Why do people care about the truth?

Here are a couple reasons.

1. What they’re doing isn’t working.

Someone is trying to achieve a result, but isn’t achieving the desired result. If achieving the result is important to them, they will tend to care about relevant truths.

2. They believe they could be doing something that would work.

Someone comes to a belief that they could do something (or do something much better), and so relevant truths become important.

Which is to say, technology is a demonstration of truth.

In this sense, technology forms the metaphysical basis for robust science (not the other way around). Put another way, we believe certain theories because they seem to be demonstrated in certain technologies.

3 thoughts on “Why do people care about the truth?

  1. Bruce Charlton


    This is correct, but leaves matters grossly under-determined – because the evaluation that something ‘works’ is so broad, and so contaminated with human psychological satisfactions. You could say ‘technology works’ but that does not help with this specific piece of technology, now and in these particular circumstances – then it may not work.

    And ‘works’ is seldom all or nothing – so something may appear tow work, but actually other causes or operative, or may appear not to work but other causes that are not accounted for have negated it.

    So in practice there is seldom agreement about whether something ‘works’ – it depends on the assumptions which are brought to the evaluation.

  2. admin Post author

    Yes, there are other assumptions which are brought to the evaluation. People could object on all sorts of grounds. Theoretically, someone could believe that the Earth isn’t roughly spherical, even though we have satellites seemingly in orbit around it that are based on the theory that it is roughly spherical. It could just be a spectacular coincidence that they work, and the theory is wrong.

    In practice, though, typically, there is agreement about whether a technology works.

    Technologies are epistemic reasons for believing a theory they are in part derived from. There are always other considerations, and indeed the correlated theory might only be partly correct, and so on.

  3. Bruce Charlton

    @ajb – Well, there is agreement much of the time except where there isn’t! And what then? Those are the difficult ones.


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