The Instigator
The_Fool_on_the_hill
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
larztheloser
Con (against)
Winning
11 Points

There is absolute truth

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
larztheloser
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/13/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,090 times Debate No: 23578
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (0)
Votes (2)

 

The_Fool_on_the_hill

Pro

Debate ethics:
-straw men are to be taken seriously.
-No semantic games. Semantics for clarification only
-a response must assume what most likely was meant by the speaker.
-refutation must quote the claim being refuted.
larztheloser

Con

I thank my opponent for instigating the topic. To avoid having an extra round I'll let him go first. I assume, in taking this debate, that my opponent has the BOP to show that there is absolute truth. Good luck!
Debate Round No. 1
The_Fool_on_the_hill

Pro


The Fool:


For the absolute sceptic is often called the global sceptic, this is a position a philosopher makes up as a rival for whom he must test his claims against to see if they pass. But one thing I should make clear is to mention that not all philosophers are philosophers. I don’t mean this in a contradicting manner of course; I mean that since the definition of philosopher ‘lover of wisdom’ coined by the Greeks the range of those that are considered philosophers have come to vary so much that there no one definition that would encompass broad spectrum of what philosophy is considered today, so much that the term philosophy has lost credibility, to the point where a demarcation needs to be made to mark off the difference between what people are doing.


The reason why I mention this is because like philosophy, there are certain terms in language that have high positive connotations that people want to claim, and in doing so the descriptive meanings gets lost and manipulated so much that over time they get manipulated to the point where they mean nothing in particular.


Words like, beauty, intelligence, knowledge, strength, logic, good, evil, and at the top the heap Truth,


That is, if I was to coin a definition today that has a strong conative meaning, the chances are likely that even with a clear descriptive definition it would pass through the society and come back out in a dictionary five years with 3 or 4 different, meaning, and it would be considered subjective.


But the Word of the day here is Truth, even more so absolute truth. I would further argue that this is the only truth, but my burden here is simply to prove that there is at least one such Truth. This debate was sparked in a forum in which the Con, said, “I'd gladly defend the proposition "There is no absolute truth" if somebody challenges me to it.” http://www.debate.org... but after being challenged he has reduced his claim to the assumption that the Burdon of Proof is on me. But hey this is not about absolute integrity it’s about absolute truth, so maybe foolishly or not I will let that slide.


For if we believe something, we should be proud to demonstrate it as clear as a sunny sky.



Part one


The first approach I will take is to try and prove the opposite, simply that there is no absolute truth. But we should recognize quickly the ‘Sceptics paradox’, in that the very proposition that there is no absolute truth must first be absolutely true, which makes the claim of the proposition impossible.



Part two


The Second proof is simply to examine what absolute means, the absolute is simply the Universe, in the original philosophers definition All things that exist.


This is not to be confused with the scientific definition ‘all physical things’ nor with the theologian definition where there exist an outside, But the original meaning referring to absolutely everything, All things that exist Period. In whatever or whichever form they might be. Thus things that are true in the absolute universe are of course absolutely true. Mind you this also refers to all things that are subjective for they exist within the absolute universe; for even an illusion must be a true illusion.


Part two


“The truth is the absolute and the absolute is the truth alone” Hegel.


It has always been talked about as though the truth is so confusing, as though it’s so hard to know what is true, when the truth is one of the easiest concepts to understand. It is only complex and difficult to those who wish to continue to claim something as true when in fact it isn’t. But if you are those who are ready to change you beliefs in accordance with logical proof and upon knew information it is quite simple. Firstly, the truth is not something you could define or dictate, it is only something you can describe. It is not a theory, for a theory would always be less than the truth and it is the truth is absolute, so it could never be something of possibility.


But in all this, whatever the truth may there is one thing about it we can know for sure. And that is the Truth is the Truth, Aka Truth=Truth, for the truth could never be anything else or it wouldn’t be true. Truth=/=False. In fact it would be false. In other words a thing in itself is a thing in itself, for it could not be anything else or it would not be that thing. A=A. 1=1


Therefore anything would violates this Law of truth would be false. And there is only thing which could violate this law. And that my friend is a contradiction. (1-1=0) For the Law of Truth is simply the positive Version of the Law of non-contradiction.


That is if ‘A’ is a particular truth must Its self. Aka Thus A must absolute be A or it is false.


I will leave this for now but note that any attempt to proof them wrong presumes an Absolute truth, and that is what makes it futile.



Review


1. Sceptics paradox


2. Absolute universe


3. Law of truth


As always fresh philosophy from a Fresh Fool, we are talking Kool and The Gang Fresh.



Vote Fool!





larztheloser

Con

I thank my opponent for opening the substantive part of the debate.

My assumption about burden of proof was backed only by the fact that the affirmative typically has the burden of proof in debating. If you read over the thread you'll see that my main purpose was to show that the sceptic's paradox isn't particularly strong (which it isn't). In this kind of philosophical motion it isn't really so important anyway, so I'd like to begin by making a few refutations, and then explaining my own case.

Sceptic's paradox

The problem with this is that it attempts to assign a classical binary truth value to the statement "all truth is subjective." The philosopher Saul Kripke has been thinking about this for ages, and has written several very influential papers dealing with a related paradox called the liar paradox, which also asserts a supposedly self-refuting sentence. He argues that there is a distinction between grounded and ungrounded statements. A grounded statement is ultimately based on a fact about the world. In our case, the statement "all truth is subjective" is not premised on any worldly facts and is thus considered ungrounded. Kripke reasons that ungrounded statements do not have a truth value - they are not true, nor are they false. The basis for this observation is some fairly complex philosophy, but it's also quite intuitive - an idea does not become true or untrue until it finds some basis in the real world (and if my opponent disagrees, then this is only further proof that the whole concept of "truth" is subjective). But of course you can't test whether all truth is subjective or absolute, because if all truth WAS subjective then our tests would be subjective too, and thus generally meaningless. (See http://www.iep.utm.edu... for more detail about Kripke's theory).

Existence

If everything about an object is dog-like, we say it is a dog. Similarly, if everything about the universe is subjective, we say it is subjective. The fact that it "is" does not make it absolute. It is possible for something to be 100% subjective (a favorite color, for instance, depends entirely on the context of the observer) and thus it is possible for something to "be", and yet not "be absolute". The universe, therefore, can exist subjectively without the universe being absolute. Since our very notion of existence is derived from our subjective universe, it follows that the existence of the universe is subjective also.

This is very important - while it is tempting to think of grounded statements as being absolutely true, that would imply that the basis for our grounding is absolute, when in fact it might not be because existence itself could be subjective. Since we do not know this and cannot test it, that idea is neither true nor false.

Law of non-contradiction

The law of non-contradiction is an ungrounded statement. It does not have a truth value. It is neither true nor false. So if we assume that there is such a magical thing as "the truth" floating out there somewhere, yes, the law of non-contradiction would be an absolute. However, the law of non-contradiction does not imply the existence of truth. My opponent is presupposing absolute truth, and using it to "prove" absolutes exist. That's circular logic.

A similar approach needs to be taken with regard to Kripke's theory. I call it a theory because it is itself an ungrounded series of statements, and thus not true or false. I do not presume that the theory is true - I presume that it might be true. To summarise this concept: It might be true that my opponent's arguments might not be true or false, and since we cannot prove or disprove this hypothesis (that is, they are "ungrounded"), my opponent's arguments are neither true nor false.

My argument

Let us begin by imagining how one might know something to be absolutely true. The obvious answer is by knowing that every other hypothesis is absolutely not true. That a ball is green, for instance, might be absolutely tested by checking whether the ball is any other color. Of course, to know that the test is absolutely true, you'll have to test the test. So in this example, if we presume you are testing the color of the ball by looking at it carefully, you might test your eyes to see that they are working properly. Then you test the eye-test. You'll find that after many iterations of this, you'll come to something you just assume to be true. Usually this will be a "logical truth", such as the law of non-contradiction pro mentioned earlier, or perhaps a mathematical truth, such as 2+2=4, or more often than not, a moral or aesthetical truth. Of course, moral truths etc cannot be shown to be true, because you cannot check that the alternative hypothesis is absolutely not true (Rene Descartes proved this, somewhere around the fifth meditation if I remember correctly). Take the moral truth "It is undesirable to spit at your friends" as an example. To prove this is absolutely true, you'd first need to disprove the notion that it is not undesirable to spit at your friends. Since you do not know the future, you cannot know with a certainty whether this is desirable or not. Therefore you cannot accept it as an absolute truth.

Maths and logic, which is really the foundation of maths, is still more interesting. One might be tempted, as pro did with his law of non-contradiction analysis, to attempt to logically prove that a logical law is true. The problem with arguing for logic logically is that it is arguing in a circle - you assume the very thing you are trying to prove in the process you use to reach your conclusion. That isn't logically valid, and thus cannot be accepted as a justification for absolute truth. The same applies to mathematics. You cannot prove maths mathematically, and if you try to prove it with logic, you must first prove that logic is absolutely true. So why can't you prove logic is absolutely true, aside from the consideration that any such proof is illogical by necessity. Well, because any illogical attempt does not refute the alternative, which is the logical thing to do. And since it does not refute the alternative, it does not show that logic is absolutely true.

It follows from this that one cannot know whether something is absolutely true. Therefore, it is impossible for my opponent to meet their burden of proof.

One final note about this argument. It can also be run in reverse - just replace absolute with subjective to prove that nothing can be known to be subjectively true. The whole point of that is to show that the counter-argument to the skeptic's paradox can literally be applied to anything. Granted, some stuff is grounded - like the color of the beach ball is grounded in the perception of our eyes. However ultimately, since these ideas are based on assumptions we cannot prove or disprove, we have to admit there is ALWAYS a possibility that we might be wrong, and therefore there is no absolute truth.



I look forward to my opponent's responses next round!
Debate Round No. 2
The_Fool_on_the_hill

Pro

The_Fool_on_the_hill forfeited this round.
larztheloser

Con

I'm disappointed. Oh well ... vote con everybody!
Debate Round No. 3
The_Fool_on_the_hill

Pro

The_Fool_on_the_hill forfeited this round.
larztheloser

Con

Like I said. Vote con.
Debate Round No. 4
No comments have been posted on this debate.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Wallstreetatheist 4 years ago
Wallstreetatheist
The_Fool_on_the_hilllarztheloserTied
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Reasons for voting decision: FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFf
Vote Placed by FourTrouble 4 years ago
FourTrouble
The_Fool_on_the_hilllarztheloserTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit.