The categories of truthfulness of information

I keep hearing so much about the distinction between truth and lies. People say that things that aren't objectively true are "obviously lies". This isn't so, and there's a lot of different levels of truth.

What inspired me to write this was the detective visual novel and anime Danganronpa series, specifically the character Kokichi Oma, who uses lies to deceive playfully, and is often not known to either be telling the truth or lies. Other parts in the series revolve around finding truth using either other truths or lies.

However, there's a lot more fine detail to the level of truthfulness of information, that I'll briefly cover here.

    Objective facts
        Things that are objectively true, and always are true, independently of the universe. These things can be proved without doubt.
            In the common system of mathematics, there are infinitely many primes.

    Generally true facts
        Things that are generally agreed upon that it is impossible to absolutely verify (at least for now), such as observations about the universe, and deductions based on it. This includes things "as far as anyone can tell".
            We are living in a galaxy.

    Specifically / subjectively true facts
        Based on experience, what a person may internally observe, remember or prefer, whether or not what they remember is verifiable. This may not necessarily be a truth for everybody. Opinions are included in this.
            I am writing a blog post.
            I like sushi.
            Any kind of delusion is an example, because the speaker genuinely believes it.

    Rumsfeld Known Unknowns
        Something that is known to be unknown, either for now or always.
            I do not know whether my great-great-great-times-a-thousand-grandfather had three or fewer children.

    Rumsfeld Unknown Knowns
        What is not known to be known.
            "It was right in front of our nose the entire time!"

    Rumsfeld Unknown Unknowns
        What is not known to not be known - at all, without any reference or guesses.

        What is known up to the specifically true range, but hidden and not explained, to protect people, data or knowledge. This information may later be leaked if it is not protected well enough, or deemed later to be not necessary to protect.

        Often misattributed as lies, somebody may think that they know something, but they get it wrong, either by mis-remembering, citing an incorrect source or being told by somebody who also made a mistake.

        What is known up to the specifically true range, but deliberately obfuscated or told wrongly. There are several broad reasons for lying.
        Malicious lies
            Told to deceive, confuse, avoid consequences, or to protect secrets or feelings
            Political lies
                Told by many to get out of trouble.
            Religious lies
                Told to ensure loyalty, or to induce fear and panic.
        Forced lies
            Told to ensure an authority will not punish the liar.
        Deluded lies
            When the alternative to lying is too painful, physically or mentally, but the liar knows that it is a lie. Different to a delusion, which is a personal truth.
        Playful lies
            Told for fun, such as playing pretend, spreading chaos or to make things interesting. Often not serious in the slightest.
        Things that cannot be rated in terms of truth because they don't relate to a statement, such as a question.
        Things that cannot be understood at all.

Let me know if I missed anything or if you think something should be changed!


SRC said…
You're correct in so many ways. Can't thank you enough.

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