I think this is more or less acknowledged in most philosophical activities these days. Which is why I suppose the questions you raise, Craig, will only lead to more questions.Dan74 wrote:So in Mathematical Logic, truth is very much a relative thing - it is relative to the system of assumptions and the rules of deduction.
I am not trained in philosophy but as far as I am aware, many philosophers these days do not ask the grand question of 'What is truth?' but a somewhat more modest question of 'What is meant by truth?' or more precisely, 'What do you mean when you say--This is truth?'
There is a subtle but important shift in emphasis here. To echo what kannada has said about the role of conceptuality in shaping truth: When we ask 'What do you mean when you say--This is truth?' we are moving away from engaging with truth as something 'out there' waiting to be discovered (as one popular TV show of the 90s would have it), to engaging with truth as that which is shaped and 'coaxed to life', as it were, by how we think and speak of it.
In my view, this line of inquiry forces us to not take truth as self-evident but instead examine the forces that shape truth and our relationship to those forces. Buddhism gives us many tools to pursue this line of inquiry.
Anyway Craig, if you are interested in examining Buddhism with such categories as 'realism' and 'anti-realism' you may find David Burton's Buddhism, Knowledge, and Liberation: A philosophical Study interesting. There's a review of the book here: http://www.buddhistethics.org/13/hoogca ... eview.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Burton's book raises more questions than answers. When I first read it, I felt that he was making many gross generalisations about Buddhism. However, as I finished the book I began to see that this was perhaps his aim: to highlight the impossibility of fully explicating Buddhism with such Western epistemological categories. He points out that the question 'What is truth?'--which for Western philosophy is primarily a epistemological issue--is from a Buddhist perspective always partial and limited. This is because truth in Buddhism is not merely about how we can know it but how we can live it.
Anyway, I wish you all the best in your studies. It is very exciting and I hope you get into your university course of choice.