Sincerity and Truthfulness

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colognial

Senior Member
Persian
Hello. I should like to ask if 'sincerity' and 'truthfulness' are quite the same thing, insofar as semantics are concerned. The dictionary (thefreedictionary.com) says this about sincerity:
The quality or condition of being sincere; genuineness, honesty, and freedom from duplicity.
Also, this:
freedom from deceit, hypocrisy, or falseness; earnestness; probity.
To my mind, if a person is sincere, and if this means that person is honest, the basic assumption about him/her may well be that he or she tells the truth. But is such an assumption free from fallacy? Isn't there in fact a distinction, one that is quite logical, too, to be made between being sincere and being truthful? To be sincere is perhaps a sentiment or a disposition, whereas to speak truthfully is an action. Could any conceivable difference there may be lie in the fact that the two, sincerity and truthfulness, are different by nature?

Thank you in advance for sharing your knowledge and/or opinions.
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Whether you use "sincere" or "truthful", both adjectives tell me that a speaker believed something was true: He gave sincere/truthful testimony. In this example, the words mean roughly the same thing. "Sincere" emphasizes the sincerity of the witness's statement. "Truthful" covers this meaning, but it also implies that people were able to establish the truth of that testimony.

    Of course, "sincerity" doesn't mean "absolute truth". A person can sincerely believe something that is false.
     
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    colognial

    Senior Member
    Persian
    Thanks, owlman5. Sincerity, you say, is what a person or a group of people may adopt as a disposition, which often leads to an honestly expressed view on a certain matter; however, such conduct does not automatically ensure that the undeniable reality or truth about the matter will be revealed.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    You're very welcome. Your manner of expressing yourself is quite different from mine, but I think we agree. When people decide to tell the truth as they understand it, they are "truthful" or "sincere".

    Both "truthful" and "sincere" tell me that the speaker is not lying.
     
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    colognial

    Senior Member
    Persian
    I get it. When someone says "this is the honest truth", they must mean that this is the truth as they know it, which they're telling in all sincerity. The sincerity is also apparent in the fact that the speaker of such a sentence already allows for the other possibility: that what they say may not be true, even though they're speaking it quite honestly, believing it to be true. Thank you very much, owlman5!
     
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