Debate:If there is no objective truth, then is the claim "there is no objective truth" also not an objective truth?

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There is no _objective_ truth; this is a _subjective_ truth I choose to believe. Luke 01:19, 17 December 2007

So there must exist some objective truth? Jaques 10:39, 31 March 2007 (EDT)

I don't think anyone really claims that there is no objective truth, just that there is no access to it; i.e., that there is no objective knowledge. Andy 11:51, 17 November 2007 (EST)

or it could be that "there is no objective truth" is a fact and not a truth. there is a difference between the two.

That is the ultimate failing point of postmodernist thinking. In philosophical terms, they say that each person has their own narrative (story), but any push of a meta narrative (overarching life story... eg. The Biblical God created the world and hs a plan for each of us) is viewed as oppressive. Of course then they become the oppressors because their meta narrative is that there should be no meta narrative :-). --Ymmotrojam 10:45, 31 March 2007 (EDT)

This is the problem with all absolutes. They contradict themselves. We conservatives have the God given privilege to apply different standards to out own arguments than we apply to the arguments we oppose. How else could conservapedia be so incredible conflicted.Rebiu 10:51, 31 March 2007 (EDT)

If all absolutes contradict themselves, then is the claim "all absolutes contradict themselves" also a contradiction? Jaques 10:54, 31 March 2007 (EDT)
I'm not sure what Rebiu meant, but I think it is important to realize (at least from my current understanding of it) 1) a meta narrative is required (without meta narrative, we have no purpose other than what we happen to scramble together ourselves), and 2) there can be only one meta narrative. In other words, saying there are multiple absolutes is a contradiction because there can only be one absolutely absolute. In terms of belief systems, it could be said that either Islam or the teachings of Jesus Christ are correct, or neither of them are. They cannot both be correct. --Ymmotrojam 14:32, 31 March 2007 (EDT)
As I said God has given me, as a conservative, the privilege to apply different standards to my argumentsRebiu 16:39, 31 March 2007 (EDT)
I sense some facetiousness in the tone of your writing. Maybe I'm reading it wrong. I am very interested in where you got this message from God. Can you cite a bible passage? --Ymmotrojam 23:16, 31 March 2007 (EDT)
That is facetious to me as I sense some facetiousness in all remarks that invoke divine inspiration in others, they usually do not agree. One does not need to validate their faith to other mortals. My relationship to god is between He and I.Rebiu
God gives you the privilege because you are a sentient human being. Your privilege to "adjust" your reality to your political views is between you and your intellectual honesty (or lack thereof). Crackertalk 11:02, 2 April 2007 (EDT)
Your facetiously toned attack on my faith amounts to a violation of the spirit of conservapedia. Your obviously facetious attitude towards faith base understanding is an attack on the foundations of the conservative movement. "The Devil hides behind a facetious tone."Rebiu 11:27, 2 April 2007 (EDT)
Not only that, but he also hides behind liberalism, homosexuality, evolutionism, Islam, and The Omen. ScorpionStep on me and get stung 23:30, 3 April 2007 (EDT)
That is very interesting Scorpion, however it is completely irrelevant to the debate topic of anything said in this article.Rebiu 12:46, 5 April 2007 (EDT)
In a sense, there is objective truth within structures based on postulates, eg, mathematics. Regarding the natural world, one could say: "There is no objective truth, but I am not certain of this." This statement is an opinion rather than an objective truth, & may be true without being contradictory. This approach mimics the scientific method in that useful relationships may be theorized, but they aren't absolutely true & may later be replaced by better theories.Tom Stockton 21:10, 13 April 2007 (EDT)

Object Lesson in Logic

The title of this debate reads:

If there is no objective truth, then is the claim "there is no objective truth" also not an objective truth?

Logically this is equivalent to: If there is no objective truth, then the claim "there is no objective truth" is an objective truth, and therefore invalidates itself.

If not X then ( if not X then X ) therefore X

We can subject this to Logical analysis. X false means that (if notX then X) is false, and the whole of the first section is also false, which means that the entire structure is false. X true means that (if notX then X) is true, and the whole of the first section is also true, which means that the entire structure is true.

So, if it is true that there is no objective truth then the answer to the question posed in the title is 'No'. On the other hand, if there is an objective truth, then the naswer to the question posed in the title is 'Yes'. I conclude that this entire debate is a complete waste of time, as it boils down to whether you think there is an objective truth or not.--CatWatcher 13:21, 5 April 2007 (EDT)

So is what you are saying true? Objectively speaking I mean. While I agree the debate is a waste of time it is made necessary by the legions of people who find it necessary to state as objective truth that there is no objective truth.

This has been considered already and often. Please see Godel's 1st Incompleteness Theory, or Alan Turing's Halting Problem. All formal axiomatic systems are incomplete, although each instance within the system may be provable.

For example ....

"For any consistent formal, computably enumerable theory that proves basic arithmetical truths, an arithmetical statement that is true but not provable in the theory can be constructed. That is, any effectively generated theory capable of expressing elementary arithmetic cannot be both consistent and complete."

Perhaps an easier way to think about it ....

"Roughly speaking, the Gödel statement, G, asserts: "G cannot be proven true". If G were able to be proven true under the theory's axioms, then the theory would have a theorem, G, which contradicts itself, and thus the theory would be inconsistent. But if G were not provable, then it would be true (for G expresses this very fact) and thus the theory would be incomplete."

All of this, at least in my mind, is not necessarily a waste of time -- self reference brings these formal logical systems (unfortunately or not) to their knees. The consequences of the debated question is where I think that we can find a more sublime and perhaps telling Truth. Reason has it's limits although I offer no evidence or explanation for what it cannot explain or those things of which it cannot make "sense". I do however, have my own ideas :) bumble70

This is an abuse of Godel's theorem, which certainly does not prove that all consistent formal axiomatic systems are incomplete. It proves that all consistent axiomatic systems of arithmetic that include the traditional operations of addition and multiplication are incomplete, but plenty of axiomatic systems are complete--for example, systems with only addition. --Andy 11:51, 17 November 2007 (EST)

While I believe in objective truth (I'm a social constructivist), the attack on post modernity/post-structuralism presented in the title is decidely weak. First, to claim that any descriptive statement (i.e. 'there is no objective truth') need be an objective truth to be meaningfull is to misunderstand what is ment by objectivity (in the context of post modern theory). The Post Modernist claim that there can be no objective truth is only referencing normative claims. (claims about how things should be.) They are not saying that there cannot be objectively true descriptive claims (i.e. claims that have no prescriptive content, i.e. 'you are 6 feet tall.') They would say that yes, you might be 6 feet tall, but whether that is good, bad, or otherwise is purely subjective.

therefore a postmodernist can coherently say "the statement there is no objective [normative] truth is objectively true," precisely because that statement is descriptive and not normative.

(It should be noted that post modernists might very well have an epistemological objection to knowing any descriptive truth- NOT because those truths don't exist, but because we are incapable of knowing them, for a variety of reasons. However this is an epistemological objection, and not relevant to the ontological question of whether or not objective [normative] truth exists as such.) ~Essariel 5-28-07

If objective truth did not exist than immediately following the most recent campus murdering spree in VA Tech, there would have been myriad pundits asking the question "Was this a bad thing to have occurred?" The fact that no one even considered that a question implicitly proves that there is in fact an objective truth and consequently an objective moral order. If you can't see that, you're really not trying to look.

Be careful with claims like that - I can think of at least one person who felt that massacre wasn't a bad thing, and although the vast majority of humanity may disagree with him, Cho clearly felt his actions were "good" enough under his own system of beliefs to carry them out. Objective truth is not a popularity contest.--Guybrush 1:25, 8 July 2007 (EDT)

"'We know that we know nothing,' they chatter, blanking out the fact that they are claiming knowledge -- 'There are no absolutes,' they chatter, blanking out the fact that they are uttering an absolute -- 'You cannot prove that you exist or that you're conscious,' they chatter, blanking out the fact that proof presupposes existence, consciousness and a complex chain of knowledge: the existence of something to know, or a consciousness able to know it, and of a knowledge that has learned to distinguish between such concepts as the proved and the unproved."

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged


Rand is just mischaracterizing. She uses quote marks, but who is she quoting? A straw man... --Andy 11:55, 17 November 2007 (EST)

-Humans affect logic, so the struggle to attain a state of purer logic is as natural and as connected as the human reaction for recognizing ones own limitations. Namely that you wish to surpass them. Of course the claim is not an objective truth becuase everyone has different views, opinions, and beliefs. Although some scientific breakthroughs can be made at the same time and by different, unconnected people, the advancement can only point to a greater mystery to be solved. When a human makes a claim, it is never objective because the statements comes from a biased mind limited by perception and belief. There is no such thing as an un-biased mind. If there were, would it recognize itself as thus?- Christos

The question is asked; Is the phrase, "there is no objective truth", an objective truth?
  • No because understanding is subjective. You understand or I understand or Joe Smith understands and that is called "subjective". When we read, we understand. "Objective" means something exists above and beyond individual understanding. Indeed, "Objective" means something exists even if no one at all, ever, understands at all. Since it is a written statement, when it is read, it is read by an individual who (probably) understands it. Therefore the statement is not an objective truth because it requires the statement be subjectively understood before it can be answered. TerryO 01:08, 8 April 2008 (EDT)

I think this is a stupid debate topic! -Racecarlock

If I think I exist would'nt I have to in fact exist because to think must imply existance. How can you think if you dont exist? So the fact that I think I exist leads to actual existance means that my existance is an objective truth. I in fact do exist. Not to infer that you must think to exist, but thinking must imply existance. So existance is an objective truth. So the statment is inherently wrong. There are objective truths. The problem is that humans are 100% objective. The thought of existing is an subjective truth in itself but has to lead to the objective truth that existance exists. -Lurkspotter

On Absolutes

This is the same thing as stating - "There is NO such thing as absolutism." Which is an absolute statement. This is called a self-refuting argument. You can say it but it is irrational, illogical, and childish. Then the only statement that holds up is to say that "There are absolutes." -- Because that is an absolute statement and it is in agreement with itself. Then the argument become where are they? Who writes them? This leads to the fact there must be universal absolutes because without them nothing can be viewed as right and nothing can be viewed as wrong. We all have inscribed into us an absolute law, so when we break it, we know. We hid the fact we broke this absolute and flee when none pursue. When others break it we get angry for them having done so, because we know - that THEY KNEW, they were breaking it when they harmed us or our property.

You see when others harm us we are angry because we know there is an absolute univeral code - that states they should not. If you do not believe in that code - then I would call you a liar - because if I stole all your stuff and cut off your arms and you were upset at all about it - you do believe that I should not have done it. Atheists especially have a hard time with this behavioral inconsistency. They CLAIM that there is no universal code - but are wounded when someone breaks that non-existent code of universal ethics. Therefore they should not be wounded or hurt when a fellow primate takes their stuff or their mate or BOTH. They ARE upset - that is the behavioral inconsistency. They do not believe as they profess. They are a contradiction.

To answer the initial debate question. You cannot state (without being an illogical person) there is NO objective truth. If you TRIED to do it you would be entering into a contradictory position that would be illogical. Therefore there IS objective truth. Game-set-match. -- Ted Griffith

I've heard it stated that the only objective moral is that there are no objective morals, which is not actually unsubstantial, given that there are an infinite number of possible perspectives, and there is no coherence in their agreement in the slightest.

There is objective truth.

Yes, but notice something - it is singular, so another way of doing it could be asking this: Are all kinds of different kinds of truths all objective? Well, one way of answering that could be looking at the word objective. If it is taken to mean having reality independently of the mind, then the mind/soul/brain has to be considered subjectively as having reality dependently on the mind/soul/brain.

There is objective truth.

There is subjective truth.

It follows from this definition of objective that there must be subjective truth. With regards - Mikael Birket Brilner

Yes and No

Isn't it obvious that this question is simply a paradox regarding the objective/subjective?

Truth: "The property (as of a statement) of being in accord with fact or reality"

Objective: "Expressing or dealing with facts or conditions as perceived without distortion by personal feelings, prejudices, or interpretations"

Paradox: "An argument that apparently derives self-contradictory conclusions by valid deduction from acceptable premises " - Merriam Webster

So our initial premise indicates that there is no objective truth. For the follow up question, on one hand, we can assert that "there is no objective truth" is an objective truth, but this obviously violates our initial premise. If we interpret "there is no objective truth" as a subjective truth, on the other hand, it means that there can be an objective truth from (a) certain perspective(s), which would also violate our initial premise. I would contest that this is a pointless question simply because it is inherently paradoxical. If we intend to have a serious and intelligent debate on objectivity and/or subjectivity, why not just replace this debate topic with any of the much simpler, non-paradoxical alternatives: "Is truth objective or subjective?", "Is reality grounded in subjectivity?", "Is every truth universally true?", etc.? --JesseA 00:09, 4 November 2012 (EDT) I think this just goes to show how sound moral absolutism is. I get my morality from the Bible. That is the inherent contradiction hidden within moral relevism. The truth is the truth and that is that. I just see all this philosopy as something to make us think more about God, not some thing where any person can question the fabric of the universe. Wouldn't it be nice if we all just shut the door on this and lived our lives normally? What practical purpose does this all serve anyway? Does it bring us closer to god? No. Being close to god is the very definition of intelligence and these questions serve as a distraction from that. I never bothered to learn all this and I am a happy, functional Christian. I think philosophy should be more like a theological debate. God decides the truth and the truth is the truth. That's it. Finished. Done. -Jand-