Once examined the various views on the criterion of truth and having emphasized the positivities within each one of them, we can now establish a decadialectical criterion in accordance to human reach. Truth is within the mind and within things; within the mind through an affirmation that is adequate to the truth within things.
If there is an entitas – whether physical-real, metaphysical-real, rational-real, etc. – there is truth, either ontologically considered – within the thing, in re – or as an adequation between judgment and thing, in the truth of judgment and in the truth of the content judgment. Therefore, judgment as such, abstracted from its content, is a noetic truth; the objective content to which it refers is a truth; judgment as existential affirmation of content may or may not be true. And once there is always being, there is always truth, for ens et verum convertuntur, as studied in our Anthology.
It is natural that, according to perspectives of different philosophical views in the gnoseological field, different ways of actualizing truth would also emerge, although only a concrete and global view could offer, through the coalescence of positivities, a structured dialectical truth. One can easily verify that the divergences dwell merely in unilateral and exclusive affirmation of a perspective which, by affirming its positivities, denies the positivities of others, or, by overly emphasizing its positivities, detracts what was established by others.
Let us summarize them:
There is positivity in dogmatism when it affirms we can apprehend the truth. There is vicious form in systematic dogmatism that affirms we can apprehend the truth tota et totaliter.
Moderate dogmatism accepts that we can only apprehend truth tota et non totaliter and such affirmation is accurate.
Skepticism, while it denies a totaliter apprehension of truth, is positive; it reveals positivity by acknowledging we have not totaliter truth. Such is the moderate – or methodic – skepticism. It becomes vicious when it turns systematic, for besides affirming the impossibility of totaliter apprehension of truth, it also affirms the impossibility of apprehension of tota truth.
Other kinds of skepticism, more ‘regional’, denies only the totaliter apprehension in one field, but not in another.
Subjectivists in general affirm that adaequatio depends on our mind. Such affirmative positivates a truth as relatio rationis; therefore, a truth of relation.
Within probabilism, there is a positivity, for our knowledge in its adaequatio with the thing, if it is formaliter (formally) exact, it exhaust not totaliter the thing. Hence we can know more or know less, i.e., the set of truths we can apprehend from things is in higher or lower number, what allows us to establish that globally the truth known is more or less closer to the truth intellectually attainable. Why? It matter not that the answer should be that we are in statu lapsae, in state of fall (as affirmed by the Scholastics) or whether that we are simply limited. Probabilism is vicious when affirms mere probability without accepting however that we “have truths”, although not tota et totaliter.
When relativism affirms that our representation of the world depends on our conditions, it affirms a positivity. But when, viciously, deduce that all our knowledge is only relative, absolutely excluding truth, it falls into a absolutism which makes it unilateral and dialectically false.
Pragmatism is positive when affirming the adaequatio between our truth and the goodness we seek. If bonum et ens convertuntur, the seek for our goodness is the seek for truth and our practical consequences are humanly true. But when excludes others, it falls into absolutism which is vicious for denying other positivities.
Kantian criticism, in its modalities, is positive when affirms we don’t totaliter apprehend the noumenal truth, but is not when then absolutize it to deny other positivities.
We could continue in such analysis on phenomenologists, voluntarists, phenomenists, rationalists, intellectualists, empirical-rationalists, real-idealists, ideal-realists, existentialists, modernists, etc. There should be always a positivity to be noted but the influence of what we call “tendency to absolutize” leads to vicious unilateralities that alienate them from a comprehensive view of truth within the diverse planes in which it can be studied, such as the logical, ontological, ontical, gnoseological, psychological, empirical, pragmatic, etc. planes.
To sum up our view on the problem of truth, we can say the following:
In the relation subject object (field of subject and of object), the truth is placed in the subjective, position of logical truth, or placed in the objective, the material truth of science, founded on facts. Now, facts are true, regardless of their usefulness. In the field of the subject, there is an intuitive truth, apprehended by intuition that gives us security, and a rational truth, which is formal.
There is the known human truth, but amongst those we ignore we must accept that there is a potential truth not yet apprehended. We can see facts according their actuality and their virtuality. The actual truth is apprehendable, but we also have the means to apprehend the virtual ones (potentialities, etc.).
There is, therefore, a truth within things, ontically and ontologically considered.
There is truth within judgements, when adequate to the things.
There is a logical-formal truth, when the judgements are adequate to one another.
The fact of being, namely the existence, is true. We apprehend it through our schemes.
There is adequation between fact and scheme, that is the ontological truth.
There is adequation between scheme and fact, that is the merely logical truth.
There is adequation of the schemes with one another, that is the formal truth.
If the fact occurs and is verifiable, that is material or scientific truth.
Are those truths inseparable? Wouldn’t every controversy be consequence of diverse unilateral stances in facing such theme?
Dialectical truth – which is concrete – can only be that of which is given by the fact through the adequation of the scheme with the fact, of the fact with the scheme and of the scheme with the schemes of its schematic constellation.
Let us explain: By analysing the ‘theory of projection’ in the polemic of universals, we clearly verify that there is a correspondence between the ontological order and the gnoseological one, imposed by the unity of the Being. The gnoseological restrictions emerge from all hitherto criticism. If there is not a tota et totaliter knowing, there is at least the knowing of the whole thing, not exhaustive but intentionaliter. If the noetic scheme of any kind does not exhaust the schematic totality of the thing, it refers to it with adequation.
Dialectical truth excludes not all the cooperatives that coordinate in the realization of the fact. A totum knowledge of the thing implies a scalarity and it can be augmented as the knowledge of all predisponences also increases, as well as the emergence, which cooperate to the formation of the fact, even when only formally considered or when considering only the formalities that refer to perfections, such as wisdom, etc. All of them have factual correspondence, as emphasized by Thomas Aquinas by his positive contribution to the subject of analogy, as we shall study in “Ontology”.
If one searches in each truth in any field for its correspondents analogical collocations, the dialectical truth emerges, without diverging however from its human mark. It is not exhaustive, but scalarly extensible without the need for a greater knowledge to exclude the value of truth of the lesser. Such aspect is important to stress, for knowing a thing in a small degree is not a total error. There is error only in considering such knowledge as exhaustive.
Our knowledge is fundamentally true when founded in apprehensions with value of truth, i.e., when such schematical assimilations correspond to schemes dialectically well-built. Hence, our knowledge can be true without being totum et totaliter true; it is sufficient to be totum. On the other hand, it is consequently extensible without implying relativity of truth, but a relativity of our ways of knowing the truth. Henceforth, truth decadialectically considered doesn’t excludes the positivities of the various gnoseological views, which through their exclusions deviate them towards vicious fields.
Dialectical truth is therefore the synthesis of material, ontological, logical and formal truths. When all of them are adequate with one another, there is dialectical truth. Therefore, there is only one secure criterion of truth: that of which gives us an evidence of such adequation.
Do we then reach absolute truth? No, but we reach a truth within our schemes; a truth that is immanent to the facts and to ourselves. Transcendental truth, once something that surpasses us, does not belong to us but it behooves us to conquer it. It demands other methods and a different criteriology that we shall explain later on. However, through dialectical concretion, one can establish intellectual truths. Now, is it possible to achieve such dialectical criterion? A better answer shall be given throughout our next books in which we ought to demonstrate that, in order to address any subject, we can do so in light of those four truths. And whatever is not addressed in light of them shall is suspected of error.
One can then ask: how can we apply such criterion to a transcendental object? There is no obstacle that we shall search for a maximum of concretion. The transcendental themes themselves allow the needlessness of separating what was acquired in the other fields of human knowledge. When such point is reached we have secure evidence and patency that the divorce of science, religion, philosophy and metaphysics was a product of a crisis that emerged from a partial and abstract view by those who faced the subject of truth.
The being is what it is. So much so as our schemes, which reproduce the being, although not all of it. They are adequate – formaliter and intentionaliter – to the being. An example should clarify such method.
Let us analyse the issue presented by St. Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologica, first part, Q. 27, a. 1: “For procession signifies outward movement. But in God there is nothing mobile, nor anything extraneous. Therefore neither is there procession in God.”
Examining the first premise. All procession (from pro and cadere) is a move towards, a motion. But is every motion outwards? Does it not all procession show a topicity (of topos, place)? If so, there is in procession a transit from one place to another.
But all procession implies an action. In an intellectual act of understanding, there is procession but not topicity, since understanding does not proceed from one place to another (nor outwards, but inwards). Therefore, there is procession ad extra (outwards) as well as ad intra (inwards). Such is a scientifically demonstrated fact. That is a material truth. Hence, it is not a logical truth the affirmation that procession signifies outward movement for the idea of procession implies both an ad extra action and an ad intra one. Therefore, the first premise is false for excluding procession ad intra, since there is real examples of different processions. The consequence of the syllogism is fundamentally false.
This is how a material truth can corroborate a logical truth, or even a formal or ontological one. The reasoning of St. Thomas proceeds as such – dialectically – in several other solutions to great ontological problems.
The homogenizing tendency of reason leads it to build a rigid and homogeneous concept of truth. The desired adequation is identification. Truth must identify with itself. What is said and of what is said must identify with reason. Now, since such is impossible, for all identification, dialectically, includes distinctions, contradictions, contrarieties, one can never resolve the problem of truth in terms and in a field merely rational through considering reason aprioristically.
That is the reason any endeavour of a rational, abstract criterion of truth has failed. Truth is concrete. The enunciate, with abstract schemes of truth, is worth for its adequation. The truth of things is the being of things; it is ontologically itself, identical to itself. Our enunciates however are scalar: reason why they have a value, which lays in enunciating – totaliter – the truth. We can only have one criterion that our enunciates are true: when, under all aspects of truth, it is ontical, ontological, logical and formally adequate to the object.