Book 2 Identity and Values: Study Tools

Chapter 1 – Truth

Vocabulary (click on the word for the definition)

common understanding

common understanding – Thinking that is shared in common with most other people. When most reasonable people in most places in most time periods throughout history share the same understanding about what is good and what is evil, there is a strong probability that what is being understood is true.


conscience – The ability of our reason (our intellect) to judge, here and now, whether a particular act that we are about to do, or are in the process of doing, or have done already, is good or evil. A well-formed conscience approves what is good and rejects what is evil. It is like a sixth sense of knowing when something is right or wrong.

Deadened conscience

Deadened conscience – When a person ignores his conscience often enough that he no longer senses that wrong actions are wrong, or can no longer distinguish between right and wrong, this is sometimes called a “deadened conscience.”

ethical relativism

ethical relativism – Sometimes called “moral relativism” or “situation ethics,” it is the position that there is no real standard for determining right or wrong conduct.


ethics – A set of standards by which a community judges the rightness or wrongness of human actions.

factual truth

factual truth – Truth which can be verified through the five senses.

first principle

first principle – A principle which is necessary to accept before you can prove or disprove anything. First principles are so basic that they do not need to be proved by other proofs. They prove themselves. Example: A = A.


morality – The goodness or evilness of human actions.

objective ethics

objective ethics – Holds that goodness is an actual reality that exists in itself. It is not just a theory or a principle, but a real, existing entity. Objective ethics holds that there is objective moral truth, and it exists for everybody, in every place, and in every time. It is the position that there are objective standards for judging human acts.

objective truth

objective truth – A state of reality that is true in and of itself, regardless of anyone’s opinions or perceptions, and regardless of the place or time that the reality is being observed. It is not affected by the personal feelings or biases of the people observing it. Objective truth is also sometmes called “absolute truth.”


philosophy – Literally, “love of wisdom” — from the Greek words philo (meaning “love”) and sophia (meaning “wisdom”). Aristotle defined philosophy as “the knowledge of being” — or the study of what is true about human existence versus what is not true.


reason – The ability of the human mind to think things through logically.


relativism – The theory that truth is relative or subjective, differing according to events or persons. Relativism claims that “what’s true for me is true for me, and what’s true for you is true for you,” and argues that all points of view are equally valid.


revelation – God’s self-disclosure; God communicating Himself and His divine plan to us through events, persons, and, Christians believe, most fully in Jesus Christ.

self-evident truth

self-evident truth – Something that is objectively true in and of itself, and is true for all times, places, and persons.

subjective truth

subjective truth – A state of reality that can change depending on who is perceiving it, or where or when it is being perceived.


truth – Whatever corresponds with what is real. Aristotle clarified: “To say of what is that it is, and of what is not, that it is not, is true.”

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