In considering the main worldviews held by most all of mankind, how does one go about deciding which ones must be more false, and which one (if any) has a likelihood of being true? ("Truth" is that which matches up with reality --above and beyond mere personal opinion.)
To begin with, we must recognize and assume that something actually exists in reality. Every full-orbed worldview sees this fact. (If this is denied, then all reasoning and discussion are over; and the denier doesn't exist anyway.)
--Next, we must assume that we can actually know something and that we are able to think true thoughts. A reasonable starting-point for this might well be that of Descartes' line of reasoning: "I think, therefore I am." This is a logical assertion that we (as thinkers) do actually exist --and that we know something which is self-evidently true.
Along with reasoning that we can know something true, come the three laws of logical thought, which are: the law of identity, the law of opposites, and the law of non-contradiction.
- The "Law of Identity" states: In a certain specific context (set of facts and circumstances), a proposition (thing, idea or situation) has only one real meaning.
- The "Law of Opposites" (or the "excluded middle") states: That a proposition with one specific meaning is either true or false, but cannot be both at the same time.
- And the "Law of Non-Contradiction" states: Two such propositions cannot both be true, if one affirms while the other denies the same thing at the same time and in the same respect.
If these laws of thought are denied, then all meaningful thinking and communication are destroyed --and our existence proceeds into nonsense and nihilism. --Discussion over.
The Three Truth-Tests
Logical thinking allows us to list three distinctive qualities which test the truthfulness of any worldview:
FIRST, an adequate worldview must be consistent within itself, and non-contradictory. Any self-contradiction is a definite indication that the worldview contains at least some untruth; And if the self-contradiction involves an essential element of the worldview, then the worldview must be false, having failed the first truth-test of "consistency."
SECOND, an adequate worldview must fit basically all the relevant data and facts of reality (as opposed to fantasy) in the world/universe and human experience. The worldview which accounts for the greatest number of facts, with the fewest difficulties, has the highest probability of being a worldview which is true. A worldview which is inconsistent with human experience and with the empirical facts of history, nature, and the universe, fails the second truth-test.
THIRD, an adequate worldview must be subjectively satisfactory, practicable and livable on an every-day basis. We must ask: When a man is done talking and "philosophizing" about the nature of his worldview, can he consistently live it out, and does he actually practice it in his every-day life? --If not, then the actions of his life reveal his true inner conviction of the untruth of his professed worldview --that it is not livable, and therefore (by his actions and life) he rejects his own worldview so that it fails the third truth-test.
So, we will study various worldviews, such as those addressed on this website, and evaluate them with these truth-tests in mind.
By way of review: A worldview is a person's set of assumptions and assertions about the basic makeup and nature of the universe and humanity.
A fully developed worldview gives answers to the foundational questions of human existence:
1.) What is the ultimate and prime reality? (...such as "God", or Matter/Energy)
2.) What is the essential nature of the universe and everything?
3.) What is the basic nature and condition of man?
4.) What is the reason and basis of ethics and morality?
5.) What is man's basic purpose and ultimate destiny?