Coming back to this idea then of objective truth, we discovered last week that there must be at least one objective truth in the universe. The universe cannot be entirely subjective.
We’re now curious as to which truth or truths we’re going to accept as true. Some of them are necessarily going to be contradictory with other truth claims. For example, I might really believe that thievery is okay. You might believe that this type of theft is actually wrong. We cannot simultaneously be right about this.
We have to somehow break the tie. We each have a claim, and we agree that there is certainly the potential for one of them to be right while the other one is wrong. The morality of robbery could certainly be a subjective matter like a favorite color. It could also be one of our set of objective truths that actually exist in the real world. We don’t even know how many objective truths there are, but this could be one of the set since we know that there has to be at least one objective truth to avoid the bankruptcy of subjectivity.
I previously suggested that one assumption we need to assume is that there is an external reality that you and I can simultaneously witness. We might have different perspectives, but we are witnessing the same object in our external environment.
If that is true, then certain true beliefs that I have are going to conform with reality while others will not. If I embrace the truth that a mouse is larger than an elephant, viewing external reality is going to quickly prove me wrong because my belief does not correspond to what is actually and evidentially true.
Therefore, we have our first step I believe to establishing a framework for true beliefs. At the very least, our beliefs need to conform to the world around us. If they are not consistent with the reality we witness, then they are not true.
As a quick note of clarification before we continue, it is important to realize that we can know the world around us, but that does not mean that we always know it accurately. For example, I can think that I see a deer in the front yard, but there might not be one there. I might have been mistaken. Our perceptions are not perfect, but if we truly perceive something, then we can trust that it is actually there as an object separate from our minds that we are observing.
For another practical example, it is obvious that there are many different religious beliefs in the world, and they cannot all be simultaneously true. They make contradictory claims (a point we will revisit later). All of us to perceive the world around us and believe reality is a certain way, but that does not mean we are all right. This is not some type of subjectivity. I am simply saying that if we come across an ideology that is fully consistent with the world around us, then that is a true belief and something that ought to be at the basis of our pursuit of building a framework for what beliefs a society ought to promote.