Thursday, December 11, 2008

On the Invalidity of Absolute Truth

Yes, I'm debating with Sye again, bashing my head against the wall and wondering why. So here is a response to the invalidity of absolute truth that I thought was worth saving for the blog:

Refer to my original statement on absolute truth here:

Let me break this down in another way to show the flaw in your question, “Does Absolute Truth exist”, and further demonstrate for you how truth is systemic. I’d like to do this be looking at meanings and sentence structure. (I’ll take this slow)

First, let’s consider sentence structure:
Every sentence contains (or implies) two parts; a subject and a predicate. The predicate, or course, is what is said about the subject

Consider this sentence,
“Do Hard Rocks exist?”
At first glance this seems like a reasonable question, and it is to a certain degree, however it can be easily simplified. As it stands, however, we have the subject, “Hard Rocks” and the predicate, “Exist”. The question then, is whether or not the predicate “exist” can be applied to the subject “Hard Rocks”.

But let’s simplify the question and rather ask:
“Are Rocks Hard?”
Let me take a step back though and explain why I’m simplifying the question. In the previous sentence, “Hard Rocks” was my subject, however we’d all agree before hand that “hardness” exists, and we’d all agree before hand that “rocks” exist, furthermore, proof (correspondingly) can be offered as to the reality of each. As a result, the question isn’t whether or not “Hard Rocks” exist, (or better put, whether or not “exist” is a valid predicate to “Hard Rocks”), rather the real question is whether or not the predicate “Hard” is valid when applied to the subject “Rocks”. Of course the obvious answer to the question (which we’d all give), is yes, the predicate “Hard” certainly does apply to subject “Rocks”. The key again being, that we understand before hand and can prove by itself the reality of both subject and predicate.

Now, let me take this even slower; what I’ve done here in reducing the question is what they refer to in mathematics as “Factoring”. In other words in the sentence, “Do Hard Rocks exist?” we’re actually calling into question this statement: “Do (Hard+exist)+(Rocks+exist)=exist Yes?” So, all I’ve done with the question “Are Rocks Hard?” is factor out the “exist” to come up with, “Are Rocks Hard? Yes.” as we all agree in the application of the predicate hard to the subject rock, and furthermore that they both exist on their own. .

EXAMPLE 2:Lets look at another question,
“Do Windy Rocks exist?”
Once again we can factor out exist from this question and simply say, “Are Rocks Windy?” and ask whether or not the predicate “Windy” applies to “Rocks”. Of course I don’t need to answer that question as we’d all correspondingly agree that rocks are in fact not windy.

Now, lets look at your question,
“Does Absolute Truth exist?”
I take it by now that you see your underlying flaw in logic, but if not, let’s proceed.

Asking the question in this way assumes that we can factor “exist” from both “Absolute” and “Truth” as if we all agreed to the reality and existence of both. But there are two huge problems here which lie in the questions, “What is absolute?” and “What is Truth?” and furthermore do either of them exist on their own in such a way that to ask the question, “Does Absolute Truth exist?” make sense?

So in order to predicate Truth with Absolute by asking the question, “Is Truth Absolute?”, we need to agree and establish before hand that both are A.) Valid as a subject and predicate – by - B.) Establishing that both have a reality by themselves.

I’ve already established in my original premise what truth is, so I won’t belabor the point except to say that, it’s only propositions that are true. In other words, things in and of themselves are not true as they do not by themselves carry the property truth; it’s only what we say about objects which are either true or false. In yet another way, truth exists in the instance we find that a proven predicate applies to a given/proven subject. Void of propositions then, there is no truth – at any rate you can see my original premise on Systemic Truth.

Let’s now look at Absolute then:
In order to establish the validity of your question/proposition, we must establish (outside of rhetorical space) the validity and existence of the word Absolute. Again, lets start by being simple. Absolute is of course a word we use (albeit rhetorically) in everyday speech; one might ask, “You wanna go to lunch?” and I may respond, “Absolutely!” and of course we can all see how this response is a rhetorical one, as, I may not even be able to go, I may not go, and maybe I will go. We can create an analog to this statement with the proclamation, “I’ve been here forever!”, again, this is a rhetorical statement.

Of course we all use phrases like, “Forever”, “Infinity”, and “Absolute”, and in our everyday speech these are no doubt rhetorical statements. In mathematics (for example) we have the theoretical notion of “Infinity”, however the reality of such a case could never be proven, likewise with the notion of “Forever” (unless one can prove otherwise). So it’s obvious then, that we need to substantiate the validity of the notion “Absolute” prior to being able to apply it as a valid predicate to a given subject; and this is why the statement/proposition/question, “Does absolute truth exist?” doesn’t make sense.

In light of this we know that (in the same way we can surmise about infinity) for something to be absolute if must fulfill the following criteria which I’ve already established in my original question, (which is):

Lets first recall that for something to be absolute it must :
1.) Exist Independently
2.) Exist not in relation to other things
3.) Exist not relative to other things
4.) Be true for every possible circumstance

The Question:
A.) State a truth/law that you consider absolute.
B.) Demonstrate for us how that truth/law satisfies 1 – 4 above.
C.) Show how that truth/law is not “Systemic”

Further more then, in order to ask in honest fashion the question, “Does absolute truth exist?” we must first establish the validity of “Absolute” by demonstrating it as asked above, otherwise what’s being stated is merely a rhetorical question that, where-as it may exist as a seemingly logical question, does not have existence in reality. In other words, (as it’s rhetorical) its existence is only conceptual (theoretical) until it’s shown that absolute has existence outside of that.

With that, Sye, I believe you have a proof to give; and whereas it may be tempting to merely defer to the question, “Is what you say absolutely true?” I believe I’ve clearly shown that the BURDON OF PROOF is clearly in your court.

So lets have it….


  1. In the end, I think the absolute exists, but it is impossible for us to ever see it as far as the physical goes. As for the metaphysical, ethical, etc., I don't believe there is an absolute; it just doesn't seem possible. Perhaps this lies in how our perceptions are shaped through language and culture. So many of our ethical dilemmas are products of our own creation...

  2. Minister,
    see Sye's bunk premise here for where this all started:

    Proof That God Exists

    Sye believes he has a proof that God exists, and he gets it off the ground by using a bunk first premise that's more of a trick question then anything else - that's what I'm showing here in this post.

    To believe that absolute truth exists is one thing, to say that his beginning questioning is proof that it does is quite another.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. NOTE TO SELF: (the simplified version)

    Once again, all sentences contain a SUBJECT which I’ll denote with (x) and a PREDICATE which I’ll denote with [z]. So your sentence could be, “Is (x) [z]?”

    Now here’s the crucial part:
    If the SUBJECT of your sentence is itself internally predicated, as in (xy), then it assumes (pre-supposes if you will) that the PREDICATE we’re applying to it is true of both SUBJECTS by themselves.

    In other words if your sentence is:
    “Is/Does (xy) [z]?”
    then what we really have is:
    “Is/Does (x[z]) (y[z]) = TRUE {together}?”
    As you can see, this sentence structure assumes that the predicate applies to both elements of the subject by themselves. The real question then, isn’t to the existence of either of them, but to the existence of both of them together.
    So we can simplify that by asking:
    “Is (x)[y]?”

    So, the question is:
    “Does Absolute Truth Exist?”
    What we really have is:
    “Does (Absolute[exist]) (Truth[exist]) = exist {together}?”
    So the first question one should ask is, does the PREDICATE “exist” apply to both Truth and Absolute by themselves? If it doesn’t and/or one cannot show it, then one has merely created an invalid subject for predication.

    On the other hand, if one can establish the existence of at least one absolute, than our question becomes (as we can now factor out exist):
    “Is Truth Absolute?”

    Notice that in this sentence a “NO” response does not yield the option of responding, “Is that absolutely true?” as by answering no we’ve invalidated Absolute as being an applicable predicate to truth; so in effect the question doesn’t make sense.

    However, in order to even get to that point one needs to establish the validity of the word ABSOLUTE, or one is merely spewing rhetorical bullsht. One's use of it (in context) PRE-SUPPOSES it’s reality – in other words one only has a self refuting statement when you pre-suppose absolute to be something real and proven. My position is, of course, the question is nonsense.

    So to the question:
    “Does absolute truth exist?”
    I will respond:
    “You have created an invalid subject for predication.”
    And one can ask:
    “Is that absolutely true?”
    And I will respond:
    “You’ve created an invalid subject for predication.”
    Ad-infinitum if you like.