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GCC PHI 100 - Week 3 part 3

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1. Our theory of truth must be such as to admit of its opposite, falsehood. A goodmany philosophers have failed adequately to satisfy this condition: they haveconstructed theories according to which all our thinking ought to have beentrue, and have then had the greatest difficulty in finding a place for falsehood. Inthis respect our theory of belief must differ from our theory of acquaintance,since in the case of acquaintance it was not necessary to take account of anyopposite.2. It seems fairly evident that if there were no beliefs there could be no falsehood,and no truth either, in the sense in which truth is correlative to falsehood. If weimagine a world of mere matter, there would be no room for falsehood in such aworld, and although it would contain what may be called 'facts', it would notcontain any truths, in the sense in which truths are things of the same kind asfalsehoods. In fact, truth and falsehood are properties of beliefs andstatements: hence a world of mere matter, since it would contain no beliefs orstatements, would also contain no truth or falsehood.3. But, as against what we have just said, it is to be observed that the truth orfalsehood of a belief always depends upon something which lies outside thebelief itself. If I believe that Charles the First died on the scaffold, I believe truly,not because of any intrinsic quality of my belief, which could be discovered bymerely examining the belief, but because of an historical event which happenedtwo and a half centuries ago. If I believe that Charles I died in his bed, I believefalsely: no degree of vividness in my belief, or of care in arriving at it, prevents itfrom being false, again because of what happened long ago, and not because ofany intrinsic property of my belief. Hence, although truth and falsehood areproperties of beliefs, they are properties dependent upon the relations of thebeliefs to other things, not upon any internal quality of the


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