Is this venn diagram correct? (pic in thread)


God only knows :slight_smile:

Off the top of my head I don’t think so. I see what they are trying to do but at the very least it seems like the True set and the False set shouldn’t overlap. They should be separate and the unknown set should overlap those two non-overlapping sets. And not sure about the unknown/unknowable relationship either.

But I’m a bit draggy today so that could all be BS.

I don’t think so (although I am not sure I understand what it is you are trying to represent). Things that are unknown are not both true and false, which is what this seems to show. Neither are things that are unknowable. Also, I don’t think you can do what you did with that little “unknowable” circle and still have a true Venn Diagram. It might count as an Euler Diagram.


First, God is not a dichotomy. There are thousands or millions of conceptions of a God, of many Gods (or gods), of a Creator that may or may not be a God, of spirituality that may or may not include a god figure, and of philosophical conceptions that have a god transcend truth or falsehood.

Second, placing unknown into a subset of known has philosophical problems of its own.

This type of simplistic, reductionist nonsense is a product of thinking of the Christian God as the only god that can exist. That’s bad thinking no matter how common it is.

Okay, so I’m not totally stupid yet today. So, how would a Venn Diagram that had all these sets look? 4 different untouching circles ?:slight_smile:

I can’t even figure out what that diagram is saying . . . something about a god that both exists and doesn’t exist, and in some respects, both exists and doesn’t exist . . . and in these respects is unknown and sometimes unknowable. Huh?


The only thing that makes sense is that “unknowable” is a subset of “unknown.” You need to understand what sorts of things can be represented by a Venn diagram. This isn’t one of those things.

Agreed. There is no subset that would include both True and False, True and Unknown, or False and Unknown.

I think what the diagram is trying to say is that there are four types of responses to the statement “God exists” which are: 1) the statement is true, 2) the statement is false, 3) that we don’t know (but might) and 4) that we don’t know (and can’t).

Other people have pointed out the contradiction in having 1 and 2 overlap.

There is another contradiction with 3 and 4. While they both say God is unknown, 4 is not a subset of 3 as long as we define 3 as both unknown and knowable because then you’d have a person who said “God is unknown and knowable but unknowable.”

So… I’m not really sure a Venn diagram is the way to approach this at all. I can’t really think of anything that communicates the same information

Perhaps some sort of rudimentary Mobius Diagram or Klein Presentation? :slight_smile:

I’m going to go work up a Venn diagram of Rumfeldt’s known knowns, known unknowns, etc.

He was mocked for that but it was eminently logical and useful.

Yeah, IMO he got a bad wrap for that statement because it “sounded” stupid. But he had a point.

It is a useful distillation of the limits of knowledge as far as it goes. Rumsfeld got the bad rap for it (not a bad “wrap” unless someone handed him a spoiled felafel hummus on wheat) because he used the words to justify connecting Irag and WMDs. And many pointed out that what was lacking from his quote - that there are unknown knowns - was exactly what the administration lacked and what Rumsfeld endeavored to skate over.

Still, I reference the quote frequently myself, because it is a fine thing out of its context.

The diagram does make sense, mostly, when not taken as a Venn Diagram, and the diagram need not use circles, circles 1 and 2 need not surround 3 and 4.

The venn diagram uses “Inclusive” logic… Eg take the circle 1… this means that every element inside that circle, no matter of its membership of any other set, has the property of set 1 … ‘people who believe god exists’ is that circle.
Now how can members of 3 and 4 be inside 1 ? (or 2.)
3 and 4 are a correct Venn diagram. 4 is a special class of 3.

I think you would need Yes and No with a vertical line between them, splitting everything into one of two options with no overlap. You would then have a circle for unknown bridging that line. There would be a smaller circle for unknowable fully within unknown that also bridges the middle line. Not a standard Venn diagram, but it would accurately represent what you want I think.

OP, what statements are you trying to represent?

If I were to just use venn diagrams to represent how I think the four categories are related, it would look like [this.]( unknown.PNG)

That diagram is meant to have all and only propositions as its domain.

It basically says every proposition is either:

True and known and knowable, or
True and unknown and knowable, or
True and unknown and unknowable, or
False and unknown and unknowable.

I constructed it using the following assumptions:

Every statement is either true or false and never both, and
No false statement is knowable, and
No known statement is unknowable.

The x’s mean there’s at least one proposition that fits into the indicated category.

Where does the statement “God exists” fit? That’s the very thing up for debate so you’re not going to solve it by putting God (or more properly in this case “the statement that God exists”) on the diagram anywhere.

Kudos on working on this and sharing your diagram.

But no false statement is knowable? That seems a bit of an odd position to take to me.

I guess a subtle variation on that would be when a false statement is made at first you cannot know immediatly if it is true or not but the question is could you EVER find out it was false. Which I guess brings us into the field of Venn Diagrams that include timelines…

Then again I have a hard time “wrapping” my mind around some of these seemingly simple concepts :slight_smile:

If you could know it, it would be true.

It looks like you’re defining “knowable statement” as “a statement whose truth or falsity can be discovered.” I’ll give you the diagram for that momentarily.