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Absolute Truth

  1. Mar 24, 2005 #1

    a fact that has been verified; reality - actuality

    That's my definition. But how do you get past those who say that the truth is a statement merely accepted to be true. And is there absolute truth?

    I am typing.

    Is the above an absolute truth? I believe, it is at least true. Because I am.

    But is the English language, or any other human language, or higher level thinking, incapable of describing the absolute truth on say, issues of abortion, and the like?

    See I have a feeling that one day humans could be Gods in respect, making themselves higher thinkers through technological advancement, able to describe the absolute truth. A discussion would be fun about this..

    Getting closer and closer to the truth, putting aside our emotions in debates, our ideologies, and looking at rock hard truths and describing them in the most accurate clause, that's what is my aim.
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 25, 2005 #2
    There is no absolute truth, or any truth, in issues like abortion. In my opinion, ethical issues and choices are simply commands, not unlike "open the door"; they are not true or false, they are simply tools of persuasion.
  4. Mar 25, 2005 #3
    What truth could there possibly be about abortion that we don't already know? Things like "Abortion is wrong" or "Abortion is right" are subjective opinions, not truths. The only truth are those known scientific facts that we hold as such until proven otherwise. The only absolute proof is mathematics.
  5. Mar 25, 2005 #4
    It seems to me that any abstract idea like "abortion is wrong" can be broken down into more and more fundamental truths until only self-evident premises remain. Then those premises can be considered as factual or not, and thus, the truth of the statement can be determined.

    Of course, one problem is agreeing on which truths are plainly self-evident. Some people would take "abortion is wrong" as axiomatic in itself. Another is arriving at a common set of self-evident premises, and agreement on how truths are to be constructed with them. Certainly logic would play a role, but applying logic to emotionally charged issues has proved problematic in the past.


    The Rev
  6. Mar 25, 2005 #5
    I used the statement "abortion is wrong" as an example because it's an opinion and not a truth. A truth would be wether or not the baby has conscience, wether or not the baby has a soul, etc. You then base your opinions on these truths. What is true and what people want to be true are two very different things. Regardless of what the truth is, people will twist it to better fit their opinions.
  7. Mar 25, 2005 #6


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    the answer to all your questions is undefined, we are to weak to answer those questions, we do not know whats true and whats not. All we know is actually what we think and assume.
  8. Mar 25, 2005 #7
    Something is true if we define it to be true. There may not be an intrisic truthfulness to everything.
  9. Mar 26, 2005 #8
    I agree there are no absolute truths in philosophy or morality; but I am sorry, there are no absolute truths in mathematics either.
    Any mathematical system must be constructed from axioms. Axioms are (for want of a better word) assumptions that we take to be true without being able to prove they are true. All of mathematics therefore rests on assumptions, not absolute truth.

    MF :smile:
  10. Mar 26, 2005 #9
    Mathematical assumptions are self-evident. It is the only field that can make that claim.
  11. Mar 26, 2005 #10

    As long as we exist in this reality, "1 + 1 = 2" will always be true. Try to prove otherwise.
  12. Mar 26, 2005 #11


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    I don't know about that. Isn't it (or, wasn't it) self-evident that, given a straight line L and a point P not lying on L, there is only one unique line that intersects P without intersecting L?
  13. Mar 26, 2005 #12
    It still is. Each geometry uses its own parallel postulate, and in each geometry, they are self-evident.
  14. Mar 26, 2005 #13
    If they are self-evident, why are there different versions of arithmetic, each legitimate and each with different axioms?

    The only rule underlying mathematics is consistency. As long as my system of arithmetic is consistent then it is legitimate. There is more than one consistent arithmetical system.

    The "truths" derived from each version of arithmetic rest on the axioms of that arithmetic. Change the axioms (which, since there is more than one version, are not self-evident) and the truths change too.

    Try to prove that 1 + 1 = 2 without first defining 2 as the integer successor of 1. (for definition of "successor" see Peano arithmetic).

    I doubt if you can do it.

    Ergo, the truth that 1 + 1 = 2 rests on the prior assumption that 2 is defined as the integer successor of 1.

    All we achieve is proving the truth of our prior definition. Which is circular.

    MF :smile:
  15. Mar 26, 2005 #14
    Ah, but just because some axioms may not be compatible with one another, doesn't mean they are not self-evident. Take the parallel postulate: all versions of it are true and self-evident under certain conditions, one of those conditions being the mutual-exclusivity of one another.

    For example, if we assume that there's an unstoppable force, then there cannot be an unmovable object; if we assume that there's an unmovable object, then there cannot be an unstoppable force. Under the condition that the other assumption is false, either one is true and self-evident.
  16. Mar 26, 2005 #15
    Here you take as an axiom the "certain condition".
    Any "truth" that you derive from your axioms is therefore resting on the assumption of that "certain condition".
    My point is that the whole foundation is based on one or more assumptions or axioms - any truth that is derived is dependent on this or these assumptions.
    The "truths" of Euclidean geometry are only true given the a priori assumptions (axioms) of Euclidean geometry - at the basis of which is a Euclidean "flat" space. The same is true of any other geometry.

    MF :smile:
  17. Mar 27, 2005 #16


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    ignorance is bliss
  18. Mar 27, 2005 #17
    The truth is based on axioms and these "conditions", but it does not mean that the latter two aren't self-evident.
  19. Mar 28, 2005 #18
    Can you give some examples of what you consider to be "self-evident" axioms or conditions?

    Take geometry for example. It is not "self-evident" that geometry-space is necessarily Euclidean. This is a subjective condition/axiom/assumption, and there are perfectly acceptable alternative geometries which are based on non-Euclidean spaces.

    MF :smile:
  20. Mar 28, 2005 #19
    does the fact that I live and exist qualify as a self evident axiom and condition which predicates truth if only on a personal level
  21. Mar 28, 2005 #20
    That's a good example - of a subjective (but not an absolute) truth

    MF :smile:
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