The Practical Value of Personal truth and Liberation from Truth

  • Samuel Fogarty Vanderbilt University


It is easy to mistake one’s beliefs about the world as absolute knowledge. In this paper, I argue that any view of knowledge as absolute, or objective, is a misrepresentation of the limits of human understanding. In contrast, I argue for the pragmatic use of truth as conceived by William James. I contend that if one views truth as a practical instrument valued solely for its ability to help humans, one can place scientific and religious beliefs on equal footing. By valuing truth for its practical effects, one may return truth to its intended function: to be one’s closest ally in overcoming life’s challenges.

Author Biography

Samuel Fogarty, Vanderbilt University
Senior graduating in May with a double major in economics and philosophy.
How to Cite
FOGARTY, Samuel. The Practical Value of Personal truth and Liberation from Truth. Vanderbilt Undergraduate Research Journal, [S.l.], v. 8, july 2012. ISSN 1555-788X. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 16 june 2019. doi:
Humanities and Social Sciences