Thursday, September 17, 2009

Wanted: a definition for “personal truth” or “subjective truth”


I am pondering rewriting the first chapter of my book in progress.  This chapter is supposed to deal with the nature of truth and how to seek it.  The type of truth I consider useful for my purposes is objective truth, i.e., what is actually correct.  However, there are other kinds of “truth” in use (thus sparing my definition from being quite so trivial as it may seem), and while I had originally planned to deal with non-objective kinds of “truth” in another chapter, I have received a serious suggestion, worthy of consideration, of introducing the non-objective kinds of truth up front and showing why they are not useful for discussing religion before introducing objective truth.  Truth-as-consensus and truth-as-whatever-the-authorities-say-it-is are easy enough concepts.  Unfortunately, one also hears periodically of “personal truth” and “subjective truth” as well, and these concepts do not seem to have formal definitions.  Wikipedia has no articles on these kinds of truth.  Apple’s’s New Oxford American Dictionary module has no entries on  them.  Feed these terms into Google, and not much in the way of definitions will show up which mean anything different from “opinion” or “belief”.  It almost seems as if “personal truth” and “subjective truth” are left for people to define according to their personal whims and subjective point of view.  Either that or they really are meant to be a way to say “opinion” and “belief” without risking the possibility of being called “wrong”.  If anyone out there knows of any definitions of “personal truth” and “subjective truth” beyond mere “opinion” or “belief”, I would be very appreciative if you would let me know.  Thanks in advance for any help anyone can provide.


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