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Is truth in the eye of the beholder, or is there an absolute truth?

Is truth in the eye of the beholder, or is there an absolute truth?

November 8, 2023

Question: Is truth in the eye of the beholder, or is there an absolute truth?

 That's a deep one. Now truth is an epistemological concept. Epistemology is about knowledge and related concepts. When is our consciousness in connection with reality, and when have we made some sort of mistake such that our consciousness is no longer in connection with reality? So, identifying that and then providing methods by which we can keep our consciousness in relationship to reality is what epistemology is about. 

 Truth is a concept that we use to designate success cases; when in fact our consciousness, whatever we're thinking of does match reality out there. Falsity, is to say there's now a disconnect. So, it isa relational concept; that is to say, it's trying to capture something both about consciousness, and its relationship to reality.

 So, that is to say it requires both a beholder and something to be beholden. So it's a relational concept. It's neither just out there, nor just in here.

Stephen Hicks Ph.D.
About the author:
Stephen Hicks Ph.D.

Stephen R. C. Hicks is a Senior Scholar for The Atlas Society and Professor of Philosophy at Rockford University. He is also the Director of the Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship at Rockford University.

He is author of The Art of Reasoning: Readings for Logical Analysis (W. W. Norton & Co., 1998), Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault (Scholargy, 2004), Nietzsche and the Nazis (Ockham’s Razor, 2010),  Entrepreneurial Living (CEEF, 2016), Liberalism Pro and Con (Connor Court, 2020), Art: Modern, Postmodern, and Beyond (with Michael Newberry, 2021) and Eight Philosophies of Education (2022). He has published in Business Ethics Quarterly, Review of Metaphysics, and The Wall Street Journal. His writings have been translated into 20 languages.

He has been Visiting Professor of Business Ethics at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., Visiting Fellow at the Social Philosophy & Policy Center in Bowling Green, Ohio, Visiting Professor at the University of Kasimir the Great, Poland, Visiting Fellow at Harris Manchester College of Oxford University, England, and Visiting Professor at Jagiellonian University, Poland.

His B.A. and M.A. degrees are from the University of Guelph, Canada. His Ph.D. in Philosophy is from Indiana University, Bloomington, USA.

In 2010, he won his university’s Excellence in Teaching Award.

His Open College podcast series is published by Possibly Correct Productions, Toronto. His video lectures and interviews are online at CEE Video Channel, and his website is StephenHicks.org.  

Instagram Takeover Questions:

Every week we solicit questions from our 100K followers on Instagram (a social media platform popular with young people. Once a month we feature Stephen Hicks' answers to select questions, transcripts below:

Also several articles, selected for likely interest to Objectivist audiences:

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