What is it? Where is it? And how to find it?
truth resides in the mind
truth exist independently of human knowledge or
the doctrine that knowledge,
truth, and morality exists in relation to culture,
society, or historical context and are not absolute
is the view that most of the objects that
populate the world exist independently of our
thought and have their natures independently of
how, if at all, we conceive of them
the group of metaphysical philosophies that assert
that reality, or reality as humans can know it,
is fundamentally mental, mentally constructed,
or otherwise immaterial
an objective and unconditioned reality said to
underlie perceived objects
Correspondence Theory of Truth
The correspondence theory of truth is the view that truth is correspondence to, or with, a fact. It is often associated
with metaphysical realism. The correspondence states that the truth conditions of propositions are not (in general)
propositions, but rather objective features of the world.
“To say of what is that it is not, or of what is not that it is, is false, while to say of what is that it is, and of what is not
that it is not, is true”
Thomas Aquinas (Summa Theologiae)
“Veritas est adaequatio rei et intellectus” (Truth is the equation of thing and intellect)
“A judgment is said to be true when it conforms to the external reality”
Bertrand Russell (Problems of Philosophy)
“…truth consists in some form of correspondence between belief and fact.”
“…truth consist in a correspondence of thought with something outside thought…”
“…we have to seek a theory of truth which (1) allows truth to have an opposite, namely, falsehood, (2) make truth a
property of belief, but (3) makes it a property wholly dependent upon the relation of belief to outside things.”
What is a proposition?
— a statement that can be either true or false
What is truth?
— a value of proposition (where proposition is a statement that can be either true or false)
— a state of being true (that which is in accordance with a fact/reality)
— truth is a state about the way the world actually is
What is a fact?
— how the world (universe) actually is
What is the world?
— “The world is all that is the case" and "The world is the totality of facts, not of things” — LW
—give propositions their truth value (to be found in the world)
— a truth-maker is that in virtue of which something is true (virtue-T)
— a truth-maker is a thing the very existence of which entails that something is true (entailment-T)
— a truth-maker is a thing that necessitates something's being true (necessitation-T)
— a truth-maker of a proposition is something such that it is part of the essence of that proposition that
it is true if that thing exists (essential-T)
What is a belief/opinion?
— a positive attitude toward the value of a proposition
— an acceptance that a proposition is true
— a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge
What is a truth value?
— a value of a proposition (each proposition can have one of the two values: T or F)
Critical Thinking: a User’s Manual, 2nd edition
Claims = propositions
• A claim is a statement that has truth-value; that is, it can be either true of false.
• Although claims are expressed in sentences, not all sentences are claims (questions, commands, etc.)
Personal attitudes & moral opinions = beliefs
How to deal with determining their truth values? What if we disagree with each other?
Such disagreements can be dealt with in three distinct ways:
1. dogmatic assertion — without providing reasons or justification
2. emotional appeal — used in advertisement
A set = more than one
A set of claims = at least two claims
What is an argument?
An argument is a set of claims (premises) that offers reasons as evidence for the truth of one of its
claims (conclusion). By definition, argument must contain a minimum of two claims. If it contains fewer
than two claims, IT IS NOT AN ARGUMENT! Every argument has at least one reason/evidence and
exactly one conclusion.
4 considerations to keep in mind while counting claims:
1. A single claim can be represented by more than one sentence
2. A single sentence may refer to more than one claim
3. Multiple claims can be joined together to make a single claim:
1. disjunction (either A or B ; A or B)
2. conditionals (if A then B ; if antecedent, then consequent)
4. Multiple claims can be expressed in a single sentence:
1. conjunction (A and B) —> expresses 2 claims
2. inference indicators (because, for, since, so, therefore) usually combine multiple claims in a
3. special case of SINCE: if since appears in a sentence, it might indicate it is a single claim
ex. You should vote for Trump, since he is the hottest ( 2 claims)
I haven’t tasted cake this good since the last time I ate at your house (1 claim)
Hint: if SINCE can be substituted for BECAUSE, then there is more than one truth value in a
sentence; if it can’t, then there is only one truth value in a sentence.
Claims are distinguished by their truth value; in an argument, or any set of claims, every sentence that
can function as either true or false counts as a claim. Therefore, an argument has as many claims as it
has sentences that you can distinguish and assign their possible truth values.
Looking for reasons
Not every passage with a set of claims is an argument.
A passage contains an argument is if purports to prove something.
An important part of what it means to be an argument is to contain an inference. Inference is a reasoning
process expressed by an argument. Inferential relationship holds between reasons (premises) provided
in support of THAT something is true (conclusion).
Not all reasons/evidence are good reasons.
Nevertheless, anytime there are some reasons provided in support of the truth value of another claim, then
this counts as an argument.
• premise indicators — indicator of reasons or evidence
since, for, given, as, follows from, because, owing to, in as much as, seeing that, in that, as
indicated by, may be inferred from
• conclusion indicators — indicator that what follows is true
thus, consequently, so, hence, accordingly, therefore, wherefore, for this reason, entails that, it
follows that, implies that, as a result, it is the case that
Premises ————————> claimed evidence
Conclusion ———————> what is claimed to follow from the evidence
Hint: if there are no indicator words present to decide whether a passage is an argument, focus on
Steps for recognizing arguments pp.31
Distinguishing arguments from non-arguments
1. Count the claims (all passages)
2. Look for reasons (arguments vs non-arguments)
3. Determine the purpose of the reasons (inference)
Hint: sometimes the reasons given by an arguer do not succeed in proving the truth value of a
claim because they are not good reasons. In these cases, the passage is still an argument (although
bad one) because the arguer intends to use the reasons as evidence.
Arguments versus Explanations
Premises —— accepted as facts
claimed to prove
claimed to shed light
Explanandum —— accepted fact
One of our most central non-arguments are explanations.
An explanation is an expression that purports to shed light on some event or phenomenon. The event or
phenomenon in question is usually accepted as a matter of fact.
Example: The sky appears blue from the earth’s surface because light rays from the sun are scattered by
particles in the atmosphere.
Explanandum (accepted fact) — “the sky appears blue from the earth’s surface”
Explanans (does the explaining) — “light rays from the sun are scattered by particles in the atmosphere”
Explanations are sometimes mistaken for arguments because they often contain the indicator words like
“because”. Yet explanations are not arguments, because in an explanation the purpose of the explanans is
to shed light on, or to make sense of, the explanandum event — not to prove that it occurred. In other
words, the purpose of the explanans is to show WHY/HOW something is the case, whereas in an
argument, the purpose of the premises is to prove THAT something is the case.
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