There are no absolute truths

By Matthew Hammerton 
There are no eternal facts, as there are no absolute truths.
       – Friedrich Nietzsche: Human, All-too-Human
In contemporary culture, it is fashionable to echo Nietzsche’s words and proclaim that there are no absolute truths. Many people find this to be a truism, they feel that there is something obvious and right about it.

However, if you were to survey the latest philosophy journals, you would find no mention of ‘absolute truths’ and no philosophers intent on demonstrating the existence or nonexistence of this apparent species of truth. The reason for this is not a lack of interest, on the part of contemporary philosophers, in the issues that people have in mind when they proffer the locution ‘there are no absolute truths’. Philosophers have many things to say about these issues. Rather, the reason why contemporary philosophers eschew talk of ‘absolute truths’ is that they find such talk to be an impediment to careful, rigorous debate.

The problem with the locution ‘there are no absolute truths’ is that it is a catchphrase under which several related but logically distinct ideas are collected. As such, whenever someone uses this locution it is unclear which (or which combination) of these logically distinct ideas they have in mind. Because of the lack of conceptual clarity in the notion ‘absolute truth’, contemporary philosophers prefer to avoid it and instead employ terms that capture with more precision the different ideas that people associate with ‘absolute truth’.  
Below are several different theses which the locution ‘there are no absolute truths’ may express:
–          Anything that we take to be true is revisable
–          We can never have a ‘god’s-eye’ view of the universe
–          All truths are a matter of opinion
–          Truth is relative (to culture, historical epoch, language, society etc.)
–          All the truths that we know are subjective truths (i.e. mind-dependent truths)
–          There is nothing more to truth than what we are willing to assert as true
Each of these theses has been discussed, at one point or another, in contemporary philosophy and each are held or denied with varying degrees of confidence. So my advice is, if every you are tempted to talk about ‘absolute truths’ you should ask yourself which, if any, of the above ideas you have in mind.


82 responses to “There are no absolute truths

  1. Ill try and remain objective and neutral on the issue of wether an absolute truth exists, but I do take issue with the suggested definitions of what people mean by “objective truths” and what they mean when they say “there are no objective truths”.

    All the thesis’ given, which are meant to express the negation of the existence of an absolute truth, does not actually refer to the existence of the absolute truth itself. Rather the expressions merely refer to the inability of humans to percieve or recognise absolute truths. I guess this has a lot to do with our semantic definition of what “truth” is though.

    Now I acknowledge that the concept of “truth” has been devised by humans, and is therefore a very anthropocentric phenomena. However, surely when we refer to “absolute truths” we are referring to the existence of objective facts, in other words, an “objective reality” that exists beyond the human mind.

    We are not referring to a general consensus that all humans can agree upon to be true… Surely humans do not have to be aware of the existence of these absolute truths and objective facts in order for them to exist?

    Matt: “We can never have a ‘god’s-eye’ view of the universe”

    This is my problem with the examples of thesis given that express the belief that “there are no absolute truths”. They all refer to our inability to percieve or comprehend absolute truths. But our ignorance does not have anything to do with wether absolute truths actually exist. The truth, the true state of affairs, an objective reality could exist, without us being none the wiser.

    The existence of truth could exist wether we know it or not. For example: It is true that either that man killed his wife, or that he did not. One or the other. Wether we know wether that man is guilty or innocent, he is definately one or the other.

    Matt: “All truths are a matter of opinion”

    I guess I’ve ended up arguing FOR the existence of an absolute truth, despite my intentions to remain neutral 😛 The truth is not dependent on our own personal, subjective opionions. If it were, everything we believe to be true, including wether that man was guilty or not, could be completey arbitrary. In fact, if there was no “absolute truth”, or facts about the world, to correspond to our beliefs, then truth, absolute or relative, could not exist (according to the correspondance theory).

    As you said, our opinions on truth are revisable, but does that really have any impact on the truth about truth? It seems to me, that the thesis’ for the argument that “there is no absolute truth” cant hold any weight at all.

    Would anyone like to prove me wrong? 😀

    • Juanita doubts that there are no absolutes. I think the problem is that how can we say there is something that never changes, that will
      always be true?

    • This is just a quick comment about the quote from Matt, “All truths are a matter of opinion.” That is an expression of opinion, but it is not the truth. If it was true, opinion would have nothing to do with it. (My opinion?) You might think otherwise but your thoughts don’t actually have power to change the real truth. You may be able to change your relation to the truth or how truth affects you by adopting a different view, manner of thinking or “opinion,” but the truth doesn’t depend on these things or it wouldn’t really exist.

      Here’s a good example. Do you think it is possible to lie? Because if it is, then something must be true. (And this is absolute in any situation involving these premises.) As a matter of fact, if not for the absolute idea of truth: what would be the point to consider these things? What conclusion or resolution do we seek by pondering them if not the true one? It is in fact our arrival at the “truth” we choose to accept which produces our conclusion, even if it’s to reject the notion of it. But in order to reject one “truth,” a reason must be provided; or, another “truth” accepted.

      Now, a lie takes the truth as a premise of itself. Thereby proving the truth exists, or how could you lie? The real matter being hidden is the truth, which without no lie can be told. Without the truth there is nothing to lie about. So, a lie cannot exist without the truth which it misrepresents.

      Is it then the fault of the truth that a lie is told, since it provides the opportunity to do so? The truth requires no lie. No substance is given to the truth by the lie which was told. It remains the same whether anybody knows it or not. And it cannot change merely because someone has misconstrued its content.

      If truth were a matter of opinion then that would validate my opinion about the truth. But I’m still using the idea of “truth” and my stance in regard to it as an indicator of meaning or significance. Therefore, it is the “truth” which gives me substance whether I believe it or don’t. If truths were a matter of opinion they would have no real significance or impact and essentially would mean nothing. But real truth has power and causes those things which do happen to exist. It is also the real meaning and interpretation of those events which do in fact occur.

      Though many opinions are expressed about these things, it is only when the meaning of the truth is revealed, and a conclusion made upon these premises discovered that will lead to a course of action which is not only sensible, but also justified and able to be carried out to the greatest degree of success.

      • Timothy Harper

        The point or reason for coming to a conclusion about the truth is that it gives the indication of the proper course of action. The premise provided by identification of the truth becomes the precedent for the following adherent action.

        When an undertaking is considered there is always an expectation of the possible or desired result, otherwise there wouldn’t be a willingness or justification to expend the time and energy necessary to make it happen. However, if your mode of deduction fails to show the critical components in the hypothesized outcome of the event and you engage in an action to bring that result there’s a high degree of probability you will fail.

        Now, on the other hand, if the true premise indicating the appropriate action or response is discovered then one can proceed accordingly and will not be disappointed. The expectation developed from a correct understanding of the truth will not lead to failure from an action adhering to these principles.

        Even someone who claims that truth is a matter of opinion will insist on knowing it when being required or asked to comply with someone else’s ideas or wishes. You’re not going to do something someone else says or offer your cooperation if you don’t believe the underlying information you’re operating according to is true. Would you?

        And even a liar thinks he knows the truth when those whom he appears to be deceiving do not. But, to build ones expectation from the enactment of a scenario which one knows is falsified is pure foolishness! If you already know it isn’t true, then how do you develop your expectation from it? It seems the first person to believe a lie is the one telling it!

        What this line of debate or reasoning undoubtedly brings into focus is the idea or meaning of what is being accomplished. Is there a true premise provided for its completion? Would it truly be a success if the projected outcome were obtained?

  2. Hi Jacinta, thanks for your comments. Let me first clarify what my post was about. I was not taking a position on any of the theses mentioned. Rather, I was encouraging people to abandon the term ‘absolute truth’ and replace it with more philosophically sophisticated theories that capture with more precision what they might have in mind. Thus I offered a list of philosophical theories as suggestions for what people might have in mind. Now an interesting question to discuss is whether my list is satisfactory. I see two ways that my list might be inadequate. First it could contain members that don’t belong there. Perhaps one or more of the theses I list has never really been meant by anyone denying that there are absolute truths. Second, my list may be incomplete. Perhaps there are theses that are expressed by denials of absolute truth that I failed to capture.

    Given this distinction, I would encourage anyone who finds my list unsatisfactory to be clear about whether his/her concern is with what may be missing from my list or what may be inappropriate in my list.
    My own opinion is that all the members in my list are appropriate (as I have often observed people describe their denial of absolute truth in a way suggestive of each member in my list). However, I don’t think my list is complete; I suspect there are additional theses that belong on my list, although I am unsure what they are (with one exception about to be noted). There is one more thesis I would like to add. A conversation I had a few days ago with a friend suggested that ‘there are no absolute truths’ is sometimes used to express the view ‘There is no single ‘God’s eye view’ of the universe.’

    Now, in terms of what you say Jacinta, I must admit I am a little confused. At several points I was unclear what your argument was and had to make a charitable guess; so please clarify what your position if you think I misunderstand it.

    You seem to think that the notion of ‘absolute truth’ is univocal, that it has a straightforward meaning and doesn’t conflate a number of different philosophical theories. Thus you say:

    “All the thesis’ given … does (sic) not actually refer to the existence of the absolute truth itself. Rather the expressions merely refer to the inability of humans to percieve or recognise absolute truths.”

    In this case I would ask you to state what you think the absolute/non-absolute truth distinction is. As I explained in the original post such a distinction is not used in contemporary philosophy because philosophers think it conflates a number of different issues. Now you might maintain that they are wrong. Perhaps you have a good explanation of how we can understand ‘absolute truth’ in a way that is both univocal and illuminating. On the other hand, if you are willing to concede that ‘absolute truth’ is not a univocal concept, you will probably find the members of my list appropriate, but may think my list is incomplete because you feel I have left out some other important theses that the ‘absolute truth’ concept may pick out. In this case I would welcome your suggestions as to what these theses are.

    One important point I think you catch onto is the need to distinguish epistemic issues about truth (what do/can we know to be true?) from metaphysical issues about truth (what kinds of things are true? what makes these things true?). Many philosophers have rejected the idea that these issues can be sufficiently separated, however I lean towards the view that they can be distinguished (see Michael Devitt’s book ‘Realism & Truth’ for a influential defence of their separation). In fact, I would suggest that one of the advantageous of my attempt to clarify claims about ‘absolute truths’ is that it forces users of the ‘absolute truth’ concept to be clearer about what sort of claim they are making and hence to more carefully distinguish the semantic, metaphysical and epistemological issues that may be conflated in talk of ‘absolute truth’. In general I think most people who are attracted to the idea that there are no absolute truths are thinking of truth in epistemic terms and hence that is why most of the members of my list are epistemic theses.

    • If there are no absolute objects that exist, then there are not absolute
      truths, either. Please so me something that lasts forever, everything
      decays, thus there are no absolute truths.

      • Timothy Harper

        The truth is absolute in nature. Without the truth being in its absolute form, it can in no sense be true. The nature of the truth is in fact absolute.

        Even though the time in which an occurrence has taken place is now removed, the instances in the occurrence remain the same as they were. The truth is not removed from them merely because they cease to occur. They have occurred and that is the true instance of them.

        The same can be said for future instances. They will occur in the form that they do and that is what is true about them. If the objects involved in an occurrence are destroyed doesn’t change what happened with them while they were here.

        As a matter of fact, the present occurrence surely depends on the previous. So that even degradation of material leads into a circumstance where truth can be perceived.

  3. A question to any Nietzsche scholar out there: — Is what Nietzsche meant by “There are no absolute truths” covered by Matt’s list of meanings (which, of course, Matt presumably did not intend to be all-inclusive)?

    Could Nietzsche have meant something like “There are no truths about non-natural objects”, or, more particularly, “All moral imperatives so far claimed in the history of philosophy are unfounded or vacuous”?

    In context (, Nietzsche seems to me to to be making the following claims among others:

    * Armchair philosophy should be supplemented by empirical research.
    * There is no essential, soul-like human nature.
    * Intuitions and revelations are epistemologically suspect.
    * There is no trustworthy moral sense with which to perceive moral objects.

  4. The distinctions made in the original article and comments are all good, but maybe the first question to someone who says “there are no absolute truths” is “what’s the difference between ‘absolute truth’ and ‘truth’?

  5. Thanks Adrian, that’s a very interesting point. Not being a Nietzsche scholar myself I have nothing substantial to say in response to your suggestion; however, if you are right then it seems that the use of the term ‘absolute truth’ in contemporary culture has little to do with what Nietzsche was talking about when he used the term.

  6. I have a question. If you believe there are no absolutes are you absolutely sure of that being correct?

    • If you are absolutely sure there are no absolutes, are you absolutely sure of that being correct?

      Soldierboy73 has challenged with this remark. I have recently found this
      to be a correct objection to anti-absolutism. But I am curious if this means
      that Relativism must roll up its tent, and leave the stage so to speak?
      Anybody know? Soldierboy?

      • soldierboy73

        I would say it depends on what the relativism is being used for. If it is being used for gathering information through observation, then we want to encourage relativism, but after all observations are done, we want to encourage absolutism in trying to determine what actually happened according to all the observations. This is because we should not trust a single observation or one frame of reference. However, I guess this is not a perfect example because this is talking about a physical event.

        If we were to talk about morality, I would say that relativism only has one place: it determining which things are okay outside of whatever determines one’s moral code. However, I am of the school of thought that there is only one correct moral code. Now I realize that there will be many that are within this school of thought that have different moral codes. This is a seeming paradox. However, the clear solution is that we must realize that, when examined from a pure secularism view, our moral code might be the wrong one. So then debates must be done between the different moral codes to determine which one is the correct one. However, the idea of one person determining morality for themselves and another determining morality for themselves when the two moralities might disagrees, means that we have actually done away with morality and that we have just welcomed in every person being a walking moral code, which means that morality can never be determined. This means we could never say an action was actually immoral, because to the other person it could have been one of the most moral things they could have done. This is chaos.

  7. Isn’t the statement “There are no absolute truths.” an oxymoron?

    • Seems to me to say what Bill has said, ‘aRE you absolutely
      sure there are no absolutes”, is a trick used by religiously
      orientated persons, who depend the existence of absolute meaning in the world, Like God, and creation.

      But they neglect that the statement, they are claiming that
      non-believers make, is a negative one, which is not subject to the category of being “absolute”.

      For example, to say,
      ‘there are no ducks in this pond”, can never be called an
      absolute statement, just like saying, ‘there are no absolute

    • Bill, do u mean “redundancy” not oxymoron? A truth is supposed to be
      absolute, right?

    • no, it’s an absolute moron.

      • Timothy Harper

        LOL! That’s hilarious! No, but really though. “There are no absolute truths” cannot be a true statement or it would be absolute. This is a very simple exercise in logic. You cannot make an “absolute” statement which disqualifies absolutes. At least, not a true one. Therefore, by simple mathematical reduction the resulting conclusion is, “There must be absolute truth.”

  8. Given that the meaning of ‘truth’ is context dependent, with the two common meanings being ‘as you honestly believe’ and ‘factual statement’ , therefore truth can be oxymmoronic, subjective and objective. Prefixing truth with ‘Absolute’ is tautology where truth refers to the objective truth, and incorrect in applying to subjective truth. Without qualifiers and caveats arguments about ‘Absolute Truth’ are like two fleas arguing about which flea owns the dog.
    If we are discussing is there an objective reality independent of perception, then if there are no absolute truths then everybody is right and no one can be wrong. However you walk on pavements created by someone else, have you ever fallen through concrete with out there being a physical causal link? no, because normal concrete cannot behave outside physical laws. The universe is not objectively flexible. Cultural and actor truths are revisable as they are subjective. Judeo/Christian god exists because a subculture/culture says so, therefore any truth about that god is subjective. This god cannot know everything (“truth” stated in the King James bible + ) ‘as this god does not know what it is like to be a monkey and only a monkey.

    With regard to ‘absolutes’ where a state either exists or doesn’t exist that is an absolute e.g. pregnant, one was ever a degree of pregnant. Even preconfirmation of pregnancy (Shrodinger’s cat) there is only a single objective state at any point in time independent of lack of measurement.

    • Sapere aude, I stumbled across this site while looking for a “title” for Non-Absolutists.” Didn’t find a legitimate title, so I will just refer to them as NA if needed to repeat in this article. I would like to reply to all in this forum, but I chose you because of your comical ending comment….”god (Judeo/Christian) cannot know everything (“truth” stated in the King James Bible) ‘ as this god does not know what it is like to be a monkey and only a monkey.” How, or rather why, would a NA who does not believe in a god make an “absolutist” statement about what that god knows or does not know? How would you know that a superior being who claims to have created all earthly beings, does not know what it is like to be those beings? I have never understood this attitude in people who claim there is no god, to continue describing and declaring the attributes of that god whom they don’t believe exists. If that god created beings out of an “essence” of himself, that “essence” may have all the information he needs to know what it is like to be that being.

      One of the names of that God you speak of is Jehovah in English, pronounced differently in other languages. And in that Bible you speak of he introduces himself to Moses as “I am that I am”, (in English) meaning the All Sufficient One. That meaning sounds very Absolute to me. There has been comment that absolute and truth are oxymoron. To me they are synonym, because truth is absolute and absolute must be truth. The God of the King James Bible is not the God that is preached in churches today, which is a prophecy being fulfilled from that very Bible. If you will bother to read the second chapter of Revelation you will see that we are living in the day of judgment for the churches. We are also living in the day of the beginnings of World War III, which is to occur mainly along the Euphrates River and cause the death of one third of humanity.(Revelation 9:13-21.) I wonder if anyone really knows how many have already died because of the religious radical warmongers of these countries along the Euphrates, whose belief is that they must rule the world and that all who do not accept their religion must cease to exist on this planet. And don’t bring us the so-called “Christian Crusaders” of the past, because those were not Christians I know this as “truth”, because Jesus the Christ DID NOT TEACH win the world through militancy, he taught win the world through Love. ( If and when you do read Revelation, do not be confused by the “code terminology”. One has to have studied, in concert with God’s Holy Spirit teaching, the Old and New Testament to understand the code.) Russia and America right now are lined up for war right there, along the Euphrates, and that war will eventually involve the whole world. It is involving the world now as turmoil and terrorists from these countries are striking cities everywhere, and the whole world is getting weary of it. Eventually, the United Nations will have a say in who gets involved and what they should do.

      NA’s seem to set themselves up as “absolute” judges of what is “absolute” or “non-absolute” or “truth” or “non-truth”. I have never seen or heard of such a nonsensical brainiac discussion of the meaning of words as this forum. Where is your dictionary and where is your understanding and how can NA’s all come up with such different interpretations? I have heard these same questions asked of so-called Christians. The different interpretations of God by so-called Christians is because they are “leaning to their own understanding and not the true understanding, which comes from Scripture and from the True God.” And the “intelligentsia” of this world think the poor ignorant believers in God are pitiful.!!! I feel sorry for those who have pushed Jehovah, the True Absolute God, out of their lives. For those who have read some of the Bible who may argue that God changes, therefore he cannot be absolute, I answer, yes he changes his mind, but does not change his Nature. Thank God, he changes his mind when entreated by righteous persons, if not, we would all be non-existent today!

      • To not believe in absolutes, IS not to believe God. But not all believe God to be absolute. If a person believes God made us, he would be absolute. But if a person believes man made god, then he is not. In truth, God does not need forks to believe in him anymore than the universe or the stars and planets in it. In the first book of the bible, the first man and woman believed that God was NOT the absolute judge of right and wrong. So it is no surprise people today like modern day Adam and Eve judge truth and God.

        Our believing or not believing does not change truth, just how we look at it. 2000 years ago this week, a man made the statement, “What is truth!”
        The statement, “There are he absolute truths” is an opinion like the one stated before the man Jesus was handed over to die. That man lived in a world of lies, much like ours and thus at times, truth is impossible to find, but it does not mean it is not there.

        If absolute truth is out there, we won’t find it as much as it will find us!

  9. George Jansen

    Is the statement, “There is no absolute truth” absolutely true? If it is, then there is something that is absolutely true – that statement itself. If it isn’t absolutely true, then why insist that we should all believe it?

  10. Certainly there is absolute truth. Let us begin with this statement: “There is something about which it can be said, ‘It is true.'” If nothing else, it might be true that there are no absolute truths (ha!).

    But if we simply begin there, then we know with logical certainly that SOMETHING IS THE CASE–something is absolutely true and cannot be otherwise.

    It may not be math, it may not be logic, but there are statements that can be made that are indeed the truth about matters.

    Let us assume that we cannot know what is true and what is not true. Well, then it’s true that “We cannot know what is true and what is not true.” If that is true, then…. And if it’s not, then the original statement is false.

    Beginning there, I am convinced that, Descartes-like, we can work our way to other things that MUST be true, and from there, build a structure upon which we can hang our philosophical hats.

  11. Seriously, you guys need to get out and smell the roses. Total rationalism. If you think you cannot grasp reality….try comparing your life at present with that smoking pot, and then you might draw some distinction between mindless subjectivity and a world where you actually have some ‘survivability’, even if you spend it living off your daddies stipend.

  12. There are absolute truths as physical objects obey physical laws not personal beliefs. Andrew, seriously, LSD would be a better analogy, and your argument is not.

    • Sapere, they obey both.

      • Sapere aude

        diego, you make a comment, where is a premise or example? Name a physical object that obeys personal beliefs that as a result disobeys physical laws? Otherwise, go back to your bible and live in denial.

  13. There are no absolute truths huh? Are you sure about that? Are you absolutely sure? lol, this has got to be the most illogical belief… ever.

  14. I think you phrased the title wrong. You should have had the title say “It seems that there are no absolute truths” because to declare that there are no absolute truths in that way seems to make it appear to in fact be an absolute truth.

  15. Regarding the last point that, it is self-refuting to say there are no absolute truths, if that is what was meant, I do not think that such a statement
    contridicts itself, since to say that something does not exist, makes no
    real claim, so it can’t be refuted.

  16. To Jacinta:

    She says, “Surely when we refer to “absolute truths” we are referring to the existence of objective facts, in other words, an “objective reality” that exists beyond the human mind.

    No, I would say that such truth resides only in one’s mind. It is indeed true that a man either murdered his wife or did not, we do
    know this objectively and absolutely. But, note that it does not tell us anything. As Matt says, it is analytic truth, meaning it cannot be disputed.

    All math is this way, it is about equations that equal themselves, all things must always equal themselves. This is logic, not science. We do not know math by observation, or experience. So these truths of logic tell us nothing, and are true only axiomatically or, by definition. To speak this kind of truth is to do nothing but recite a definition, that is why it is absolutely true.

    Some religious people will point to the fact that two and two always equal four, in all places and all times, and will till the end of time. And so, they say this is proof of “absolute truth”, which it is, but as I say, it provides us no information about anything, but only what we already know.
    These kinds of truth cannot be negated, refuted, affirmed, revised, but, only analyzed.

  17. The problem I have when starting to read these replies begins with Jacinta’s very first sentence:
    “Ill try and remain objective and neutral on the issue of wether (sic) an absolute truth exists,” What does a castrated male sheep have to do with it? ” Clearly this is not a one-off spelling mistake as jacinta constantly mentions a wether throughout her reply:
    “The existence of truth could exist wether (sic) we know it or not. For example: It is true that either that man killed his wife, or that he did not. One or the other. Wether (sic) we know wether (sic) that man is guilty or innocent, he is definately one or the other.”
    The sheepish truth is that a malapropism like “wether” when rammed home so many times goes beyond a simple spelling mistake like “definately” and instead makes the writer look somewhat illiterate.

  18. I enjoyed Guy’s reply to Jacinta, but not sure if I am following him. Is he saying Jacinta is illiterate due to spelling errors?

    By the way it seems it is both John and Anonomous misunderstanding
    that to say there are no absolute truths is not an oxymoron.

  19. In the case of “wether” for “whether” it is not simply a spelling mistake but a change of word meaning that makes the literal meaning farcical, and would surely have any self-respecting academic more than a little sheepish if not bleating with embarrassment to see their name on it. It is the kind of woolly language use associated with the poorly educated attempting to appear more educated. For instance: ‘Whether the cold weather came too early for the shorn wether’ completely changes meaning when written as: ‘Whether the cold wether came too early for the shorn weather’ which of course would be an impossibilty as a wether is castrated. Poor spelling is common nowadays giving birth to many amusing malapropisms but I doubt that the meaning of truth can be found in following the flock.

  20. I wonder if Guy believes there is a “truth”, or that such an idea is silly.

    I see what he means about words, but for my part,
    I find that uninteresting. I would like to know
    what some of these posting people think of my claim that they are dead wrong believing that to say there is no absolute thuth is valid. Their
    mistake is a common one often made by believers.

    All the people who believe in god automatically
    must believe in absolute truth. I don’t, so that
    tells us where I’m at. ha ha.

    What do I have to do to wake up Annomous and John?
    They are wrong. I would think what I have said would make them respond. Oh well….

  21. Looking for absolute truth is a bit like looking for an absolute anything that never alters. Everything moves and shifts including the stars and galaxies and nothing stays fixed, about the nearest we have to absolute anything is either the regularity of a quasar or the speed of light and even were you to be traveling at about light speed apparently your space ship could still be lit by light so even light appears to be relative. So in my mind truth is like that too, always relative to the question or circumstances surrounding it, for which it provides an answer. Truth is no more absolute than infinity is finite.

  22. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Guy has it right, nothing is absolute, it’s all relative.

    Of course, anything absolute is preposterous, it can’t exist,
    as all things exist as compared to something else, or it doesn’t exist.

    Yes, to what Guy says about light, as that, too, is even being compared (relative) to other light. Like he says, light can be
    shinning on light meaning that the light doing the shinning is
    going twice the speed of light, supposed to be impossible..

    Even Einstein said there were problems with light. And, now I understand that time is taken as purely imaginary, so there can be no time travel, cuz if we could go back and forth in time, then time would have to be
    absolute, and no has ever claimed that.

  23. I can give you an absolute truth without word-play, and it is not relative at all…EVERYBODY DIES. Thanx and goodnight.

  24. Soldierboy73, I was referring to physical reality when I asked if the apparent contradiction in relativism proves absolutism.Personally I am not much interested in moral relativism. Anyway, thanks for your response.

  25. Not a single person has ever demonstrated an absolute truth. Philosophers and mathematicians have gone insane and committed suicide in their pursuit of absolute truth. So how can anybody claim that God has blessed them with the knowledge of an absolute truth? How can these people even justify their claim?
    As it turns out, absolute truth is impossible, as this article explains.

    • God blessed humans with the ultimate Truth when He sent His only begotten Son down to Earth for a few short years (about 33). This true manifestation of God said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Light, he who believes in Me will live forever.”
      So to believe or not to believe, that is the ultimate question for each and every human being…Feel free to choose!

  26. Dino, i live your examples on numbers, we come to believe that 1 plus 1 equals 2… but does it really? i think that we have been born with this knowledge to help us in the Physical world we live in. i believe that common math does apply to our modern world, but does that mean its true? its pretty complex to think about

  27. I am a philosopher and I do use the term “absolute truth”. If one is going to claim there are no absolutes they are making an absolute claim, which is self-refuting. If one claims ” absolute truth can’t exist because everything is always changing” then that to is self-refuting since it would be absolutely true that everything is always changing. A preposition such as A=A is an absolute truth/axiomatic since any attempt to refute it, is to assume its validity. This is not to say however that these “absolute truths” exist in some meta-physical platonic sense, but that if something is going to exist or does exist it must be it self and not, not it self. Otherwise it isnt an it, but no-thing and there doesnt exist. These 3 Laws, the law of identity, the law of non-contradiction, the law of excluded middle, are not up for debate and there could be no debate without them. Any attempt to refute these truths is to employ them. We need of course, to distinguish between “descriptive logic” and ” prescriptive logic “. Descriptive logic is man made because it consists of human made symbols which refer to these truths. The symbols can and may change from culture to culture but the “prescriptive” truths they refer to are not man made, but merely man discovered, man observed. “Of course, anything absolute is preposterous, it can’t exist, as all things exist as compared to everything else, or it doesn’t exist”
    This above comment left by Dino is a decent illustration that absolutes do exist. Because it refutes its self. Is it absolutely true “that anything absolute is preposterous”?? If the answer is “No!” then you admit the absolute possibility of being absolutely wrong. If you answer yes then you are refuting your self by asserting an absolute. If you still don’t agree that A=A then how did you identify my error if the law of identity is incorrect? If there is no law of “non-contradiction” then everything is absolute and no it isn’t at the same time.

  28. Simply define “absolute” and “truth”, let’s see how the magic of rationalization makes “absolute truth” impossible… if you DARE!

  29. A value that is Absolute is a static value, which does not change. Like in C++ or Java. Truth is a concept invented by Human. Thus, if the human invented truth, then the human can destroy truth , and also reshape truth. “no absolute truth” is VIEWED to be wrong, only if the viewer BELIEVES in Absolute Truth to exist, if he swears by the concept. It’s like refuting God using a standpoint that is assuming God exist. Can’t do this, your logic fails.

    • Wow that’s pretty bad reasoning…

      “Truth is a concept invented by human” is an interesting statement… Now how certain are you of the truth of your statement? You assert that truth is based on “views” but why bother posting since your statement is merely based on your view and contributes nothing to discussion. Second you make the claim that “your logic fails.” Doesnt that statement assume there to be a logic that “DOESNT fail” (i.e. correct vs incorrect logic)? Certainly logic cant fail unless a true logical law exists. Humans dont create logical laws and your statements are self-defeating…

  30. An absolute has nothing to do with ‘value’, or what is ‘believed’ or ‘viewed’… I should have clarified for my Kabalist friends, OBJECTIVELY define ‘absolute’ and ‘truth’…

    “Truth is a concept invented by Humans.” – I agree, but this is not a definition of what ‘truth’ is.

    “… if he swears by the concept.” – Conviction gives us no incite into the definition, oops!… objective definition, of ‘truth’ or ‘absolute’.

    “It’s like refuting God using a standpoint that is assuming God exist.” – how does one refute or prove the existence of an object?… I thought existence was assumed.

  31. Do I have to believe in unicorns to ‘refute’ their existence….

  32. by saying “there are no absolute’s” you instantaneously brand yourself as a hypocrite and a failure of basic algebra. saying “there are no absolutes” is saying that absolutely “there are no absolutes.” since you’re saying that there absolutely are no absolutes then that would be an absolute that could not possibly exist or otherwise be the case. the only way to say such a thing might be, “there are no other absolutes other than that there are no absolutes.” next time, jstfu niche. (0/0)-0 /= 1

  33. The Problem with absolute truth is the problem it causes in the hands of the powerful.

  34. DemandEvidence

    There are no absolute truths – as a matter of fact. The statement is a fact. The statement is not an absolute truth. Facts are ideas that SEEM to work 100% of the time. It used to be a fact that the sun went around the earth. Information that was revealed made us revise that fact. Facts are revisable. Absolute truths (if one could coherently exist) are supposed to be nonrevisable. All we know are facts. We know no absolute truths. As a matter of FACT, “There are no absolute truths,” is a statement that is revisable, but as of yet, pending new evidence, seems to need no revision. (Incidently, the words in all caps should be interpreted as they would be in italics. That is, they should be read with emphasis, but not as though they are being shouted.)

    Others here have reported that this does not negate the possibility of an external fixed (unchanging) reality. While this is the case, with the lack of evidence to support an external fixed reality and with our unique perspective keeping us from telling the difference between things that will and won’t ever change, a moment’s dwelling on this possibility is an exercise in futility.

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  37. Are you ABSOLUTELY SURE there are no absolutes? If so, then perhaps you believe there are absolutes after all.

  38. But your entire article can be rendered null and void.
    Is the statement “there is no absolute truth” absolutely true?

  39. It would stand to reason that had we not had such highly developed rational parts of our beings and instead acted on instinct, we would be closer to the truth than trying to prove there is truth or not, right?

    I would say there are indeed absolute truths. Then there are some truths that may not be entirely absolute – they would still pass the required tests of contradictions, some or all, but based on science with room for error they would be impossible to prove to be true. Sometimes the various elements of proof are so complex that one element accidentally omitted may overthrow the statement to be true.

    Not being able to prove some truths entirely absolute would still make those ‘absolutely truthfull’, like for instance a human’s DNA or finger print identifying an individual with certain probability that is not 100%. An individual positively identified by 99.9% and who confesses to having commited the crime may still be .1% innocent, hypothetically. At some point it still makes sense accepting a truth to be truthfull enough for validity.

    In closing: I think what this boils down to is that for an absolute truth to exist we would still have to prove it to be true. Yet we adhere to logic and concepts we take for granted to be true without having to disect those to find out if they are 100% absolutely true. Hypothetically there may be some exceptional conditions that render 2+2=4.13 or something although mathematically incorrect according to logic as we know it. So far that has not occured to my knowledge so we still would have to accept 2+2=4 an indisputable fact.

    Just for fun: Humans, as well as with other mamals, 1+1 doesn’t always equal 2 but sometimes 3 or more after a successful conception. That however is absolutely true.

  40. Without a world, there would be no need to talk. Therefore, its the moments are in question. Whatever the case is, is. Less, why bother?

  41. If there are no absolute truths, then I suppose anyone could refuse to swear an oath to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth if called as a witness in a criminal case. In reality, the hair-brained idea that there’s not such thing as truth is ridiculous on its face and warrants no serious discussion from anyone with even a grain of common sense.

  42. Isn’t saying there is no ultimate truth a contradiction in your argument? Isn’t that an ultimate truth in itself?

  43. The only absolute truth is that there are no absolute truths, outside the absolute truth that there are no absolute truths.

  44. It was absolute fact that Nietzsche would die!!

  45. “There are no absolute truths.” Are you ABSOLUTELY SURE? That statement itself is an absolute statement.

  46. What about the law of non-contradiction?

  47. Well it’s an absolute truth that using the word wether instead of whether totally changes the meaning of your sentence since wether refers to a castrated ram (male sheep). That wasn’t your intent, was it?

  48. Its sad that many it seems so challenged to use big words when the Idea or concept of language as the word used locution implies a kind of speech or various other terms that we limit our sight to the extreme of intelligence to in someway prove our smart card that we must remember the audience is an array of colors. I KISS this crystal clear by saying the word itself of the subject of such dialogue has but one point and that is to embrace its reflection that of its opposite that law of attraction. To the least to say that there is no absolute truth implies defiance because the opposite of the term or meaning of truth its antonym implies we investigate the locution of the term it implies of the idea of our perceptions of what truth is when we ask the question it is so simple that we see the answer within the question, whether or not it is a lie and if so the obvious would be the mental reaction or rather do we care or do we even comprehend its light or darkness, by that I mean what is revealed and whether or not one can accept the revelation. Final example: that we must know that there is an absolute truth that is within the laws of nature as its creativity is duplication and that of its replication or its “insanity”. By understanding words, the overall origins of words, and what they truly imply we can find a way to breach our own ignorance and perhaps accept the idea that even nature is persistent in a natural way. As another example: we think the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again trying to get a different result” when this is not the meaning of insanity at all. Point intended as we may nullify words because it may go against our own extreme living standards of chaos that we claim it all to be good. Abstract (is there a g-d?) reasoning to make one ponder the idea of what may be ignoring the lie (there is no g-d) and yet we must believe there is a g-d or we’re simply not being able to consume such intelligence that history repeats itself until we learn otherwise. So you must simply ponder the absolute truth discovered and what it is as opposed to what it means and whether we are lying to ourselves once we become awakened to such possibilities as all things are possible, a statement of absolute truth. The truth is the lie and we must see its opposite and then we will find away to balance the absolute reasoning when we begin to speak with the vibrations like music to heal the radicalisms of thought concentrated and engrafted upon the conquered lands.

    • Confused time traveler

      Does anyone else understand what this guy is saying? I’ve tried for about 10 minutes now and im still not getting it.

  49. There is no any other absolute Truth

  50. There is only one Absolute Truth and that is there is no any other absolute truth

  51. The only Truth is there is nothing else True

  52. All knowledge started from an absolute point. It is human arrogance to think that we can judge with any real certainty what is absolute truth or whether it exists at all, for to find it would be to condemn us to absolute right or wrongs, black or white, up or down. In the more knowledge hasn’t made the human race better.

  53. We answer supposition with supposition and get upset at the answer when the problem is we are the question. The universe exists despite us not for us and the only question in the universe is us. Humans need truth to tell them if they are right or wrong and change the truth if they disagree. Truth may be like time a way to measure our progress in the universe of our minds

  54. “There are no absolute truths” is this statement absolutely true?

    • The statement there are no absolute truth can not be proven and thus it can not be absolute. It is harder to prove what is not than what is. a theory is not absolute. It must be definitive or measurable. Anyone can deny something but to prove their statement is much, much harder and sometimes impossible.

      The statement there are no absolute truths is an opinion from a very smart person, but that does not make it fact.

  55. The Absolute Truth is the Absolute Zero. Beyond All appearance and disappearance and can be called the NON/ARISING. Mind cannot ever reach it. Here is a quote on Buddha’s terms:..///”There is, monks, a realm where there is neither earth, nor water, nor fire, nor wind… neither this world nor the next, neither sun nor moon. There, monks, I say there is neither coming, nor going, nor remaining; neither deceasing nor being born. Without foundation is it, without continuity, without support: this is the end of suffering” (Udana)./// Also the end of life and death…the end of mind and time, and the end of BEING. THE ABSOLUTE ZERO. (((((0))))

  56. if “there are no absolute truths” then “that’s absolutley wrong.”

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  58. “There are no absolute truths,” said Nietzsche, absolutely.

  59. INdeed is the statement not a contadiction in terms?

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