Maxwell Hawkins Headshot

What is truth? Truth is the state of being in accordance with fact or reality. What any individual finds true changes how they view the world and can define how they vote, what they worship or how they solve problems in their daily life.

However, truth can be perceived in two main ways. The first way truth can be perceived is subjectively, meaning that what can be true can be different from person to person based upon their own moralities.

The second way truth can be perceived is objectively, where truth is universal and does not change based upon the individual.

A subjective view of truth theorizes that all morals, including truth, are man-made and are therefore all equal. Individuals who view truth this way recognize that certain things may be true for certain people and may not be true for other people. In slang terms, this means “letting people speak their truth” when they need to rant or vent about a certain issue in their life.

Viewing truth this way has its strengths and weaknesses. As a strength, people who view truth as subjective to the individual creates an environment in their personal life of inclusivity and acceptance. If a person surrounds themselves with people who view things differently, then it is no issue that everyone believes differently, because whatever makes people happy to believe in is the goal.

However, one weakness of viewing truth as subjective is that, as truth isn’t universal, people can believe things to be true that are false. Being truly subjective when viewing truth means that flat-earthers are correct for themselves, cultures that practice cannibalism and human sacrifices are ethical and that education is useless because what is right and wrong is all dependent on the individual person.

When it comes to abortion, individuals who tend to view truth as subjective tend to be more pro-choice. This is because those individuals believe it is up to the mother whether the fetus is a human or not. If the mother decides that her fetus has human value, then she decides to keep the child, and if the mother decides that the fetus has no human value, then it is aborted. Therefore, the mother is the definer of what truth is for her personal life. This is also why pro-choice individuals tend to silence individuals who are male on the topic of abortion, because a man cannot define what may be true for a woman.

Since life experiences are different between sexes and truth is subjective, men and women are different in how they define what is true.

An objective view of truth theorizes that truth is universal and does not change based upon who believes it and what their life experiences are. Individuals who are religious tend to view truth more objectively, since Christians do not believe that Odin is the true god, and Muslims do not believe that Vishnu is the one true god.

One example of objective truth is saying that either democrats are correct on an issue or republicans are correct on an issue. While both sides might make good points on an issue, an individual must decide whether the argument for either side is stronger than the other. Another example would be saying that a culture that practices human sacrifices and cannibalism is inherently immoral.

One weakness to viewing truth objectively is that some things in life are subjective, like art. One person may despise the song WAP by Cardi B, and someone else may play it every day as a morning routine. While there may be an objective list to define what a good song entails, there is always a great song that breaks the rules and is still a great song.

When it comes to abortion, individuals who view truth objectively tend to be more pro-life. This is because pro-life individuals believe that life must be defined universally and not subjectively, and therefore has an issue with some people defining life at one point in fetal development and another person defining life in a later stage. Pro-life people tend to define life at fertilization and conception to make the definition of human life universal for all people.

This is also why when pro-choice people make the argument that men cannot voice an opinion on abortion, pro-life people say that argument is sexist and bigoted, since what is right and wrong does not change based upon the sex of person. This gives women the right to study and talk about testicular cancer and gives men the right to study and advocate for breast cancer awareness.

While something may be perceived subjectively, like music, that does not mean all of truth is, in and of itself, subjective. Just because people may disagree, that does not mean that everyone is correct for their own sake. The point of searching for truth is to find the answer of what is right and wrong objectively, not to give up and say that everyone is correct subjectively.

Maxwell Hawkins is a junior at UTK this year studying political science, public administration and economics. He can be reached at mhawki13@vols.utk.edu.

Columns and letters of The Daily Beacon are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Beacon or the Beacon's editorial staff.

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