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Consensus Theory

The consensus theory of truth, originated by Charles Sanders Peirce who called it Pragmatism, and later pragmaticism, holds that a statement is true if it would be agreed to by all those who investigate it.


Note that, since it is possible in principle for everyone to agree but be mistaken about the facts, the consensus theory implies that a statement can be true even if it fails to describe Reality. For example, if all who investigate "The center of Venus is molten copper" are destined to accept it, then it is "true" on the consensus theory even if they are all wrong about the fact of the matter.

__Objections & Responses__

Objection: An objection to the theory is that it presupposes that for every possible statement, investigators are destined eventually to agree about it one way or the other. But this seems dubious: It has been argued, for example, that statements of beauty or morality are intrinsically controversial.

Response: This objection is mistaken. The presupposition would only stand if it were assumed that all statements must have a truth value: Maybe Pierce would agree that statements like "She is beautiful" are not necessarily truth-holding statements.

The consensus theory of truth as defined is certainly in accord with such a response: As we can never agree as to whether or not "she is beautiful", the statement cannot be said to be true. But we cannot state that the counter-thesis ("she is not beautiful") is true either, otherwise we could come to an agreement about the first statement. Therefore, at least implicitly, Peirce states that according to the consensus theory of truth, not all statements can be assigned a truth value.

__Not to be confused with..__

The consensus theory of truth should not be confused with either Subjectivism - the claim that what is true is whatever one happens to believe, or Relativism - the belief that what is true is whatever is accepted by one's culture or community.Men's Shorts - Shop Men's Shorts Online