The Difference Between Truth and Knowledge

Truth is subjective and Knowledge is objective

Luan Hassett


Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash

After brief consideration of the best way to spend this Christmas morning, I have decided to explain to you why there is no such thing as objective truth.

Don’t worry. This is not the typical essay which tries to gaslight you into believing “it’s all narrative.” The confusion about truth and whether humans can ever know what’s real comes from a confusion about terminology. Specifically, the terms “truth” and “knowledge.”

“Truth” implies a completeness. “Knowledge” is objective, is scientific, but is inherently incomplete; there is always an infinity of knowledge left to discover.

Subjective Truth

The truth is subjective. The reason not to worry about this is because “subjective” doesn’t make it any less real. “I think therefore I am” expresses the most certain reality there is. Not all opinions are equally important under these terms. In fact, opinions are rendered ridiculous.

How do you know you weren’t born 5 minutes ago with implanted memories? You don’t. You couldn’t resolve this using objective knowledge — the question would be meaningless because it’s unfalsifiable. You could dismiss any evidence placed in front of you. If you were shown your original birth cert, or a video of your birth, or the measured length of your telomeres, you could ask how you know this evidence isn’t fabricated or that you’re not hallucinating all of it. Again, you don’t.

If you’re having a debate founded on objective knowledge then the debate ends there. You cannot be reasoned with. However if such questions come from the standpoint of truth, they demonstrate that truth (vs inherently incomplete knowledge) is subjective. It’s what you experience, not what you “know.” The only thing that cannot be an illusion is awareness, since the presence of any illusion would simply prove that there was awareness. That is completeness, so that is truth.

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