The Philosophy of Truth Analytical Essay by Nicky

Compares the works of several modern thinkers to gain an understand of the philosophy of truth.
# 150544 | 2,405 words | 4 sources | MLA | 2011 | US
Published on Mar 05, 2012 in Philosophy (History - 20th Century) , Philosophy (Epistemology)

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This paper examines the theories of several philosophers that establish a general belief that the framework within which a truth is derived is essential to an understanding of the concept. Next, after reviewing the works of William James, Charles Sanders Peirce, Thomas Kuhn and Karl Popper that share the belief in a type of empiricism whereby knowledge is obtained through observation but is always somewhat suspect, the author concludes that there are salient differences in their theories of knowledge and truth. The paper also examines the ideas about truth presented by social theorist and historian Michel Foucault and playwright Harold Pinter and their relationship to the thoughts of Islamic mystic Al-Ghazali.

Table of Contents:
William James, Charles Sanders Peirce, Thomas Kuhn and Karl Popper
Descartes and Al-Ghazali
Foucault, Pinter, and Truth Differentiated

From the Paper:

"In order to understand Kuhn's claims regarding scientific revolutions, it is necessary to understand in some basic way his use of the word paradigm. For our purposes here, a Kuhn's paradigm can best be understood as the basic framework of knowledge and/or assumptions (which are often taken as essentially the same things in many paradigms) in which a certain pursuit of knowledge/scientific inquiry is being made. It is Kuhn's contention that the history of science is punctuated by revolutions that cause a massive shift in the overall scientific paradigm, rendering previous conclusions moot and potentially changing the standards of truth and knowledge within the particular science. Kuhn also saw that this could, and often did, lead to incompatibilities between scientists and their assertions during times of paradigm shifts. As Kuhn puts it, "practicing in two different worlds, the two groups of scientists see different things when they look from the same point in the same direction." Clearly, an understanding of one's paradigm is essential to the understanding of transient truth in Kuhn's construct.
"Karl Popper's theories concerning knowledge are mercifully straightforward. Using rationalism to explode the supposed knowledge arrived at through inductive reasoning, Popper's philosophy basically seems to reaffirm the simplistic form of the scientific method."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Burch, Robert. "Charles Sanders Peirce." Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2006.
  • Kessler, Gary. Voices of Wisdom: A Multicultural Philosophy Reader, 5th Edition. New York: Wadsworth Publishing, 2003.
  • Pinter, Harold. "Nobel Lecture: Art, Truth, and Politics." 2005.,
  • Thornton, Stephen. "Karl Popper." Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2009.

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