Throughout this course, we have studied some of the most foundational and classical concepts in philosophy. We have used Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas as our guiding light because these philosophers have offered the world a system that most accurately describes reality. The purpose of studying “Aristotelian-Thomistic” philosophy is that it allows us to critique many of the modern errors that plague our world and our lives every day. We need this firm foundation of steadfast metaphysics to ground us in reality and being. Without it, many have fallen prey to persuasive modern trends of thought that seek to undermine the true, the good, and the beautiful. And in this lesson, we study Modern Philosophy as a capstone to our lessons in this course.Preview This Lesson
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Conformity of mind and reality. Three kinds of conformity give rise to three kinds of truth. In logical truth, the mind is conformed or in agreement with things outside the mind, either in assenting to what is or in denying what is not. Its opposite is error. In metaphysical or ontological truth, things conform with the mind. This is primary conformity, when something corresponds to the idea of its maker, and it is secondary conformity when something is intelligible and therefore true to anyone who knows it. In moral truth, what is said conforms with what is on one's mind. This is truthfulness and its opposite is falsehood.
We have spent a good amount of time in this lesson in defense of truth. The reason is straightforward enough: truth = Christ. So, the defense of truth is really a defense of Christ. More can be said, however, about this most foundational topic. It has been stated elsewhere in this course that the best philosophers are those who are able to observe reality as it really is. Aristotle is an example of a “common-sense” philosopher. For him, what ordinary people mean by truth is “saying of what is, that it is, and of what is not, that it is not.” How simply brilliant! “Truth means the correspondence of what you know or say to what is. Truth means 'telling it like it is.'”
by Sir Godfrey Kneller, 1779
Although the word “correspondence” has been used, Aristotle does not espouse the “correspondence” theory of truth. Philosophers like John Locke (1632 – 1704) say that the correspondence of our ideas to the things in the world is what constitutes truth. This is an impossible position to hold, however, because if all we ever know is the mental images of things in our mind, we won't know if these mental images actually correspond to anything outside our mind.
It is more precise to speak of the “identity” theory of truth as taught by Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas. For them, the mind actually becomes the form of the object known. This, of course, is done mentally and not physically. “The very same form, or nature, or essence, that exists in the objective world as the form of a concrete material thing [e.g., the “treeness” of a tree] reexists in the world of the mind abstracted from material things.” So the tree has a certain form. It is this form which makes the tree the type of... Please purchase this lesson to continue learning.
Philosophy #7 is part of the following course(s):