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, …show more content…

In the end, there is just one question: is truth absolute or relative?

According to Plato, truth can exist only as an absolute. For him, as well as for all the other followers of Socrates, truth is attained through a series of steps that take the student through the different levels of reality, until finally the ultimate goal is reached; absolute truth resides in the world of ideas, but to get there, the person seeking wisdom must first recognize and conquer the lower stages. One of the best visualizations of this journey is found in Plato's parable of the cave, in which the prisoner of appearances is led (almost dragged) through the phases of recognition and learning. At first he is chained inside the cave, immobile, staring at a wall on which he sees mere shadows of objects passing between him and the fire situated at the back of the chamber. However, even these objects are just reflections of reality, being nothing more than statues of humans and animals, which are themselves merely the outward appearances of the world of ideals; therefore, the prisoner who looks at the shadows and believes them to be the truth is actually four times removed from the reality he seeks. When he is finally released from his bonds, he turns around and sees the objects that cast the shadows; this is the first step toward his goal, the point at which he begins to have doubts about the world he thought he knew. As the man moves out

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