Truthiness is nuttiness
By HEATHER CLARK
The Associated Press
Friday, January 6, 2006; 10:47 PM
A panel of linguists has decided the word that best reflects 2005 is "truthiness," defined as the quality of stating concepts one wishes or believes to be true, rather than the facts. More.
[The article goes on to quote someone who says that unless we get truth and facts together "we're not going to make much progress." Quite so. Facts are what make statements true. That is, a declarative or indicative statement needs a "truth-maker" or state of affairs to which it corresponds in order for that statement to be true. If there is no truth-maker, the statement is false. Truth is not a quality of gender, skin pigment, consensus, power, or expert opinion. It is a quality of statements that reflect or represent reality.
Years ago, Charles Fair wrote a book called The New Nonsense (1974) in which he lamented the rise of "willful personal belief." This, in essence, is "truthiness"--one takes something to be true simply because one chooses or wants it to be true. It is "true for me." That makes truth mighty easy--and terribly cheap. Let's apply it: I am the greatest living philosopher, or so I wish. And it is thus true. What a relief. What a crock!
For more on what truth is, see my book, Truth Decay, especially chapters three and four.]