What is the difference between the correspondence and coherence theories of truth?

The correspondence theory states that "a proposition must correspond with a fact or event" in order to be acknowledged as truth. For example, the statement "Hard work pays off" is an abstract assertion that would be true in the event a student performs well on a test after studying with focus and intensity. The statement, however, does not take into account other factors, such as influential teachers, clearly structured textbooks, or a manageable schedule. Nevertheless, the fact that the student performed well after applying hard work in an efficient manner is evidence that the statement must be true. Philosophy discusses the relationship between a proposition and fact: Either the proposition is true and is therefore supported by an existing fact in the world, or it is false and thus the fact used as a reference does not exist in the world. Essentially, an example would be when a student cites sources as a reference in an essay that do not really exist or when a person fills in information on a registration card in the name of a person who does not really exist. The text suggests two opposing viewpoints: the realist/representationalist view and the antirepresentationalist view. The former is noted as the belief that virtual reality exists and that one is able to verify the accuracy of the reality, while the latter states that people will always be blind-sided by subjective dispositions and thus cannot attain a complete rational point of view. Philosopher Quine's theory that only sense data denotes reality, while the remainder is what people make up given their need to make sense of the world.

The coherence theory "measures coherence and consistency among statements within a system." Thus, the coherence theory claims that a belief or statement is true if and only if it logically flows within other beliefs that together form a comprehensive interpretation of reality. This is synonymous with the Laws of Syllogism, which states that if p is equal to q, and q is equal to r, then p is equal to r. In other words, since the statement "all humans are mortal," the major premise, coherently aligns with the supporting minor premise "I am a human," one can deduce the conclusion "Therefore, I am a mortal." Attorneys and prosecutors base their argument on evidence as well as a premise reasoned from a systematic, underlying principle that gives credibility to his or her claim. For example, if a police officer claims that a person was drunk driving at 12 AM on Maple St, but the defendant shows documented evidence that he or she was present in a different city at that time, the incoherence of statements of the police officer is not sufficient evidence to prove his allegation.


Esther P.

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