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How to Tell Whether an Idea is True

How to Tell Whether an Idea is True

How to Tell Whether an Idea is True

We all operate according to the ideas that we believe to be true. But not all ideas are true.

Whenever people act according to a set of wrong ideas, then their chances of success are diminished.

It is important to have a method for distinguishing between those ideas that are likely to be true, and those that are not. How would we do that?

Let us start with a definition of what we mean by a "true statement". A true statement is one that "corresponds to reality".

The universe is a complete system of interlocking, coherent facts.

Human thought is the mental act of identifying, classifying, naming and logically evaluating this universe of "interlocking, coherent facts". For human thought to be correct, it must reflect the same nature as the universe it is trying to describe. Therefore, human thought should be a, "complete system of interlocking, coherent and factual ideas".

Human language is the verbal and written expression of our ideas about the universe. For human language to be logically correct, it too must share the same nature as the universe it is trying to describe. Therefore, language should be a coherent system of accurate identifications, unequivocal definitions, objective classifications and rational evaluations that exactly correspond to the universe it is trying to describe.

Human action is the physical expression of our ideas, thoughts and language. If we have been logically correct in our thinking and language, when we put them into practice, then our actions will be coherent with the facts. Consequently, they will work-out well in practice.

Incorrect human action. If we have been wrong, sloppy, lazy, or illogical in our thinking or language, then our subsequent actions will NOT be coherent with the facts. Consequently, they will NOT work out well in practice.

The above statements hold the clues to help us formulate the following set of test questions, that we use to determine whether an expert is promoting a true idea or not. (True meaning statements that correspond to the logical, systematic, coherent set of facts that make up the universe in which we live).

The test questions that we should apply to any speaker claiming to be an expert, are these:

  1. Are the theories an expression of a coherent, interlocking system of ideas, or are they an assemblage of spare parts, thrown together in the moment in response to the latest crisis?
  2. Is the theory based upon a set of clear and distinct definitions, or are there too many vague, fuzzy, dubious or ill-defined terms?
  3. Are they making too many unstated assumptions, which they never review and will not allow to be checked, or challenged?
  4. When put into practice, do their policies create obvious and glaring contradictions?
  5. When put into practice, do their policies create more problems than they solve?
  6. Do the experts apply their policies to themselves and their families, or do they make themselves exempt from the effects of their own policies?
  7. To motivate people, do the experts use threats, fear, or the "duty ethic", rather than reasoning and logic?
  8. Are the expert's arguments dependent on dubious statistics?
  9. Are their policies wreaking havoc amongst the most and the many?

If the answers to any these questions is yes, then we may not be listening to the best ideas.

General Development : How to Tell Whether an Idea is True

About the Author: Chris Farmer


Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

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