Q&A: What are the basic attitudes towards truth?


by National Library of Scotland

Question by John: What are the basic attitudes towards truth?
It is true that Obama is president, and you believe it is. As such, you have mental state which is in some sense directed at truth. A mental state which in that particular way is directed at truth at truth is called “belief”, and it defined by a set of characteristic cognitive obligations with regard to evidence, retraction etc. But, there might be other ways of being directed at truth. Some examples come to mind:

– You can *entertain* the truth of a proposition, simply keeping it in your mind so to speak, just to feel how it is like.
– You can *conjecture* that something is the case, which is actively explore the consequences to see what conclusions can be derived for it it were to be true.
– You can *make-believe* that something is true, which is perhaps what you do watch a movie, in which you pretend that you accept the consequences of actually believing it.
– You can *pragmatically accept* that something is true, when it serves your interests, and when the rules for ordinary belief formation allows it.

So my questions is: what other attitudes exist toward truth, corresponding to special types of mental states? Also is there a limited set of such attitudes? (why/why not)

Please take care not to list attitudes that can be derived from a prominent attitude. Disbelief, for example, is a kind of belief, not an attitude different from belief.
Neuropsych: Thanks for the comment, but it isn’t clear what attitudes you suggest. Aren’t all these cases simply cases of beliefs? Try give a name to the attitudes you have in mind, so that it stands out and we can evaluate whether it is different from ordinary belief states.
Value.ad…: Thanks for your reflections about truth, but what I had in mind was the kind of *attitudes* we have toward truth, not truth itself. I am in other words asking for features of our psychology, not features of things in the world.
Also, a crucial clarification. I’m asking about attitudes with a mind-to-world fit for those who know what I mean:-P
A.T.: It is not necessarily clear if you are talking about attitude types to truth that are different from belief. You may just be blaming them for not satisfying the obligations of belief-attitudes. I like the last paragraph. Perhaps you are saying that there are a kind of power-based kind of attitude at work, which would be a version of a pragmatic attitude. Perhaps it could be called “imposition” as opposed to belief?

Best answer:

Answer by Neuropsych
1. They reject it.
2. They try to prove it wrong.
3. They then accept it as absolute truth.

Truth can only be sifted from lies once its tried by fire.

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One thought on “Q&A: What are the basic attitudes towards truth?”

  1. Truth is independent from belief or personal attitudes. Truth can be ugly, it can be something you disapprove of or are even disgusted of, it is independent from your or my moral values or perceptions.

    Truth simply is. Like a spontaneously captured 9/11 video feed that shows deeds that were done. Like a fossil that shows petrified creatures that walked the earth millions of years ago. Like footprints or blood spatter at a crime scene that tell a death was not suicide.

    Truth itself can’t be twisted or altered. Truth is what has really happened, or what really exists. It exists even if nobody is there to percieve it. It exists even if I don’t want to believe it. Truth is so simple, but many people make it to be something abstract, inconceivable or difficult.

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