What is true? | INFJ Forum

What is true?

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Religion' started by Duty, Jun 28, 2009.

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  1. Duty

    Duty Permanent Fixture

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    "No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong." -Albert Einstein

    The psychology behind peoples' beliefs, reasoning, and especially beliefs about reasoning is an interest of mine that fascinates me more then any other subject. What do people believe about reasoning and what makes people come to these beliefs?

    Well, I'm curious to know what the INFJ crowd thinks about these questions:

    1. How do you prove to others something to be true?
    2. When is the appropriate point for people/society to accept something as true?
    3. When is something considered true to you?
    4. How important is evidence to the contrary?
    5. Do you tend to examine the beliefs you hold in depth, or do you make a decision quickly and move on?
    6. When examining a belief you hold, do you tend to look for evidence to support your belief or do you tend to look for evidence to prove your belief wrong?
     
  2. gloomy-optimist

    gloomy-optimist Used to live here

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    1. How do you prove to others something to be true?

    By giving proper evidence or formulating a decent argument. I don't try to prove something is true unless I have a decent understanding of the reasoning and arguments behind it.

    2. When is the appropriate point for people/society to accept something as true?

    I honestly don't think they SHOULD accept something as "true," since truth in itself is nearly impossible to even define. I think people should accept something as probable when there is a sound body of evidence to support it, and very little strength to the opposing possibilities.

    3. When is something considered true to you?

    Something is considered most probable when it can be understood and has the most evidence to support it. I personally think truth is somewhat relative; a true "truth" has yet to be uncovered, with maybe some exception in the universal symbols and traits of humanity

    4. How important is evidence to the contrary?

    Very important. One cannot take his own stance as truth unless he's taken the time to examine the other sides of the argument. If he hasn't, then he is biased and narrow-minded. Opposing evidence makes or breaks the deal.

    5. Do you tend to examine the beliefs you hold in depth, or do you make a decision quickly and move on?

    I tend to examine and reaffirm my beliefs fairly often.

    6. When examining a belief you hold, do you tend to look for evidence to support your belief or do you tend to look for evidence to prove your belief wrong?

    Both. I choose to look both subjectively and objectively to all that I can; in other words, I look at it logically and personally, from my own stance and from outside stances, support and opposition.
     
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  3. bamf

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    Personally I try not to focus on definite facts, truths, and realities much because I realize there may be some day where I don't wake up and all of these 'things' cease to exist. I'd rather live in the moment and accept what's around me than question what's true and false. If it has some semblance of beauty or use, be it true or false, than it's good enough for me.
     
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  4. OP
    Duty

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    So you don't worry about truth because you could wake up and what you thought was true one day is no longer so.

    But usefulness and beauty are worth pursuit. What if you woke up one day and what you thought was useful was no longer so, and what you thought was beautiful was no longer so (or there was no beauty to behold at all?)?
     
  5. slant

    slant Ruboobie

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    1. How do you prove to others something to be true?
    I don't, the main reason being that there is no possible way to prove something is true, it's all a manner of opinions unless it's something concrete. If someone disbelieves the truth of my gender, perhaps I must come up with some concrete proof, but after that if they still deny it then how do you prove something beyond that? Beyond that, it's just a trivial matter of opinion.
    2. When is the appropriate point for people/society to accept something as true?
    Majority rules, or if the people in power execute it.
    3. When is something considered true to you?
    I have difficult time thinking that anything is true. The only things I can admit to being 100% true are things that you can observe, touch feel, test and measure. Anything else, I find no way to prove it true so I disregard it as neither true nor false.
    4. How important is evidence to the contrary?
    Important? If something disproves something that I think, of course it's going to important. I want the new information.
    5. Do you tend to examine the beliefs you hold in depth, or do you make a decision quickly and move on?
    I don't think that I hold on to any beliefs indefinitely, but sure, I examine and reevaluate what I think very often.
    6. When examining a belief you hold, do you tend to look for evidence to support your belief or do you tend to look for evidence to prove your belief wrong? Both. Before I 'accept' something, I look at both sides and attempt to determine what has the most overwhelming evidence. Most popular debates, however, have no evidence. They are just a matter of opinion backed up by articles that tug on morals of an individual to side on one page of the argument.
     
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  6. Satya

    Satya C'est la vie
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    It can't be done. People have to prove something is true for themselves. All I could ever do is provide my point of view and the evidence that is sufficient for me.

    When people take a stand. The status quo will never change unless a group of people stand up for what they believe is the truth.

    Never. I look for opportunities to prove myself wrong and will argue vehemently in an attempt to get someone to do so.

    Extremely, as long as it is valid.

    I'm known as a homophobic bigot on some forums. What do you think?

    I try to reduce things down to numbers and probabilities; which comes from supporting evidence and conflicting evidence.
     
  7. Koba

    Koba Community Member

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    I'm going to post here rather than make a topic. This is basically the topic you suggested I make, only you already made it and I just found out. I'm referring to this topic. Anyhow...

    I don't think it's ever possible to prove something true beyond a doubt, only to take a scientific approach and decide that some things relate to the world enough to work with. How well a given theory relates to the material world is how I judge whether or not it's valid. Another theory may be logically consistent and make sense, but if it doesn't hold up to practice, then it's useless. Likewise, some theories may be incorrect, but still have applied use in a particular situation. In this case the theory or idea should continue to be applied until a more complete one is formulated. The fact that it holds up to practice suggests that it's not completely wrong, anyway.

    I think of truth as being like limits in calculus. The line gets closer and closer to the limit, eventually to the point where it might as well be there for all practical purposes, but it never gets there. But if the motion is there for me, then that's truth and that's where I will feel that I can essentially be certain that I have the "correct" idea, at least until new evidence should present itself to show me that the idea does not correspond to the world so well as I thought.

    Some people want to say "But it never gets there, so there can't be truth. We can never know truth about anything." Or, for example, some people tell me that I'm really an agnostic and not an atheist, because I say that I would accept belief in God should new information impact my understanding. For these people, if the line doesn't actually hit the limit, it doesn't matter how close it gets. This way of thinking make sense, but it is not practically useful and does not correspond to reality in a meaningful way.

    I would thus argue that practice is the ultimate criterion of truth. When you said "To him (your friend), truth doesn't matter, as long as the theory works well enough to serve his purpose," I couldn't tell if you were criticizing practice as a criterion of truth or were getting at something else, so I asked the question to find out.

    I believe this answers everything except number 6, to which I will give a definitive "it depends."
     
    #7 Koba, Jun 29, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2009
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  8. IndigoSensor

    IndigoSensor Product Obtained
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    I kinda dont want to answer this thread, but...

    Note: I will not get into arguments over "what is truth". I hate defining words, and it falls into the catagory of semantics in my mind. As you all know, I simply detest that, and won't do it.

    In a nutshell; internal truth's are intrinsic to me, and it's very hard to explain how it works.

    1. How do you prove to others something to be true?
    It really depends on what it is. If it is something involving a social situation, I explains things that I feel are right, and let people get to their own conclusions about it. If they disagree I will try to reexplain thing so they will understand. It is up to them if they believe what I am saying is true or not. As far as factual things, I simply tell them what I know (like a chemical or something) since it is already known. In debate matters, I can't exactly prove something to someone. People either take it as truth and fact, or they dont.

    2. When is the appropriate point for people/society to accept something as true?
    I don't really know. In a scientific sense, when something is discovered, it is true until proven otherwise. With other things like social situations, or theories. People should except it as true when they see enough evidence that makes it hold true, of course, this is something that happens over a long period of time.

    3. When is something considered true to you?

    When I have no reason to doubt it? lol. I really don't know. Things just sort of become true for me when I feel they are right, they make sense, and I see personal evidence of it.

    4. How important is evidence to the contrary?
    It's important, but not the most important thing to me.

    5. Do you tend to examine the beliefs you hold in depth, or do you make a decision quickly and move on?

    I kind of do both actually. I make a decision quickly, move on, and the come back later to examine my beliefs to see if they are holding true. I guess you could say, I deem something true then edit it along the way.

    6. When examining a belief you hold, do you tend to look for evidence to support your belief or do you tend to look for evidence to prove your belief wrong?
    I mostly look for evidence to support and back it up. I encounter alot of internal resistance when I meet something that disputes something that I believe. However, I have learned to gadgue that resistance to something being disproven. As such, that conflicting evidence will stick with me, and I will edit it over time, eventually coming to terms with it.
     
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    #8 IndigoSensor, Jun 29, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2009
  9. Faye

    Faye ^_^
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    1. How do you prove to others something to be true?- You get it to fit into their cosmology.

    2. When is the appropriate point for people/society to accept something as true?- That depends entirely on what you mean by "appropriate".

    3. When is something considered true to you?- Like what kind of thing?


    4. How important is evidence to the contrary? - Depends on how important the thing is.

    5. Do you tend to examine the beliefs you hold in depth, or do you make a decision quickly and move on?- In depth, hence why I have very few beliefs.


    6. When examining a belief you hold, do you tend to look for evidence to support your belief or do you tend to look for evidence to prove your belief wrong?- I look for the extreme opposite of my belief to see if it stands up.
     
  10. bamf

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    I don't think beauty and usefulness could disappear altogether because they seem to be a very personal thing. But if they somehow did disappeared, in my mind it would be no different than what I thought was true disappeared. I'd be screwed and going insane.

    My mind just doesn't seem to take interest in proving things, I tend rather to accept it as is (not trying to claim this is a good way to go about it, just how I am comfortable doing it)
     
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  11. Detective Conan

    Detective Conan Doesn't Cast Shadows

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    1. How do you prove to others something to be true?

    • Easy answer: you can't. You can try to give evidence and support facts behind the truth you're trying to prove. But in the end, it's the person whom you're providing the facts to that needs to accept that something as true.
    2. When is the appropriate point for people/society to accept something as true?

    • When the people or society take a stand for it. If the majority rules as something to be truth, I think it'll be likely that more people will believe something as true. However, the majority can be wrong. There have been points in history when the majority has been wrong. The individual can still rebel against a truth they belong to be falsely preached by the majority.
    3. When is something considered true to you?

    • I consider something to be true based on three things: academics, intuition, and personal experience. I mostly trust the fields of mathematics and science (when speaking in regards to academics), because I believe that other subjects can be warped to create the illusion of truth (especially government and history). I mostly trust my intuition in finding truth, and I use intuition as a prevailing factor in life. It's always led me in the right direction and given me appropriate results. Then, there's personal experience. Well, duh, if I experience something, I'm not going to dismiss it as false. I am aware that some experiences can be simulated and actually false; in which case, my intuition will let me know.
    4. How important is evidence to the contrary?

    • The importance of evidence to the contrary is situational for me. If it's a 'truth' that can be proven through science and facts, then it is very important. However, if the truth is in regards to spiritual and otherwise infinitely debatable topics, then evidence won't do me much good. I'd need to judge that sort of thing on my own after much thinking and one-on-one time with myself.
    5. Do you tend to examine the beliefs you hold in depth, or do you make a decision quickly and move on?

    • There's rarely a moment when I'm not in some way examining some belief of mine I hold in depth. I tend to spend free time doing that. Also, when I'm meditating a similar process occurs.
    6. When examining a belief you hold, do you tend to look for evidence to support your belief or do you tend to look for evidence to prove your belief wrong?

    • I look at both sides of the line pretty equally. I'd love for some of my beliefs to be wrong. I'd be happier that way. But in the end, I find more instances that help prove my beliefs as true. It's an on-going struggle.
     
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  12. AUM

    AUM The Romantic Scientist

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    I don't know if this is relevant to the health of this thread but I was just wondering: why do people need to know the truth? Couldn't it drive people to insanity from knowing it. For example, if you believe in heaven why seek knowledge if in this place there's no need to. If you're an atheist the belief that you will cease to exist the moment you die is kind of weird for people to want to gain knowledge if at the end everything is going to the dumps.

    Why is it so bad to be ignorant? Like I'm pretty sure that a caveman can't figure out how to do a rocket but that doesn't make him worse than a person that does know how to do it, I'm pretty sure that the caveman is smart in his own domain. We are rational animals but still an animal. The irony is that less-than-rational animals manage to live a simpler life than us and at the same time know exactly how to go through life "happy". Why do humans need more? What's the ultimate goal of this if we all share the humanistic fate of death?

    Just food for thought, I have much more questions to ask but I'm already derailing from the original post and I apologize for that.
     
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  13. OP
    Duty

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    We seek knowledge because it is the best way to solve problems. Living in ignorance, especially with the refusal to come out of it, is the least healthy state a person can live in, as the problems they have will always remain...they stop developing.

    You need to learn to develop. If you don't learn then you're doomed to where you're at. Unless where you're at is perfect in every way, then you have a reason to learn.
     
  14. AUM

    AUM The Romantic Scientist

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    I'm not sure if I'm getting this. You're saying that the only reason that we want knowledge is to solve problems, so if I want to know the reason for my existence, according to your reasoning, what's my problem?

    I've always tought that people seeked knowledge for the sake of it. Sometimes I want to learn stuff that has nothing to do with any of my problems I might have. For example, I once wanted to know why the sky was blue? This was basically useless information as well as how robots may one day take over humanity as I watched the Terminator. I got some knowledge out of it but it wasn't neccesarily something useful to know.

    Don't you think people who first came up with the concept of cloning didn't have a problem but rather wanted to know the "what if..." of it. Some knowledge is perversely gathered for the sake of harming other individuals not with the intention of solving any problems but to gain an insight of it to use it to cause more problems.


    .

    Don't get me wrong, I love learning and knowing things but I once read that the mind is the problem itself. We are so focused on the past and future that we get so attached to the thoughts of our minds which creates potential problems, not ignorance itself. For example, right now in this instant not 5 seconds from now what problems do you have? I bet that none, BUT, if you dig into your mind you will find that tomorrow you have to kill someone and your unsure of how to do it;that's where the problems begin. You have to decide what weapon to use, what clothes are you going to wear, who's going to accompany you and how you are going to execute your murderer, you have to gain knowledge on the victim. The same thing happens with knowledge don't you think? When you figure out who God is for example, what then? Ok, you know the truth but then you are going to develop your new knowledge and ask new questions and in short the journey never ends you will be ignorant the rest of your life. I think Socrates meant well when he said " The only thing I know is that I know nothing", he wasn't denying the development of knowledge but just stating that whenever you learn something, other things will come up thus the same cycle begins.

    I agree...but then I don't. :p
     
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  15. OP
    Duty

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    This isn't what I meant when I used the word "problem." A problem is not "a negative happening in life." A problem is just something that you want, for one reason or another, to solve. It doesn't have to be negative, you just are motivated to solve it for whatever reason. Yes, some people seek knowledge for its own sake...the problem to be solved is "how do I satiate my craving for more knowledge?"

    As a tangent, can I ask you why you thought I meant that a problem as a negative thing? I mean, you've heard the word "problem" used in the way I describe above right? Why would you assume I was using it in a way as to make my sentence not make logical sense? I'm not trying to judge you here, I'm just curious. A lot of people do this and I can't figure out why or how to make it so they don't.

    See, the thing is is that our minds understand preparation. "If I don't do X, then I will have a more difficult time in the future" or the other way, "If I would have done X, then I would of had an easier time in the present."

    Plus, many times we do have problems in the present that require us to think about the past/future. Take "how do I satiate my craving for knowledge?" You have to plan more then 5 seconds in the future to satiate this craving.


    So we seek knowledge to solve these problems...it's the most efficient way of problem solving. Often enough we can skip any rigorous thought altogether if we have knowledge of how to resolve the situation (which is essentially what Si is all about...it's just that SJs like to take tradition as a solution when it often isn't).
     
  16. AUM

    AUM The Romantic Scientist

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    Yeah I agree, a problem might be an opportunity for growth that's for sure

    That's because I was just focusing on one side of it. A problem for me is a challenge that can be resolved. I know the perfect story for this:

    " Once there was this town that was very secure, all of it's citizens had everything to survive with a single cow. They had milk and cheese everyday to eat but nothing else. They weren't developed because they didn't think they had the need to. So one day a monk in a distant monestary from this town asked to one of his disciple to kill this one cow and return two years later to explain what happened to the town, the disciple was shocked to hear this from him but didn't dare to disobey him, so he goes to this town and kills the cow. When the two years pass the monk asked him two questions: 1) Before going into this journey what did you think was going to happen to this town when you killed the cow? The disciple answered ""I thought they were going to starve because the cow provided them with everything so therefore the citizens were not going to know what to do."" 2.)What really happened after you killed the cow? "" The citizens were forced to find other resources for their survival and found out about electricity, construction, shops and founded a new way to reproduce more cows, in general the citizens became more developed because I killed this cow.""

    The fable of this mini story is that problems sometimes give us the opportunity to find other ways to do things. I'm sorry that I was forced to start negative with my initial post but I was trying to get into more depth about why knowledge in the wrong hands may not be a source to solve problems but a way to make more. I just think that there are always intentions(either good or bad) behind the reason people want to know things I just don't see the point of trying to explain phenomena that can't be explained. Why should we know who God is? If it can be proven that He does or doesn't really exist then what will an individual with such knowledge be able to do with it?



    \
     
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  17. OP
    Duty

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    I liked the mini-fable. However, you didn't answer my question. :p


    If God does exist, it seems pretty important to know his will. With that much power you'd want to know what to do to please him, and what to avoid so as not to upset him.

    Also, if God exists, it can answer a whole host of other questions.

    So it is something that would be important to know. Thing is: we can't know such a thing. We have no way of determining for sure (or even 1/2 sure!) if God exists, let alone convincing others or producing anything useful out of this knowledge.
     
  18. just me

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    I have to admit "standing on like the Empire State Building at the top and someone says you will die if you jump from here to the ground" to be an exception, as there seem to always be exceptions if we look hard enough.
    My question, then, is "does everything have to be proven to be true or can we agree something to be true without proof?"
     
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  19. Lucifer

    Lucifer Registered User #666

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    I'll through a couple out there.

    That witch you can prove.

    The most recent thing you really believe.

    That witch you cant disprove.


    aaand go!
     
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  20. Ketsugi

    Ketsugi Community Member

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    When it comes to spirituality, belief is sometimes more important than truth. Who can define truth? Speed varies depending on your vantage point as proved by Albert Einstein.

    The table I'm sitting in front of me is only a table in this moment. It used to be a tree. Before that, it was a seed, and so on... the word "table" is what we use to describe what it is in this moment. To my cat, is it really a table? To a bug that might climb up to get a crumb, you could say it is a tree.

    "Truth" depends on your perspective.

    The only thing that is true is that we are constantly changing.

    Nothing is black and white.
     
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    #20 Ketsugi, Jul 6, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2009
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