Are There Absolute Truths?

Are there any absolute truths or is everything relative?

Is there anything that can be stated which is true under all conditions, for all time?

If you think so, support your claim. Is it possible to prove it true?


Well I’ve come up with one that seems to work:

There is an exception to everything including this statement.

Ok yeah its a bit of a pisser. It doesn’t really tell you anything but at least its true under any conditions right? So I would classify it as a truth.

there are no things which are absolutely true. it is impossible to prove the claim one way or the other, as the concept of ‘truth’ is not absolute.

let me elaborate for a second. logic, our means to proofs, is based on about 10 concepts we must take as granted, since we can reduce them no further to any other concepts. the idea of ‘truth’ is among them, as are the concepts of relation and implication.

if we admit this small list though, all of pure mathematics is provable. “x implies x for all values of x”, for example, is a true proposition using that set of undefinables in logic.

other than that, it’s all up for grabs.


It’s absolutely true that there is nothing that is absolutely true. I agree with that but don’t like the logic for some reason :slight_smile:

We need the Bible.
We need faith.
Faith is a gift.
Faith = proof

you don’t have to like the logic, if logic isn’t among the set of that which is absolutely true. >8D


Actually, that’s not true, by Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem.

certainly those statements unprovable by the theorem are not counted as pure mathematics…

There is a theory that states that if we ever understand the universe and why it is here, it will instantly vanish and be replaced with something even more inexplicable.

There is another theory that this has already happened.

But, seriously, how would anyone be able to prove the absoluteness of a truth? Just because it fits 1 trillion times in a row, doesn’t mean that very next time, someone won’t find something to disprove it, verdad?

We must differentiate “truth” from “Fact”.

Facts represent the concrete: things which can be measured, weighed, processed, computed, etc. Facts represent and designate what is physical.

Truths are abstract: they are constructs of the mind alone.
Emotion, religeon, philosophy.

The only absolute truth I can think of is I know my mind exists…all else may possibly be an elaborate illusion.

Think of the EMH on Voyager; he may be a holographic doctor with photons and force fields instead of flesh and bone, but is his conciousness really any different than a human?

I believe Buddhism and many other Eastern Religeons share this “all is illusion” concept.

Is that a truth or a fact?

Really? Tell me then… is it absolutely true that there are no things which are absolutely true?

Why in the world would you say that? What methodology did you use to arrive at that conclusion… and is it absolutely true that your methodology is valid?

Well, I suppose you could define pure mathematics as consisting of only that which is provable in a particular formal system, but that’s certainly not the only view. Questions like “What is the cardinality of the reals?” certainly seem like pure mathematics questions to me, despite whether they are answerable in a particular formal system or not.

i already responded to this.

logical deduction. there is no possible way to reduce the concept of “true”. it is taken as granted. that is to say, we define it.

by “absolutely true”, i assumed the OP meant something which is true in all frames of reference. one frame of reference would certainly be the frame where the concept of truth does not exist. obviously, without truth, one can’t say much about that frame. so all bets are off. including the bet that there is something which is absolutely true.


Both scientific facts and philosophical ‘truths’ must be open to the at least possibility of being wrong, it seems logically impossible to put forward a statement which does not at least have the possibility to be untrue under some circumstances, regardless of how far flung. This does lead us down a slippery slope though…

The broader point is (an pardon my deviation from the OP) is whether there are statements that are so close to this level of truth that they can be considered to be axiomatic (the Principle of Non-Contradiction, for example.). If we are willing to accept these general but not universal truths we can argue from a position of certainty (or the next best thing).

And yes, relativism sucks (but that’s just my opinion…)

i apologize. my response was a copout because i didn’t want to get into discussing godel here.

but here goes…pure mathematics consists of all statements of the form “p implies q” for some propositions p and q. so throw into that what you may.

godel’s theorem itself is proved by this set of logical undefinables. and thus so are the existence of so-called godel-statements, such as the one about the cardinality of the real numbers.

as far as the godel statements of propositional logic, itself…iirc godel’s statement doesn’t apply to so simple a system. and if that’s not the case, it could be easy to show that through a set of undefinables, we have enough room to inject outside statements so that the truth of such statements can be established.

that’s about as far into it as i’d like to go tonight.


Honestly though, I don’t think your response made any sense. So humor me… is it an absolute truth that there are no absolute truths? Yes or no?

What do you mean by “reducing” the concept of truth, and why should we treat this as a necessary condition? Must all statements be “reducible” in order to be valid? And if so, can you “reduce” the statement that all statements must be reducible in order to be valid?

I’d say. After all, one can always ask if it’s absolutely true that all “truths” “must be open to at least the possibility of being wrong.” (And if this statement is itself a philosophical truth, then by its own logic, might it not be in error?)

I’m fairly certain that we all die eventually.

(don’t go philosophical on me, you know exactly what I mean)

“is it an absolute truth that there are no absolute truths?”

absolutely not. if you consider this statement without the benefit of logic, it has no meaning, and therefore is not absolutely true.

and by “reducible” i mean “able to be explained in simpler terms”. eventually, we must come to a point where something cannot be explained thusly, and we must take it as granted. we call that thing irreducible. i claim that the concept of truth is one such thing.