KWASI WIREDU’S CONCEPT OF TRUTH
Wiredu’s recent significant contribution to epistemology reviews the relationship between knowledge, truth and existence.
In this theory Kwasi Wiredu attempts to refute the supposition that truth is a relation the supposition that truth is a relation between statements about the world and the world itself. He argues against objectivist claims to knowledge i.e, that knowledge is of a thing as it is in itself and that appearance is different from opinion.
Wiredu argues against the attempts to distinguish between truth of opinion and truth of knowledge and the position by which Wiredu institutes his thesis is a claim that “Truth is an opinion”. He calls this a special case of general proposition that has to be apprehended.
In this essay, my main contention is that Kwasi Wiredu is identifying truth with opinion, fails to give a true account of human reality because his thesis discards completely the distinction that should be obtained between truth and opinion, thereby making falsehood impossible, and truth subjective.
1.1 Background to the Study
The word “Truth” has its equivalence on the Greek word “Alenthia” and the Latin word “Veritas”, meaning in general some kind of agreement between thought and its objects, between knowledge and that which is known.
In its most simple form truth means the accordance of conformity between what is asserted and what is. According to Aristotle Truth is primary in judgment. A true judgment is true when it attributes a predicate to or denies it of a subject according to what reality it demands.1
A true account of the nature of truth can be given in terms of the condition under which a statement is said to be true or false. However, the same cannot be done for persons: truth in this case is a derivative sense of truth. Moreover, truth and false hood are not proper candidates for sentences as such, in other words, until a statement is used to state that something is or not the case it is not a candidate for truth. Thus, it is to statements that truth and falsity are attributable, and invariably to beliefs of which these statements may be the expression2.
Given that a statement is true. The following questions, at least, can be raised: what do we mean we say that a statement is true? Are we attributing a property? What are the necessary and sufficient conditions for its truth, that is, it is true if and only if what? These questions are the ones that may be raised concerning any statement whatever, are all possible candidates for what is meant by the general question “What is truth”?
Truth can be rightly viewed as a consequential property of statement. That is to say that it might be a property that statements in virtue of the fact that other posses in virtue of the fact that other things are true of them3. In that’s case, the philosophy of truth should decide what these other things are, that are necessary concerning a statement if it is to be true.
All this has some sort of bearing with the correspondence theory of truth.
However, apart from this theory other various theories have been advocated. The absolute idealist put forward a coherence theory of truth in which the only absolute truth is “The whole” and anything less than the whole can only aspire to degrees of truth. Here knowledge is confirmed by validation procedures4.
Williams James argued for a “pragmatic theory of truth” according to which the problem of truth is one of the welfare economic, for a true assertion is one proves the best in the long.
Tarski attempted to avoid the problems of self – references by claiming that truth can only be defined in a meta language, there by bringing into being the “Semantic theory of truth”.
F.P Ramsey thought that he had dissolved the problem truth by pointing out that ‘P’ and ‘P’ is true means the same thing and therefore, that is true” is redundant; hence the redundancy theory of truth for now”, the main objectivistic theory of truth, mainly the semantic and correspondence theories shall be discussed in detail.