Having recently skimmed through a book titled Truth and Ontology by Trenton Merricks, something interesting struck me as I’ve written on the topic of the false hoods of “truth” in the past. As a “truth” is not a fact in that a “truth” is simply a “construct” of a layered belief system which is a shared understanding at a specific point in time. A perfect example of this can be seen just by watching a court case on TV some time as it’s much like a sporting match where the “prosecutions” role is to create a believable “truth” that the acquired party committed some crime. Whereas on the other hand the “defense” attempts to tear down the implied “truth” of the prosecution and imply their own version of “truth” which either absolves the accused or explains the “truth” in a new light (e.g. Self-defense in the case of murder).
However Merricks takes us to an interesting place with the Philosophical argument of the “Truthmaker” and “Truthbearer” which build upon the ontological model. Ok, before your eyes glaze over keep up with me for a minute to see how this fits together and why this is so important. As it’s here every day we battle in our own court room of sorts as we pick up a news paper, watch TV or engage in social and business situations where we are require to balance the “truths” we are presented. Matter a fact this is how I earn a fair piece of my living by disassembling “truths” and reassembling them in other forms. As in my recent post “Kobayashi Maru, A No Win Scenario…” looks at how to deal with a no win situation as the truth which is presented is no win, however the reassembled options are not the same.
Therefore when we are presented with a “truth” say we’ve asked a departmental manager to cut head count by 10% and their response is that’s “impossible”. We’ve now been presented with a “truthbearer” which is a term used to designate entities that are either true or false and nothing else. So here the “truth” is said to be we cannot cut head count by 10% and nothing else. From here there must also be a “truthmaker” for the truthbearer as that entity in virtue is what makes the truthbearer true. If the “truthmaker” cannot be identified then the situation turns to that of a “falsemaker” and the “truthbearer” is no longer considered to be true.
Did you get all of that? While if you didn’t that is ok as I’ve just stuffed a 300 page book into one paragraph and haven’t even gotten into the ontology part which is what we use to build the related case for both the “truthbearer” and “falsemaker”. As the ontology construct is the hierarchy of the decision model used to support the “truthbearer” (either positivity or negatively) as a seasoned manager will typically recognize this as the Why & What game. As if we use the example above, one can see it happen in the following exchange:
Why: cant we cut 10% head count?
What: will happen if we do?
Each of these questions will lead to either a “truthmaker” or “falsemaker” in a decision tree format if you will, so why don’t we just use a decision tree then you ask? The answer is “truth” is not empirical but philosophical in its construct. Therefore you can model multiple distributions in truth such as:
- High number of “truthbearesrs” with high number of diverse “truthmakers” makes for solid “perception”. (such as organized religion, democracy, etc)
- High number of “truthbearers” with high number of non-diverse “truthmakers” makes for volatile “perception”. (can lead to civil unrest)
- High number of “truthbearers” with low number of diverse “truthmakers” makes for pliable “perception”. (drives public opinion i.e. elections)
- Low number of “truthbearers” with high number of diverse “truthmakers” makes for potential shift in “perception”. (creates first adopters of a wave)
- Low number of “truthbearers” with high number of non-diverse “truthmakers” makes for volatile “perception”. (driver of radical activities)
- Low number of “truthbearers” with low number of diverse “truthmakers” makes for resistive yet pliable “perception”. (resistors of wave i.e. not in my backyard – will push however will lose)
As mentioned above, that “truth” is not empirical so therefore a binary tree decision model will get you to a “factual” answer however that does not mean it is a “right” answer as the adage goes; “perception is reality”. Therefore if “truth” is reality, then perception drives “truth” so understanding the keys of the “truthbearer” and “truthmaker” relationship is key to making effective social decisions and effective policy’s…