Shelby G. Floyd
Jesus Christ said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32). Since we can know the truth, what are the laws of finding the truth?
THE LAWS OF KNOWING THE TRUTH
There are certain laws in the philosophical world, just as there are certain laws in the scientific and physical world.
The Law of Identity
First, there is the law of identity. “If a proposition is true then it is true.” For example, the law of identity states that if a statement has been determined to be true, then the statement is true. In plain terms, it states that Y is Y. For example, if I make a statement that ‘It is raining,’ and it is the truth, then the statement must be true. That is the law of identity.
The Law of the Excluded Middle
Then there is the law of the excluded middle. “Every precisely stated proposition is either true or false.” A proposition cannot be both true and false. For example, if I said that it is the case that today is Sunday, then it could not be the case that it is Sunday for some of you, and Saturday for others, or Monday for still others. This proposition is either true or false. The law of the excluded middle is that every precisely stated proposition is either true or false—one or the other.
The Law of Contradiction
The law of contradiction is that no proposition can be both true and false in the same respect. For example, the statements: “All apples are red,” and “It is not true that all apples are red” is contradictory. This means that one of those statements must be false; they cannot both be true at the same time and in the same manner.
THE LAW OF RATIONALITY
Finally, the law of rationality is that we ought to justify our conclusions by adequate evidence. When there is enough credible evidence, then a conclusion must follow. Then your conclusion must be true if it is based on logical facts. For example, Alexander Campbell once said to the young students at Bethany College, “Never put more confidence in a proposition than there is evidence to back it up,” or words to that effect.
KNOWLEDGE BY OUR FIVE SENSES
I believe that is enough preliminary background into the realm of knowledge that comes by contemplation. And even knowledge that comes by contemplation, perception, and reflection, comes by at least two of our five senses. We cannot contemplate about something unless you have read it, and we read it by looking—using the eyesight—the optical sense. And we can contemplate about certain things by hearing—by the auditory senses. And therefore, even knowledge that comes by contemplation comes through at least two or more of our five senses. Helen Keller could not see or hear, but she knew a lot of things by contemplation. She used a third sense and that was the sense of touch—the tactile sense. She was taught certain things by Braille. Therefore, knowledge that comes by contemplation can come through three or more of our senses—hearing, seeing, and touch. But it doesn’t have to be in the realm of personal experience.
Copyright © 1993, 2010, 2023 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved
Shelby G. Floyd delivered this portion of a sermon, November 31, 1993, at the South Central Church of Christ, 265 East Southport Road, Indianapolis, Indiana