Truth is the conformance of reality.
But first, what is “reality”? Reality can be seen as that which exists, independent of our consciousness and perception. Or, reality can be seen as only that which our consciousness can perceive, as some theories hold that reality and consciousness are one and the same. For the sake of ongoing writings here, the former definition will be used, given that the opinion that perception of reality can differ among individuals or groups of individuals is critical to the discussion of morality.
Truthfulness of a statement:
Given any statement about reality, we conclude, whether we realize it or not, truthfulness of that statement.
There are 6 types of statements:
- Facts (verified to a point)
- Hypotheses (not yet verified)
- Self-evident truths (obvious, do not need to be verified)
- Moral norms (ex: “do not kill”)
- Contingent statement (i.e. if you want that, then you must do this)
There are 5 ways we asses the truthfulness of a statement:
- Faith in authority (ex: religion or a political figure)
- Mystical experiences (ex: a “vision”)
- Intuition or “common sense”
- Pure logic
- Empiricism (replicable experience)
Phenomenalism holds that we cannot know any object directly but can only know our perception of the object. We can only know or perceive the contents of our own consciousness. Our individual perception might be distorted. However, a reality independent of our perception could still exist, and collectively humankind can verify the properties of physical things and general experiences and events by the methods of validation to be discussed.