All too many problems in life (and in philosophy...) are created by 1 or 0 -thinking, or by that there is supposed to be only two answers - on or off. However, in real life it is rare to find such problems at all.
Many people can, for example, think that there are just fully true or fully untrue answers to a certain question. This is all too often the case, even if there often can be several rather good and even several less good, but still not totally untrue answers.
In many cases, the truth-value of an answer or claim can be anything between 1 or 100 on a scale of 1 to 100. Assessing the exact truth-value is naturally very often quite impossible at the particular moment when a claim is made or an answer is given.
However, very often our knowledge of the issue at hand can grow later and the truth value of claim can either grow or diminish with time in the real world.
I have, in fact, been dreaming of a thing that I like to call Stochastic Motivational Analysis, which is in my mind could be a valuable tool in examining the history and things like history of religions.
It is an analysis of WHY people say and do certain things; what are the real reasons why they do them. Stochastic means that the results are always tentative. They will change always when new and better information is received or more argumentative theories are formed.
However, the real point is that in the SMA answers are never true or untrue, but always something in between, Their truth-value can be perhaps as low as 1 or 2 of 100 in worst cases and maybe even 60 or 70 in best cases.
I think that even the simple process of just thinking through the motivations of a historical person can give valuable insights. This is true even if the real truth-value of these ideas is unknown. In philosophy too many people live in a static universe, where things and most of all our knowledge over them does not change. This is the 'theoretical universe', where most of modern philosophers do unfortunately operate. This operation mode is the reason why their results have so little use in the real world.
On the other hand, one needs to remember that the truth-value of an answer or claim is dependent of the level of zoom or level of detail that is expected. “Why is this lamppost here in front of my house?” This question can be answered in a very simple and straightforward way. For example: “Because our community wants us to see in the dark.” It is also very easy to evaluate the truth-value of this answer.
However, the question: “Why is this tree growing in front of my house? “ is incredibly more difficult question. In fact, there is no absolutely true answer to it, if this tree has grown there without any input from humans.
There are an incredible number of factors that affect the growth of a tree and the selection of places where they choose to grow. To answer the question fully one needs to go millions of years back to the evolutionary history of the trees to discern why certain trees prefer certain kinds of areas and places.
To know why this tree is really growing in just this place, one needs to delve into the nature of just how this variant of a tree does live and what preferences it has for places that they prefer.
To understand this issue you need to delve into the nature of photosynthesis which is the engine that propels this tree in its growth. To understand photosynthesis one needs to delve into properties of matter and energy that make photosynthesis possible,
In fact, there is an incredible number of very complex questions that stem from the original questions. Under normal circumstances, we will never evoke or even notice all this enormous complexity, but just accept the tree as it is.
Of course, the same issue of hidden complexity is present every time we make a question about almost any natural phenomena or complex social process. What is the satisfactory level of an answer depends wholly on our own momentary expectations. In some instances, we want and expect just a simple yes or no – answer, but in other situations we expect a higher level of analysis.
The person who receives the answer always decides what level of complexity in the answer is deemed as satisfactory. The truth-value of the answer very much depends also on what is expected from it. There just is no simple single truth for even as simple a question as the ones presented in this piece.
Naturally we can very often tell when the answer is simply wrong according to what we already know of the issue, However, discerning "truth" is so often much more difficult task than just rejecting falsehoods.