truth and righteousness

It has become common to say that the truth is in trouble. To understand how we got here, it is worth reviewing a few moments in the history of this concept in the West.

in his book truthfully, Saint Anselm of Canterbury (1033–1109) asked the question: How can there be one truth and many truths at the same time? To answer this question, Saint Anselm presented a theory of truth that continues to amaze us today.

St. Anselm points out that when we consider what kinds of entities can be right or wrong, our first candidates are linguistic statements and mental judgments; However, he expands the list to include desires, acts, impressions of the senses, things and, of course, on the basis of everything, God, who is Summa truth.

San Anselmo says that something is true when it has the quality of rectitude. Anselmian straightness is a technical concept not to be confused with geometric straightness, which can be measured and perceived by the senses. The veracity of the truth varies greatly, although the analogy helps us get an idea of ​​it. According to St. Anselm, something is right in the sense of truth when it fulfills its task, its design, its mission, its purpose, its duty, its destiny. For example, let’s say a sword is Truth When it not only looks like a sword, as a prop or toy, but also when it efficiently fulfills the function planned for it: because it has an edge, it bites, it can be used in battle. Note that in this case it can be said that it is a true sword and, moreover, that good sword, because it fulfills its function and, therefore, with our expectations.

As far as statements are concerned, St Anselm affirms that they are true when what they say actually exists, either by affirmation or negation. At first glance, there would be no distinction between St Anselm and Aristotle on the subject, however, St Anselm interprets Aristotelian intuition very differently from adequacy or correspondence theories. Saint Anselm affirms that a statement is true when he says what it is and what it is not that it is not, but does not maintain that Chance between what is the meaning of the narration and a reality in the world, whether it is primary route, which makes it true, but Justice With which what is the meaning of the said statement, thus coincides. The correctness of a statement involves saying things as they are: that is what is expected of it, that is its purpose, its mission, its duty. In this way of perceiving the truth of statements and, by implication, judgments that must be emphasized, it is not only a question of a semantic or epistemological relationship between language or understanding and the facts of the world, but also of a character relationship. of standard between statements and decisions and their Purpose, which is to express or know things as they are.

This close connection between righteousness and goodness is evident when Saint Anselm tackles the issue of how to understand the truth of our actions. In this case, he does not hesitate to identify the truth of our actions, that is, their truth, with the good: “What he does must be good and right, showing that to act rightly.” is to act truthfully..”. In the case of the will, St. Anselm again incorporates the notion of goodness to explain what we want. Righteousness in wanting is what he wants and that it be only that. May what is good for ourselves, for others, is what God expects of us.

The close relationship between truth and goodness that Saint Anselm emphasizes has been lost to our day. To get out of the post-truth bog, perhaps it would be convenient for us to recover some of Saint Anselm’s intuitions about truth.