Re: virus: accurate statements vs The Absolute Truth (was KMO

David McFadzean (
Thu, 07 Nov 1996 17:39:18 -0700

At 08:07 PM 06/11/96 MST, Jason McVean wrote:
>I think I regret saying that Absolute Truth and Objective reality
>are the same thing. What I was meaning was precisely what you
>said above: "Objective Reality defines what is true". I also said
>that "Absolute Truth defines what is true". That is the sense
>that I was intending when I said OR was the same as AT.

OK, I can accept that. Can you tell me anything else about
absolute truth? For example, objective reality is in some
sense composed of matter and energy embedded in space and
time. Is your absolute truth "made" of anything, if not
propositions or words?


>I would claim that it is absolutely true within the context of
>the argument. Just as I would say that it is absolutely true that
>pi=3.14 to two decimal places.

I think this indicates that we have different definitions of
"absolute". It doesn't make sense to me to say something
is "absolute within a specific context" because I take
absolute to mean "objective" or "universal" or "for all
possible worlds" or something along those lines. What do
you intend it to mean?

>Can I swap some reference to objective reality for "truth"? This
>would probably avoid the confusion, but then the statement
>becomes really cumbersome:
>"Statement 3 is not in agreement with objective reality but if
>we assume objective reality is the context of the argument then
>it (statement 3) agrees with objective reality."

Too cumbersome :)

>What I said above applies here. Unless the objection is that a
>statement can't be absolutely true (and hence it can't be true)
>because all statements are imperfect due to imperfect language,
>non-sufficient qualification, incomplete description and so on. I
>think this is the strongest case to be made and I essentially
>agree. I have tried to define my way around that (see above) in
>the interest retaining the term Absolute Truth (and hence truth)
>to make discussion less cumbersome.

You make it sound like we could succeed at writing down the
absolute truth if only we could fix our imperfect language.
I'm claiming (as Richard did before me) that it is not a mere
imperfection of language but a philosophical limitation of
abstraction models. I lack the terms to describe different
degrees of impossibility, so I'll make a crude analogy:
It is not (like you suggested before) like approaching the
speed of light (a mere physical impossibility), it is more
like trying to approach the speed of democracy (or something
else that doesn't have a speed, a logical impossibility).

>I suppose. But I'm not proposing we make the complete list. You
>can have a series with an infinite number of terms even if you
>can't write them all down. And in any case, if I can come up with
>even a single absolutely true thing, then doesn't that mean AT

I don't think you can, but that's because we're using different
semantics for "absolutely".

Anyway, I'm encouraged that we seem to be making progress,
narrowing down the points on which we disagree.

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Church of Virus