The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Are truth and fact different

Both truth and fact are terms used to explain what something is. Yet it seems like facts are subject to change, morally indifferent, and can be impersonal.
This reminds me of a Clip from the Simpsons Movie.

There was a talk by Peter Kreeft on Goodness, Truth and Beauty. In one segment, he explains that we recognize goodness by its beauty and truth by its goodness. Yet we usually recognized facts through empirical data, observation and logic.

Facts are no longer facts once proven untrue. Facts remain facts as long as they remain true. If a fact at any point becomes untrue, it was always untrue if the variables remain the same. Someone might object: Not True! Here is why:

Fact: You need to fill out form “A” before form “B” will be accepted.

10 days later, that this no longer is the case. They have improved their system…

New Fact: You can fill out form A or form B in any order.

Yes, it changed, and both were true, but not with the same variables. Before the new system was in place, Fact 1 was correct. It is only incorrect now because a variable had changed (improved system).

Yep pretty much. 100yrs ago there were a hundred laws of so-called ‘scientific fact’ — they’ve all since changed, or been exchanged for newer truths… until they likewise go through the mill too no doubt. :wink:

For your consideration:

Sometimes the Truth is not Reasonably Believed
If a proposition is true, does it follow that it is rational to accept it?

Hefner’s death reminds me of a true story from around 1981. This was before I was married. Emptying my trash into a dumpster behind my apartment building one day, I 'spied a big stack of Playboy magazines at the bottom of the container. Of course, I rescued them as any right-thinking man would: they have re-sale value and they contain excellent articles, stories, and interviews.

I stacked the mags on an end table. When my quondam girl friend dropped by, the magazines elicited a raised eyebrow.

I quickly explained that I had found them in the dumpster and that they contain excellent articles, arguments for logical analysis, etc. She of course did not believe that I had found them.

What I told her was true, but not credible. She was fully within her epistemic rights in believing that I was lying to save face. In fact, had she believed the truth that I told her, I would have been justified in thinking her gullible and naive.

This shows that truth and rational acceptability are not the same property. A proposition can be true but not rationally acceptable. It is also easily shown that a proposition can be rationally acceptable but not true. Truth is absolute; rational acceptability is relative to various indices.

“But what about rational acceptablity at the Peircean ideal limit of inquiry?”

Well, that’s a horse of different color. Should I mount it, I would trangress the bounds of this entry.

As for Hugh Hefner, may the Lord have mercy on him. And on the rest of us too. end quote - MavPhil

I subscribe to the Evangelical and Catholic newsletters from Which come out once a week. One story in the Catholic newsletter today - caught my eye:

Is Hugh Hefner in Hell?

This part of the story - particularly caught my interest:

I’m not sure if this is fact, truth or neither. But it is interesting. :smiley:

And sometimes folks get their facts confused. Because they don’t define their terms. Like inclusivism, puralism and universalism. Well, one can find definitions in this article:

On Inclusivism — #6 (Does Inclusivism Lead to Universalism?)

For the record, I’m an inclusivist, conditionalist and hopeful universalist. And I am in accord, with the article author’s views at Hopeful Universalist / Conditionalist. But I think folks first need, to define their terms. Before they get confused (like one popular health and property, gospel preacher and one so-called, TV faith healer).

As good as the article author is (i.e. inclusivism article), he does distort some facts - regarding universalism. And a comment brings this up:

According to the Oxford Dictionay a fact is “A thing that is known or proved to be true.”
That has always been the way I have understood the word. Also the word “now” is understood in the statement. More exactly:
A fact is “A thing that is known or proved to be true NOW.” A hundred years from now, no present fact will ever become false for the present date.

Some facts are true at any time. For “iron expands when heated” will never cease to be true.

I do not see any difference between truth and fact. It is a fact that I am now 79 years old. Also the sentence “I am 79 years old” is also true. A year from now it will not be a fact that I will be 79 years old. Also, at that time the sentence “I am 79 years old” will be false.

So if anyone sees a difference between “truth” and “fact” please state clearly that difference.

I hope this does not sound like I am answering my own topic, but as I best understand it, Truth is not divisible from Goodness and Beauty. I find that facts dont necessarily have to be good or beautiful. Truth I would say is the whole and absolute, where facts are relative and a part in the strictest sense. Like age is a relative matter that changes over time, or saying dogs are mammals is one fact among many, and at best neutral.

I subscribe to the Catholic and Evangelical newsletters at

Here’s an article today, from the Evangelical section. That illustrates the difference, between truth and fact.

When It Comes to Calvinism, Logic Can Lead to Heresy

Good article.

I have found that Calvinists tend to be too reliant on Logic to the point that they have to resort to “Either/Or” thinking. I have noticed in particular that they see for God to get all glory, humans cannot have any. In particular on their ideas of predestination, where Calvinists cannot accept Gods sovereignty and mans free will. What has particularly bothered me about Calvinism is their idea that they believe something is good just cause “God said so” mentality. In one respect I agree that its true, only because Gods essence is goodness. However, I disagree moreso with how they present God as going good than being goodness. This would indicate that we are no longer talking about God as being itself, but the supreme being among many lesser beings.

Part of the question of fact and truth is the inherent indifference fact is to goodness. Thats why I wonder if truth is something that cannot be known through the mind but through the heart.

I don’t understand the concept that “goodness and beauty” is an element of “truth.”

I say “truth” is simply that which is true. It is true, and therefore a truth, that pure ice is lighter than an equal volume of pure water. It is also a fact that pure ice is lighter than an equal volume of pure water. There is no difference between the two statements except that two different words are used for the same concept. Thus “truth” is tantamount to “fact.”

Does the truth that pure ice is lighter than an equal volume of pure water contain some element of goodness and beauty that the fact lacks? To me, that thought seems meaningless.

Coleridge: “Beauty is truth, and truth Beauty, that is all you can know upon earth and all you need to know”

That’s a lovely sentiment, but unless you give a rather special meaning to the words, something not in ordinary language, it’s just sentiment.

That quote I would say is just a poetic way of describing transcendent reality that cannot be easily put into words.

Yep, that’s why I said it was not ‘ordinary language’ - it’s kind of like ‘language on vacation’ - LW.

But certainly there is some ‘truth’ that is not beautiful? Unless one is using ‘poetic diction’.

How about a Zombie beauty contest :question: :laughing:

I dont know if we are just using different terminology, but I best see fact as an aspect of truth. Now correct me if I am misinterpreting your words, but it sounds to me like what you are referring to as truth is small ‘t’ truth as compared to “The Truth” or Ultimate Truth. :slight_smile:

But I honestly believe that ultimate truth would have to necessarily be good and beautiful. I had come across materialistic viewpoints where everything that is real is either matter, energy, time or space. So I questioned why should I accept this truth even if it were true? Why accept there is no Meaning, God, Eternity, Love, Goodness or Beauty when this is going to do no good? If I died and there was nothing, I would be dead either way and would not experience disappointment.

Now this also reminds me of why Goodness, Truth and Beauty are inseparable. In the Harry Potter novels, Dumbledore warns harry not to return to the Mirror of Erised, and explains that this mirror gives no knowledge or truth. This also reminds me of Star Trek, where Captain Pike was given the choice to live in pleasant dreams or to live out a confining disability. So I agree, that we cannot have goodness without truth, while pretending its real.

Oh I think we’re on the same page, if not in the same paragraph. :laughing:

Which is more true, that my cat is now sitting on my lap, or that God so loved the world…?

I don’t see degrees of truth, if we are talking true/false. Certainly some truths are more important in certain ways - if we are talking the immortality of the soul, then my cat, wonderful as she is, is not quite as important a truth as the question of immortality. At least to me - she’s not talking.

‘Beauty’ is an aesthetic judgment; ‘truth’ is a matter of fact. IMHO. :smiley:

Perhaps the following will resolve what seems to be a problem in our various understandings of “truth”:

The Greek word “ἀληθεια” (alātheia) can mean either “truth” or “reality.”

Perhaps when Coleridge said “Beauty is truth, and truth Beauty” it would have been more accurate to have said, “Beauty is reality, and reality Beauty”

The following are a few scriptures in which the word “ἀληθεια” is used in each of these ways:

I dont know if this is just the limitations of the mind and intellect, but it seems like all premises begin on the presumption of impersonal fact over personal ideals. Yet I dont know if it is even possible to understand how truth, goodness and beauty are one, as that would be stating a potential fact.