A pear is a fruit. A pear is a fruit that grows on plants. A pear is a fruit that grows on plants from the genus Pyrus. These statements are all truths. However, are they all absolute? The second statement, though, is a more complete truth than the first, and the third is more complete than the second. If the second statement is more “truthful” than the first and the third more than the second, how can the second statement be more absolute than the first and likewise for the third? The answer is that truth is not absolute at all. Truth is all relative. In fact, there are three types of relativity in truth.
Relative in chronology:
Some truths that change with time or consensus truths that change as society accepts new truths. Usually new discoveries and evidence shed new light on previously-accepted truths, generating more “truthful” truths. For example, Newton’s theory of gravity as a force was generally accepted for almost 300 years until Einstein’s theory of general relativity better explained gravity as a bend in the fabric of spacetime, as supported by evidence of distortions in astronomical objects.
Relative in perspective:
The best way of knowing to illustrate this relativity is sense perception. For example, on can smell something as delightful, while another can detest the smell; although for each, their own perception is the truth. Another example involves religions. For Christians, Jesus Christ is the truth; for Muslims, its Muhammad.
Relative in extent:
Just like how the courts require the oath “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”, there are varying degrees of truth, and then there is whole truth. However, it is impossible to have the “whole truth”. As a result, certain truths have differing degrees of completeness. An example from history: WWII was caused by Hitler’s invasion of Poland, which directly led to the declaration of war by Britain and France would be a truth. However, this truth is not complete – it disregards the long-term causes of the war – in other words, what were Hitler’s motives in invading Poland in the first place. A truth that answers this question is in extent, more “truthful” than the first truth. However, considering this case, there is an infinite expansion that can be applied to such a truth, never to reach the “whole truth”. What conditions led to Hitler’s ideologies? How did those conditions come about? These will eventually lead further and deeper into history, eventually surpassing the oldest knowledge we hold, never to reach an end.
It is like asking: where did humans originate? If the truth was evolution from a primate ancestor, where did that ancestor come from? If the answer to that was evolution from the earliest biological form, where did that originate? From a set of conditions that allowed for specific chemical reactions? Then where did those elements come from? From the Big Bang? Did truth originate from the Big Bang? Therefore, truth is not discrete, but rather a sliding scale of relative trueness.