# Absolute Truth

Owen Holden said:
Truth is that which is the case, relative to this or that method of decision.
Yep, I agree with this.

Truth rides on the back of the method of decision. And decisions are made by working on axioms (you need axioms to get started, otherwise you are working in a vacuum).

If you like, a nice analogy is that axioms are the raw material, methods of decision are the tools, and the truth that emerges is the finished product.

There is no absolute truth, just as there is no absolute finished product, it depends on the raw materials and the tools you use.

MF

Icebreaker said:
In Euclidean space, parallel lines never meet. That is self-evident.
In elliptic space, parallel lines always meet. That is also self-evident.

You have just given me an example of a subjective, not an absolute truth.

ie the truth of of the statement "parallel lines never meet" depends on the prior assumption or axiom of Euclidean or elliptic space.

If you wish to say (anticipating your reply) that the full true statement is in fact "parallel lines never meet in Euclidean space", then I can take the same approach to any subjective logically correct statement (it need not be a mathematical statement) and turn it into an objective (absolutely) true statement by "rolling up the assumptions" into the statement.

This does not allow you to get away from the fact that all truths are based on assumptions.

MF

moving finger said:
That's a good example - of a subjective (but not an absolute) truth

MF

Does unanimity on a subjective truth become absolute upon general consensus given that we all believe we live and exist or are we forbidden to know absolute truth and ultimate reality while alive ???

spicerack said:
Does unanimity on a subjective truth become absolute upon general consensus given that we all believe we live and exist or are we forbidden to know absolute truth and ultimate reality while alive ???
The road to Truth is unfortunately not a democratic road (in other words - Truth is based on consistency and logic alone, and not on popular opinion)

I know that I live and exist but, if I take the solipsist view, I have no certain knowledge of anyone else's existence

MF

If you would be a real seeker after truth, you must at least once in your life doubt, as far as possible, all things.
Rene Descartes, Discours de la Méthode. 1637

nice one MF, even if it does sound like a cop out but then again my truth is only my considered opinion so what do i know ???

There is no absolute truth as my post earlier in this thread demonstrated. Also your brain is just a computer, and at any time you could suffer spectacularly unlikely system error, perhaps even though quantum effects, that prevents you from coming up with the right answer no matter how reliable your methods seem.

Absolute truth exists, but it cannot be communicated in an absolute way. In order to prove that a sentence such as "I am typing" is absolutely true, you'd need to have everyone agree on the exact meaning of the words "I", "am", "typing" and, worst of all, "true" itself. That is just impossible.

On the other hand, it is a flawed proposition to think that because we cannot communicate facts about the world, that such facts do not exist. That would be ascribing to reality what is simply a limitation of the speakers who talk about reality. The real issue is that we are all alone, and most of our knowledge about the world cannot easily be shared with other people, despite the fact that it is absolutely true from the perspective of our own understanding of our language.

To me the sentence "I am typing" is absolutely true, and it's foolish to doubt it. I may, in the future, find out that "typing" is not the proper word to describe what I'm doing; that will never change the past, it will only change the way I talk about it.

You're just making unsupported assertions, pensador. Your brain could become hopelessly confused at any time over what seems like the simplest of matters, simply because it is a physical computer and is subject to random physical effects.

Icebreaker
moving finger said:
You have just given me an example of a subjective, not an absolute truth.

Then we simply have different definitions for "absolute truth".

There is no absolute truth that any human can reasonably be sure of because of computational uncertainty within the human brain.

BicycleTree said:
You're just making unsupported assertions, pensador. Your brain could become hopelessly confused at any time over what seems like the simplest of matters, simply because it is a physical computer and is subject to random physical effects.

You can only become confused over the simplest of matters if you are in fact confused and the matters are really the simplest. In the absence of simple matters, there's nothing to be confused about. In the absence of absolute truths there cannot be illusions.

The best way I saw someone put it was, in order to discover your first lie, you must already know a lot of truths. You call that unsupported assertions, I call it simple logic.

I don't understand what you're saying, pensador. How does it relate to the fact that quantum effects could result in your brain being in a totally different arrangement the next moment compared to this moment?

BicycleTree said:
I don't understand what you're saying, pensador. How does it relate to the fact that quantum effects could result in your brain being in a totally different arrangement the next moment compared to this moment?
Is it a fact that quantum effects could result in your brain being in a totally different arrangement the next moment compared to this moment?

Yes, from my popular science understanding of it every particle has a nonzero probability of being found anywhere at all. I'm no physicist but I think the physicists here would confirm that.

BicycleTree said:
Yes, from my popular science understanding of it every particle has a nonzero probability of being found anywhere at all.
Well, then congratulations, you found your first absolute truth.

Look, this has been discussed over and over, I just dropped by because no one had mentioned it. The claim that "absolute truth does not exist" is what is called a self-falsifying proposition. It can only be true if it is false. It's a philosophical dead-end.

It's not an absolute truth, it's a scientific truth. To disagree with it you have to disagree with the science.

BicycleTree said:
It's not an absolute truth, it's a scientific truth. To disagree with it you have to disagree with the science.
I'm not disagreeing with anything, just trying to point out that your reasoning is incorrect. If your brain starts to rot it doesn't mean absolute truths don't exist, it only means you're losing your mind. For one thing, your brain cannot rot if it's not absolutely true that brains can rot.

I'm not saying absolute truths don't exist, I'm saying we can't be sure of any of them.

If you ask yourself any question at all, your answer to your own question has a nonzero probability of being anything at all. So you can never say with 100% certainty that the answer you gave is the correct one.

Hmm... It seems a bit of a contradiction to say "There are no absolute truths". Isn't that an absolute as well? I think many people are talking about different kinds of truths. I saw in the first topic "truth" was defined, but the definition still remains slightly unclear. Saying truth is "a fact that has been verified; reality - actuality" seems to me to be three different definitions.

Look, this has been discussed over and over, I just dropped by because no one had mentioned it. The claim that "absolute truth does not exist" is what is called a self-falsifying proposition. It can only be true if it is false. It's a philosophical dead-end.

Jameson

You may not understand the logic behind it, but it is a well-recognized fact that any computer, including the human mind, can make virtually any computational error at all due to quantum effects. Call it a "Dead end" if you like, but it's the way the physical world works.

BicycleTree said:
I'm not saying absolute truths don't exist, I'm saying we can't be sure of any of them.