"What I tell you three times is true." (Lewis Carroll) Might this formula - Or a more sophisticates version of it actually determine what we believe to be true?

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Alex Day        Theory of Knowledge        24/1/2003

“What I tell you three times is true.” (Lewis Carroll) Might this formula – Or a more sophisticates version of it actually determine what we believe to be true?

“What is Truth? Said jesting Pilate, and would not stay for an answer.”   Had he stayed for an answer he would still be waiting. The term ‘truth’ has no entire satisfactory definition; however truth is generally accepted as having three key characteristics. These being; that one, truth is something that is public and true for everybody. Two that truth is independent of anyone’s beliefs, meaning that a statement can be completely and utterly false though; everyone still believes it to be true, and finally that truth is eternal, meaning that if something is true, it will always be true. Although ‘truth’ is so uncertain, it is still said to be the basis for all of our knowledge. Looking closely at the truth, the factors affecting the truth and the reliability of the above formula, I will show in this essay that there is an underlying uncertainty in the word ‘truth.’ Based on a series of examples, I will show how truth can and cannot gain validity through the formula; “What I tell you three times is true.”

As shown in the aforementioned characteristics of truth, truth is independent of anyone’s beliefs. For example, the truth of my statement ‘my car is fast’ is independent of whether one thinks it to true or not. I could persuade everyone I know that that my car is fast, but that doesn’t actually make my car fast. This shows that a statement can be false, although everyone believes it to be true. This is shown in most religions, as religious beliefs do not rely on empirical knowledge, but on “facts” that are repeatedly drilled into the religious followers head, the religious “facts” that may be entirely untrue become accepted as the truth. For example, in Christianity, the bible tells the story of how the world was created in 7 days; Charles Darwin wrote a book on how this is actually impossible, but devout Christians reject the Darwinian theory of evolution, as they have repeatedly heard in the bible, that the world was created in 7 days. This shows that truth can actually gain validity through repetition; a priest preaching the stories of the bible is telling the followers stories, that through time have being accepted as truth, although not entirely justifiable. Teaching is something that is very repetitive. At the young age of 10, most children have or are learning their times tables. It is through the repetition and recitation that one learns their times tables. In this case the statement of “What I tell you three times is true.” is viable, as the fact that the statement has to be repeated three times for something to be true, emphasises on repetitions effect on truth, or the truth of a statement.

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        This quote from the poem “The Hunting of the Snark” written by Lewis Carroll in 1876 could be attributed to on of Carroll’s most famous characters, the queen in Alice in wonderland. The Queen’s style was very dictatorial. It is known that one of the strongest tools in the hand of a dictator is propaganda. A dictator may use propaganda to get a person to believe something that is not necessarily true. In a more modern day context, this may best be represented throughout the perceptual filtering of the truth by the media, where the ‘facts’ of a current event ...

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