responses were collected by telephone, face to face encounters, telephone
calls, written responses on a form and by filling in blanks on a web site at
irsonline.org. The 50 percent of
adults that were relegated to the category of believing that truth is
relative may be a little high. It is difficult to determine what a
person's position is on the definition of truth without further questioning,
which was not possible in most cases of collecting this information.
Further questioning is really needed
to determine what a person's real perception of truth is. To be
scientific what is really needed is a poll of in depth questioning of some
one to two thousand adults to determine the position of people in various
categories such as education, age, gender, occupation, sexual orientation
In general more
older people tend to believe in the objective view of truth, while younger
people tend to favor the the relative position of truth. Journalists
and educators tended to favor the relative position of truth while lawyers,
accountants and engineers favored the objective interpretation of truth.
We emphasize again
the informality of the poll and the need to view it skeptically. Even
if the poll results are off, it does give a person an idea of the public's
perception of the definition of truth.
There was a sense
that the great majority of people did not view the definition of truth as a
It is strange that
people do not bother to look up the definition of truth. All the
dictionaries and encyclopedias define truth as objective and not relative.
The books posted
on this web site--Rules for Public Discourse and Ten Precepts of
Dialogue--each have an extensive chapter dealing with the correct
perception of what truth is. These are listed on the Home Page here.
The link to the chapter on truth in the latter book is at