04 Jul 75% of Millennials Believe This – And It Could Mean The End Of Freedom
Roughly 75% of all millennials agree with the statement, “Whatever is right for your life or works best for you is the only truth you can know.” I recently saw someone express this position as such: “Neither one are right, wrong, or, facts. It’s all debatable. ..which makes it all opinion.” Of course, the basic laws of logic tell us that this is not true. The law of excluded middle recognizes that “for any proposition, either that proposition is true, or its negation is true.” In other words, if someone makes a claim and someone else makes a counter claim, someone is wrong. Yes, we all have opinions, but someone is definitely wrong if the opinions are mutually exclusive. It is possible that neither are correct, but one is certainly wrong. For example, if I say the sky is purple and someone says that it’s brown, then we are both incorrect. But we cannot both be correct in at the same time in the same respect (according to the law of noncontradiction) if we have totally different opinions. Truth is not influenced by our opinions.
Why It’s Such a Big Problem
A relativistic view of reality (the doctrine that knowledge, truth, and morality exist in relation to culture, society, or historical context, and are not absolute.) is a huge problem, particularly in a society that incorporates democratic elements. In other words, we have people who are responsible for voting. 75% of the emerging generation of voters believes that truth is essentially subjective – determined by opinion rather than corresponding to reality. Do you see the problem here? If the rulers of the land are people who believe that truth somehow magically changes with opinion, then how can we ever hope to rightly govern? How can we ever tell someone that something is actually wrong and therefore deserving of punishment. For example, if truth is subjective, then what right or ability do we have to tell someone that murder is wrong? According to the subjectivist view of truth and ethics, it’s all just opinion. Therefore, no one can tell anyone something is objectively “wrong” – including murder. (Read CAN YOU BE GOOD WITHOUT GOD: 5 REASONS MORAL RELATIVISM FAILS)
What They Got Right
Those who believe that truth is subjective have fallen into a category error. It is understandable, but dangerously misguided. Their statement is epistemologically (the study of how we know things) correct, but then they try to tag it onto ontology (the study of the nature of being). In other words, epistemologically, we are only capable of achieving a certain degree of certainty. Millennials are right to acknowledge our limitations. No matter what our method of attaining information or our collective brilliance, we will always be limited beings. We can never fully grasp all Truth. We are limited beings living in a collective community with other limited beings. As such varying opinions exist and without a singular supreme source of truth, we will never “officially” know which interpretation of reality is correct. Therefore, epistemologically, we are limited to our subjective interpretation – though we can still use reason and evidence to arrive at increasing certainty of certain claims.
Where They Went Wrong
However, they go too far. While subjectivists are correct in recognizing the subjectivity of our interpretations of reality, they often extend that interpretation to application. As seen in the statement I witnessed (Neither one are right, wrong, or, facts. It’s all debatable. ..which makes it all opinion.), many take this subjective interpretation and wipe away the singular nature of truth. However, our subjective limitations have no bearing on reality. If I think the sky is purple and you think it is brown, that has no impact on the actual color of the sky. Even if I am color blind, it doesn’t actually change any of the makeup of the sky. It just means that my sensory receptors are damaged – no chemical change occurs in the sky based on my perspective of it. Therefore, we have are epistemologically limited to subjective interpretations of reality. However, our epistemological limitations have no ability to change ontological reality.
A Better Way
The good news is that a better way of looking at reality exists. It is called the correspondence theory of truth. The correspondence theory of truth states that the truth or falsity of a statement is determined only by how it relates to the world and whether it accurately describes that world. So, in closing, truth exists. We may have opinions and differing interpretations of that truth. However, truth is not subjective. It doesn’t change with our perspective. The world didn’t suddenly become spherical when we discovered that it wasn’t flat. It was never flat. The sky isn’t purple because I think it is purple. The sky is what the sky is and my opinion of it has no bearing on it’s actual characteristics. The next time you find yourself saying “your truth” or “my truth” or “it’s all just opinions…” stop. Think about what you are saying and recognize that we may all have differing opinions, but none of us have the ability to change reality with those opinions. Our lives and our freedom depend on you as a voter and if you don’t think there is such a thing as truth, then we are doomed to philosophical and ethical anarchy.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? Is truth based on our opinion? Leave a comment below and share to get your friends in on the conversation.
For more like this, check out: CAN YOU BE GOOD WITHOUT GOD: 5 REASONS MORAL RELATIVISM FAILS