We live in a time when people who don’t like the news dismiss it as “fake news.” When the idea that seeing isn’t believing emanates not from some Orwellian dystopia, but from the White House; a time when the president’s personal lawyer openly asserts that “truth isn’t truth.”
So, when we’re presented with so many reasons to doubt the truth (or for that matter, doubt the very existence of truth), one natural question to ask is what is the nature of truth?
Patricia Illingworth, a Northeastern professor of philosophy and law, said that we don’t all have to agree on something for it to be true. But we do need to believe that truth exists, particularly within truth-seeking institutions such as higher education, journalism, and the courts system.
“Truth conforms to objective reality,” Illingworth said. “I would distinguish truth from what is agreed upon. For example, there was a time when everyone believed and agreed that the world was flat. Nonetheless, it was not a truth because it did not correspond to reality.”