is Truth? Said jesting Pilate, and would not stay for an answer."
Of Truth, Essays or Counsels Civil and Moral, Francis Bacon.
the gospel of John in the New Testament (18:28-40), Jesus is brought
up before Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of the region. Pilate,
a practical and worldly man, is bemused as to why Jesus has been
brought before him: what has he done?
a brief exchange between Pilate and Jesus, we see two distinct concepts
of truth at work. On the one hand, Jesus has a very firm idea (18:37):
are right in saying I am a king. For this reason I was born, and
for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone
on the side of truth listens to me.
which Pilate merely replies: "What is truth?" - as if
to say, "You think truth exists independently of everyone as
a standard by which we can judge our beliefs?"
sort of debate has been central to philosophy for centuries. We
will now look at different theories of knowledge, truth and belief.
are a number of different ways in which the verb 'to know' is used.
I can know someone's voice, a piece of music or my own mind. However,
this sort of knowledge seems less specific than factual knowledge:
I can know someone's voice or face without necessarily being able
to put a name to it; I may change my mind.
knowledge usually entails knowing that something is the case. It
is also called propositional knowledge because it can take the form
of a logical proposition. For example, "Wales' rugby team is
not as good as it once was" proposes a fact. It is something
which might either be true or false.
Find a passage in a newspaper or book and note or underline every
use of the verb 'to know'. Once you have about ten or so, try and
decide in what sense the verb is being used.
2. Now, using the same or a different passage, take the first ten
sentences or so and decide what is being stated (if anything). Can
all of the statements be translated into the form "I know that
If so, does this make the meaning clearer.