A journey into Truth
In tonight's show we plunge into the deeply confusing realm of philosophy with the objective of understanding the nature of truth itself. In philosophy this type of investigation is sometimes called Epistemology, or the study of knowledge.
During the show we look at 2 major philosophical debates which touch on the theme of defining truth and relate them back to some of the content matter covered on TNRA.
The first debate we look at is Realism Vs Nominalism:
Truth, it is said, consists in the agreement of cognition with its object. In consequence of this mere nominal definition, my cognition, to count as true, is supposed to agree with its object. Now I can compare the object with my cognition, however, only by cognizing it. Hence my cognition is supposed to confirm itself, which is far short of being sufficient for truth. For since the object is outside me, the cognition in me, all I can ever pass judgement on is whether my cognition of the object agrees with my cognition of the object. The ancients called such a circle in explanation a diallelon. And actually the logicians were always reproached with this mistake by the sceptics, who observed that with this definition of truth it is just as when someone makes a statement before a court and in doing so appeals to a witness with whom no one is acquainted, but who wants to establish his credibility by maintaining that the one who called him as witness is an honest man. The accusation was grounded, too. Only the solution of the indicated problem is impossible without qualification and for every man. - Emmanuel Kant
The second debate we look at is Rationalism Vs. Empiricism:
The dispute between rationalism and empiricism concerns the extent to which we are dependent upon sense experience in our effort to gain knowledge. Rationalists claim that there are significant ways in which our concepts and knowledge are gained independently of sense experience. Empiricists claim that sense experience is the ultimate source of all our concepts and knowledge.
Rationalists generally develop their view in two ways. First, they argue that there are cases where the content of our concepts or knowledge outstrips the information that sense experience can provide. Second, they construct accounts of how reason in some form or other provides that additional information about the world. Empiricists present complementary lines of thought. First, they develop accounts of how experience provides the information that rationalists cite, insofar as we have it in the first place. (Empiricists will at times opt for skepticism as an alternative to rationalism: if experience cannot provide the concepts or knowledge the rationalists cite, then we don't have them.) Second, empiricists attack the rationalists' accounts of how reason is a source of concepts or knowledge. - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
I believe that an understanding of the philosophical problems and arguments over the very meaning of truth are essential if we are to make any progress in our struggle to restore integrity to media and politics. Those who are in the business of mass deception have exploited the insights of philosophy in their efforts to re-engineer the human psyche.
In order to turn the tables on propagandists the information warrior must become equally familiar with this territory - a difficult but rewarding challenge.