To what extent is truth different in two of the following areas of knowledge: Natural Sciences, History, Ethics and Human Sciences?
Truth is accessible to the humankind. Nevertheless, the truth is seen differently by individuals, thus can be difficult to acquire and define. Truth can be defined as the belief for something that is justified and accepted as true. It gives us knowledge, which we tend to seek. This can be quite problematic as it can be difficult to gauge or prove the certainty in some sources more than others. So people need to be persuaded to believe the truth. Areas of knowledge like the natural sciences and ethics vary systematically and therefore truth is defined based on the different beliefs of what truth actually is. These areas of knowledge approach truth from different perspectives, implying that truth is different and to some extent it is different. In order to understand the difference in truth between the two areas of knowledge, we need to explore how truth is created, if it can be created and how this truth is viewed universally.
The natural sciences is an AOK involving the phenomena of the world surrounding us. The knowledge created by scientists are facts. In this AOK truth is always seen from an objective perspective as the knowledge is absolute. It is purely based on knowledge which can be verified through the scientific methodology. If the facts can be verified, then they are defined to be certainly true and so truth is created. The facts become even truer the more they appear to be the same, each time the scientific methodology is performed. Science has been widely accepted as it has been the most reliable. Therefore knowledge is always true in the natural sciences. For example according to newtons third law “every action has an equal or opposite reaction” (“Newton’s Third Law”) and therefore as he once stated, “what goes up must come down”. This is a concept that has stuck with me since my primary years of education even though I didn’t know the importance behind this knowledge back then. From an early age, I began to wonder why when I jumped up I always came down? or why when I threw a ball in the air it always fell back down. Newton had a similar curiosity when he observed apples falling from a tree and also began to wonder why the apple fell down and not go up. How can the scientific method give us the accurate truth? After performing numerous experiments with different objects he gained knowledge about the connection between motions and forces using sense perception from observations and formed conclusions based on inductive reasoning. He has created knowledge that is true, as it can be proven through his experiments which is now widely used. We can also be certain that these facts are true and will remain true.
One may assume that knowledge in the natural science is always true but some knowledge is provisional as science is constantly changing and developing so truth cannot always be certain. Although there is a lot of objectivity in science, some facts cannot be taken absolutely. Therefore there may be doubt in the shared knowledge. For instance, when I grew up, I was taught that there are 9 planets in the solar system. Pluto was proven to be a planet as it has met all of the scientific criteria. I was so amazed by the beauty of our universe, I had all of them memorized by order and my favorite planet, of course, was Pluto since it was the smallest. Back then it was advertised and brought to the attention everywhere. For many years, I believed that Pluto was a planet until one day was told that it is not a plant anymore. I was surprised and to be honest a bit disappointed. It was originally defined as a planet using reasoning from the shared knowledge we had at that time. However, a couple of years later the definition for a planet was changed, as more discoveries were made due to the advancement in technology and pluto was no longer considered to be a planet but is now rather called a dwarf planet (“Why Is Pluto No Longer a Planet?”). This is a prime example of when facts change so this knowledge once to have been true is no longer true. The main way of accumulating this true knowledge was by using deductive reasoning rather than the scientific method. Thus we cannot be certain Pluto is a planet anymore. How is the deductive process more reliable than the inductive process when creating truth? By using deductive reasoning, previous knowledge is considered that has already been proven or is universally accepted in order to make logical generalizations whereas inductive reasoning uses knowledge accumulated from observations to form conclusions and we can’t always be certain with these findings.
Certainty can be troubling especially in ethics where we make decisions, form knowledge based on our moral principles. Ethical truth is based on what is known as right and wrong to us. This truth is based on our personal feeling and personal liking. But is it always like this? Truth varies among us and therefore my truth isn’t any better or any worse than someone else’s truth. Therefore in order to gain truth we need to be persuaded by individuals and by society. Which is not always very easy. Our moral principles can be seen from an absolute viewpoint. Moral absolutism is when there is a right and wrong. It is approached from an objective perspective. For example, child labor is said to be an unethical practice as children should have the freedom to enjoy life and not suffer (“Is Child Labor Ethical?”). This can be argued along with the human right laws stating that there is freedom of slavery and any other forced work for children (“What Human Right(s) Does Child Labor Violate?”). Are we obliged to believe in laws? To what extent should this knowledge be accepted? Although it is still often violated today, these actions are judged by the moral standards using reasoning which these laws have set in society and thus is unethical. In that sense ethics becomes objective. There are enough facts supporting and persuading people that this is truth. These laws were created relative to the previous knowledge of the abuse and effects slavery has caused. There is evidence showing that it is ‘wrong’ and thus has a clear certainty. However we can still have our own moral judgement and we may not have this shared knowledge, therefore such an example like child labor, shows how truth in ethics usually tends to be more subjective.
Ethics is a focused subjective subject along with a very subjective truth. Where truth is relative to yourself. The knowledge you decide to be true, becomes true and so the subjective truth becomes truer. Therefore we consider our personal knowledge and different perspectives. Moral relativism refers to there being no such thing as right or wrong in this world. A more personal real-life example is that I am a true believer in honesty especially towards my parents and I find that lying to your parents is wrong. This is my opinion, my truth and the way I was raised in my culture. Others may have different values and see this as being ethical. Of course, depending on the situation my choices can change however I have my views on the things that wrong and right in the world. Everyone has different perspectives and therefore there cannot be objective truth in Ethics. Truth in ethics is very comprehensive and depends a lot on the principles in society and changes based on the knowledge proving that something is ethical or unethical. So how is ethical truth proven? If I was to share this knowledge with someone I would need to persuade them to believe this truth using language and reasoning but this is still often interpreted with our own emotions. Our planet is very diverse and everyone experiences different emotions. There is nothing we can say is right or wrong is society because something that is wrong to us may be right to other people. Therefore there can be no truth in ethics. Humans change and as do our emotions. There is no way of creating subjective truth valid universally.
Overall, truth is seen very differently in the natural sciences and ethics. Truth is judged and defined based on the way it is approached. In the natural sciences, truth is seen more objectively as it is a more universally accepted subject. Truth can also be proven at any time through the scientific methodology. In ethics, however, truth is a very subjective and relative to the current situation, time and place of society as it does change constantly. Our distinctive differences are considered openly in ethics whereas in the natural sciences scientists tend to stick to a narrowed objective perspective in the creation of knowledge. We all have personal knowledge, personal experiences, different cultures, different interpretations of truth and different ways of achieving our truth.