Exposing the Falseness of Truth in On the Nature of the Universe

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Exposing the Falseness of Truth in On the Nature of the Universe Truth is in the eye of the beholder. Or is it? Questions regarding the nature of truth have always been central to not only philosophers, but all men (and women, of course) who possess any desire for knowledge. For while truth itself is an elusive concept, it is also the underlying theme of all science -- which is the basis of knowledge -- and so the seeker of learning must first discover his own truth about the world; without a strong belief, the slippery nature of truth will only serve to confuse and mislead the student of life. A person who is lacking a basic understanding of truth can never fully grasp the fine distinction between appearance and reality, yet the ability to separate the two is essential to anyone interested in knowledge at a higher level, where appearances lead only to dead ends. Or do they? And who says appearance is not reality? At the heart of this matter is the conflict between truth as an absolute and the truth of the senses; while this may seem like a trivial matter (truth is true, isn't it?), it is anything but. If there does indeed exist an absolute truth, as the Socratics claim, then all attempts to understand the universe are futile, since human senses can never adequately grasp a truth that is so far above everyday experience. On the other hand, the Epicurean view of truth is much more encouraging; after all, this explanation of truth as being of the senses offers the hope that individuals have the ability to create, and therefore understand, their own universe. The Epicureans, by advocating truth of the senses, basically claim that whatever appears to be something, really is, whereas followers of Socrates would disc... ... middle of paper ... ...y that this debate over its relativity can ever be satisfactorily settled. Nevertheless, both philosophies have valid arguments, and each also has its merits from the common man's point of view; while Plato's truth appeals to the seekers of knowledge and idealists who dream of a perfect world, Lucretius' definition of truth brings comfort to those who need to believe that what they can see and feel is a reliable representation of reality. Both of these explanations could be valid, yet the question remains, and will continue to haunt philosophers as long as man continues to philosophize: what is truth, and if someone accidentally stumbles on its actual nature, how will he recognize it when all he has learned is the art of doubt? Bibliography Lucretius. On the Nature of the Universe. Tr. R. E. Latham. Introduction by John Godwin. Penguin Books, London: 1994.

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