Truth: The Great Non-Sequitur (Part 2)

An Essay By James // 4/4/2008

In my last essay on truth, I offered an explanation as to why the idea that truth is relative is false; namely, that it depends on a Non-Sequitur (a conclusion that doesn’t follow) to prove itself.
The Non-Sequitur is thus:

Not everyone agrees about what is absolutely true.
Therefore, nothing is absolutely true.

Now, for those of you familiar with logic, you will recognize that something is missing. Every argument needs two premises before a conclusion; however, the above argument shows only one. The one premise that you see is actually the second premise of the argument, and it is true and readily apparent. So, where did the conclusion come from? It was derived from the hidden premise, the first premise. Consider this argument in full view:

1. If not everyone agrees about what is absolutely true, then nothing is absolutely true.
2. Not everyone agrees about what is absolutely true.
Therefore, nothing is absolutely true.

Consider that premise again.

If not everyone agrees about what is absolutely true, then nothing is absolutely true.

How is this statement true? How does a failure to reach consensus effect reality? What really confuses me is how some of my friends who think that there is no absolute truth are so absolutely sure about this premise. It doesn’t work that way. Many people disagree that truth is relative, so according to the ideas of relative truth, how can it be true that truth is relative? How can anyone be so absolutely sure that there is no absolute truth when many people disagree, and are very sure that there is absolute truth, regardless of one’s opinions? Suppose, for a minute, we reword this argument:

1. If not everyone agrees that truth is relative, then it’s not absolutely true that truth is relative.
2. Not everyone agrees that truth is relative.
Therefore, it’s not absolutely true that truth is relative.

I hope you can see my point. Every Non-Sequitur has a hidden premise, and that premise is a statement which is simply not true. In this case, it’s a statement that cannot even be consistent with itself! By undermining truth, any statement that says truth is relative undermines its own validity.

Comments

Exactly

If only people would see it!
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The Word is alive/and it cuts like a sword through the darkness
With a message of life to the hopeless/and afraid...

~"The Word is Alive' by Casting Crowns

May my words be a light that guides others to the True Light and Word.

Julie | Tue, 04/21/2009

Formerly Kestrel

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