6. Truth and sophism

  1. States of mind

   It is important to distinguish between true and false knowledge. Regarding truth we can find four states or situations: ignorance, opinion, doubt and certainty.

   a) Ignorance means to be unaware of the truth. There are a lot of things we do not know fully or partially. About them we cannot make a right judgment.

   b) An opinion is a judgment or view about a questionable thing. We can have different opinions related to the same thing. Some think that it is going to rain, while others believe it is not. Opinion is the most likely judgment we consider, but without being firmly convinced.

   c) Doubt is the indetermination of the spirit between two judgments or decisions. We hesitate about something we think it can be in one way or differently. We do not incline towards one side or another.

   d) Certainty. It is the safe and clear knowledge about something. We think of a judgment to be true and reject all the others. Certainty is determination, conviction that things are as we see them.

  A. Choose the right letter: a, b, c. (If the letter turns into red the answer is correct)

  1. Not knowing something is

    a. doubt
    b. ignorance
    c. opinion

  2. The judgment about a questionable thing is

    a. ignorance
    b. certainty
    c. opinion

 3. The indetermination between two judgments is

    a. doubt
    b. opinion
    c. ignorance

 4. We cannot make a right judgment with

    a. doubt
    b. ignorance
    c. certainty

 5. The safe and clear knowledge is

    a. certainty
    b. opinion
    c. doubt

 6. Thinking about the most likely is

    a. certainty
    b. ignorance
    c. opinion






  2. Truth and mistakes

   The truth is the agreement between things and their mental concept. A thought is true if it coincides or adjusts to reality.

   If we declare vegetables to be alive, this judgment is true, but if we say that stones are alive, that judgment is false.

   It is not the same truth and certainty. Truth is a quality of judgments, its agreement with reality. Certainty is a state of mind, a psychological state of a person who is sure about a judgment. The opposite of truth is mistake, and the opposite of certainty is doubt.

   We can also distinguish sincerity from lie. Sincerity is to say what you think, and lie is to say the opposite of what you think. So, certainty and doubt are psychological states; truth and falseness are logical values and sincerity and lie are moral values.

   A mistake is a wrong concept o judgment. There can be a lot of reasons that cause mistakes: misuse of senses, excessive imagination, insufficient inspection and study, prejudices because of the environment you live, the use of unsuitable words, etc.

  B. Choose the right letter: a, b, c.

  1. The agreement between concept and reality is

    a. truth
    b. falsehood
    c. opinion

  2. “Stones are alive” is a judgment

    a. true
    b. open to opinion
    c. false

 3. The judgment agrees with reality is

    a. certainty
    b. truth
    c. falsehood

 4. Which is a psychological state of a person?

    a. truth
    b. certainty
    c. sincerity

 5. Lie is a value

    a. moral
    b. psychological
    c. logical

 6. Certainty and doubt are states

    a. moral
    b. logical
    c. psychological


  3. Sophism

   A sophism is an apparent reason or argument to defend or persuade of something false. It is a wrong reasoning in which conclusion do not agree with its premises.

   The reasoning is false when the conclusion do not agree with reality. There are many sorts of sophism: linguistic, inductive, deductive, etc.

   a) Linguistic sophism. False reasoning is developed with double meaning words. For instance, the clock strikes the hour and the caretaker strikes the hour to inform teachers and students. A sophism can say: the caretaker is a clock. In this case “to strike the hour” has a double meaning. Nowadays there are other words like freedom, justice, equality, etc. with double meaning in order to develop false reasoning.

   b) Inductive sophism. You can make mistakes when it comes to crossing from particular to general. For example, one person says to have seen two Swiss playing tennis very well and affirm that every Swiss plays tennis well.

   c) c) Deductive sophism. We start from a general truth which is not true. For instance, Paul, who is Sevillian sings flamenco very well, because all of Sevillians can sing. But it is not demonstrated that every Sevillian sings flamenco.

  C. Chosse the right letter: a, b, c.

  1. In order to defend what is false, we say

    a. trues
    b. judgments
    c. sophisms

  2. Which type of sophism uses double meaning words?

    a. linguistic
    b. inductive
    c. deductive

 3. “Paul sings flamenco because he is Sevillian”. This is a sophism

    a. inductive
    b. deductive
    c. linguistic

 4. “The Swiss play tennis very well”. This is a sophism

    a. inductive
    b. deductive
    c. linguistic

 5. “The caretaker is a clock”. This sophism is

    a. inductive
    b. deductive
    c. linguistic

 6. Which sort of sophism we can make with words such as freedom and justice?

    a. deductive
    b. linguistic
    c. inductive




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| Educational applications | Philosophy |
For young |In Spanish | To print |

®Arturo Ramo García.-Record of intellectual property of Teruel (Spain) No 141, of 29-IX-1999
Plaza Playa de Aro, 3, 1º DO 44002-TERUEL