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February 08, 2013

Comments

The first three are easily countered with the statement: yes, I do not think absolute truths exist or if they exist, are achievable for human minds, and I realize this applies to this sentence also, but I also do not see any reason to change my mind as absolute certainty isn't necessary or achievable, and chances are good this sentence is true.

As for the fourth, I have never heard anyone say (other than trolling purposes) that literally every opinion or statement is equally true. Statement like "yellow music is great" obviously has no truth value, because the sentence itself is nonsense. The closest thing and probably where the idea has been bastardized is that even controversial, seemingly non-sensical and unpopular opinions deserve examination, and some degree of benefit of doubt.

It's pretty clear the fourth statement had to do with religious belief or worldview, not with all statements or opinion which, as you say, would be absurd.

The claim that all beliefs are equally valid is a constant theme on college campuses, entertainment, popular culture, etc.

Your response to the first three doesn't actually address it. You say there is a chance that something is or isn't true, but the statement is one of certainty - "there is no objective truth".

Darth Dutch

The sad part is that most college students - or anyone else! - cannot even recognize the absurdity of what they are saying.

I think most statements, about most things people
related, are from a worldview. Hence the term "view the world'"

I think that folks have been so conditioned into a sloganeering mindset that they do not bother to closely and critically examine the contents of those slogans. Much of that can be attributed to being bombarded from cradle to grave with sales slogans and incessant advertising tactics. It is simply a natural appendage of capitalism. This is why you get so many statements that commit suicide being passed around as if they were gospel. No wonder, when you consider these kinds of things are preached from the sales pulpits of the high priests of capitalism that no one dare question.

    It's pretty clear the fourth statement had to do with religious belief or worldview, not with all statements or opinion which, as you say, would be absurd.

    The claim that all beliefs are equally valid is a constant theme on college campuses, entertainment, popular culture, etc.

Well, beliefs themselves are equally valid until someone applies some measure of data to acknowledge whether certain things of true. The problem with most religious claims is obviously that in a lot cases data simply does and can not exist. I do not see anyway someone could definitely prove that Muhammad actually saw the angel Gabriel or that Jesus is actually a deity. The best we can probably say that both of these men supposedly did miraculous things according to eye-witnesses, and whether one wants to believe these eye-witnesses and their claims is ultimately a matter of personal conviction.

    Your response to the first three doesn't actually address it. You say there is a chance that something is or isn't true, but the statement is one of certainty - "there is no objective truth".

The statement could be more closely rendered as:

"No man can make absolutely certain definitions, because we are limited by our viewpoint, but there are things more likely than others, which is why I believe statements such as this to be accurate representation of reality." Which is not self-refuting or circular.

These sort of legalistic "Gotcha!" questions are humorous way to score cheap points, but do not really address the substance of the issue which is that what do we actually mean by the word "truth" and so forth. All philosophy and thinking is not 100% logical because obviously "I think I am correct in my thinking because that's what I think" is always circular reasoning, so a certain "logical jumps" in thinking are a necessity.

"Well, beliefs themselves are equally valid until someone applies some measure of data to acknowledge whether certain things of true."

Which is what the OP did. He took a belief that was & is being put forth - "objective truths do not exist" and examined whether that is the case. It clearly is not as that person was making an truth claim which refuted his argument.

"The statement could be more closely rendered as:

"No man can make absolutely certain definitions, because we are limited by our viewpoint, but there are things more likely than others, which is why I believe statements such as this to be accurate representation of reality." "

But this is not what the claim was. You have qualified the statement such that you may be able to say it is not self-refuting. All well & good, but that is not what the original claim was. The original claim was straight forward and simple. And was shown to be self-refuting.

Darth Dutch

    But this is not what the claim was. You have qualified the statement such that you may be able to say it is not self-refuting. All well & good, but that is not what the original claim was. The original claim was straight forward and simple. And was shown to be self-refuting.

Well, obviously the first three are generalizations and slogans, not much of an arguments, and like said above, crude slogans without addressing the content in them are a bad form of thinking.

But the ideas behind them have a little bit more substance then the basically straw-manish versions that the OP has, and there is not much of a reason for high fives for pointing some logical flaws in them. The second comment on the PleaseConvinceMe Blog is almost perfect refutation of the list.

Not that I believe colleges themselves would not have loads of bad thinkers and bad thinking, but the original post also does not have a lot of substance on this matter and some generalization "this is what professors think" sounds ridiculous.

"The first three are easily countered with the statement: yes, I do not think absolute truths exist or if they exist, are achievable for human minds, and I realize this applies to this sentence also, but I also do not see any reason to change my mind as absolute certainty isn't necessary or achievable, and chances are good this sentence is true."

How is a cop out an easy counter?

If you can't know no objective truth exists, the proper statement would be that as far as you know there is no objective truth. Stating that there is no objective truth is saying the objective truth is that there is no objective truth, not that it is your opinion that there probably isn't any objective truth and if there is you dion't know what it is.

I'm frankly at a loss as to how to engage Erkki S, who says:

"I don't think absolute truth exists ..."
"I realize this applies to this sentence ..."

For analogy:

"I don't think English words exist ..."
"I realize I needed to use English words to convey this idea ..."

I ask the following sincerely, because it isn't the first time encountering this: how does one respond to absurd dialog?

Would love to hear others in the STR community (Greg, JW, bloggers) address at some point ...

    "I don't think English words exist ..."
    "I realize I needed to use English words to convey this idea ..."

You are actually coming very close to the reason why something like "absolute truth" does not necessarily make a whole lot of sense. There is no absolute, "fundamental, "final" English language, rather then a multitude of words, dialects and basic grammar, yet here we can communicate ideas very easily. How is this possible? Because your mind is not an machine and can make some intuitive leaps, so it's not necessary to understand something perfectly to make sense of it. So I could say that absolute truths do not exist, and yes, this makes this whole sentence self-refuting, but well, language and logic are not perfect.

Then why should we believe your position is true?

    Then why should we believe your position is true?

You should not believe my position is "true" but if think the idea makes some intuitive sense then you could apply my viewpoint next to your own and receive more varied forms of data, so you and I can understand each other and maybe even the world a little better.

The above was supposed to be: If YOU think the idea

Yeah, it's getting quite late here.

So your defense of the first self-defetaing sentance not being refuted is you don't know?

    So your defense of the first self-defetaing sentance not being refuted is you don't know?

My sort-of-defense for the first argument would be that it is an extremely crude form of the underlying issue and that "defeating" it doesn't really make much of an impact on the broader issue, which is, who has the authority to make objective statements on abstract issues, such as science, universe, society, ethics and beauty? And I demonstrated this by simply adding words to it.

"You should not believe my position is "true"".


Yes, but do you, Erkki, believe your position is "true"?

There is no such thing as a round square. We can hold out for the "possibility of round squares in some context somewhere, for all we know..." I suppose... but it's not worth the time (to me) to talk about the "reasons I hold out for that Just-May-Be" out there somewhere when we use sentences, or phrases, like round-squares...... If we cannot commit to "No such thing as round squres exist" then there is another issue at work here within the Mind which speaks that phrase, and the issue lies there, not within Logic or Truth themselves.

I "know" there is no such thing as round squares.

I even know that I know it.

Ad infinitum.

There is a Ship which will sail that Ocean.

Several, in fact.


The reasons we hold out for that "just maybe somewhere there are round squares" are probably reasons worth exploring. We ought not discount them. But those reasons fall into a catergory of the arena of logic and/or truth and Epistemology, etc. The reasons we would hold out for "Well just maybe there are round squares somewhere, for we know, I mean, who are we to say so..." are reasons of Heart and Soul, Emotion and Pleasure, Joy and Pain, and so forth.

It is not Logic telling one to hold out for round squares. It is not even the fear that Logic is not perfect which is telling one to hold out for the possiblity of round squares.

It isn't.

It is something else.

Logic and Love traverse all our Ad Infinitums and bring us to that Hard Stop in Whom all appeals end.

If the Subtext beneath our feet cannot support the weight of the Context above our heads, all our shifting of footing just will not help us at all.

This statement is false.

A-

Which statement is that?

Please replace the reference to a statement made in your sentence with the statement itself in quotes.

Examples of statements that are absolutely objectively true:

"1=1"

"Snow is white or it is not the case that snow is white"

"In Euclidean geometry, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line"

These statements are, in fact, logically true. It is a logical truth that there are absolutely true statements.

Thus the proposition that there are no absolute objective truths is not only self-refuting, it is also logically false. As such, someone who says that they think it's probably the case that there are no absolute truths (though he lacks absolute certainty of this), might as well be saying that it is probably false that a logical truth is true.

Needless to say, this is not a very weighty opinion.

    Thus the proposition that there are no absolute objective truths is not only self-refuting, it is also logically false. As such, someone who says that they think it's probably the case that there are no absolute truths (though he lacks absolute certainty of this), might as well be saying that it is probably false that a logical truth is true.

    Needless to say, this is not a very weighty opinion.

Abstract thinking such as mathematics and logic can of course have absolute truths in a sense, because abstractions and logic itself are already a stream-lined version of reality. Like I said, the idea that absolute truths do not exist, is not very good opinion, and sounds stupid. But change the wording to: "You can never understand reality perfectly, because you are part of that reality" and you get the idea much better.

Prove to me without circular reasoning that logic and thinking works.

    Yes, but do you, Erkki, believe your position is "true"?

I assume you mean do I think the statement "There is no objective truth" is true or false.

It's false in the sense that abstraction can give us perfectly logical and non-contradictive arguments.

It's true in the sense that reality and information can not 100% perfectly dissected and re-constructed in our minds, making all statements of reality ultimately vulnerable to revision.

So it's true and it's false. Most likely, anyway. Confusing enough?

Erkki you keep making truth claim after truth claim to argue that there is no truth.

"Information can not be 100% perfectly dissected"
"Abstraction can give us [...] arguments."
"It's true and false."

These are all claims that are either true or false. Whether or not the mind can ascertain, there exists a fundamental reality.

Are you a solipsist?

    Erkki you keep making truth claim after truth claim to argue that there is no truth.

I am not making "truth" claims. I am making statements about reality which may or may not be true, but as for this moment they seem to be accurate.

    These are all claims that are either true or false. Whether or not the mind can ascertain, there exists a fundamental reality.

There is a difference between statements "reality exists" and "I can understand the fundamental truths of reality perfectly."

    Are you a solipsist?

Solipsism as an idea makes sort of philosophical sense, which is why my common day experience would suggest that philosophy and metaphysics are ridiculously imperfect way of understanding things.

Is there ANY possibility in ANY dissection of reality EVER for us to discover a round square?

    Is there ANY possibility in ANY dissection of reality EVER for us to discover a round square?

Probably depends on what you consider as "round" and "square". Standard geometry considers them as different types of polygonal contructs, so obviously the idea contradicts itself. If you are thinking that can we ever find an object in nature that would share reasonably same properties of these polygonal contructs, then the answer would mostly depend on what is your tolerance on what kind of object is sufficiently "square". For pragmatic purposes, I would say "unlikely".

Well then, if Words have just no meaning at all, then round just may mean, somewhere, "nearly square".


And so forth. If that is how you play this game then I am afraid I cannot take you seriously.


Word = Meaning = Definition and so forth.


Okay then, Erkki, the meaning of Round is "almost perfectly square".


Also,

“Prove to me without circular reasoning that logic and thinking works”.

You are the one using circular reasoning to prove that logic does not work. And, you are failing at the attempt. First, because you’re not just sort of circular in your path, but purely circular on all fronts. Secondly, because you really are holding out for that faint possibility “for all we know” that there just may be some future slice or dissection of reality in which round squares really do exist. Well? Why the hold out? On those two counts I am afraid I am simply getting bored with this. I know there are no round squares, Any-Where, Ever, Always. “We don’t know everything” is one thing, and you’ve stated very well, in fact in ways which make logical sense. However, you are attempting to use that as a spring board to this: “We do not and/or cannot know anything. The bounce you get from your preferred spring board just does not get you high enough.

Prove to me without circular reasoning that Logic and Thinking do not work. You cannot not.


Further, there is this distinction from William Lane Craig on Knowledge vs. Certainty:


1. Since every possible option has not been explored, nothing can be said for certain.

2. Since nothing can be said for certain, all of the premises that you pose may seem true to us, but we cannot say they are absolutely true.

3. If they cannot be proven absolutely true, then there is no reason to believe them.

That looks to me for all the world like the premises for the logical inference form called Hypothetical Syllogism! But if that inference rule is not true, then no conclusion follows from (1-3) and we have no reason to doubt [ANY] original argument [on those grounds].
The fundamental problem with skepticism is that it presupposes that in order to know p, you must know that you know p. But if I can know some truth without knowing how it is that I know it, then the nerve of skepticism is severed. The skeptic actually is making a very radical claim, for which he cannot provide any justification without pulling the rug from beneath his own feet.


Skepticism is thus strangely presumptuous and self-defeating. It relies on our having knowledge of some very non-obvious claims. The skeptic cannot provide any justification of those claims, lest his view becomes self-referentially incoherent; yet without them his skepticism collapses, for then my lack of certainty does not imply that I have a lack of knowledge.


..........for then my lack of certainty does not imply that I have a lack of knowledge.......

The rest of that essay is at this link here.


The above post has an error: circle is not a polygonal shape at all by definition. It's been over a decade since I studied math, so mistakes can happen.

Erkki,

As you feel that the definition of Round is "nearly perfectly square" I will bow out of this converstation with you at this point.

Have a happy weekend ~~~~

    Further, there is this distinction from William Lane Craig on Knowledge vs. Certainty:

I have no issue with that answer from Dr. Craig. It seems William Lane Craig is talking about radical skepticism and this sort of "we can not know anything" pseudo-skepticism which I have never held in high regard. He repeats my point almost precisely: knowledge does not equal certainty.

Hi scbrownlhrm, I think Erkki is freely equivocating on the meaning of words over time or even between a particular personal understanding in the same converstation. Nontheless, it seems that Erkki is depending on the words' meanings being vague enough to disqualify certainty. Without this key equivocation this view is as self refuting as everyone so far is pointing out, afterall equivocation is a logical no-no.

It seems this post is too long to "take" so I'll split it into two posts....

Part 1 of 2:

Erkki,

Your last replies are another good example of why I am bowing out. There is nothing to say.


Round is taken and twisted to mean nearly perfectly square, and, Knowledge of one thing without certainty in another thing is taken and redefined to mean certainty of nothing.


You also redefine in order to get rid of this from WLC: Knowledge of one thing is certainty of that one thing, while, at the same time, not being certain of the Whole-Show “out there” still accompanies those other certainties. Once again E., you have twisted definitions mid stream.


“I exist”. Certainty? Hyper-skepticism you don’t hold in high regard?


You are a hyper-skeptic, but here too you redefine words. For example: “I exist.” This is both Known and it is Certain.


Now, if you mean to argue whether or not you exist, then you are a hyper-skeptic, and I will bow out on that ground alone, for I haven’t the time, or even the interest, to argue that I/you exist.


And, if you are not a hyper-skeptic then you have no excuse for twisting WLC’s use of “knowledge” and “certainty” in the way you did. We have knowledge and certainty of SOME things (I exist) while not having certainty of the Whole-Show. But you redefined the words certainty and knowledge there and smuggled in certainty of nothing.

Part 2 of 2:

We cannot be certain that squares are not round. We cannot be certain that we exist. We cannot be certain that we are reading this sentence. We cannot be certain of anything.


Hyper-skepticism.

Your whole line is simply shifting sands as it suits you.


Knowledge does equal certainty in some vectors. Not all vectors. "Hyper" gets rid of even the "some" as you are doing here. "No certainty ANY-where" is what you are aiming at.


For, you well know, “If Certainty in A” is realized then such opens the door to certainty in A, B, C, and so on, ad infinitum.


You are not even certain that a square isn’t round. You are not even certain that you exist. (It seems that way thus far given your line of thought…..)


“Stuff exists” cannot even be Certain it seems?


How about this: “Something exists”?


Be careful about opening the Door to Certainty here. One false move and the Whole-Show gets its Everlasting foot in the door. On what does one ground the statement “Something exists”?

In the Whole-Show we know with certainty that there are no such things as round squares.
We know with certainty that we exist. We know with certainty that stuff exists. We know with certainty that something exists.


Absolute Certainty. Something exists.


Once that Door is opened………..


Feel free to redefine “round” to mean “a near perfect square”.


Feel free to redefine Knowledge/Certainty dissections.


Feel free to claim you are not a hyper-skeptic while still questing the certainty of “something exists”.

On what, exactly, does one ground this: "Something exists" ?

I feel like people are really trying to make this a lot more complicated then it actually is. Here is more or less accurate sum of the skeptic position. Feel free to stop at any point which you think is logically flawed or sounds incorrect.

1. Reality exists.
2. Man can understand reality.
3. However, because we are obviously part of the same reality and have limited perspective, the limits of communication and language, and because internalizing and obtaining 100% of all information is impossible, our statements about reality are always subject to revision, at least beyond any completely solipsist and totally abstract perspective.
4. Because of this, it takes extremely arrogant mindset to declare, final, absolute statements about reality that would not be open to possibility of said revision, additional information, or more clearly defined concepts, especially when talking about complicated subjects or vague concepts.
5. This above statement could be sloganized as a general rule of thumb "absolute truths do not exist, or if they exist, are beyond human mind."

Hi Erkki S., your last post comes across to me as from one who wouldn't suppose that man created in Gods image with reasonable souls and bodies that allow him/her to experience His creation with some certainty is an option. I'll admit that the accuracy of divining sense perceptions and even the ability to reason properly can be unreliable in varying degrees for fallen mankind, but there are plenty of things man can know with certainty--especially those things spoken by God Himself that He intends to be perfectly clear along with those things rationally deduced from certain premises.

You allow certainty of terms in math, it seems, why is language fraught with such severe limitations that communication is impossible to trust with certainty? I can imagine a similar skepticism in math terms such that your view could be applied there also, causing a similar distrust in products of math problems--maybe I'm not understanding you?

    You allow certainty of terms in math, it seems, why is language fraught with such severe limitations that communication is impossible to trust with certainty? I can imagine a similar skepticism in math terms such that your view could be applied there also, causing a similar distrust in products of math problems--maybe I'm not understanding you?

Math has the advantage of being totally within boundaries of abstract reasoning, which makes it's statements obviously immune to real world uncertainties, and math problems can be said to be "true" if they are internally logical. Of course, in reality we do not find things such as "circles" or "squares" or "1" "2", these are abstractions created for useful purposes in what we perceive to be within acceptable tolerance of said shapes or numbers. Language is more complicated, it is probably impossible to communicate any idea with 100% efficiency, because the sum of our experiences can really not be reduced to abstractions. If you see the most beautiful painting in the world, can the word "beautiful" in any accurate way describe what you felt in your mind? What is the word you would use?

Personally, I'm pretty much an agnostic, as I do not see anyway to definitely prove that supernatural or deities exist. The idea that our thinking has to be correct if it is a clear message and revelation from God has an obviously in-built catch-22: if you say we cannot be certain if not for God, then how do you know your ideas about God and supernatural are correct, unless you have already started with this viewpoint that they must be correct, and are thus begging the question?

Erkki-

Item 5 is a terrible summarization or sloganization of items 1-4.

Item 1, for example, is a tautology, while item 5 is a contradiction. These are as opposite as it is possible to get.

Item 5 says that understanding truth about reality is impossible, but Item 2 says that it is possible.

On item 3, I am willing to grant that Man is incapable of understanding everything in all its complexity. That is to say that Man is not omniscient. But that fact has absolutely nothing to do with Man being part of reality. God is part of reality, that is to say, God exists. But God is also omniscient. So item 3 is a garden-variety falsehood. Whereas item 5 is logically false. So they are still quite different.

You've spent several posts trying to argue that, in effect, we are tilting at straw men when we argue against those who espouse the claim that "There are no absolute truths". You've done so, essentially, by saying that they don't really mean it.

Ironically, you refer in item 4 to individuals who declare final absolute certainty without the possibility of revision in the face of new information. I confess that I've never, in all my life, met a single member of the group of people you refer to. But those who have come closest have invariably been those who espouse the proposition that all truth is relative. The arrogant absolutist is the actual straw man in this debate.

On this distinction you draw between the abstract and the non-abstract, You sometimes say that abstract things like the number 1 are not part of reality.

Really?

That's just to say that 1 does not exist! But if 1 does not exist, then nothing exists. Not even 1 thing.

I think you are laboring under the misconception that you can divide reality into two hermetically sealed compartments. One containing the abstract objects about which certainty is possible, and the other containing the non-abstract objects to which all post-modern claptrap applies.

And then of course you write off the abstract things that you can be certain about. Which, if the distinction really did hold. would be a very strange attitude.

Of course, I don't think that there is any such distinction. And I don't even really know what you mean by it.

On a related note, I think you are jumbling up the notions of truth and certainty. These are quite different ideas. A proposition can be true that I don't even know about, let alone have certainty of. I daresay that Bayes Theorem was true in 1492. But Christopher Columbus didn't even know enough about it to have his doubts, let alone to be certain one way or another.

In addition, I think you are jumbling up the contextual relativity of utterance with the absolute nature of the truth or falsehood being expressed by the utterance. Every proposition is true or false. None is both. None is neither. If you will, the only truths there are are absolute truths. The only falsehoods there are are absolute falsehoods.

Our utterances express propositions, sometimes well, sometimes poorly, and almost always with some implicit unuttered reference to the context in which they are uttered. When I say "It's raining" on Tuesday in Duluth, I am expressing a proposition about the weather in Duluth on Tuesday. I'm not expressing the same proposition that I am expressing when I say "It's raining" on Wednesday in St. Paul. Instead I'm expressing a proposition about the weather in St. Paul on Wednesday.

Supposing that it was raining in Duluth, but not St. Paul, there is not some one proposition the truth of which is relative to place and time. Instead, there are two propositions, one (absolutely) true and the other (absolutely) false that are being expressed on two separate occasions.

BTW-

My last two comments above are also addressed to Erkki (of course, anyone should feel free to chime in). They would all have been part of one post, but owing to STR's new length limitations...

The agnostic by defintion makes claims of certainty about reality. Erkki has made several here....sweeping claims about Reality in general and so forth and all built upon certainty. "Reality Exists". "In reality there is no such thing as A or B or C...." "We can understand reality". And then he tells us we cannot be certain of anything. The catch-22 of circular reasoning is his own trap, as he cannot escape it. If Logic and Thinking DO NOT WORK, then all the agnostic's claims self-refute by default. Yet he asks others to prove that their logic and thinking "works" and insists they cannot. All the while standing atop his own logic and thinking shouting down at the rest of humanity. Circle. When we come to Uncreated Mind, Uncreated Volition, we find That into which all these self-invented ad infinitums dive into never to return, thus breaking the circle. Certainty is both the agnostic's champion and his whipping-boy.

"That is to say that Man is not omniscient. But that fact has absolutely nothing to do with Man being part of reality. God is part of reality, that is to say, God exists. But God is also omniscient."

Broken Circle.

God's modes of knowing are Contextual. Omniscience is Contextual. Thrice so, in fact. Epistemology just is Triune. There is no such thing as a mode of Knowing that is not of a Topography of Self, and, of Other, and, of Self-Other, both in and also by relation amidst those three vectors. It just-is so that there are Three modes in which The-Self knows, in which knowing happens. We are made in His Image. The Triune is everywhere. All vectors surging within and through Ontology reveal their Triune Topography within Mind’s, or rather, within Being’s singular and pleural amid the I and the You and the singular I-You for Being itself regresses to Love's embrace among the I and the You wherein the Singular-We streams uncreated. All vectors surging within and through Epistemology are laced all through with their own Triune Topography as the Self knows within the Self and within Relation and by Relation amidst the contextual relations in and by Self, and, in and by Other, and, in and by Self-Other and such is so with both the Known and with the Keeps-On-Knowing. M-Theory’s mathematically incomprehensible Triune Topography emerges fated to a Tri-Omni fabric for it prophesies to mankind of an eternal and everlasting “…prime mover, begetter, creative force that is everywhere and nowhere which cannot be identified by instruments or examined by comprehensible mathematical prediction yet contains all possibilities and incorporates Omnipresence, Omniscience and Omnipotence”. All vectors whatsoever lead us, relentlessly, into the Everlasting Uncreated Triune, the topography of which just is the Everywhere and Always.

If you ask, “In what manner or by what modes do you know?” I will reply, “I know in that same manner and by those same modes as the Triune God knows.”

WisdomLover,

Erkki was not attempting to summarize items (1)-(4) in item (5). Rather, he defines the notion of "absolute truth" in terms of item (4). You obviously have a different definition in mind, and so you complain about him mixing up (according to you) truth and certainty, and talk about the statement "absolute truth does not exist" being a contradiction. Well, maybe it would be a contradiction on your definition of absolute truth. But all Erkki means to express by that sentence is contained in item (4). Since you evidently agree with (4), then you agree with Erkki that absolute truth does not exist, as Erkki defines absolute truth.

Now, as I said, it's obvious you don't want to use Erkki's definition. Fair enough. But then, what definition do you want to use in its place? That is, what do you mean when you talk about "absolute truth"?

(In your answer, please keep in mind your own spot-on comments about the difference between an utterance and the statement it expresses.)

I suspect that the qualifier "absolute" is superfluous on your view---in other words, absolute truth is just plain ol' truth. And if that's all you mean, then sure, absolute truth (i.e., truth) exists. But I doubt very many folks would deny that. I certainly don't deny it.

However even on this view, don't underestimate the difficulty in showing that truth does in fact exist. You can't do it by simply asserting that denying the existence of truth is self-contradictory. You must show how it is self-contradictory, if indeed it is such. You might be tempted make the following argument:

Suppose (towards a contradiction) that truth does not exist. Then it is true that truth does not exist. Hence there exists at least one truth, namely that truth does not exist. But this is a contradiction. QED (?)

But do you see the problem with the argument? It assumes the schema

(6) if P then it is true that P.

But it should be obvious that anyone who denies truth exists will likewise reject (6). So what we really need is a good defense of (6). I don't think it's terribly difficult to construct a good defense of (6), but it won't be trivial nor perhaps even uncontroversial.

However I should reiterate that I would expect very, VERY few people to deny the existence of truth. Much more likely is that those who utter sentences like "absolute truth does not exist" usually mean something akin to (4) in erkki's post. Erkki himself is one such example.

    Item 1, for example, is a tautology, while item 5 is a contradiction. These are as opposite as it is possible to get.

    Item 5 says that understanding truth about reality is impossible, but Item 2 says that it is possible.

Item 1 is a premise, not a tautology, it means in order there to be reality which to understand, there has to be reality. Item 5 does not say understanding reality is impossible, rather then acknowledges that complete understanding of reality is impossible and quest for knowledge is practically unending. Regarding your experiences, if you have met people who say "knowledge is impossible" then I would obviously agree with you that this is a complete misunderstanding of skepticism and what "relative" means.

    I think you are laboring under the misconception that you can divide reality into two hermetically sealed compartments. One containing the abstract objects about which certainty is possible, and the other containing the non-abstract objects to which all post-modern claptrap applies.

Well this is basically pretty much what I do, so I don't understand why this would be automatically be a misconception. I don't really know what you mean by "all post-modern claptrap". If you are referring to the fact that I generally understand that logic and language are imperfect, then yeah, guess that's what you could call "post-modernism".

    Every proposition is true or false. None is both. None is neither. If you will, the only truths there are are absolute truths. The only falsehoods there are are absolute falsehoods.

I disagree with this. I can think of plenty of propositions that could be called true and false at the same time, depending on tolerances and definitions. For example, let's take the proposition that Earth is round. Now, of course we know that Earth is not completely round, rather than an spheroid, in fact there is no geometrical shape as "round". But does this make the sentence "Earth is round" true or false? Those who would say false would sound like an idiot, because for all practical purposes, Earth is round. Another example would be that today is Sunday. Is this true or false? There are someplaces where day has already changed, and there are some calendars where the day Sunday doesn't exist. So, depending on context, this proposition "Today is Sunday" is at the same true and false. You own example is imperfect as well. Where are the geographical boundaries of Duluth? If it's raining on one part of Duluth, and not on another, can it be said "it is raining in Duluth"? How precise this information has to be before it can be described as "truth"?

Omniscience, and Love, are Contextual.


Love, and, Mind, and, Being, and Knowing all just-are the singular and the pleural amid the I and the You and the singular I-You for Love itself, Mind itself, Knowing itself, and Being itself regress to Love's embrace among the I and the You wherein the Singular-We streams uncreated.


Do not mistake the All-Context, the Singular-We as merely I + You or as merely A + B. That Third Vector which is the Love’s I-You, that embrace that just is the Singular-We, is A + B, but, it is that and more and it is so much more that it is itself Distinct from those other Two. This is so with Knowing and with Loving. In Omniscience we find the All-Context swallowing up whole the Each-Context and therein it can truly be said that the Whole is greater than the sum of the parts.


Omniscience exists within Multiple Perfect Distincts, the Triune, and where we find Distincts we find the Uncreated-Contextual by nature of there being Uncreated-Distincts.


Both Knowing and Keeps-On-Knowing reflect this eternal and uncreated pattern, these modes. Some imperfect analogies may help: We Know in The-Self, and, also, we Know by The-Self. Should one have just no contact whatsoever beyond, external to, Self, one will Know some-things (hunger, pain, fatigue, a rush of energy, and so forth) yet one will not Know everything. Further, we Know in The-Other, and, also, we Know by The-Other. Should one have just no contact whatsoever beyond, external to, The-Other, one will know some-things (their voice, their perspectives, angles, and so forth) yet one will not Know everything. We are not done yet. Thus far we have that Context that just is that which is Known necessarily-and-only via The-Self, and, we have another Context that just is that which is Known necessarily-and-only via The-Other. Finally, we come to the Everywhere and Always, the All-Context, that which swallows up whole All-Things, and it is that which we Know in and by the Singular-Context of the Singular-We which is that which is Known within Love’s embrace of the I-You, of Self-Other. Pause: let us not error here by asserting that this last arena of Knowing is merely A + B. It is, only, it is that and-more. Another imperfect analogy: What I know, I know. And, what my wife knows, she knows. Now, the two of us together have an odd sort of Perspective when it comes to just anything for we find here a specific sightline which is unique from just mine plus hers. I will tell you that the longer we are married, the fuller this is being realized. Within God that Third Distinct of course Is-Full in both presence and expression. “…..in Christianity [alone] God is not a static thing….but a dynamic, pulsating activity, a life, almost a kind of drama. Almost, if you will not think me irreverent, a kind of dance. The union between the Father and the Son is such a live concrete thing that this union itself is also a Person." (C.S. Lewis)


Our good friends Ben and Erkki love this and thinks it a proof of agnosticism, but it ends up a testimony of the Triune Fabric of just Every-Thing, including Knowing, and, like all other Vectors whatsoever, testify of the Triune God. In Knowing, and in Loving, we find that which is Known, and Loved, purely within/by/of the First Distinct called the Context of The-Self, and, we find that which is Known, and Loved, purely within/by/of the Second Distinct called the Context of The-Other, and, we find that which is Known, and Loved, purely within/by/of the Third Distinct called the Context of Self-Other where the Singular Context of the We that just is The-Whole-Show houses the All-Context.


If you ask me, “How do we love?” I will reply, “Well, we love in those same modes as Uncreated Love loves.” In the same way, if you ask me, “How do we know?” I will reply, “Well, we know in those same modes as Uncreated Mind knows.”

Ben and Erkki,

You are perfectly correct. Of course Epistemology is Triune.

Did you ever believe Ultimate Reality would turn out any other way?

Love and Logic.

These Ships easily set sail and casually traverse the ad infinitum. If you ask me, “How do we love?” I will reply, “Well, we love in those same modes as Uncreated Love loves.” In the same way, if you ask me, “How do we know?” I will reply, “Well, we know in those same modes as Uncreated Mind knows.”

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