User:LGreg/sandbox/Approaches to Knowledge (LG seminar)/Group 1/Truth/Sibylle Louise Pia

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What is truth?

According to St Thomas d’Aquin, the truth corresponds to the adequation between the mind and the object meaning that our perception/representation of the world matches reality.

What are their truths ?


According to the philosopher Hannah Arendt, the facts that have occured and that we know about through evidences such as texts, images, videos, letters, exist regardless of historians’ interpretations. We can then consider that proofs and the facts themselves are the objective truth in history.

However, the interpretation of historical events is hardly objective : ‘The only barrier to historical objectivity is in fact, the historian himself. Historians are the one who will decide what the facts in history are, and can decide whether or not things can be omitted or added in order to make his or her claim plausible. This, of course, is subjective at all costs’. Therefore, we can affirm that historians’ work ,thus history, is subjective although it sticks to a certain methods to get closer to what happened in the past.

Biology :

Biology being a science subject, its truth differs from the one we find in history. Indeed, science is the study of the present and it appears to be the ultimate method for discovering the truth. It allows us to discover new facts every day through observations and experiments on the human bodies, on plants or animals. However, even if the truth in biology appears more clearly than in some other disciplines , it remains complicated. As time goes by, basic assumptions in this discipline can turn out to be false.

How does it come to realize/evaluate truth?


Source criticism is the first step of the evaluation of truth in a source. Indeed, it is necessary to know when and by whom was the source written and the place it was produced. They also need to know if it was written from pre existing materials and they need to look for evidential value in order to bring credibility to the analysis. They then try to explain these historical facts. Objectivity becomes more complicated when it comes to the interpretation of the sources, and the creation of a narrative based on them. When looking for the truth about an event, historians follow a precise goal to reach, leading them to take a certain path. They are not able to write everything, some aspects of historical events are left aside. This is a reason for its non total objectivity in some ways.

Biology :

Biology evaluates truth by categorizing its fields of research, such as molecular biology that focuses on cells, physiology that studies how our organs work, anatomy that focuses on organisms structures… No matter the area of study biology follows a certain method in order to get closer to the truth : scientists issue an hypothesis that will be verified by an experiment guided by a protocol. If the result of the experiment sticks to the hypothesis they will then valid it, if not, they will continue their research and experiment. For example, if the aim of the research is to prove that aquatic animals breathe with gills and not lungs, scientists can verify this affirmation by dissecting a fish.

Is truth important to the discipline :

History :

The main goal of this subject is to explain what happened in the past, truth is then crucial in order to understand why our world is organised like it is today. Moreover, knowing what happened in the past enables us to learn from our mistakes. However, if history is not the same according to different historians, facts remain the same, they are real and proved by evidence from the past. As a matter of fact, organizations were created in order to verify facts of past history and even today, they can prove that some events did not happen or at least not in the way that they are currently reported. Indeed, further research has been made with new technological capacities, allowing facts to be more precise. If facts are being contested, then history will lose all its credibility and importance. For instance, theories like negationism show us that people can completely deny significant historical events such as the Jewish genocide based on fake evidences. Therefore, historical method is essential in order to prevent that.


Truth has an important place in the field of biology, as biology is the study of life and living organisms such as plants, animals or even humans. Hence, it is necessary for this discipline to be in adequation with the reality of life. Each processes and molecular interactions have to provide objective explanations for what happens in the real life, base on empirical evidences. This is the reason why biology uses experimentation as part of one of its main method of study. If they fail to prove and explain reality, they lose credibility, trust and can not be referred to as a qualitative source of information.