Let me attempt to wrestle down some ideas that have been circling around in my mind regarding philosophy.
First, some problems. How do we know things are true?
There is a suggested answer in the construct of a justified true belief. If some belief about the world is justified, that is, if it is reasonable according to valid argument, and if it is true, that is, verifiable to a certain threshold of observable experience, then that belief is sound.
You can put this to the test. If you believe that objects fall and a penny is an object, and can verify sufficiently that indeed objects do fall and that a penny is indeed an object, your belief that if will fall when you drop it could be considered sound. Of course, a great deal of complexity can be involved in producing a sound belief of this nature, going all the way to the theory of gravity and an examination of the mass of the penny and the gravitational force exerted by the mass of the earth and so on. You could drop a penny a thousand times and observe the effects, etc.
However, there are occasions where such a theory of knowledge is insufficient. These are sometimes called Gettier problems. For example, if a farmer looks out over a field and sees his cow there, he may be justified in thinking that his cow is in the field. But, suppose someone set out a fake cow. Well, now he is justified in his belief, but it is not true. But suppose again that his cow is indeed in the field, but is down behind a hill. Now, he is justified in believing that the fake cow is his cow, and his belief that the cow is in the field is true. And yet, his knowledge about his cow is not sound. So the argument goes. If this example doesn't convince you of the problem, there are more convincing examples. Or, you can think about a time that you realized you were wrong about a certain belief that was justified and also true, but not true in the way you thought it was.
This might seem like a stupid game, except that if this flaw is ever possible, it is ALWAYS possible for any belief. In other words, a theory of knowledge is insufficient if you have no way of applying it in any given situation with any certainty. So, fine, we cope, and we get things wrong or right, and sometimes we realize we got things wrong or right and sometimes we don't, and the world goes along for people who are always sure their right and for those who always question themselves.
So, that might seem a trivial problem. Except, I would ask, what about people's problems? Many deep problems exist through this problem of knowledge. Something bad happens in a person's childhood, and the psychological effects of not knowing what is true and false about it remains with them for the rest of their life. What if all the evils of life come down to people acting on misconceptions about reality? What if these misconceptions are compounding, leading to further misconceptions with further bad consequences?
This is a very difficult problem to examine indeed. In fact, if good and evil is about more than just making good choices instead of bad ones, but requires choices made about correctly understood situations, then the nature of how situations can be understood becomes important if for nothing more than human happiness and well-being.
Well, enough for setting the scene. This is just one set of problems out of many, many more, but is, I think, a sufficient reason for looking into the matter.
There is a tendency, from my experience, for us to think of truth as an end. In other words, if we have a theory, we can think about it, use our experience, test it, whatever, and at the end point of this process is a product: the truth. Maybe we didn't arrive at the truth? Well, okay, gather more evidence, think it over again, go through the process again, whatever. Better luck next time.
But, let's think about truth as one part of reality. Not just an end point, but also a beginning and a middle. Both a cause and an effect. How might this work?
To situate truth within reality, we would need to decide what reality is. Okay, well, that shouldn't be too hard, right?
Of course it is ridiculously hard, but if you are interested in attempting it, you are well served by seeing what others on the same path have discovered, and in that spirit I offer the following.
Reality may be conceived of as having three main aspects: truth, action or will, and being or material.
For example, some truth can be expressed in a theorem of gravity. This truth is intertwined with the material of the penny (as are many other truths). A penny in various ways can hold the amount of truths that its material allows. Truths about canine behavior cannot be held in the material of a penny. But how do we know that? By action/will. Action or will is a force which can operate to uncover truth in the material/being. Dropping a penny helps to uncover gravitational truth from the material of the penny.
So far so good, but this doesn't seem to get us much further than our previous justified true belief process.
Here's where it might get more interesting. We must separate whether we are driving toward some end-point truth, or whether when we say truth we mean reality. Because reality is, according to my view, comprised of many truths contained simultaneously in material as the two aspects are situated in actions. So, one might say there is an ecology. An ecology of the real in which truth lives.
This is important, because truths will be operating upon each other in this ecology, for one thing. Take a more complex truth ecology. A person lives in a society where filial piety is consider the stamp of good moral character. That person learns his father has committed a crime in that society. Now, he or she considers filial piety to be a truth, and the duty under the law to be a truth. It would seem that there are two truths in conflict. You might not like that simple example, but we all have much more personal examples where truths are in conflict, no doubt.
So, if the truths are operating on each other in an ecology of a reality which is comprised of more than truths-as-endpoints, a good understanding of that reality may be necessary.
Let me say more about the model of reality I am suggesting, then. For each of the three aspects, truth, action, and being, there are continuums in which they are in motion. For example, action has causes on one side, and effects on another. Being has creation on one side and dissection on another. Truth can be inherent on one side, or evident on another.
But, continuum is not the best word to describe these dualities. Phases might be better. Or cycles. And the cycles are related. For example, causes are sympathetic to truths which are inherent, and being/material which is being created. Effects or ends are sympathetic to truths which are evident and being/material which is dissected (form/function could also be used as a description of cycles of being/material).
There is much more to say about this model, but I will perhaps pick it up later. Enough to say, there is a similarity between this conception and the conception of an atom, with its constituent parts of proton, neutron, and electron. So far, so good, right? Our model of reality is actually present in reality is some sense.