OverviewTruth is an attribute which may or may not apply to any given piece of information. It is one of the most basic concepts underlying rationality and the way we think about the world, and is hence rather difficult to define objectively.
In general, it is understood that there is an underlying reality to which we have no direct access, and whose effects we ultimately perceive through our senses and analyze through our ability to reason. (We may use tools whose senses are keener than our own and whose analytical abilities surpass ours in some ways, but we ultimately understand their workings and receive their determinations via our own reason and senses.) Information is called "true" if we are reasonably certain that it accurately reflects that underlying reality.
Many groups of people, however, are of the opinion that our senses and reason are less trustworthy than certain writings in their possession; these writings are called scripture, and the sets of beliefs subscribed to by these groups are called religions or faiths. There is ongoing conflict globally between such groups with differing sets of beliefs (due to different scriptures being followed) as well as between (on the one hand) groups who trust in scripture and (on the other) individuals who prefer to trust their own senses and reason; at its core, this conflict is essentially between authoritarianism and individualism (or at least non-authoritarianism); see reason vs. religion.
 Related Pages
- Science is the active use of tools, together with techniques for minimizing the effects of our innate biases (see human nature), for gathering new truths.
- Truth theory (or a theory of truth) is a conceptual framework that underlies a particular conception of truth, such as those used in art, ethics, logic, mathematics, philosophy, the sciences, or any discussion that either mentions or makes use of a notion of truth.
- Epistemology or the theory of knowledge is the branch of philosophy that studies the nature and scope of knowledge. Much of the debate in this field has focused on analyzing the nature of knowledge and how it relates to similar notions such as truth and belief.
 Blog Entries
- 2007-08-16 Truth - The Neglected Virtue by Robin Hanson