Truth means everything. Reality means nothing.

The facts are, we have no facts. What we consider reality today (based on facts gethered today) will no longer hold some point in time in the future. There is no question that searching for reality is of incredible importance. That is not the reason for this discussion. The reason for this discussion is to decide what we hold closest to us. Reality or Truth.

It need not be a competition so long as we recognize that they inform about different sorts of knowledge.

“Truth”, being true by definition, it being revealed truth and all, does have that going for it. Although it must be recognized that different versions of “truth” coexist in this world at the same time, that societies have modified that which they hold as “truth” over time, and that even individuals have altered their sets of beliefs that they hold as “truth” over periods of years. Of course if by “truth” you mean only those beliefs that you hold as “truth” and accept similar beliefs even if some key features, like Christ belief, are absent, well then it is unchanging: it is “truth” if it conforms to your beleifs, whatever they may be. Nevertheless for sets of moral axioms this is the way we have to go.

“Reality”, by definition is always held provisionally. It will change as our models change and as our tools of perception change. Works great for predicting events in the physical world. Gotta go with “reality” if I’m trying to figure out how the brain works, or weather patterns, or how species come to be, or what atoms are made of, and all that kind of stuff.

Finally I personally believe that “absolute reality” includes a moral aspect that our sets of “truths” are modelling, but i am more confident that it includes a physcial aspect that “reality” models. I could be wrong.

We have no facts? Really?
If that is your POV, I really don’t know what to say.
So here is a fact for you. I am exiting this discussion on this possibly imaginative computer in front of me. The existence of the SDMB, may not actually exist and could be a fiction of my imagination.

Why do we need to choose between them?

In any case, for anyone but a philosopher or intellectual, it is certainly more important, for very immediate and practical reasons, to know about “reality” – hard facts of history, economics, biology, physics, traffic regulations, basic first-aid treatment of injuries, recipes for soup, etc., etc. – than it is to know about “truth,” if the latter means eternal verities or transcultural ethical principles or proofs in geometry or whatever.

Sheesh!! Is it my imagination or did NiceGuyJack and** BrainGlutton** just comment on a thread that hasn’t been active for almost three months?

{Not that there’s anything wrong with that} :slight_smile:

There is indeed one way to divide logical propositions: those that make claims about existential matters and those that do not. Those that depend on the material world for their truth value cannot become less meaningful if the status of their claim changes: they merely change from false to true or vice versa.

Non-existential claims indeed are always true no matter what the physical reality, if you ascribe to that particular logic. However, that doesn’t make them more useful than existential claims, merely less contingent.

But they still are contingent. What if your system of logic is incorrect? All your assumptions can come crashing down! And what if the physical reality is such that all your daintily crafted logic is still true, but no longer has any useful real-world referents? A firm example would be causality: there might not be any physical basis behind causality. This renders a lot of the “truths” behind cause-and-effect claims meaningless even though they still hold their truth value. So that is one firm example of “truth” that is no longer as deeply meaningful anymore.

God dammit. Just when I have three paragraphs of response, my computer crashes. I read about half of the responses and got giddy to jump in. If i parrot someone, please, feel free to throw rotten eggs at me.

Lemme recap what I said quickly, i guess, before I crash again (if I crash again).

Truth and Reality are intertwined. Truth and Reality are contingent upon each other. Truth can be what you think it is. That’s been pointed out already iwth the “the Earth is flat” or “the sun revolves around the Earth”. We accepted those things as Truths, until proved otherwise (i suppose religion can be put into this category as well, but that seems to be a whole 'nother can of worms).

Reality cannot be completely known because we use our senses to experience them. What would Reality seem like to Helen Keller? She would have a system of Truths that were wrong because of her skewed Reality. Optical illusions, holograms, and mistaken identities also confirm these things.

I don’t think that either Truth or Reality are more important than the other. They really do weave the tapestry of life. Whatever color or texture that tapestry has is contingent upon your system of truths based upon your understanding of Reality and how it jives (or does jive) with what your culture or civilization understands as Truth and Reality.

Another question arises at the point as well. Who sets such things? What if what our culture or civilization has said that Truth and Reality are are, in actuality, inprecise? Aren’t these pretty important things to be off by, even by a little bit?
I don’t propose that we don’t attempt to wrap our minds around these two things. To turn our backs on such things would push us further away from The Truth/God/Enlightenment/The Flying Spaghetti Monster/whatever it is you seek.

Maybe science will help us debunk or confirm things and refine Truth for us, as it has done already.

It’s possible this thread was linked from some other thread, possibly Asschine’s pitting of Bryan Ekers? I’m not sure as I just skimmed that one and didn’t follow any serious links (just Bryan’s zingers - they were often funny)

Anyway, I have no other input, except I agree with Der Trihs about reality being a subset of truth.

Reality has undergone the sorts of changes you are speaking of many times in the past. The earth was once the center of the universe. The fact that much disease is caused by invisible micro organisms was once just as mysterious as is quantum mechanics.

Your saying that you aren’t using truth in the usual sense reminds me of Humpty-Dumpty. “When I use a word it means exactly what I want it to mean, nothing more and nothing less.” - Through the Looking Glass