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Blupete's Weekly Commentary


February 14th, 1999.

"On Truth."

Permanency of Truth:
"Chance lays not her hand upon truth." (Swinburne.)
"___Truth is tough. It will not break, like a bubble at a touch; nay, you may kick it about all day, like a football, and it will be round and full at evening. Does not Mr. Bryant say that Truth gets well if she is run over by a locomotive, while Error dies of lock-jaw if she scratches her finger? I never heard that a mathematician was alarmed for the safety of a demonstrated proposition. I think, generally, that fear of open discussion implies feebleness of inward conviction, and great sensitiveness to the expression of individual opinion is a mark of weakness." (Holmes.)

The Value of Truth:
"I value a man mainly for his primary relations with truth, as I understand truth, -- not for any secondary artifice in handling ideas." (Holmes.)
Veritas est justitiae mater - Truth is the mother of justice.

The Stumbling Blocks to Truth:
"There are in fact four very significant stumbling blocks in the way of truth, which hinder every man however learned, and scarcely allow anyone to win a clear title to wisdom, namely, the example of weak and unworthy authority, long standing custom, the feeling of the ignorant crowd, and the hiding of our own ignorance while making a display of our apparent knowledge." (Roger Bacon, c.1214-92.)

(To Bacon's list be added uncontrolled discord. Truth suffers proportionately to the heat between combatants. There is a legal maxim that expresses this, nimium altercando veritas amittitur - By too much altercation truth is lost.)

All Roads Lead to Truth:
"Human opinion universally tends in the long run to a definite form, which is the truth. Let any human being have enough information and exert enough thought upon any question, and the result will be that he will arrive at a certain definite conclusion, which is the same that any other mind will reach under sufficiently favourable circumstances... There is, then, to every question a true answer, a final conclusion, to which the opinion of every man is constantly gravitating. He may for a time recede from it, but give him more experience and time for consideration, and he will finally approach it." [Charles Sanders Peirce (1839-1914); Peirce, an early proponent of pragmatism was of the view (and in this he disagreed with William James) that "truth is the opinion which is fated to be ultimately agreed by all who investigate." (Chambers.)]
________________
For further discourse --
See blupete's Essay, "On Truth,"
See, also, Weekly Commentary of April 5th, 1998, "On Lying
,"

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Peter Landry

February, 1999 (2013)