The Yiddish proverb says, “A half truth is a whole lie”. The question is if this proverb tells us more about how our ideas related to truth and falsehood have changed. Watch a TV programme with a political discussion, or explore some tweets, newspaper articles and try to decide which of the proposals and statements is true. Many of the proposals may be difficult to categorise and even after a search for information about the subject, it can still be difficult to make a final decision. Is it bad for our health to eat white bread? The answer depends on a range of factors, such as how many slices, what else we eat, and how the bread was made.
In some cases, it is vital to decide if something is completely true or completely false. The idea of Greyscale Thinking was suggested by Michael Hewitt-Gleeson from the School of Thinking. In Greyscale Thinking, we use a scale from one to ten. The scale is divided into shades, from white to black. We test a statement by applying questions, and by posing a number of questions we move along the grey scale from white (true) towards black (false, lie). The questions are;
You may recognise the questions from Kipling’s poem. This way of balancing evidence highlights the idea that we are searching for truth and that truth is a journey. By looking for a truth rather than the truth, it is assumed that truth is not a fixed destination point.
This is an extract from our eBook.
Photo: “Spotlights in row On Stage” by Stuart Miles