Philosophy and The Truth
The investigation of the truth is in one way hard, in another easy.
- No one is able to attain the truth adequately.
- On the other hand, we do not collectively fail – everyone says something true about the nature of things.
We individually contribute little or nothing to the truth.
- But by the union of all, a considerable amount is amassed.
Therefore, the truth is easy, like the proverbial door which no one can fail to hit.
- But the difficult part is to have the whole truth, and not just a particular part of it.
The cause of the present difficulty is not in the facts but in us.
- The eyes of bats are blind to the light of day
- Likewise, the reason in our soul is blind to obvious things
We should be grateful to those with whose views we may agree, but also to those who have expressed more superficial views.
These also contributed something by developing before us the powers of thought.
If there had been no Timotheus, we should have been without much of our lyric poetry.
But if there had been no Phrynis there would have been no Timotheus.
The same is true of those who have expressed views about the truth.
- We have inherited certain opinions from some thinkers, while the others have been responsible for the appearance of the former.
Philosophy should be called knowledge of the truth because the end of theoretical knowledge is truth.
The goal of practical knowledge is action (for even if they consider how things are, practical men do not study the eternal, but what is relative and in the present).
We do not know a truth without its cause. A thing has a quality in a higher degree than other things if in virtue of it the similar quality belongs to the other things as well (e.g. fire is the hottest of things; for it is the cause of the heat of all other things); so that that causes derivative truths to be true is most true.
Hence the principles of eternal things must be always most true (for they are not merely sometimes true, nor is there any cause of their being, but they themselves are the cause of the being of other things), so that as each thing is in respect of being, so is it in respect of truth.