The truth? You can’t handle…the truth!

Last week in our philosophy lesson, Su Nei Cieli continued exploring the concept of ‘truth’.  

Students were asked to come up with a definition of ‘truth’. A seemingly easy task? We discovered it was trickier than you think. Here’s what our philosophers started with:

Truth is being honest to your values. You want to be true to your values and tell the truth. It’s a good value to have. Sometimes too you may need to lie in situations  (Finnley)

It is facts with information that you don’t edit (Xavier)

It depends when you say it; sometimes you can say it at the wrong time, or the wrong place (Olive)

It’s a virtue (Remy)

The information is always correct (like its never false information) but it’s not always correct to say. Sometimes the truth hurts. It’s the opposite of lies. (Toby) 

Truth is something that is real (Seb)

It’s a fact (Remy)

Something you think or say that is non-fiction (Toby)

You need proof to show it is the truth (Ha)

It’s where you can tell about a real event that actually happened (Violet)

It’s sometimes your opinion. It’s not always good, like if you were to insult someone) but usually telling the truth is good (Alex)

Factually accurate information of which all is told (Chance)

The truth is the opposite of a lie. It’s when you tell exactly what happened; you don’t add extra details to it (Olive)

A good truth is when you say it at ‘the right time’.  A bad truth is one that may hurt someone’s feelings or you said it at the wrong time (Cali)

Truth is like facts. Truth is basically the law (Vaibhav)

There are truths we do know and truths we don’t know, like are other galaxies out there? (Phoenix)

Truth is the honest answer (Nami)

Something that is real and not a lie or untrue (Emily)

*  * *

A further provocation to challenge thinking was provided in the form of some classic optical illusions. Students were asked  “Is there more than one truth?”, analysing a range of optical illusions.

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At first, we silently noted down the first thing we saw in the image, then had the opportunity to share our response with the rest of the group. In doing this, we discovered that there was more to the image than what originally meets the eye. Students were asked:

WHAT DO YOU SEE? 

LOOK AGAIN…

WHAT DO OTHER PEOPLE SEE? 

LOOK AGAIN…

WHAT IS THE ‘TRUE’ IMAGE? 

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Some of the responses included:

“A man with a saxophone”

“A Rhino creature”

“A woman’s face”

“A bird is flying towards the man with the saxophone” 

“A man with a pipe” 

“Two faces—one with a pointy chin” 

“A turkey” 

“A city” 

This activity stimulated great discussion about what the ‘true’ image could be, challenging us to look past our first perceptions and listen to others to make sense of the image from many different angles… in some cases, literally.

Turning the images upside down and sideways, we saw different shapes, noted smaller details and colours that may not have been given a thought when we first looked. 

Everyone had the opportunity to share their findings and could come up to the IWB and guide the class through the image. 

So, what is the true image? 

“I don’t know the true image because of different images in the image” 

“It isn’t a real image because we see different things” 

 “The person who created the image did it to confuse people” 

“The truth is that there are black and white lines, and for all the images the artists meant it to be more than one” 

An interesting session where not everything was as it seemed!

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And, for more on recent discussions during philosophy, click here

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