Guest Author - J.L. Wells
The study of philosophy has meant many things to many people. To the Cynics it meant first and foremost to know thyself. The emperor Julian puts forward the idea that it is enough for all philosophers to “hearken to the Pythian god when he enjoins these two precepts, ‘know thyself’ and ‘falsify the common currency.’”1 By doing these two things one will gain the wisdom required to know truth.
In the process of knowing oneself it is necessary to seek apodictic inner evidence of what one truely is. Though many modern ears may cringe we are one part mortal and one part divine. As I conceptualize it truth has two parts: one ideal and the other empirical. In order to know ourselves we must know both our empirical nature and our ideal nature. As these two natures exist in one being it is easily deduced that truth is unitive in nature. It is a summation of the material and the immaterial. For this reason I choose to call truth unitive truth (it is a union of Ideal and empirical truths). The simple fact that we have apodictic experiences points to the fact that we have access to one part of unitive truth this is of course the ideal. We must turn to our ever more accurate friend science to gain insights into the nature of empirical truth. Yet unitive truth mustn’t be mistaken for relativism. It is when something is found to participate in both ideal truth and empirical truth that it should be called unitivly true. Thus due to the nature of empirical truth there is an objective standard that applies to unitive truth. Also the arguments put forward by Husserl most certainly stand in favor of an objective in pure logic and ergo in ideal truth.
The second precept of Apollo deals with the way in which we seek that self knowledge that leads us to the understanding of what unitive truth is. The common currency in philosophical terms is an idea that is accepted based only on the authority of the person or institution from which it is derived. We must “falsify the common currency” of invalid and overly accepted ideas. This means that we must, like Diogenes, find our own evidence to support our concepts of truth. While we are limited in what we can gain for ourselves scientifically we are in complete control of what we can gain ideally. If we remember the Stoic ideas on will we can take another step. We have the ability to withhold our assent from scientific explanations, or any others, that have logically invalid assumptions. Thus we can pair our apodictic experiences with the correct explanations of our empirical natures and derive unified truth.