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"What is truth?" (John 18:38)

 
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Oct, 2007 11:02 am
If Neologist's meaning of "esoteric" is subjective and private I agree. One's "spiritual" truth, insight, enlightenment cannot be shared with another. We can talk ABOUT or AROUND a person's spiritual state of mind, but we must acquire it on our own, essentially by ourselves.
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neologist
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Oct, 2007 06:36 pm
How does this all fit in with Francis Bacon's observation that "people tend to believe what they wish to be true rather than what is actually true"?
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Oct, 2007 11:41 pm
And how can we ever distinguish between what we believe to be true and what is ACTUALLY the Truth? Even our establishment of "objective" research criteria (logic, canons of empirical evidence, statistical standards) do not escape the category of "inter-subjectively" held beliefs.
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neologist
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Oct, 2007 06:51 am
I wonder how this would play to the epistemological arguments in the creation and evolution threads.

Which is why I brought it up in the first place.

Reading them is like watching a blind guy arguing with a deaf guy about the taste of french fries.

Nevertheless, there must exist certain absolutes, wouldn't you think?
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rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Oct, 2007 07:24 am
neologist wrote:
Nevertheless, there must exist certain absolutes, wouldn't you think?

No, I don't think so.

The closest absolute I can think of is physical reality 'as we perceive it' which can be tested from multiple perspectives and agreed upon by a sort-of 'preponderance of perception'. But even that isn't an absolute, it's still based on a value judgement of multiple agreements.

How would you recognize an 'absolute' if you saw it?
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neologist
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Oct, 2007 07:31 am
Picture this:

You are crossing the street.
Suddenly you notice a metro bus coming towards you.
You wonder if it is absolutely true that you are in danger, since you never before have been hit by a bus.

Neo visits you in the hospital.
Asks how you are feeling, relatively speaking. . .
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real life
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Oct, 2007 07:56 am
Isn't the statement:

'There are no absolutes'

actually an absolute?
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tinygiraffe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Oct, 2007 08:54 am
real life wrote:
Isn't the statement:

'There are no absolutes'

actually an absolute?


if it's (probably) true, then it's (probably) not absolute Smile after all, it would (probably) require that it wouldn't be absolute, by virtue of its own statement.
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rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Oct, 2007 01:32 pm
neologist wrote:
Picture this:

You are crossing the street.
Suddenly you notice a metro bus coming towards you.
You wonder if it is absolutely true that you are in danger, since you never before have been hit by a bus.

Neo visits you in the hospital.
Asks how you are feeling, relatively speaking. . .

Hey, you're preaching to the choir if you're talking to me. I believe in the reality I perceive and I treat it as absolute. I even believe that physical evidence can teach me about things which happened long before I was part of this reality, and that physical reality trumps any reports of reality (books) which are in conflict with it. (can you say the same?)

However, I'm also aware of the philosophical argument which says I could be 'dreaming'. I just don't bet on it.
0 Replies
 
Equus
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Oct, 2007 02:17 pm
Worthless trivia:

Ripley's Believe it or Not once reported that the phrase "What is truth?" in Latin anagrams to another Latin phrase meaning "The man who stands before you"
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IFeelFree
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Oct, 2007 03:12 pm
rosborne979 wrote:
The closest absolute I can think of is physical reality 'as we perceive it' which can be tested from multiple perspectives and agreed upon by a sort-of 'preponderance of perception'. But even that isn't an absolute, it's still based on a value judgement of multiple agreements.

How would you recognize an 'absolute' if you saw it?


What do we mean by absolute? The dictionary says "something that is not dependent upon external conditions for existence or for its specific nature, size, etc. (opposed to relative)." There is nothing in the natural world which satisfies that definition, since all matter and energy depend on the local conditions. Mental objects may satisfy this definition since mathematical relationships are independent of any condition in the world. Some physical laws MAY be absolute, but we can never be sure.

In the spiritual sense, what is absolute? God? That word means different things to different people. I would argue that consciousness in its native state of pure consciousness or "no-thought" is absolute. However, there is no way to "prove" that.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Oct, 2007 03:23 pm
I deeply appreciate the sincerity of Neologist's question:
"Nevertheless, there must exist certain absolutes, wouldn't you think?"
AND
real life's: Isn't the statement: 'There are no absolutes' actually an absolute?

I think that the distinction absolute and relative has created more problems than it has resolved, an example of the problem of dualism.

Nevertheless, staying within the "normal" framework of dualistic thinking, I consider it reasonable to say that all statements and thoughts we make and have take their value from a context of relativism. Nothing occurs in a vaccum.
YET, everything is--ON THE WHOLE--absolutely so.
Everything exists relative to everything else, and this is the absolute case.
Remember that the philosophier, John Searle, said something similar regarding the dualism, subjective vs objective:

Our lives, he said, are subjective phenomena, and that's an objective fact. Smile*

*I may have paraphrased him to the point of distortion, but I like my paraphrase nevertheless.
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Oct, 2007 05:12 pm
IFeelFree wrote:
What do we mean by absolute? The dictionary says "something that is not dependent upon external conditions for existence or for its specific nature, size, etc. (opposed to relative)." There is nothing in the natural world which satisfies that definition, since all matter and energy depend on the local conditions. Mental objects may satisfy this definition since mathematical relationships are independent of any condition in the world. Some physical laws MAY be absolute, but we can never be sure.

I refer you back to Neo's suggestion of standing in front of a moving bus, for a 'working' definition of something which is absolute.
0 Replies
 
neologist
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Oct, 2007 05:17 pm
rosborne979 wrote:
neologist wrote:
Picture this:

You are crossing the street.
Suddenly you notice a metro bus coming towards you.
You wonder if it is absolutely true that you are in danger, since you never before have been hit by a bus.

Neo visits you in the hospital.
Asks how you are feeling, relatively speaking. . .

Hey, you're preaching to the choir if you're talking to me. I believe in the reality I perceive and I treat it as absolute. I even believe that physical evidence can teach me about things which happened long before I was part of this reality, and that physical reality trumps any reports of reality (books) which are in conflict with it. (can you say the same?)

However, I'm also aware of the philosophical argument which says I could be 'dreaming'. I just don't bet on it.
Smile
0 Replies
 
neologist
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Oct, 2007 05:40 pm
IFeelFree wrote:
rosborne979 wrote:
The closest absolute I can think of is physical reality 'as we perceive it' which can be tested from multiple perspectives and agreed upon by a sort-of 'preponderance of perception'. But even that isn't an absolute, it's still based on a value judgement of multiple agreements.

How would you recognize an 'absolute' if you saw it?


What do we mean by absolute? The dictionary says "something that is not dependent upon external conditions for existence or for its specific nature, size, etc. (opposed to relative)." There is nothing in the natural world which satisfies that definition, since all matter and energy depend on the local conditions. Mental objects may satisfy this definition since mathematical relationships are independent of any condition in the world. Some physical laws MAY be absolute, but we can never be sure.

In the spiritual sense, what is absolute? God? That word means different things to different people. I would argue that consciousness in its native state of pure consciousness or "no-thought" is absolute. However, there is no way to "prove" that.
Welcome back, IFF
0 Replies
 
IFeelFree
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Oct, 2007 08:09 pm
rosborne979 wrote:
IFeelFree wrote:
What do we mean by absolute? The dictionary says "something that is not dependent upon external conditions for existence or for its specific nature, size, etc. (opposed to relative)." There is nothing in the natural world which satisfies that definition, since all matter and energy depend on the local conditions. Mental objects may satisfy this definition since mathematical relationships are independent of any condition in the world. Some physical laws MAY be absolute, but we can never be sure.

I refer you back to Neo's suggestion of standing in front of a moving bus, for a 'working' definition of something which is absolute.

By that criterion, anything I firmly believe, is absolute. If I feared for my life from evil spirits (just as I fear for my life from the moving bus), does that make the existence of evil spirits absolutely true?
0 Replies
 
IFeelFree
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Oct, 2007 08:11 pm
neologist wrote:
Welcome back, IFF

Thanks...I'm going to try this out temporarily.
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Oct, 2007 08:58 pm
The bus coming down on me is not an absolute: it could not exist in a vacuum. Its very existence, like mine, depends on all the physical forces in its environment--the ground, gravity, relative temperature (it would be liquid on the hot side of mars), etc. etc.. But this does not mean it will not kill me: IT IS REAL AND RELATIVE to everything else, including me.
We mustn't confound "absolute" with "real" and "relative" with "unreal".
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Oct, 2007 09:16 pm
IFeelFree wrote:
By that criterion, anything I firmly believe, is absolute. If I feared for my life from evil spirits (just as I fear for my life from the moving bus), does that make the existence of evil spirits absolutely true?

One will really kill ya, the other won't. Your logic is faulty.
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Oct, 2007 09:22 pm
JLNobody wrote:
The bus coming down on me is not an absolute: it could not exist in a vacuum. Its very existence, like mine, depends on all the physical forces in its environment--the ground, gravity, relative temperature (it would be liquid on the hot side of mars), etc. etc.. But this does not mean it will not kill me: IT IS REAL AND RELATIVE to everything else, including me.
We mustn't confound "absolute" with "real" and "relative" with "unreal".

Then I guess I misunderstand what everyone is talking about here. The bus is absolutely real from a survival perspective. And personal survival is the ultimate measurement criteria.
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