Given the modern day age of misinformation, surely someone has pondered and tested their ideas of a truth that sustains (a truth that sustains refers to the ideas that sustain the confidence of those truth seekers while still retains being a legitimate source of truth). Where can I read more about these ideas and the means to achieve it?


This ted talk shows

... A global crisis of fake news and disinformation. Which meant our free knowledge movement really sort of stood alone. At the same time we saw a collapse in public trust around the world in many of our civic institutions ... People around the globe are increasingly skeptical in the ability of these institutions to respond to our future challenges and changing needs. And yet trust in wikipedia actually went up!

She proceeds to introduce concepts like Minimum viable truth, constructive friction, user empowerment and diversity, etc as a means to achieve this.

Then there are others like ground news which empower the reader by many providing many perspectives.

I'm guessing given the importance of this someone must have already written a book or thesis about an enduring, nuanced perspective of truth and a means to achieve it. Where can I read more about this?

  • 2
    What do you mean with "a truth that sustains"? The quote seems about Wikipedia (as a reliable source of information/knowledge) vs institutions (as a source of lie and deception)... Commented May 27, 2022 at 13:51
  • a truth that sustains refers to the ideas that sustain the confidence of those truth seekers while still being a legitimate source of truth. Commented May 27, 2022 at 14:17
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    There are only two large categories of truth: objective truths & contingent truths. All other variations are more than likely emotional & fall under the field of Psychology. You can Google what contingent truths are. Basically they are claims that are temporary and hold true. That is claim x is rue on Monday and false on Wednesday. It has false instances! An objective you can also look up. Objective truth holds forever. It never has a false instance. All triangles are geometric shapes holds forever, all bachelors are unmarried men holds forever and so on.
    – Logikal
    Commented May 28, 2022 at 15:15
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    @Logikal: I'd downvote your comment if I could. In non-Euclidean space, like the one we occupy, triangles do not behave like that. A 'bachelor of arts', could already have been married before beginning their degree - words change their meanings.
    – CriglCragl
    Commented Oct 25, 2022 at 21:48
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    When we think hard though, we find 'true' isn't in the 'facts', it is in the whole situation of evaluating them, and never stands separately from them. From my answer here: philosophy.stackexchange.com/questions/81655/… Objectivity is just reified intersubjectivity: philosophy.stackexchange.com/questions/92058/… My point about triangles & bachelors, is you picked those as examples definitionally objectively true, but that's not how language, or truth, work.
    – CriglCragl
    Commented Oct 26, 2022 at 18:31

2 Answers 2


One aspect to consider is a social contract with a shared idea of truth. I would say science has this, with a picture that truth is tentative, and confidence in it relates to what evidence we have for it. Discussed here: Philosophical assumptions underlying science

Another way to think about truth, is that it is about a commitment not to try and pursuade at any cost, which we can relate to wisdom. Discussed here: Wisdom and John Vervaeke's awakening from the meaning crises?

And another way, is to think about what values we seek to transmit and keep vital beyond our own lives, in order to give our lives and those of others meaning. Discussed here: What are some philosophical works that explore constructing meaning in life from an agnostic or atheist view?

I relate the defining of what philosophy is, the pursuit of truth, to Socrates and Socratic dialogue, as the commitment to discourse that aims at uncovering truth without fear or favour, even in a society that will make you drink hemlock for doing that. It personally did not ensure that Socrates was sustained. But by pointing to wisdom that looks past those trying to pursuade without regard to truth, and towards a social-contract that became philosophical discourse and the Academy and the Lyceum, Socrates pointed to something deeper about, what truth is worth being sustained for. The unexamined life not being worth living, is about whether we turn away from doing the best job we can of making sense of the truths of our lives, without fear or favour.

  • Sometimes though it is not worth doing the best job you can. "Why should you destroy yourself?"
    – Scott Rowe
    Commented Oct 26, 2022 at 13:25
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    @ScottRowe: "The unexamined life is, maybe ok I guess..?" I feel the Buddhist perspective is to try & be awake to how things are, as our highest priority, as our core job. You not down with that?
    – CriglCragl
    Commented Oct 26, 2022 at 18:24
  • Yes, I agree. I suppose I got triggered by "the best you can". As an internal approach, sure, always aim to be aware. But when it comes to negotiating life with others, there seem to be many opportunities to do harm, be harmed, waste one's time and energy... There were times when the Buddha was silent, although we have to assume he knew the best answer. (Until someone poisoned him)
    – Scott Rowe
    Commented Oct 26, 2022 at 20:30
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    @ScottRowe: thinks silently how sometimes silence is the best answer "One day the Buddha silently held up a flower before the assembled throng of his disciples." "A good horse runs at the shadow of the whip"
    – CriglCragl
    Commented Oct 26, 2022 at 21:11

The problem, of course, is that there is disagreement what truth is. That changes the means that would be necessary to defend it. Consider these two:

  • RAND, a think tank with close ties to the American government and military, has been writing about what they call truth decay.
  • Fox News has been trying to set itself apart from 'mainstream media,' as they call it, and to tell the stories which they consider under-reported.

Each might think that the other is part of the problem.

  • I would say that truth is more of a method than a static repository of information. Some people are better at apprehending reality than others.
    – Scott Rowe
    Commented May 27, 2022 at 16:50
  • @ScottRowe, hence the RAND comments on media education. When an ad comes along telling "what insurance companies/banks/this or that industry doesn't want you to know," I immediately wonder what they try to sell to me.
    – o.m.
    Commented May 27, 2022 at 16:53
  • So, my silly take on it that there are no "legitimate sources of truth", as the question asks about. We know the truth when we personally smack in to it in a way that is irrefutable. Otherwise, it's just belief, another word for delusion. I love the story where that ancient Greek guy yelled, "I refute it thus!" and kicked a big stone. Maybe wrong anecdote...
    – Scott Rowe
    Commented May 28, 2022 at 23:18
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    @ScottRowe, even then objective truth will be filtered and interpreted through pre-existing biases, and it won't be obvious to all. There are still a few people who believe that the Earth is flat, or that smoking doesn't cause cancer, or that climate change is unrelated to fossil fuels.
    – o.m.
    Commented May 29, 2022 at 4:16
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    @Logikal This illustrates what this Answer says: "disagreement about what truth is". As I see it, truth is me seeing or otherwise interacting with something right now. Both me and it are one indivisible thing called "what is". Everything else is not that. Most people have not experienced that, and will never see it that way, so they will always be talking about truth, which as useful as talking about food instead of eating. Eat! Then, shut up! Because there's really nothing to be said about... What is! After you have 'eaten', you feel much happier and less inclined to argue about words.
    – Scott Rowe
    Commented May 31, 2022 at 9:52

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