Statesboro, GA, USA
I acknowledged, even in the quote you highlighted, there may be such a thing as Truth: "and there may well be..." Don't set up a straw man here.
I didn't mean to take you out of context. But you did however imply that truth is unknowable ... a position which is (for all practical purposes) little different than the belief that there is no truth.
As for the practicality of Truth, one cannot sharpen a pencil with it, open a can of dog food, or clean a kitchen floor. It is on an utterly different level of abstraction. It is a concept. A concept may supply motivation to drive a nail, but by itself it won't do the job. Conflating two levels of abstraction sounds wise enough, but it leads to unneeded paradoxes.
I recognize that sterile truth (as a mere concept) needs application. But truth as a concept only is not Truth in a full sense. The Christian conception of truth involves authority, a recognition of divine law, and a response to that authority. When I speak of truth, I am not speaking of platonic abstraction, but revealed truth.
To be self-righteous removes a person from the commerce of reason. If there is Truth (capital T), self-righteousness may or may not force a departure from that commerce. I don't know any way to evaluate that that is open to general agreement.
It does force a departure from the commerce (as you call it) of truth and reason. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for exhibiting self righteousness. And if I fall into it, I am as subject to the correction of Truth as much as anyone.
And whether or not you know a way to evaluate it that is open to general agreement ... you yourself know it exists, and could cite examples. You, in fact, are the first one who mentioned it. If you censure anything with a moral tone, you are no longer operating in the area of reason alone, but in a type of faith. Though morality is reasonable, reason alone cannot sustain morality.
t's tough to get a bunch of tabby cats to do a precision synchronous tap dance; and I regard the likelihood of reaching consensus on Truth as being far beyond that.
Who ever said that Truth was popular? Should one's goal be to follow the crowd, or the discovery of truth even if followed only by few?
As for God, God is most frequently what folks are self- righteous about. And while you are right about the concept of truth serving to make men more humble, loving and virtuous, you ignore the shadow side of the concept.
I have never ignored the shadow side of the concept. God (the highest thing) can be forsaken for idols, and thus become the lowest thing ... a divine imposter who leads men to violence and hatred. It's funny that the most valuable things of life, can hurt us the most if they are not handled well. The better a thing is, the worse it may become when spoiled. The greatest endeavors of life usually involve more risk than just coasting by complacently. The risk of pursuit, though real, does not devalue the goal.
Belief in an absolute Truth, insofar as I'm concerned is wonderful and useful. Many absolute Truths have been literal life-savers for people, and have proved sustaining and affirming sources of spiritual nourishment. Those who can subscribe to such things should do so.
So is the nature of "truth" only pragmatic? Or is truth necessary to determine the right kind of goals? It seems that whenever one mentions pragmatism, a presupposition of truth (or a pretense thereof) is already there as a hidden preface.
I'm not denying however the pragmatism or benefit of truth.
As far as I'm concerned all the religions are true, including their various contradictions, and we simply don't have the wherewithal to put them all together. I have no wish to put a man of Faith on the spot by putting the contradictions of religion on parade.
I would differ from you, by saying that much of all religions in common, is true. There are however, fundamental differences at their centers, diametrically opposed, which demand that certain claims be true, and others be false. An atheistic Buddhist philosophy, and a Christian Philosophy cannot be admixed. There is a real, objective, fork in the road.
And I'm wondering, if you say that about religion, what is the line that prevents you from saying that about everything? And yet, the fact that you don't imagine everything to be true and equal, is evident by our discourse.
But surely you can think of non-religious examples—say, somebody who believes that global warming is a hoax or that AIDs isn't caused by HIV or, if you happen to believe in either of those, pick your own example and forgive me for treading on your sensibilities.
The thing about either of those examples, is that there IS a right answer. Whether or not I as an individual have access to the scientific data, or the erudite explanations that would convince me of the truth, is another matter. I need not forgive you of treading on my sensibilities if you know something I don't, or if you want to correct my misinformation. If I believe the HIV virus doesn't cause AIDS, then I am wrong. (The verdict is still out on global warming for me- in that I haven't studied it enough). But even in the case of Global Warming, there may be some out there (of the industrial capitalists types?) who don't want it to be true, because it would require some changes. Again, there is willful ignorance with some, as well as innocent ignorance.
If there's a single Truth, it's the matrix around which the various contents form. Taoism, Catholicism, Islam, Hinduism, scientism, whatever you want to plug in there.
I agree with that to a point. However it is the center of many of these religions which are different (not the existential desire for 'goodness', but the solid and particular thing that is offered as an answer). Ravi Zacharias once said that while most people consider religions essentially the same, and only superficially different ... that they are really superficially the same, and essentially different. In my study of comparative religion, I have found that this is true. And that much at least, is little different than the "non-religious" examples you just offered.
The knowledge of good and evil is exceeding painful, but the fruit of that tree is of a type I have no desire to give up.
Seems like a confession of Biblical proportions.
As for willful ignorance, I'm unsure; there may be such as thing. It may also be the oppressor's label for passive rage and resistance. It tends to go with words like bad and underachiever a lot.
And there's a perversion even of this truth. If there is oppression, and the resistance is (really) heroic for good, then it is not willful ignorance. But not every situation can be described with such melodrama. Though I don't deny that such scenarios, and such misnomers (slanders?) exist.
As for my egalitarianism of ideas, what's that? Is it bad? It sounds bad. Should I be severely punished right now? Sounds like maybe I should be. Hmmmm. Bad again, and in public, too.
Its just that truth invites mercy, as an alternative to punishment. And I'm glad to invoke the former, seeing I've been given so much of it myself. But I just want to point out that the moment you protest punishment, you've lost your egalitarianism of ideas.
I'm glad you ended your reply with "affectionately". I was beginning to wonder ... If you are taking me as abrasive, then by all means we should cease this discussion for the sake of peace. If you think I've taken you out of context, then gently explain where I have. Things get corrected as they go. But don't get your feathers ruffled. Philosophical forums (with amateurs like myself) are not for the weak. It's not personal. (Or maybe I want it to be more personal, by saying it's not)