Axiologically speaking, why is truth the preferred logical value by humans? In general, why do we prefer true statements to false ones? What about the value of true makes a statement "right," while false is "wrong?" Specifically, why do true statements seem to be valued higher than false statements and why does our day-to-day language seem to favor factual statements?

  • 1
    Here is Peirce's answer:"Facts are hard things which do not consist in my thinking so and so, but stand unmoved by whatever you or I or any man or generations of men may opine about them. It is those facts that I want to know, so that I may avoid disappointments and disasters. Since they are bound to press upon me at last, let me know them as soon as possible, and prepare for them. This is, in the last analysis, my whole motive in reasoning. Plainly, then, I wish to reason in such way that the facts shall not, and cannot, disappoint the promises of my reasoning."
    – Conifold
    Sep 13, 2020 at 6:36
  • 1
    Does this answer your question? How are the assumptions underlying logic chosen?
    – Conifold
    Sep 13, 2020 at 6:38
  • Maybe useful: Jan Wolenski, Semantics and Truth Sep 13, 2020 at 10:07
  • 1
    This is not quite the same as Conifold's link, as related it is. You are not asking about all assumptions, but particularly about truth across various models.
    – J D
    Sep 13, 2020 at 16:27
  • I was specifically looking for answers from a more mathematical/formal logic perspective, and while there are some good answers here they don't quite answer the question that was in my head. Should I ask a new question, or edit this one and invalidate the current answers?
    – tox123
    Sep 16, 2020 at 9:24

3 Answers 3


The short answer from a naturalized epistemology is obvious. Truth in the state of affairs of the physical world has survival value and is a strategy for biological organisms with cognition to survive in accordance with evolution. The obvious proof of this would be what I call argument by defenestration. If you want to know what a person believes, ask them to do something that has value-laden consequences. If a person tells you the world is a simulation or that they believe in incarnation, ask them to prove it by throwing themselves out a window (not high enough to kill themselves as that would be unethical). Just high enough to sustain a reasonably painful injury. If they don't, it's likely their beliefs are in conflict.

Truth in perception means one is free of illusions. Truth in memory means one is free of confabulation. Truth in reason means one is free of fallacy. Lastly, truth in testimony means one is free of deception. Generally speaking, a human who is free of illusion, confabulation, fallacy, and testimony is better adjusted to survival in the world historically speaking. In fact, an arms race in deception is largely suspected to be the guiding force in self-deception among some evolutionary psychologists. From the WP article:

Evolutionary psychology approaches self-deception as an adaptation that can improve one's results in social exchanges.

Ferreting out truth from deception is a survival imperative in social transactions historically.

  • 1
    Great point in the argument from survival, as I would like to call it!
    – Nikos M.
    Nov 4, 2021 at 9:51

Every false statement corresponds to a fact that the statement is false. More precisely, the concept of falsity depends on a prior concept of truth (false = antitrue, but to make truth into mere antifalsity would be metaphysically confused).

Axiologically, goodness is similar to truth, and evil to falsity (not just the absence of good, but its opposite). So the concept of good is logically prior to the concept of evil. There is an illusion in standard deontic logic, which is an inference from the formal interchangeability of the definitional scheme to the actual possibility of justifiably ordering deontic concepts using evil/the forbidden first---but this is abstract evil (it is wrong to base one's concepts of ethics on the concept of wrongness).

If, moreover, goodness is something like "acting according to the truth" (Kant says somewhere that this is analytically true but otherwise vacuous), then focusing on false statements would be congruent with focusing on evil.

  • Good grief- That sounds like a religious fairy tale. Goodness is tantamount to truth! It is perfectly reasonable for you to hold to that as part of your personal belief system, but it is not philosophy
    – user37981
    Sep 29, 2020 at 21:21

U can't really reason or understand or define about an unknown thing or known thing using false statement can you? Even when using proof by contraction u are still trying to validate a truth statement, people value truth more cause truths work like staircase, you proof step 1 then you can further proofs things in that staircase, like maths uses this axiomatic reasoning, whereas false statements are false because of true statements, for example if you have a bag which have digits 1-8 and i say that bag contains digits more than 8, but you know that it's not true therefore it's false, we can always make assumptions but we can't tell about false statements until we have truth statements, and their is nothing life absolute truth or false, it true or false in a certain system but can be false somewhere else.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .