The profound question "what is truth?" can gnaw at the very core of each and every rational human who dares to face the vast assortment of ideas and methods humans have used to devise an answer to such an elusive question. The choice of method one uses to interpret the realities of our universe is ultimately what dictates the individual's inferences on truth. The method chosen by Peirce and Plato differed tremendously and so obviously their proposal of what truth is differed as well. Plato used the a priori method for discovering truth, believing a man can most definitely and effectively obtain true knowledge through recollection, whereas unlike Plato, Peirce believed the more strictly physical scientific method posed as much more operative in discovering true knowledge.

Plato believes the soul is immortal and has been exposed to all things and learned all things "here (earth) and in the underworld," (Meno, p. 71) therefore the soul knows all things and no knowledge is alien to it. Plato proclaims true knowledge is already possessed by man at birth and man must merely recollect the knowledge he possesses within. In several dialogues, most notably the dialogue with Meno, Plato demonstrates how humans can learn true knowledge entirely through recollection when Meno poses the paradoxical question "How can one seek and come to know something that one does not already know?" which is later dubbed "Meno's paradox" (or debater's argument). In Plato's five dialogues, Meno witnesses Socrates ask a slave boy a series of questions about geometry and the characteristics of shapes, through which a process the boy comes to realize/know the principle of square root without Socrates ever actually providing the slave boy with any information. Plato does not attempt to deny or debunk the soundness of Meno's paradoxical argument but merely illustrates his theory of recollection, which provides man a pathway to gain true knowledge without actually demanding one to seek and/or acquire it. Instead, Plato suggests true knowledge is intrinsic to man and must only be recollected, therefore successfully eluding the notoriously problematic and paralyzing aspect of Meno's argument. Plato warns against believing the debater's argument because such a belief would certainly extinguish any yearning for knowledge, leaving man idle and profoundly discontent. Unlike the debater's empty argument, Plato argument suggests that because the universe is akin and our souls have already learned all things, human intuition allows for nothing to inhibit man from unraveling the truth of anything and everything if he does not fail to persistently search the depths of his mind and soul for innate truth.

Plato does not claim to definitely know any truths entirely but he does however confidently believe some of his intuitions about truth are accurate; one such truth being that man can recollect true knowledge by merely searching his soul, as discussed above and the other being that something is the way it is because that is what it is, not because man, or god, or anything else proclaims it to be one thing or another. Plato demonstrates this principle through the conversation between Socrates and Euthyphro regarding the definition of piety. Throughout the conversation Socrates dismantles Euthyphro's varied definitions of piety, one after another. What you begin to see is that Euthyphro (a man his society would expect to thoroughly understand piety) cannot pin down a definition which is able to withstand Socrates' scrutiny because Euthyphro has foolishly attempted to define piety based on the feelings of emotional gods. Through this conversation Plato illuminates the fallacy in proposing that the definition (in this case for piety or goodness) of something depends on the feelings of an emotional being. Plato argues something is not pious because the gods love it or because it is loved by the gods but instead, that something is pious because it is inherently pious and entirely independent of how gods, or men, or anything else feels about it. In this argument, Plato proclaims the piousness of something has no dependence on the opinions of beings but instead, a thing is either pious or not pious

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