Truth Concepts in Mathematics, the Arts and Ethics

Words: 1964
Topic: Sociology


Truth primarily means conforming to factual reality. Depending on individuals’ perceptions, way of thinking, emotionality, or form of verbal and non-verbal communication (language), truth is relative (Atwood p. 1). Human beings base their judgments on mere perceptions, which vary depending on an individual’s state of mind, societal influences, and supporting environments.

To many, truth means reality; hence, depending on what one takes to be right or prevailing conditions, truth varies. Many philosophical concepts try to explain truth by using theories of truth or in some cases relating occurrences in life to theories of truth. Hence, due to this, many controversies arise on what truth means. On the other hand, depending on the existing metaphysical premises, the interpretation of truth varies something that results due to existing conditions or principles.

Two main questions should guide the understanding of truth, namely: what exactly makes truth? What are appropriate methodologies of ascertaining the truth? Also, to these questions, it is crucial for all individuals to question the completeness, objectivism, relativism, or subjectivism of truth.

Through doing this, there is a guarantee that individuals will give truth the desired interpretation or meaning, hence avoidance of fallacies that most arguments encompass. This paper will critically analyze ideological differences of truth in three disciplines, namely: mathematics, ethics, and arts.


Different individuals have varying interpretations of the real meaning of truth. Philosophically for one to argue that something is true they have to take into consideration primary qualities of truth that include validity, earnestness, allegiance, and reliability. Also, the truth has to follow specific theories that are official, minimalist, and have a firm basis of basing arguments.

These theories are constructive, coherence, consensus, and correspondence theories. Also, truth depends on one’s language, cultural background, embraced society values, and individual perceptions of occurrences in their immediate environments (Prior pp. 220-225). It is important to note here that, most ideologies held by individuals are just mere beliefs, they construct from life experiences; hence, in most cases, they are never the actual truth.

Truth in Mathematics

Considering the nature of ideas in mathematics, it is not wrong for one to argue that, the understanding of mathematical concepts is universal, but ascertaining those facts is not universal. Many mathematical concepts are axioms; hence unless proved they can never be true. Most axiomatic-deductive methods in mathematics need proving because mere interpretations of them make them lack meaning in reality because of their complex and concrete nature.

For example, in common life, adding one plus one is two, whereas, from properties of angles, angle of two alternate parallel lines add up to one hundred and eighty degrees. All these are axioms that need proving for them to be true.

Also, it is essential to consider the prevailing classic logic standards mathematically, because this will help to ascertain that such mathematical deductions are provable; a property that is compulsory to all mathematical deductions. On the other hand, the definition of most mathematical concepts is general; hence, in most cases, syntax plays a minimal role in the determination of mathematical objects (Lemanska Para. 1-6).

To deduce the truth in mathematics, individuals must take into consideration all mathematical properties. This is because the assigning of mathematical theories to specific mathematical deductions guarantees one an opportunity of ensuring there is consistency in the entire mathematical deduction.

Also, considering the nature of outcomes from such a relationship (assignment of mathematical theories to deductions), determination of mathematical truths becomes easy and of meaning, because consistency will play the central role in the determination of truth.

Proving of consistency of mathematical theories is achievable through two primary methodologies, namely: using mathematical models or a direct approach. The former is a little bit easy to use in proving the consistency in mathematical theories as compared to the later because of the varying nature of experience required in both. Also, the use of mathematical axioms is also arguable.

This is because, the majority of these axioms are mere logical tautologies; hence, posing another crucial debate about the best logic methodology to apply in proving mathematical truths primarily consistency.

The concept of consistency is in line with Gödel’s incompleteness theorems, which argue that in nature, the proving of natural numbers lacks a reliable set of axioms. This s because considering the nature of natural numbers, some facts about natural numbers may be true, but they may lack consistency due to lack of a mechanism of ascertaining in the proving system.

On the other hand, if the system has the capability of ascertaining the consistency in properties of natural numbers, considering the nature of arithmetic truths, it is hard for the system to prove its consistency (Hellman p.1).

Although there exists no single methodology of solving mathematical concepts, it is important to note that, most mathematical formulas are concrete and un-alterable hence, making mathematical truth absolute.

Truth in Arts

Artistic truth is subjective primarily because truth in arts depends on personal understanding. Also, the interpretation of truth in arts depends on individuals’ perceptions, hence the importance of the expression language, emotionality, and motive (Addis p. 1). For example, referring to the six wise men of Hindustan poem, the six men gave the elephant misery varying interpretations.

The first one likened the misery to a wall; the second to a spear; the third to a snake; the fourth to a tree; the fifth to a fan, and the sixth to a rope. Critically analyzing this proves that all these men were correct because their interpretations relied on personal perceptions; hence, the subjectivity of truth in art.

On the other hand, truth interpretation in arts depends on one’s background experience, because in most scenarios, individuals tend to interpret truth using what they know of new concepts they are meeting. For example, some individuals avoid McDonald’s nuggets because, at one time, they discovered that that contained some borne pieces. Using human perceptions, truth is all about pleasant experiences, although, what is pleasant is relative depending on individuals or prevailing conditions.

Although many external factors determine truth in arts, it is not wrong for one to argue that ‘art is the truth’ because most external factors have little influence on artistic work. It is important to note here that artistic work depicts what occurs in society. Although some artistic tools, for example, creative writing and speech work can convey fictitious information, others primarily music and visual art can convey the correct message depending on human perceptions.

Truth in Ethics

Ethics are the main determinants of individuals’ lifestyles because in most cases, they direct and dictate what people value as the right thing. Depending on a given society, ethical values differ because different individuals have different believes, determined by the interaction of various societal forces. On the other hand, although different individuals have a personal set of ethics universally, there exist a set of morals, which determine behavior in a multicultural scenario.

On the other hand, although this is the case, universal embracing of universal ethics is debatable. For example, among the Ten Commandments, one forbids killing. However, it is necessary to note that, adhering to the Ten Commandments is something of debate due to varying religious believes and practices.

This is because some individuals in the society are pure pagans; hence mentioning God and religion to them will be of no significance. On the other hand, some religions like Islam moral values vary from what the bible says, because they follow their teachings, hence making truth in ethics relative.

On the other hand, depending on individuals’ attitudes towards certain aspects of life, the definition of truth varies, hence the need to use logic in defining what truth entails. In addition to using logic, it is important to apply correct ethical facts, because the use of moral language only contradicts the truth in ethics.

Major Differences and Similarities

Depending on the premises, policies, and procedures of defining truth, truth in these three fields can be similar although clear variations exist. For example, words from the main basis of defining truth in ethics, something different in mathematics. The case is also different when it comes to artistic work, primarily because artistic works are human creations, whereas mathematical work follows concrete and un-changeable formulas.

Using ontological precepts truth in mathematics, arts, and ethics can be subjective, because of the nature of human influences on their existence. One primary difference between this truth in mathematics, ethics, and arts is that the interpretation of truth in arts follow human perceptions; in mathematics, truth depends on proof and consistency whereas ethical truth is a form of a conciliation process.

Some individuals can argue that some mathematical patterns are artistic; hence, these two fields have the same definition of truth. However, one critical question arises; is interesting absolute or relative. Although this is the case, to some extent, these three fields of knowledge may have a different definition of truth because their existence is because of the development of insights and facts.

For instance, individuals require no emotional variations to solve mathematical problems, but rather the use of logic and interpretation. Take, for example, in arithmetic six multiplied by six is thirty-six, an answer originating from logical reasoning, not emotions.

On the other hand, it is important to note that, depending on prevailing premises, truth in these three fields can be absolute, relative, or subjective. For example, mathematical truth is absolute due to un-alterable formulas and the fact that they are provable. On the other hand, mathematical truths can be relative because some mathematical formulas have limits of operation.

The same is the case in arts because; the interpretation of artistic work varies among different individuals hence relativism. Truth in arts can also be subjective because human beings are naturally selective; hence the freedom to choose what to accept as true (Turney p.1). For example, I love Bryan Adams’ music, but my friend dislikes his music. The reasons for her dislike could be numerous, but it comes down to the fact that I like it and she does not because music is a type of art, and art is subjective

Ethical truth can also be absolute in cases where rules governing human conduct are permanent. Also, ethical truth is subjective if individuals take an option of judging ideas from what others consider right.

On the other hand, because of societal variations on what is right or wrong, ethical truth can be relative. For example, the Islamic religion forbids alcohol consumption. Hence, a Muslim parent could tell their child that their religion forbids them from drinking alcohol because it is wrong. However, it is up to the child to perceive what is right or wrong; hence, they can subjectively make up their own choices, after objectively parents guiding them.


In conclusion, although all these similarities and differences exist between these three fields, it is necessary for individuals to know that concepts of truth go beyond human perceptions and interpretations. For individuals to correctly give truth an appropriate definition, it is important to avoid human perceptions and other cultural variations because they tend to alter human thinking.

Truth definition should apply valid premises that are verifiable. Also, it is essential to note that mathematics, ethics, and arts vary its terms of ideological expressions. Hence, important to understand that mathematical concepts are concrete; artistic knowledge depends on individual interpretations; something determined by societal values that vary from time to time.

On the other hand, ethical values take time to develop and must have some form of source. It is important for individuals to note also that, ethical values vary from generation to generation; hence; its definition of truth depends on alterations in mentality. Compounding all these factors clearly shows that, the interpretation of truth in these three fields of knowledge depends on individual interpretation and understanding of truth properties.

Works Cited

Adiss, Stephen. Truth in arts and science. 2009. Web.

Atwood, Margaret. ‘Context is all” (Margaret Atwood). Does this mean that there is no such things as truth? Bisnet. 2010. Web.

Hellman, Geoffrey. How to Gödel a Frege-Russell: Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems and Logicism. Philosophy of Mathematics, 15 (4) (1981), pp. 451–467. Print.

Lemanska, Anna. Philosophy of mathematics: Truth and existence in mathematics. 2003. Web.

Prior, Arthur. Encyclopaedia of philosophy. New York: Macmillan, 1969. Print.

Turney, Peter. Math and Art: Differences and similarities. Apperceptual, 2010. Web.