2 paragraph response to the reading, and answer the fallowing questions. Is there such a thing as truth in research? Expound upon your answer. Give an example.How are statistics, which we often deem as truth, designed to lend credibility to the authors perspective and stance?How does bias infect truth?How does bias affect research?
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By Peter Landry.1
Proceeding from Aristotle’s definition of Philosophy, “knowledge of truth,” leads
us to consider the meaning of two words: knowledge and truth.
Knowledge is the mental image, a faithful reflection of the true state of things as
they really exist. In spite of the traditional idea that knowledge is subjective: It is
objective, outside of oneself. Being objective, it can be attacked and defended
without reference to the individual who holds the assertion that a particular
piece of knowledge is correct, or that it is false.2
As for what is truth? Well, that is a question over which philosophers argue. It is
a state of mind free of error, a state of mind which is an accurate reflection of
things in existence, of the things about you. The first thing to know about truth is
that it is unchangeable; it is ageless and constant. Truth does not vary or shift, it
is a piece of unalterable reality. It follows, therefore, that truth is the same for all
of us, thus, one should be repelled by the expression that “what is true for you is
not true for me.”
The second thing to know about truth is that the discovery of truth serves a
purpose. To determine the true state of affairs of your physical surroundings is
essential to a person’s life; to take a simple example, it is important for one to
know what is immediately ahead when walking about, a nasty fall can lead to the
hospital, or worse. Some of our “higher” mental concepts, if wrong, can lead us,
equally as well, to an unhealthy state. It was Herbert Spencer (1820-1903), the
English evolutionary philosopher who said, “Ethical truth is as exact and
peremptory as physical truth.” (A number of our scientific concepts are true,
and the proof is to be had by beholding the modern technical world; so, too it can
be said that a number of our ethical or moral concepts, are not true, and the
proof, likewise, is to be had by beholding the starvation and misery existing in
The road to truth can be long and difficult; and, to be sure, it is never ending;
but there are rules, Bacon’s Rules.
“There are in fact four very significant stumbling blocks in the way of truth,
which hinder every man however learned, and scarcely allow anyone to win a
clear title to wisdom, namely, the example of weak and unworthy authority, long
standing custom, the feeling of the ignorant crowd, and the hiding of our own
ignorance while making a display of our apparent knowledge.” (Roger Bacon,
So, let us put aside our existing notions and begin at the beginning:
“The universe, so far as we observe it, is a wonderful and immense engine; its
extent, its order, its beauty, its cruelty, make it impressive. … Like all animals
and plants, the cosmos has its own way of doing things, not wholly rational not
ideally best, but patient, fatal, and fruitful. … It is the dispenser of all our joys?
We may address it without superstitious terrors; it is not wicked. It follows its
own habits abstractedly; it can be trusted to be true to its own word. Society is
not impossible between it and us, and since it is the source of all our energies, the
home of all our happiness, shall we not cling to it and praise it …” (George
Santayana, 1863-1952, Reason in Religion.)
“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself
as a mighty one; … [not to be] a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and
grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you
happy.” (Geo. Bernard Shaw, 1856-1950, “Man and Superman.”)
So, what must be accepted as true, is that there are no great conflicting forces,
such as evil and good, in the universe.
“Optimism and pessimism, as cosmic philosophies, [do not exist] … the great
world, so far as we know it from the philosophy of nature, is neither good nor
bad, and is not concerned to make us either happy or unhappy. All such
philosophies spring from self-importance, and are best corrected by a little
astronomy.” (Bertrand Russell, 1872-1970, What I believe, 1925.)
If one was forced to point to the most remarkable development in the past two
centuries, – two centuries marked by a huge number of remarkable developments
– What would it be? It would not, – for me – be the automobile, nor the aeroplane;
nor would it be antibiotics; nor would it be the splitting of the atom; nor would it
be the computer: – It would be, – “man’s unveiling of the face and figure of the
reality of which he forms part, the first picture of human destiny in its true
Reality has only gradually dawned on us, – piece by piece, development after
development. This reality is that there does exist, in total, a living universe; and
we, as thinking men and women, can come to the conclusion that we are part of
this universe, we have a place in it.
These developments were brought on by men, philosophers long since dead.
Many wrote books, some with formidable titles, titles you might actually recall
from your greener days. One might find it to be an interesting exercise, especially
in the light of the many social problems we see around us today, to reflect on the
eternal thoughts expressed, – perchance, for the moment, as a lover of wisdom, to
become a philosopher.
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