The Two Types of Truth

January 26, 2021

There are two types of truth: observational truth and reputational truth.

Observational truths are measurements of the genuine state of reality conducted by the observer. Jumping up and down and seeing I always fall back to Earth allows me to infer that there is an unseen force pulling me down.

Reputational truths are facts you learn from people, or books, you trust. Reading from Isaac Newton, I learn about a theoretical framework called gravity.

Neither of these categorizations are guaranteed to manifest Truth. Both have their flaws.

The capacity of our own perceptions limits observational truth. If we don't understand what we're looking at, we'll probably draw the wrong conclusions.

Too much trust in ourselves blinds us to our own flaws in judgement and reasoning.

Reputational truth suffers from misplaced trust. If the people we seek our facts from have poor information themselves, we invite their false truths into our heads. They themselves could fall victim to the limits of observational truth or receive untrustworthy reputational truth.

It's turtles all the way down.

The most powerful form of truth combines both observational and reputational truth. When what you see with your eyes matches what you're told by others, you can feel the truth in your bones.


© 2020 Connor Daly