24
   

Absolute truth?

 
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Oct, 2010 07:46 pm
@HexHammer,
HexHammer wrote:

kennethamy wrote:
He asked for an example of an absolute truth, so I gave an example.
That's not my point weather you gave him an example or not, point is ..is it a good example? Maybe I'm wrong, but I would imagine "absolute truth" be something that has many uncertanties conneted with it and difficult to precive ..etc, when your example is very simple and straightforward.


I wrote that if it is true, then it is true forever. One meaning of "absolute truth" is "always true" under all condition. Now you are mentioning another thing that people sometimes mean by "absolute truth", namely a truth that a person can be absolutely certain it true. This is not really about absolute truth, it is about absolute certainty. But many people mix those up. So, are there any truths about which we can absolutely certain? Well, what does that mean? It seems to mean a truth which it is impossible to believe and be mistaken. In that case, Descartes offered one which he claimed it would be impossible to believe and be mistaken about it. The truth was, "I exist". It is impossible to believe you exist and be mistaken (not exist). For, it is impossible to believe anything unless you exist. So, necessarily, if you believe you exist, then you exist. Therefore it is impossible to be mistaken about your own existence. Therefor, in the sense of "absolute truth" which means "absolute certainty" that one exists is an absolute truth.
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Oct, 2010 02:34 am
@kennethamy,
Quote:
He asked for an example of an absolute truth, so I gave an example.


No you did not. Wether it rained or not is observable fact, and it still relies on the validity of all concepts involved to make such a statement in the first place. This is not an issue where truth is very interesting, because facts and observations are sufficient to give us an understanding.
So you are correct in this statement...
Quote:
But many people mix those up.











Owen phil
 
  0  
Reply Tue 12 Oct, 2010 03:55 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:

Cyracuz wrote:

So... Can anyone name an absolute truth?


There was no rain in New York City on Monday, October 11, 2010. If true, that proposition was true a million years ago, and it will be true forever.


Nonsense!
That there was no rain in New York City on Monday, October 11, 2010, cannot be shown true if there is no language or no people to understand it.
Truth has no sense at all without the presense of mind.
wayne
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Oct, 2010 04:21 am
@Owen phil,
Owen phil wrote:

kennethamy wrote:

Cyracuz wrote:

So... Can anyone name an absolute truth?


There was no rain in New York City on Monday, October 11, 2010. If true, that proposition was true a million years ago, and it will be true forever.


Nonsense!
That there was no rain in New York City on Monday, October 11, 2010, cannot be shown true if there is no language or no people to understand it.
Truth has no sense at all without the presense of mind.


While it may be true that truth requires presence of mind, it does not seem to require language or more than the one observer, if that is the case.
It would not require to be shown, only observed.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Oct, 2010 06:15 am
@Cyracuz,
Cyracuz wrote:

Quote:
He asked for an example of an absolute truth, so I gave an example.


No you did not. Wether it rained or not is observable fact, and it still relies on the validity of all concepts involved to make such a statement in the first place. This is not an issue where truth is very interesting, because facts and observations are sufficient to give us an understanding.
So you are correct in this statement...
Quote:
But many people mix those up.



I was not asked to give an example of an interesting absolute truth. I was asked to give an example of an absolute truth. That is what I did. (I have not clue what people find interesting or not).








0 Replies
 
Owen phil
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Oct, 2010 06:16 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:

HexHammer wrote:

kennethamy wrote:
He asked for an example of an absolute truth, so I gave an example.
That's not my point weather you gave him an example or not, point is ..is it a good example? Maybe I'm wrong, but I would imagine "absolute truth" be something that has many uncertanties conneted with it and difficult to precive ..etc, when your example is very simple and straightforward.


I wrote that if it is true, then it is true forever. One meaning of "absolute truth" is "always true" under all condition. Now you are mentioning another thing that people sometimes mean by "absolute truth", namely a truth that a person can be absolutely certain it true. This is not really about absolute truth, it is about absolute certainty. But many people mix those up. So, are there any truths about which we can absolutely certain? Well, what does that mean? It seems to mean a truth which it is impossible to believe and be mistaken. In that case, Descartes offered one which he claimed it would be impossible to believe and be mistaken about it. The truth was, "I exist". It is impossible to believe you exist and be mistaken (not exist). For, it is impossible to believe anything unless you exist. So, necessarily, if you believe you exist, then you exist. Therefore it is impossible to be mistaken about your own existence. Therefor, in the sense of "absolute truth" which means "absolute certainty" that one exists is an absolute truth.


I don't agree here.

There cannot be any absolute truths or absolute certainties...whatever that is.
"I exist." is gibberish if and when there is no "I".

If there are minds that understand the statement 'I exist' then it cannot be denied. Because the denial also requires a mind.

If I exist then' 'I exist' is true. If I doubt that I exist then 'I exist' is true.
But, clearly there are times at which I don't exist.
That is to say, I exist..cannot be true at all times. QED.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Oct, 2010 06:19 am
@Owen phil,
Owen phil wrote:

kennethamy wrote:

Cyracuz wrote:

So... Can anyone name an absolute truth?


There was no rain in New York City on Monday, October 11, 2010. If true, that proposition was true a million years ago, and it will be true forever.


Nonsense!
That there was no rain in New York City on Monday, October 11, 2010, cannot be shown true if there is no language or no people to understand it.
Truth has no sense at all without the presense of mind.


It may very well be, as you say, that we cannot show it is true that it rained on that day if there are no people or there is no language. So what? Whether or not we can show it is true is irrelevant. What I said (carefully) is that if it is true that it rained on that day, then it is an absolute truth that it rained that day. So, what does showing it is true have to do with it? Answer, nothing at all.
Owen phil
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Oct, 2010 06:24 am
@wayne,
How can you assert that "That there was no rain in New York City on Monday, October 11, 2010." is true without language?
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Oct, 2010 06:35 am
@Owen phil,
Owen phil wrote:

kennethamy wrote:

HexHammer wrote:

kennethamy wrote:
He asked for an example of an absolute truth, so I gave an example.
That's not my point weather you gave him an example or not, point is ..is it a good example? Maybe I'm wrong, but I would imagine "absolute truth" be something that has many uncertanties conneted with it and difficult to precive ..etc, when your example is very simple and straightforward.


I wrote that if it is true, then it is true forever. One meaning of "absolute truth" is "always true" under all condition. Now you are mentioning another thing that people sometimes mean by "absolute truth", namely a truth that a person can be absolutely certain it true. This is not really about absolute truth, it is about absolute certainty. But many people mix those up. So, are there any truths about which we can absolutely certain? Well, what does that mean? It seems to mean a truth which it is impossible to believe and be mistaken. In that case, Descartes offered one which he claimed it would be impossible to believe and be mistaken about it. The truth was, "I exist". It is impossible to believe you exist and be mistaken (not exist). For, it is impossible to believe anything unless you exist. So, necessarily, if you believe you exist, then you exist. Therefore it is impossible to be mistaken about your own existence. Therefor, in the sense of "absolute truth" which means "absolute certainty" that one exists is an absolute truth.


I don't agree here.

There cannot be any absolute truths or absolute certainties...whatever that is.
"I exist." is gibberish if and when there is no "I".

If there are minds that understand the statement 'I exist' then it cannot be denied. Because the denial also requires a mind.

If I exist then' 'I exist' is true. If I doubt that I exist then 'I exist' is true.
But, clearly there are times at which I don't exist.
That is to say, I exist..cannot be true at all times. QED.


If there is no I to think or to exist, then I could not think that I think, and I could not think that I exist. But, I do think that I think, and I do think that I exist. Therefore, I think, and therefore, I exist.

Of course there are times when I did not exist, and (alas) when I will not exist. But no one is claiming that I exist is a necessary truth (that has been claimed, but only when God asserts it). What Descartes claimed is that when I believe I exist, I am certain that I exist, since it would be impossible for me to believe I exist, and not exist, so it would be impossible for me to be mistaken that I exist, since to make a mistake is believe what is false. What "absolute certainty" means is: we are absolutely certain of p iff it is impossible for us to believe p and p be false. I certainly agree that if there is no I then the propositions, "I think" and "I exist" are false. But what has that to do with it. That is irrelevant to whether I exist follows from I think.
0 Replies
 
Owen phil
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Oct, 2010 07:47 am
@kennethamy,
What?

It cannot be said, it cannot be known, it cannot be believed, etc..

Ken:
"What I said (carefully) is that if it is true that it rained on that day, then it is an absolute truth that it rained that day."

How can this be known to be the case, when there is nobody around?
Your claim is that 'it' is true, so, how do you know that it is true ...without the capacity to show that it is true or not?

p -> (p is absolutely true), is very doubtful if it has any meaning at all.

Your criteria for 'absolute truth' ..true at all times, does not work.
kennethamy
 
  2  
Reply Tue 12 Oct, 2010 08:39 am
@Owen phil,
Owen phil wrote:

What?

It cannot be said, it cannot be known, it cannot be believed, etc..

Ken:
"What I said (carefully) is that if it is true that it rained on that day, then it is an absolute truth that it rained that day."

How can this be known to be the case, when there is nobody around?
Your claim is that 'it' is true, so, how do you know that it is true ...without the capacity to show that it is true or not?

p -> (p is absolutely true), is very doubtful if it has any meaning at all.

Your criteria for 'absolute truth' ..true at all times, does not work.


But why cannot what cannot be known, said, or believed, not be true? For example, it is true that the Moon exists was true many years before persons existed (approximately four billion years before). But before persons existed that the Moon exists could not be known, said, or believed. Therefore, that the Moon exists was true before it could be know, believed, or said, that the Moon exists. QED.

I didn't argue that p entails p is absolutely true.

The truth (supposing it is true) that it rains in Central Park in New York City on January 5th 2050 is true on that date, true now, and true on any date you might like to specify. Have you any reason to suppose not? It is an eternal truth (or will serve as one until a better one comes along). You really should stop confusing whether we believe, know, or say what is true, with what is true.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Oct, 2010 08:48 am
@Owen phil,
Correct.
"Truth" is "what is the case" for particular communicators/observers in particular dynamic contexts. The fact that there might be agreement amongst all human communicators/observers within a particular zeitgeist does not constitute a concept of "absolute truth". Such a concept implies observer independence.
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Oct, 2010 09:22 am
I feel this holds relevance to this subject.

Systemic Thinking - A Bedtime Story of the Second Order
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGH6VcIAfss

This is part 1, but the other 2 parts are easily found.
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Oct, 2010 10:06 am
@Cyracuz,
Yes...this is an introduction to second order cybernetics....the observation of observation.

With respect to Ken's persistent posts about "the moon prior to observers", what he hasn't worked out is that is a contingent aspect in the "story" of the earth. i.e. Observers NOW might be tempted to agree that hypothetical observers THEN would have recognized "the moon". But such agreement is based on such hypothetical observers possessing modern semantic networks in which "moon" has meaning. (It is the current communicators themselves are observing "the ancient moon" in their minds). What is functionally going on now is systemic thinking with respect to the explanation (i.e prediction) of current observations of the state of the moon/ earth/oceanic system. Since pre-diction and retro-diction share the continuous logic of a time-line, success in prediction implies "success" in retro-diction. And "success" constitutes "truth".
kennethamy
 
  2  
Reply Tue 12 Oct, 2010 10:24 am
@fresco,
fresco wrote:

Correct.
"Truth" is "what is the case" for particular communicators/observers in particular dynamic contexts. The fact that there might be agreement amongst all human communicators/observers within a particular zeitgeist does not constitute a concept of "absolute truth". Such a concept implies observer independence.


The fact that there might be agreement amongst all human communicators/observers within a particular zeitgeist does not constitute a concept of "absolute truth". Such a concept implies observer independence.

I agree. People agree a statement is true because a statement is true. The statement is not true because people agree is is true. But how does that imply that it is not true or absolutely true, that it will rain in Central Park of May 11, 2025 at 3 pm? I would think that what you wrote is completely consistent with that.
kennethamy
 
  2  
Reply Tue 12 Oct, 2010 10:25 am
@Cyracuz,
Cyracuz wrote:

I feel this holds relevance to this subject.

Systemic Thinking - A Bedtime Story of the Second Order
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGH6VcIAfss

This is part 1, but the other 2 parts are easily found.


Well, if you feel so. Just as long as you don't think so.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Oct, 2010 10:44 am
@kennethamy,
You have been side-tracked by the request for "an absolute truth". The word "absolute" combined with "truth" takes on a different connotation to "absolute" combined with "agreement". The phrase "absolute truth" implies that "agreement" doesn't come into it. It implies that "facts" are not observer constructions for particular purposes, but that they have independent ontological status.

This is once again about levels of discourse in which words change their import according to contextual usage. See for example my arguments on the "free will" threads. The determinist/reductionists argue that "free will doesn't exist" at their level of discourse AND THEY ARE RIGHT ! But we who aspire to Wittgenstein's ideas recognise that we don't use "free will" at mechanistic levels...only at societal levels, so the phrase has no meaning in mechanistic thinking. And you seem to make the same error about the phrase "absolute truth". It's connotation is predominantly religious as the Pontius Pilate -Jesus exchange, or the "sanctity of Holy Books".
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Oct, 2010 10:50 am
@kennethamy,
Not only do i feel so. I think so too. Heck, I even know it has relevance.


Quote:
People agree a statement is true because a statement is true. The statement is not true because people agree is is true.


Then what determines truth?
And give a straight answer please.








fresco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Oct, 2010 11:07 am
@kennethamy,
Quote:
The statement is not true because people agree is is true.


Wrong ! It's true for them at that time and place...i.e. "it works". And that is all any "truth" implies.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Oct, 2010 12:11 pm
@Cyracuz,
Cyracuz wrote:

Not only do i feel so. I think so too. Heck, I even know it has relevance.


Quote:
People agree a statement is true because a statement is true. The statement is not true because people agree is is true.


Then what determines truth?
And give a straight answer please.




The sentence, "Snow is white" is true if and only if, snow is white.

(The Semantic Definition of Truth Alfred Tarski). Or,

"To say of that something is true is to say of what is that it is, and to say of what is, that it is not". Aristotle.

Both come to the same thing, and they are both straight answers to the question, what is truth?

But you may be asking a very different question, namely: "How do we tell (know) whether a statement (sentence, proposition) is true? That depends on what sort of statement (etc.) it is. For a very large class of statement, empirical statements like, snow is white (for instance) we tell by using empirical evidence, that is either direct observational evidence or what is based on, or inferred from observation. For instance, that snow is white we know from direct observation. But that it is going to snow tonight, we known on the basis of inference from direct observation (inferential evidence).

Now, whether or not you agree with these two replies: one to the question, what is truth? and the second, how do we know what is true? do you agree that they are straight answers?
 

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