Author Topic: Maybe truth doesn't exist?  (Read 297 times)

Offline Daniel

  • Feldwebel
  • ***
  • Posts: 1954
  • Thanked: 374 times
Maybe truth doesn't exist?
« on: August 12, 2018, 11:13:35 PM »
We've all heard the proofs for the existence of God, but what proof is there for the existence of truth?

Granted, if truth does not exist then this very question is meaningless, as are these words, and all proofs.
But still, how do we know that truth exists? And further, how do we know that truth exists outside the mind? And that truth is God?
« Last Edit: August 12, 2018, 11:16:50 PM by Daniel »
 

Offline PerEvangelicaDicta

  • Contemplare et contemplata aliis tradere
  • Mary Garden
  • Feldwebel
  • ***
  • Posts: 1683
  • Thanked: 1554 times
  • Religion: Catholic
Re: Maybe truth doesn't exist?
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2018, 12:16:09 AM »
Daniel, do you accept the objectivity of truth, that it is the conformation of the intellect with "what the thing perceived actually is"?   If so, the rest is easy..
You've really been going back to fundamentals lately, it seems.
They shall not be confounded in the evil time; and in the days of famine they shall be filled
Psalms 36:19
 
The following users thanked this post: Daniel

Offline PerEvangelicaDicta

  • Contemplare et contemplata aliis tradere
  • Mary Garden
  • Feldwebel
  • ***
  • Posts: 1683
  • Thanked: 1554 times
  • Religion: Catholic
Re: Maybe truth doesn't exist?
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2018, 01:23:43 AM »
Your question if haunting me because I thought you were a faithful Catholic.  But fundamentally if you doubt the existence of Truth, you doubt the existence of Christ Himself, Who is Truth.
They shall not be confounded in the evil time; and in the days of famine they shall be filled
Psalms 36:19
 
The following users thanked this post: Daniel, Xavier

Online Xavier

  • Poor, Useless tool of Mary hopeful of being Her Slave.
  • St. Joseph's Workbench
  • Wachtmeister
  • ***
  • Posts: 1173
  • Thanked: 1073 times
  • Immaculate Heart of Mary, Triumph Soon!
  • Religion: Catholic Christian
Re: Maybe truth doesn't exist?
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2018, 09:32:49 AM »
Simple syllogistic proof by reductio ad absurdum: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductio_ad_absurdum

1. Either Truth exists or "Truth doesn't exist".
2. Assume "Truth doesn't exist" is True.
3. But then Truth would exist and it would be "Truth doesn't exist".
4. Therefore, "Truth doesn't exist" is inherently contradictory and self refuting.
5. Therefore, Truth exists.

Agreed, Daniel, my friend? :)

Dear Daniel, are you praying the Rosary every day? Kindly set aside just 15 minutes to do that if you're not, and then all these doubts will vanish.

I also recommend making the Double Great Novena, to which the Savior Himself promised, "They will never be tormented by anxiety or doubt". See: http://lapieta.tripod.com/dnov_ena.html

Sacred theology is unlike all other sciences. Anyone can have no interior life and still be able to compute the axioms of mathematics. But in the divine science of theology, if we neglect our spiritual and devotional life and the powerful aids against error and sin that Heaven has given us, we will almost surely fall into some mistake or the other. God bless you, Daniel. Will be praying for you as you struggle through these issues. Kindly do take them to God Himself in prayer as well.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2018, 09:40:12 AM by Xavier »
Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING: "My dear Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, I hereby Offer my whole Life to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with my life, I place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all my Holy Communions, all my good deeds, all my sacrifices, and the suffering of my entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father and Priests, for good Priestly vocations, and for all souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept my life Sacrifice and my offerings and give me Your grace that I may persevere obediently until my death." Amen. https://www.avemariamaternostra.com/life-offering-promises.html It is recommended that you make this Life Offering as soon as you feel ready, and to renew it from time to time.

Please read the Blessed Mother's promises in the link: those who make it seriously will face no Purgatory (promise 5) since they would have completed it here, will have all their loved ones released from Purgatory the day they offer their life with intent to persevere (promise 4), and can save the souls of all their family members in due time by their life offering (promise 3). It will benefit all souls who have ever lived until time's end (promise 2) A simple effective way for thousands of us to save millions of souls. You will have your name written in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary forever (promise 1).
 
The following users thanked this post: Non Nobis, Daniel

Offline james03

  • Hauptmann
  • ****
  • Posts: 7669
  • Thanked: 2268 times
  • The Brutal Clarity of a Winter Morning
  • Religion: Catholic
Re: Maybe truth doesn't exist?
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2018, 01:44:44 PM »
Quote
Granted, if truth does not exist then this very question is meaningless,

You even prove it to yourself.

So now you know Truth exists.  Continue on and you end up at God.
"But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God (Jn 3:18)."

"All sorrow leads to the foot of the Cross.  Weep for your sins."
 
The following users thanked this post: Daniel, PerEvangelicaDicta

Offline John Lamb

  • Wachtmeister
  • ***
  • Posts: 1055
  • Thanked: 1029 times
  • Religion: Catholic
Re: Maybe truth doesn't exist?
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2018, 02:27:21 PM »
We've all heard the proofs for the existence of God, but what proof is there for the existence of truth?

Granted, if truth does not exist then this very question is meaningless, as are these words, and all proofs.
But still, how do we know that truth exists? And further, how do we know that truth exists outside the mind? And that truth is God?

The existence of truth is a presupposition of thought, because thought has truth for its end/object. If there is no truth, there is no thought either. So to deny that there is any truth is properly a sophism, which is to say, a patently self-refuting absurdity.

Here are the three principle sophisms which the ancient Greek sophist Gorgias (called "the Nihilist") proposed:

1. There is no truth / being.
2. Even if there is truth / being, it cannot be known.
3. Even if truth / being can be known, it cannot be communicated.

All these are self-exploding absurdities which make philosophical discourse (or any discourse) strictly speaking impossible.
As many as received him, he gave them power to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in his name. (John 1:12)
 
The following users thanked this post: Daniel

Offline Daniel

  • Feldwebel
  • ***
  • Posts: 1954
  • Thanked: 374 times
Re: Maybe truth doesn't exist?
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2018, 03:39:49 PM »
I accept that truth exists, but I'm guess the issue is that I'm not sure that these reductio ad absurdums are anything more than question-begging. If truth exists, then these arguments are legitimate proofs. No problem there. But we can't assume that truth exists, since that's what we're trying to prove. If truth does not exist, then neither does logic exist, and if logic does not not exist then there can be no proofs, and so the reductio absurdums don't prove anything.

It seems that there is no way to disprove the proposition that "truth does not exist" except by proving its contrary, that truth does exist. But it also seems that it is completely impossible to prove that truth exists without appealing to logic, which is question-begging.


it is the conformation of the intellect with "what the thing perceived actually is"?
I know that this is the standard definition, but I am wondering who discovered it and how he discovered it? I'm guessing it's from Aristotle or St. Thomas, so is it derived empirically somehow?
Granting that this is a good definition, there's something I'm a little confused about.
The first thing I notice is that if we accept this definition, and if we simultaneously define truth to be God, then I am guessing that we need to interpret this definition in such a way as to read "intellect" and "reality" as necessary things, not as contingent things. So rather than reading it at face value, as "the conformity of propositions in our intellect to the extra-mental created world", we ought to read it as "the conformity of propositions in God's intellect to God as the object of His own thought"? I suppose then that I see that truth is God (the Word).
But this definition also seems to imply that truth is a relation, not a substance. I am wondering how we make sense of this? I take it that it has something to do with the Son's filiation from the Father?


Dear Daniel, are you praying the Rosary every day? Kindly set aside just 15 minutes to do that if you're not, and then all these doubts will vanish.

I also recommend making the Double Great Novena, to which the Savior Himself promised, "They will never be tormented by anxiety or doubt". See: http://lapieta.tripod.com/dnov_ena.html

Sacred theology is unlike all other sciences. Anyone can have no interior life and still be able to compute the axioms of mathematics. But in the divine science of theology, if we neglect our spiritual and devotional life and the powerful aids against error and sin that Heaven has given us, we will almost surely fall into some mistake or the other. God bless you, Daniel. Will be praying for you as you struggle through these issues. Kindly do take them to God Himself in prayer as well.
Unfortunately I am not able to do any of these things at the moment. But thank you for the suggestions and your prayers.


2. Even if there is truth / being, it cannot be known.
Where's the contradiction in this one? Because I think my concern is somewhere along these lines.
 

Offline PerEvangelicaDicta

  • Contemplare et contemplata aliis tradere
  • Mary Garden
  • Feldwebel
  • ***
  • Posts: 1683
  • Thanked: 1554 times
  • Religion: Catholic
Re: Maybe truth doesn't exist?
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2018, 04:22:56 PM »
Thank you Daniel.  I understand your query better.
They shall not be confounded in the evil time; and in the days of famine they shall be filled
Psalms 36:19
 
The following users thanked this post: Daniel

Offline Michael Wilson

  • St. Joseph's Workbench
  • Hauptmann
  • ****
  • Posts: 5691
  • Thanked: 2921 times
  • Religion: Catholic
Re: Maybe truth doesn't exist?
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2018, 04:50:15 PM »
Even those who deny that truth exists, live as if truth does exists and can be known. For example, when one of these people drive their automobile, they know what a "red" light means; they will stop; they also know what a police car means, and the speed limit; they will not go beyond the speed limit, while the police car is nearby. Thus they admit to knowable objective facts; and one could go on and on with similar examples. 
"The World Must Conform to Our Lord and not He to it." Rev. Dennis Fahey CSSP
 
The following users thanked this post: Graham, Non Nobis, Daniel, PerEvangelicaDicta

Offline PerEvangelicaDicta

  • Contemplare et contemplata aliis tradere
  • Mary Garden
  • Feldwebel
  • ***
  • Posts: 1683
  • Thanked: 1554 times
  • Religion: Catholic
Re: Maybe truth doesn't exist?
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2018, 04:57:56 PM »
good simple point, MW.

Daniel, these excerpts may seem simplistic, but they go to some of your questions.

"Pontius Pilate asked the question to Jesus, “What is Truth”.  As it turns out, Pontius was staring The Truth right in the face and didn’t even know it.  Jesus Christ proclaimed that He is The Truth in John 14:6: Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by Me.

The term I AM is the name of God that Moses learned way back in Exodus 3:14:  God said to Moses, I AM WHO AM." And he said, "Say this to the people of Israel, `I AM has sent Me to you.'

So when Jesus said “I Am” the Truth, He was really saying that God is Truth. "

"...don't be like Pontius Pilate and question what truth is. Truth is whatever God, His Word, and His Church says it is, not what we may think it is, or what we wish it to be.  Jesus Christ is Truth, and the devil is the father of lies.  Thinking for yourself when it comes to deciding what truth is may seem smart and right, but listening to what The Word says is the better, and only true, path to take.  God sent the Holy Spirit to guide His Church in Truth, not to each individual person.  Sinful priests today do not negate what the Truth is, anymore than the sinful Judas and Peter negated what Jesus taught way back when.  And intelligent people need to discern (a gift of the Holy Spirit, by the way) when people are giving their strong personal opinions cleverly disguised and packaged as fact.  People can be sincere in their opinions, for sure, but also be sincerely wrong."

source: Catholicbible101.com
« Last Edit: August 13, 2018, 05:00:25 PM by PerEvangelicaDicta »
They shall not be confounded in the evil time; and in the days of famine they shall be filled
Psalms 36:19
 
The following users thanked this post: Daniel

Offline John Lamb

  • Wachtmeister
  • ***
  • Posts: 1055
  • Thanked: 1029 times
  • Religion: Catholic
Re: Maybe truth doesn't exist?
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2018, 07:34:53 PM »
I accept that truth exists, but I'm guess the issue is that I'm not sure that these reductio ad absurdums are anything more than question-begging. If truth exists, then these arguments are legitimate proofs. No problem there. But we can't assume that truth exists, since that's what we're trying to prove. If truth does not exist, then neither does logic exist, and if logic does not not exist then there can be no proofs, and so the reductio absurdums don't prove anything.

This is perfectly true Daniel. There is no real objection to Nihilism except to turn away from it. You can't refute it because it's perfectly consistent on its own terms, and is totally immune to any attack. It is perfectly empty like the black void which symbolises it. When Samuel Johnson heard the view of Berkely that matter is an illusion and only the mind is real, he said "I refute it thus" and stamped his foot on the solid ground. That's because some philosophical positions (sophistical ones) cannot be refuted by reasoning, but only by an appeal to an authority like common sense. You could be a Nihilist. You could deny that all truth exists, that all thought is meaningless, and that existence is entirely an illusion. But then you'd be a position like Michael W. says where you wouldn't be able to drive on a road (or do anything without contradicting yourself).

I really think that you should read Plato, if you haven't already; because while his philosophical method relies very much on reason / reasoning, he is not a rationalist, and constantly makes it known that the first principles of thought and logic are above our reason and full comprehension. It sounds to me like you've be infected with the rationalist methods of Descartes which end in you undermining reason itself by sophistically skeptical reasoning (Descartes was a very advanced sophist and the founder of modern sophistry in philosophy). You may not have read Descartes, but when people try to do philosophy these days they often end up thinking in a Cartesian way because of how much Cartesian presuppositions have infected modern thought in general.
As many as received him, he gave them power to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in his name. (John 1:12)
 
The following users thanked this post: Non Nobis, PerEvangelicaDicta

Offline John Lamb

  • Wachtmeister
  • ***
  • Posts: 1055
  • Thanked: 1029 times
  • Religion: Catholic
Re: Maybe truth doesn't exist?
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2018, 07:37:16 PM »
2. Even if there is truth / being, it cannot be known.
Where's the contradiction in this one? Because I think my concern is somewhere along these lines.

All three sophisms are patently self-contradictory:

1. There is no truth / being.
If there is no truth / being, then how can 1. be true or exist?

2. Even if there is truth / being, it cannot be known.
If this is so, how can we know that 2. is true or that it exists?

3. Even if truth / being can be known, it cannot be communicated.
Then how can 3. be communicated?
As many as received him, he gave them power to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in his name. (John 1:12)
 

Offline Non Nobis

  • By my staff!
  • Mary Garden
  • Feldwebel
  • ***
  • Posts: 3966
  • Thanked: 2564 times
  • Religion: Roman Catholic
Re: Maybe truth doesn't exist?
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2018, 12:27:31 AM »
When Samuel Johnson heard the view of Berkely that matter is an illusion and only the mind is real, he said "I refute it thus" and stamped his foot on the solid ground. That's because some philosophical positions (sophistical ones) cannot be refuted by reasoning, but only by an appeal to an authority like common sense.

I like that.  Daniel, I'll pray God will give you a sort of slap in the face, and you'll come to your senses.
Children say that people are hung sometimes for speaking the truth.

If I am not in the state of grace, may God put me there; and if I am, may God so keep me

- Saint Joan of Arc
 
The following users thanked this post: John Lamb

Offline Kreuzritter

  • Korporal
  • **
  • Posts: 304
  • Thanked: 249 times
  • Religion: Roman Catholic
Re: Maybe truth doesn't exist?
« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2018, 04:20:20 AM »
I accept that truth exists, but I'm guess the issue is that I'm not sure that these reductio ad absurdums are anything more than question-begging. If truth exists, then these arguments are legitimate proofs. No problem there. But we can't assume that truth exists, since that's what we're trying to prove. If truth does not exist, then neither does logic exist, and if logic does not not exist then there can be no proofs, and so the reductio absurdums don't prove anything.

It seems that there is no way to disprove the proposition that "truth does not exist" except by proving its contrary, that truth does exist. But it also seems that it is completely impossible to prove that truth exists without appealing to logic, which is question-begging.


it is the conformation of the intellect with "what the thing perceived actually is"?
I know that this is the standard definition, but I am wondering who discovered it and how he discovered it? I'm guessing it's from Aristotle or St. Thomas, so is it derived empirically somehow?
Granting that this is a good definition, there's something I'm a little confused about.
The first thing I notice is that if we accept this definition, and if we simultaneously define truth to be God, then I am guessing that we need to interpret this definition in such a way as to read "intellect" and "reality" as necessary things, not as contingent things. So rather than reading it at face value, as "the conformity of propositions in our intellect to the extra-mental created world", we ought to read it as "the conformity of propositions in God's intellect to God as the object of His own thought"? I suppose then that I see that truth is God (the Word).
But this definition also seems to imply that truth is a relation, not a substance. I am wondering how we make sense of this? I take it that it has something to do with the Son's filiation from the Father?


Dear Daniel, are you praying the Rosary every day? Kindly set aside just 15 minutes to do that if you're not, and then all these doubts will vanish.

I also recommend making the Double Great Novena, to which the Savior Himself promised, "They will never be tormented by anxiety or doubt". See: http://lapieta.tripod.com/dnov_ena.html

Sacred theology is unlike all other sciences. Anyone can have no interior life and still be able to compute the axioms of mathematics. But in the divine science of theology, if we neglect our spiritual and devotional life and the powerful aids against error and sin that Heaven has given us, we will almost surely fall into some mistake or the other. God bless you, Daniel. Will be praying for you as you struggle through these issues. Kindly do take them to God Himself in prayer as well.
Unfortunately I am not able to do any of these things at the moment. But thank you for the suggestions and your prayers.


2. Even if there is truth / being, it cannot be known.
Where's the contradiction in this one? Because I think my concern is somewhere along these lines.

No, they don’t assume that “truth exists”, whatever that even means. What they show is that the statement “truth doesn’t exist” is incoherent nonsense, as this statement is implying that something is the case, i.e., is a “true” proposition. It’s like talk about square triangles: you can fit the words together according to the rules of English syntax, but that does not make what is being uttered sensible.

What is “truth doesn’t exist” supposed to mean? If it’s implying anything, it’s making a truth-claim; if it isn’t, what is it even saying? No, I’m not arguing that if “truth doesn’t exist” then x,y,z, I’m arguing that you can’t even gives any cognitive meaning to that string of words.

 
The following users thanked this post: Daniel, PerEvangelicaDicta

Offline clau clau

  • My other bike is a Pinarello
  • Wachtmeister
  • ***
  • Posts: 831
  • Thanked: 715 times
  • Religion: Traditionalist videogamer - I only play 8-bit video games
Re: Maybe truth doesn't exist?
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2018, 05:42:18 AM »


Would you like to shake hands with Pope 1 or Pope 2 - Dr Seuss

But when he's dumb and no more here,
Nineteen hundred years or near,
Clau-Clau-Claudius shall speak clear.