We need a new definition of truth

Actually, I am trying to give new meaning to the word “truth” and the word “true.”

Look up the words and you find that, basically, “truth” means being in accord with fact or reality. And something is “true” if it lines up with other things thought to be true: if it lines up with facts, if it lines up with reality, if we can see it or experience it over and over again, or if others report seeing or experiencing it just as we do.

I dispute the underlying premise that there ARE any unwavering facts or that there IS any uniform reality. Of course there are things that I experience to be true. Things happen to me over and over and I can count on them. But just because I can count on them here and now does not mean they can be counted on everywhere, for everyone, forever.

The sun rises and sets every day. I might say that’s true. I might say that’s a fact. But the sun rising and setting every day is not a fact for everyone. And it is certainly not a universal truth; that is, true throughout the universe. The sun does not rise and set every day for those who live north of the arctic circle or south of the antarctic circle. The sun does rise and set every day for some people traveling in airplanes with or against the earth’s rotation. The sun does rise and set every day for anyone out in space. The meanings of the words “sun” and “rise” and “set” and “day” are each subjective and have been developed by us to describe things “from our point of view.” That’s fine, but let’s not pretend that these words work for everyone throughout the universe.

My argument is simple. I can only say what is truthful, factual, or real as far as I can tell, as far as I can see, as much as I can replicate or verify.

So let’s stop pretending otherwise. I should not pretend that all that is true for me is true for you. We should not pretend that all that is true for our species is true for other species. We should not pretend that all that is true on this planet is true on all planets, or that all that is true at our scale is true at all scales. There are multiple truths.

Different living things in different places at different times at different scales with different experiences have different truths.

The Oxford English Dictionary provides the following definitions:

Truth: The quality or state of being true.

True: In accordance with fact or reality.

Here’s how I would like us to define those terms instead.

Truth: A quality or state of being true.

True: In accordance with one’s facts or reality.


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