Jump to content

Welcome to the Freedomain Radio Message Board


Sign In 

Create Account
If you're interested in joining the philosophical discussion, click "sign in" or "create account" on the right of the page. If you're creating a new account, please be sure to include an explanation as to why you're interested in joining the message board community. This verification requirement is included to cut down on possible troll and spam accounts.

If you have supported Freedomain Radio financially and would like immediate access to the message board - or - your donation status is incorrect, please contact Michael at operations@freedomainradio.com with your information and the situation will be addresses ASAP.
 
Guest Message by DevFuse

Wednesday April 23rd, 2014: No Call In Show

Thursday and Friday April 24-25th, 2014: The Next Web Conference in Amsterdam

Friday April 25th, 2014: Watch Stefan's Speech LIVE at 9:20am Eastern

Saturday April 26th, 2014: Freedomain Radio Meet-Up in Amsterdam

Sunday April 27th, 2014: No Call In Show


56 Philosopher King files - 71 Gold files - 40 Silver files - 50 Bronze files


Update: A new silver level file on Toxic Guilt and The Credibility Bank Account has been added! Click here to donate if you'd like access to the various premium sections. If your donator status is incorrect, please contact Michael at operations@freedomainradio.com with the relevant information and it will be corrected as soon as possible.

Photo

There is no such thing as absolute truth!


  • Please log in to reply
62 replies to this topic

#1
Stefan Molyneux

Stefan Molyneux
  • 19731 posts

[View:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-2t77qDa-c]


An article deconstruction on the question of whether or not it is reasonable to accept the concept of absolute truth. Hosted by Stefan Molyneux of Freedomain Radio, the largest and most popular philosophy show in the world. http://www.freedomainradio.com  Original article: http://fatfist.hubpages.com/hub/There-are-NO-Absolutes-There-is-NO-Absolute-Truth


  • 0

Please join the new Freedomain Radio Facebook page:


Freedomain Radio | Promote Your Page Too
18322869182.6864.748552535.png



stefan_molyneux


#2
Cody Hall

Cody Hall

  • 318 posts

 Wonderful article deconstruction Stef!


I appreciate you touching on the fact that so many people get so freaked out by absolute statements because it is something I noticed the last time I spoke with my father about taxation being theft.  He had responded claiming that one shouldn't speak in such absolutes.  At the time I didn't think too much of it (as the conversation didn't last much longer) but your explanation has helped in illuminating the context of my father's statement.


Keep up the fantastic work!  [blowkiss]


  • 0

"Until men learn that of all human symbols, Robin Hood is the most immoral and the most contemptible, there will be no justice on earth and no way for mankind to survive."


~ Ragnar Danneskjöld - "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand ~


#3
Blank

Blank


  • 14136 posts

I loved all the linguistic nonsense in that article, in an attempt to escape self-detonation. What a hoot.


I think it would be helpful to offer a precise definition of "truth", to compare to what we can infer from this fellow's definition (such as it is).


  • 0

#4
Johnathan Smithson

Johnathan Smithson
  • 346 posts

Absolute truth doesn't exist as an object in reality. So there is no thing, or object, that could be called absolute truth.


The statement 'There is no such thing as abolute truth!' is then, correct.


I'm just nitpicking though. But it's important, that when talking about reality, to be precise.


  • 0

#5
Blank

Blank


  • 14136 posts

I don't understand the use of the modifier "absolute". Either something is true, or it's not true.


"true", being what Stef defined in the video:



  • A statement that accords with actual reality (an empirical "fact").

  • A statement that is validated by propositions that logically precede it (a logical "proof").


In either case, the word "absolute" seems superflous to me. Which is a bit of a red-flag. It tells me the author is not really talking about the same thing as we're discussing in the above definitions.


 


  • 0

#6
PhilipJ

PhilipJ

  • 759 posts

A quick glance at the comments on that article made my stomach turn. A lot of vitriol. Apparently the author is offering $10,000 USD to anyone who can post "ANY statement that is objectively explained by them to be "absolute truth".


  • 0

#7
yddy

yddy
  • 130 posts

Absolute truth doesn't exist as an object in reality. So there is no thing, or object, that could be called absolute truth.

The statement 'There is no such thing as abolute truth!' is then, correct.

I'm just nitpicking though. But it's important, that when talking about reality, to be precise.

 

Is the portion I bolded an absolute truth? [:)]


  • 0

#8
Livemike

Livemike
  • 939 posts

If there is no absolute truth then it is not absolutely true that the guy with the most believers doesn't automatically win.  This guy has 85 followers on his website and you have several thousands i believe.  So you can just hit him with "More people believe me therefore I am right.  If that doesn't mean I'm right then the fact that it doesn't is an absolute truth.".  There are SO MANY ways to tear this apart.  It's just another piece of evidence that people believe things for emotional reason and is spite of logic. 


  • 0

#9
Blank

Blank


  • 14136 posts

If there is no absolute truth then it is not absolutely true that the guy with the most believers doesn't automatically win.

What's the difference between "absolute" truth, and truth?

If one cannot make statements that accord with the facts of reality, and one cannot make statements which are logically defensible, then the sentence I quoted, the subsequent question I posed, and the sentence you are reading now, would be impossible to write.

However, since you are able to read this, to comprehend it, and to argue against it, we can see that both forms of truth exist empirically. Statements can be made that accord with the facts of reality, and statements can be made which are logically defensible. 

So, I'm really not sure what the controversy is.


  • 0

#10
FreedomWins

FreedomWins
  • 2098 posts

What's the difference between "absolute" truth, and truth?

You know, I have the idea that there is no such thing as relative truth. When I say "I like vanilla", the statement is an absolute truth about the universe. Maybe I'm speaking about a
particularly small aspect of the universe, but there you go.


  • 0

#11
kremlin

kremlin
  • 451 posts

You know, I have the idea that there is no such thing as relative truth. When I say "I like vanilla", the statement is an absolute truth about the universe. Maybe it's speaking about a particularly small aspect of the universe, but there you go.

What about "vanilla tastes good"?


  • 0

#12
Blank

Blank


  • 14136 posts

You know, I have the idea that there is no such thing as relative truth. When I say "I like vanilla", the statement is an absolute truth about the universe. Maybe it's speaking about a particularly small aspect of the universe, but there you go.

What about "vanilla tastes good"?

It's absolutely true that Mister C prefers vanilla.


  • 0

#13
FreedomWins

FreedomWins
  • 2098 posts

What about "vanilla tastes good"?

That automatically brings to mind the question "in what situation or to whom?" since that was left off and it's essential to getting the full idea you're trying to communicate.

I'd infer you mean "vanilla has ever tasted good" that is an absolute truth. If you mean "vanilla always tastes good", that's an absolute falsehood.


  • 0

#14
kremlin

kremlin
  • 451 posts

I mean it in the sense that you mean it when you say similar things. I mean, it's pretty hard to go through a whole month without, at some time, saying, "Yeah, that song is pretty good" or "That tastes like shit" or whatever. Most people aren't consciously on guard against omitting the "to me" part of those sentences. Presumably, you sometimes say things like that. Maybe not. I'd be amazed if you didn't.


So what do you mean when you say things like that? Do you mean "...to me"? Because, if so, that kinda makes the first part of the sentence relative. Relative "to me". Relative "to my standards of what tastes good."


  • 0

#15
kremlin

kremlin
  • 451 posts

I want to point out, also, that relative doesn't necessarily mean NOT objective. Things can be relative and objective at the same time. For example, I'm 2 feet away from the wall. It's objectively true (more or less), but I'm giving a relative location. So it's objective and relative simultaneously.


Likewise, "Vanilla is good [relative to my standards of taste]" is objectively true, but also relative to your tastes. I don't think they're mutually exclusive.


  • 0

#16
FreedomWins

FreedomWins
  • 2098 posts

So what do you mean when you say things like that? Do you mean "...to me"? Because, if so, that kinda makes the first part of the sentence relative. Relative "to me". Relative "to my standards of what tastes good."

Well, it depends. Usually, I mean that it's great for me. However, sometimes something will impress me a lot and I'll mean that it would be great for everyone, which looking back is likely invalid.

All of these statements, true or not, have been absolute though.


  • 0

#17
FreedomWins

FreedomWins
  • 2098 posts

Likewise, "Vanilla is good [relative to my standards of taste]" is objectively true, but also relative to your tastes. I don't think they're mutually exclusive.

I would agree, but I mean relative in the sense of relativism rather than in the sense of relatedness.

While some statements are true or false relative to the topic you're implicitly speaking about, they are not true or false relative to who is figuring out whether they are true.

Of course, relativists (and I definitely don't mean anyone in this thread) love to confuse the hell out of this distinction by giving examples that choose the figurer as the implicit topic. They then say that it's true relative to the topic, so that must mean some things are true relative to the person figuring out the truth of the statement, and yay relativism.

However, if you keep the topic consistent, two people can determine the same absolute truth about that topic.


  • 0

#18
kremlin

kremlin
  • 451 posts

There's a lesswrong article on a similar idea to what I'm talking about (but in the context of probability). They use the phrase "Subjectively Objective", though I think in this case it's the other way around, "Objectively Subjective" ie, it's objectively true that this is my subjective opinion, it's objectively true that, relative to my tastes, vanilla is good.


http://lesswrong.com...vely_objective/


  • 0

#19
Livemike

Livemike
  • 939 posts

If there is no absolute truth then it is not absolutely true that the guy with the most believers doesn't automatically win.

What's the difference between "absolute" truth, and truth?

If one cannot make statements that accord with the facts of reality, and one cannot make statements which are logically defensible, then the sentence I quoted, the subsequent question I posed, and the sentence you are reading now, would be impossible to write.

However, since you are able to read this, to comprehend it, and to argue against it, we can see that both forms of truth exist empirically. Statements can be made that accord with the facts of reality, and statements can be made which are logically defensible. 

So, I'm really not sure what the controversy is.

  There is none that I can see.  There is just a bunch of guys who think they've proven that there is no proof.  I just wanted to demonstrate another way to prove them wrong.  I don't think there is a difference between absolute truth and truth.  I could be wrong.


  • 0

#20
Johnathan Smithson

Johnathan Smithson
  • 346 posts

Absolute truth doesn't exist as an object in reality. So there is no thing, or object, that could be called absolute truth.

The statement 'There is no such thing as abolute truth!' is then, correct.

I'm just nitpicking though. But it's important, that when talking about reality, to be precise.

 

Is the portion I bolded an absolute truth? Smile

My point is that absolute truths do not exist as objects . So the portion you bolded is not an obsolute truth.


  • 0

#21
FreedomWins

FreedomWins
  • 2098 posts

My point is that absolute truths do not exist as objects . So the portion you bolded is not an obsolute truth.

I really like these kinds of distinctions and I hope this is correct and helps.

If absolute truths aren't objects but statements, and the portion highlighted is a statement, I'd say it could be an absolute truth.


  • 0

#22
FreedomWins

FreedomWins
  • 2098 posts

If one day he didn't like vanilla (for what ever reason) then that would nullify the statement that it is 'absolutely true' he loves vanilla - which is why you cannot say 'it is absolutely true he likes vanilla' because that requires the truth to be timeless which we can have no certainty of. As with many things.

I feel a bit annoyed, though that may be entirely unrelated to this. In fact, that seems pretty likely, and I think it indicates that part of me wants to take a break right now to think about a different issue.

Anyway, as far as what you said, I think that's incorrect, since 'loves' is present tense rather than timeless.

I hope that's correct and helps.


  • 0

#23
FreedomWins

FreedomWins
  • 2098 posts

I don't think that's a sensible interpretation of that, given that all statements are limited. For instance, a statement will limit itself to its subject matter, it will limit itself to its scope, oh boy will it limit itself (apologies for treating a statement as an actor). So, because that definition was come up with by people who are, quite apparently, intelligent, I think that definition has a different meaning than you think, since they must not have been excluding all statements.


To be clear, I think you're quite intelligent as well, since you're obviously able to discuss things at this level.


  • 0

#24
AnarcoB

AnarcoB
  • 354 posts

Has anyone seen the street sign "No Parking Anytime"?
Why add "Anytime"?
Doesn't "No Parking" say it all?


  • 0

#25
kremlin

kremlin
  • 451 posts

 "Anytime" is the name of the guy they don't want to park there. You can still park there though. I mean, if your'e not him.


  • 0

#26
FreedomWins

FreedomWins
  • 2098 posts

Has anyone seen the street sign "No Parking Anytime"?
Why add "Anytime"?
Doesn't "No Parking" say it all?

Well, to put on my statist victim hat, a lot of no parking signs have schedules on them. Putting 'anytime' makes it quite clear what the schedule is, rather than leaving it potentially ambiguous.

To put on my anarchist who doesn't quite get that the legal system is an irrelevant distraction hat, one feature of the legal world is terror of ambiguity that allows the men with guns to rob you or throw you in jail due to an idiotic technicality or another. They treat that symptom by becoming habitually wordy in order to attempt to cover all bases and avoid destruction.

In this case, the state has the opposite goal of inflicting horrible abuse on people and must in the legal world attempt to cover all bases so that the victim (who is already traumatized by the ticket and trial) has difficulty escaping further trauma via some idiotic technicality.

I hope that helps.

"Anytime" is the name of the guy they don't want to park there. You can still park there though. I mean, if your'e not him.

[:)]


  • 0

#27
kremlin

kremlin
  • 451 posts

One could say that when he says "I like ice cream," "now" is implicit. It's not saying "I like ice cream tomorrow" or "I like ice cream yesterday."


As such, since "now" refers to a specific moment in time -- let's say 2011 on november 22 (no need to get more specific), what he's really saying is "I like ice cream [on this day at this time]", and it never changes. It never stops being true that on that day at that time, he liked ice cream. That will never change.


  • 0

#28
FreedomWins

FreedomWins
  • 2098 posts

One could say that when he says "I like ice cream," "now" is implicit. It's not saying "I like ice cream tomorrow" or "I like ice cream yesterday."

No, it's not implicit. You would say "I liked ice cream yesterday." The tense of the verb is quite explicit and required there. Your form is incorrect.

Because this is such a basic issue of English, I'm unsure of why this is coming up. I don't think anyone here lacks intelligence, and the correct conclusions are quite obvious, so on seeing two attempts so far to reject, when used with absolute statements, the validity of verb tenses (here, even going so far as to ignore their existence), I have to conclude that there's a powerful resistance to what I'm saying. Maybe I'm incorrect on that, though.


  • 0

#29
kremlin

kremlin
  • 451 posts

One could say that when he says "I like ice cream," "now" is implicit. It's not saying "I like ice cream tomorrow" or "I like ice cream yesterday."

No, it's not implicit. You would say "I liked ice cream yesterday." The tense of the verb is quite explicit there. Your form is incorrect.

Because this is such a basic issue of English, I'm unsure of why this is coming up. I don't think anyone here lacks intelligence, and the correct conclusions are quite obvious, so on seeing two attempts to reject the validity of verb tenses (here, even going so far as to ignore their existence) with absolute statements so far, I have to conclude that there's a powerful resistance to what I'm saying.

I don't know what you think I said, or what you think my argument was, but whatever you think it was, it's not.

This post seemed very agressive to me: it of course begins with teh assumption that you're correct and that it's obvious you're correct and that i'm wrong and it's obvious that i'm wrong -- very condescending -- and that my opinion couldn't possibly be that because i thought about it, but because i must have SOME POWERFUL RESISTANCE to agreeing with you. again, very condescending. If everyone assumed that people who disagreed only disagreed because they have a "powerful resistance," no one would be able to change their mind. They'd all just hear other peoples' differing opinions and say, like you, "Oh, they must just have a resistance to obvious reason!" You don't give other people very much credit with that sort of approach to conversation. 

[edit]

on second read of your post...are you criticizing a typo? is that why you're saying i'm resisting your ideas so much? i'm so resistent because i made a typo?


  • 0

#30
kremlin

kremlin
  • 451 posts

 In any case, when I say "I like vanilla," I'm certainly not saying "I will always like vanilla," or "i always have."


  • 0

#31
FreedomWins

FreedomWins
  • 2098 posts

You don't give other people very much credit with that sort of approach to conversation.

I'm sorry my approach had that effect, but I'd like to point out that I did say that I believed you were very intelligent, which is a credit, and that I thought you had a powerful resistance, which is not that much of a discredit since I think that probably applies to most people, though perhaps with other resistances than this. I also made it clear that it was merely my conclusion, not a proven fact.

it's obvious that i'm wrong -- very condescending

If it is in fact obvious that you are wrong, I don't think it is very condescending to point it out, though there may be a matter of gentleness I'm missing.

If everyone assumed that people who disagreed only disagreed because they have a "powerful resistance," no one would be able to change their mind. They'd all just hear other peoples' differing opinions and say, like you, "Oh, they must just have a resistance to obvious reason!"

On reviewing my past experiences, these consequences have not showed up for me, and I think that if everyone followed my example (not that I'm recommending that), they'd get similar results. I'd also like to point out that I don't automatically assume that people who disagree must necessarily disagree because of powerful resistances.


  • 0

#32
kremlin

kremlin
  • 451 posts

yes i must have a very powerful resistance to not making typos. probably something to do with abandoment or something.


i think you should work on your tact. what you were referring to (i think) was what is known as a "grammatical error" that was the result of a typo. not some sort of resistence to your great ideas. quite frankly, i actually don't see what a grammatical error has to do with anything you've said in this thread, so i have no clue what you think i'm resisting in the first place. what are you talking about? that's a nonsequitur if i ever read one.


  • 0

#33
FreedomWins

FreedomWins
  • 2098 posts

i think you should work on your tact.

I don't think your attempt at humiliating me is a good example for me to follow on this, so I will unfortunately have to stop here.


  • 0

#34
kremlin

kremlin
  • 451 posts

If you feel shame for making such an overblown response to a typo, it's not because I'm trying to humiliate you. And even if it wasn't a typo, but just a grammatical error that I thought was correct -- once again, nothing to do with any resistence to your ideas. It's not like this thread has been you giving us a grammar lesson and I'm just resisting learning proper grammar! It has nothing to do with your ideas in this thread. I have no idea how you came to the conclusion I was resisting something because of a grammar error...That's very strange.


But I don't blame you for wanting to stop. I suggest it in fact.


  • 0

#35
AnarcoB

AnarcoB
  • 354 posts

How about "Absolutely No Parking"?
I still don't see the difference.
I think we can still break the equation down into it's simplest form.
Is there parking or isn't there?


  • 0




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users