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I was asked by someone in this forum when talking about the rightness and wrongness. My proposition is that, there is no truth, but the strongest proof/premise which supports its conclusion. He says that, he knows that Barack Obama is in the bathroom at this moment without being able to prove it.
What do you folks think about this? I need your suspicion, correction, confirmation..
Another question of mine is that, is there anything as self-evident?
It is my viewpoint, that in order to judge whether something is probable or definite (your choice), then there must be some observed event. Otherwise, it is indefinite or simply possible.
For me, nothing is self-evident. I may think something is self-evident, and I may even get a whole host of people to agree with me. However, as in all things, it is subject to change or some disagreement from someone. Just take a look in philosophy books, as philosophers declare something to be self-evident only to have others refute it. I feel that there are other ways to approach life questions other than declaring certainty.
I hope this perspective helps some.
I did not say I know Barack Obama is in the bathroom without being able to prove it.I said that I can believe it is true that Barack Obama is in the bathroom without being able to prove it. And it is certaintly true that Barack Obama may be in the bathroom without anyone being able to prove it, including Barack Obama. Obama's being in the bathroom does not depend on whether anyone can prove he is in the bathroom. Just as there being an unknown planet does not depend on anyone being able to prove there is such a planet. Truth does not depend on knowledge of the truth, although knowledge of the truth does depend on truth. There cannot be knowledge without truth, but there can be (and is) truth without knowledge of the truth. Before today, I did not know you existed, but that did not matter did it. You did exist even if I did not know you existed.
To say that some proposition is self-evident is exactly to say that it is known without proof, for if it could be known only with proof it would not be self-evident. So the question is not whether it can be proved that something is self-evident, since if we prove it, it is not self-evident. However, your question is different; it is whether we can prove that something is self-evident. I suppose we can. We can ask people whether they know that a proposition is true. And when they say they do, we can then ask them how they know it is true. Several may say that the proposition is self-evident, and that may be evidence that the proposition is, in fact, self-evident. Of course, from the fact that people say that a proposition is self-evident, it does not follow that the proposition is self-evident.
It is probable that there are electrons, but no one has ever observed an electron.
"Self-evident" only means, evidence for itself, or requires no evidence. It can just be seen to be true. Well, take the proposition that all things equal to the same thing are equal to each other. Certainly, we believe that is true. But what is our evidence for it's truth? And, would any evidence for its truth be more certain than the proposition itself is? I doubt it.
You said that truth does not depend on knowledge, and knowledge does depend on truth. Then, where does truth come from? Does it need to be proved by knowledge? For using truth to prove truth is like doing nothing. You may be an Aristotelian who refuses infinite regress in the study of philosophy, but such infinity of inference might be needed for the sake of prudence.
In like manner, a self-evident truth does not exist alone. A self-evident truth must be based on some other related knowledge saying, honesty is axiomatically good, because we were either taught by our teachers, or were the victims of dishonesty. Otherwise, it would be impossible for something to be self-evidently true without any other supportive knowledge. Presumed yourself as a new-born baby, how could you know what is self-evidently true? How could the first inhabitant on the earth know what is self-evidently good? Even if it is his impuse which tells him that something is self-evidently true, he must know that there is something inside him which forces him to acknowledge so long as he has the knowledge of consciousness. Therefore, this physical impetus becomes exactly the knowledge of the so-called self-evident truth.
Likewise, you said that it would be highly possible that Obama is in the bathroom without being able to be proved by anyone including himself. But, please do not forget, without the knowledge of "coincidence", "luck", "prediction", "determinism," "physiology," "biological habits of mankind", you may never be able to make this claim, for every factor of these above is the premise by which you make your claim.
Eve I don't have any knowledge of Obama, all I know is that he is a human being; then the only knowledge I got is useful enough for me to make the proposition that "it is highly possible that Obama is in the bath room at this moment without further audible and visible proofs." It is my existing knowledge of biology, physiology...etc, which enable me to make such a claim, which coincides with a possible truth that is "unable to be proved."
In short, the adjective "self-evident" is, from my perspective, but an artistic way of expressing something that is supported by cogent premises, but is not self-evident in a strict metaphysical sense.
P.S. One more thing to add. I am a little bit confused about your definition of "knowledge of truth." Or is it just a logcial and linguistic trap? If such a knowledge is what I claimed, "knowledge related to a self-evident fact," then, your argument is totally unworkable and wrong. For knowledge of truth is just another tricky way of saying knowledge in general. What you call the knowledge of truth is simply the true part of the general knowledge, thereby it still belongs to general knowledge.
"There cannot be knowledge without truth, but there can be (and is) truth without knowledge of the truth." There is an obvious discrepancy in this utterance,for you used the phrase "knowledge" in the first place, but changed the phrase into "knowledge of the truth," later on. Please explain this change of expression, please.
Waitting for your judgment, sincerely.
---------- Post added at 01:22 AM ---------- Previous post was at 12:59 AM ----------
I disagree. We can never know whether two bananas are all bananas if we didn't have the knowledge of each banana in general. Someone may compalin that, "they look exactly the same!" My response is, "if you do not have the knowledge of vision, how could you even know that you are seeing?" Further more, what you see is only the apperance of things, but not the substance of them. Therefore, how could you claim their equality with absolute confidence without dissecting them? Even you dissected them, how could you know whether you were in a dream, though everything is rendered true around you?:flowers:
As time goes on, people gradually lose their curiosity, and taking everything for granted and self-evident. This is indeed sad.
---------- Post added at 01:31 AM ---------- Previous post was at 12:59 AM ----------
Thanks for every contributor in this forum! More insights are welcomed!
It is probable that there are electrons, but no one has ever observed an electron.
But "where truth comes from" is a different question from the question about the relation between knowledge and truth. It is only confusing to mix questions up. We, at least, now know, that what we know must be true, although what is true, we need not know. We know that Obama goes to the bathroom. But that does not mean we know that he is in the bathroom at this very moment, although it may be true that he is. Again, we should not mix up the question, does Obama go to the bathroom, which was not asked, with the question, is Obama in the bathroom right now, which was the question we did ask. They are not the same question, are they? So we may know the answer to the first, but not the second.
Knowledge is always knowledge of the truth, and knowledge of the truth is always knowledge, so they are equivalent expressions. Sorry if I confused you.
If there are two bananas, then they are bananas. Otherwise they would not both be bananas. How we know that they are both bananas is, again, a different question, for they both can be bananas, and we not know they are bananas. You are, I think, again mixing up or confusing, knowledge with truth. That seems to be a confusion quite common on this thread, and on this forum, and even sometimes in philosophy in general. It is the Idealist confusion of thinking that there is no truth without knowledge (of the truth). But that, I think you see, is quite false.
but there can be (and is) truth without knowledge of the truth.
However you are defining truth, how would you distinguish such definition from however you would define reality? Do you endorse the correspondence theory?
Some philosophical definitions of truth could serve as a definition of reality. But in common usage, the word "truth" often has many other meanings. I think this may be what is causing some confusion in these threads here.
When we attach "true" as a predicate to propositions or beliefs, we may not always intend the same sort of meaning as the truth of however the universe is regardless of our being here.
Third, it is not important to argue whether Obama is going to the bathroom or he is already in it, for no matter what he does, his behavior can be proved by different knowledge regarding physiology, biology...etc. If you want to say that the provable event that "Obama is going to the bathroom" does not entail "his being in the bathroom, or he will be in the bathroom," then this discussion tends to be less meaningful, for the focus shouldn't be on whether Obama's intention will be realized or not.
As to the question of banana, you proposed that "If there are two bananas, then they are bananas." For me, this is like saying nothing, for one can never know what banana is without utilizing existing knowledge she has gained. For example: if we say two bananas are equal, then, does the conception of banana come first or, the conception of equality come first? Even the conception of equality existed prior to the existence of banana, the conception of equality still needs to be proved by two equal things, for without two equal things, the conception of equality can never be figured out. The next question will be where those bananas come from. This is a very difficult question, at least, for me. The question of "origin" is likely to be infinite, for even the contemporary philosphers are still striving for finding the origin or the essense of the universe whereby everything else is made from. Such an origin may never be found out, therefore, what is deemed as the origin must be proved and supported by strong evidences. This is exactly why I have always been saying that there is no truth, but evidence.
I used the noun, "truth". A truth is a fact. Like, it is a truth that Quito is the capital of Ecuador. It is also, of course, true that Quito is the capital of Ecuador. That is, the belief, sentence, etc. "Quito is the capital of Ecuador" is true. That is because of the truth that Quito is the capital of Ecuador.
---------- Post added at 10:08 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:54 AM ----------
I can but repeat, I know that Obama does go to the bathroom (or wherever he does what he does) because he is a person, and I know that all person's do. But, I certainly do not know that Obama is in the bathroom at this moment, yet, if I say he is in the bathroom this moment, and he is there this moment, then what I said was true. Now I have no evidence that Obama is in the bathroom at this moment, but since if he is, and I say he is, then it is true that he is, and what I said was true. Therefore, you must be mistaken that "there is no truth but evidence" since this would be a case of truth without evidence.
I know of no contemporary philosophers trying to discover the essence of the universe. In fact, I don't even understand what it would mean to talk about the essence of the universe.
I don't have to know where a banana comes from to know it is a banana, and neither do you. It is certainly true that if there are two bananas then there are bananas. And if you say what is true, then how can you be "saying nothing". I thought you were asking how we know the two bananas are bananas. And my answer is that if there are two bananas then they are bananas. If you are asking how we know that those two yellow, elongated objects are bananas, my answer is that I know English, and I know those objects are bananas. If you are questioning whether I may not be hallucinating bananas, then, if I take your doubt seriously, I would then try to touch them, or take a photo of them. If the photo came out, then obviously, I am not hallucinating bananas. For cameras do not hallucinate. It depends on what question you are asking, of course.
Let me clear this out. Your proposition is that: Obama is maybe in the bathroom but cannot be finally proved; but, if he was in the bathroom, then what you predict must be right. That is to say, the truth entails knowledge, but not knowledge entails the truth. Am I right?
What I said is that if I now believe that Obama is in the bathroom, and if it is true that Obama is in the bathroom at this moment, then my belief is true.
How do you know it is true?
No, that is not right at all. What I said is that if I now believe that Obama is in the bathroom, and if it is true that Obama is in the bathroom at this moment, then my belief is true. And that is so whether or not I have any evidence that Obama is in the bathroom. So, I may have no evidence that Obama is in the bathroom, believe Obama is in the bathroom, and if Obama happens to be in the bathroom, then what I believe is true. Naturally, if Obama is not in the bathroom, then what I believe is false. So, whether what I believe is true or false depends entirely on whether Obama happens to be in the bathroom. But, that does not mean, of course, that I know that Obama is in the bathroom. Just because my belief happens to be true, that does not mean I know Obama is in the bathroom. In other words, true beliefs are not knowledge. On the other hand, of course, if I know that Obama is in the bathroom, then I have a true belief that Obama is in the bathroom. I cannot know that he is unless I have a true belief that he is. So, if I know that Obama is in the bathroom, then I have a true belief that he is in the bathroom; but if I have a true belief he is in the bathroom, then that does not mean I know he is in the bathroom. In other words, knowledge implies true belief, but true belief does not imply knowledge.
Specifically, just the opposite of what you say is the case: What is true is that knowledge implies truth, but truth does not imply knowledge.
As kennethamy mentioned, that is an entirely different question altogether.
If I believe it is raining in France while it is raining in France - my belief is true (by simple conjunction).
But my belief and its being true are wholly independent of each other, so just the conjunction of them doesn't count as knowledge; I don't get credit for my "lucky" guess.
So, how can it be that if it is raining in France and that I believe it is raining in France
I don't first know that it is raining in France? Well, the state of affairs of "raining in France" actually being the case isn't dependent on anyone "knowing" about it*.
My belief about the weather in France and the weather in France are each literal elements. Each is possible with or without the other.
It all depends on how you define truth. From my understanding, truth must be something that is known and provable. Otherwise, Obama's being in the bathroom is only a single event which happens in reality, but cannot be called a truth, if it cannot be known and proved.
According to your logic, we can say that Alien exists anyway, for if it exists, and we believe it exists, then it is the truth that alien exists. Your usage of "if" in your first premise has already prsupposed the existence of alien, therefore the whole argument is like saying that alien exists because aline exits.
Although alien may exist, and its existence doesn't depend on any scientific evidence, we cannot say the existence of alien is true if it exists. Otherwise, according to this logic, everything can exist, for if everything exists and we believe everything's existence then everything indeed exists. This is totally a mess of logic.
In short, without any knowledge about something's existence, we can only say that it may exist independtly of proof; but such an existence doesn't belong to the realm of truth, for its existence hasn't become the known knowledge. It is a knowledge independent of human cognition. And can only be discussed withint the confine of human imagery.
It does not depend on how anyone defines "truth". Just as whether something is an elephant does not depend on how anyone defines, "elephant". If something is an elephant, it is what it is, no matter how the word is defined. Perhaps you are acquainted with Shakespeare's play, "Romeo and Juliet". In that play, Juliet begs Romeo to chance his last name, and says to him, "What is in a name? A rose by any other name smells as sweet." I agree with Juliet. You can call a truth by any other name, but it is still a truth.
If the Earth is orbicular anyway regardless of our definitions, then what is the value of proving its not being square? For no matter how we define it, our proof doesn't affect its being orbicular.
One more thing, what do you think of 1+1=2 Is this self-evident? Or it needs to be proved?
The Earth is whatever shape it is. But some people may not believe it is an orb, which it is. And then, for their benefit, it needs to be proved it is an orb. But you are right. If it is an orb, it is an orb independently of being prove an orb. In fact, if it was not an orb before we proved it was an orb, we could not have proved it was an orb. Certainly, you do not think that proving Earth is an orb changed its shape. How could it do that? Indeed, how could we prove that P is true unless it is already truth?