Absolute Truth - Is there existence?



I restate the question in a simpler and more specific way; is there a proof or has a philosopher proved, that things can be absolute and observed by each in the same way? Are there like conserved quantites? E.g: Ethics? Thinking?

If not our existence and our mind would be only an assumption. So the phrase "cogito ergo sum" would be wrong, because thinking is an assumption.


Posted 2015-08-04T21:58:29.983

Reputation: 167

1Woah there. First off welcome to philosophy.se. You might want to take a look at our help center to better understand what we're trying to do here. On a simple level, we're trying to answer question about philosophy rather than do philosophy. There have been several similar question in the past to what you're asking, but more importantly you're asking a lot of questions at once and not giving us much in terms of parameters to narrow how we should answer... – virmaior – 2015-08-04T22:10:07.223

Well the question as edited now is actually harder to answer.If you want to leave it that way fine, but if you roll it back I can answer your original line of thought once it is placed off of hold.

Also why do you keep tagging Plato? – hellyale – 2015-08-05T05:15:44.013

I am sorry, but I really needed to rewrite my question. Nonetheless I would appreciate your answer also when it's about the previous question. – Sider – 2015-08-05T05:24:21.730

@Sider for clarification, is this question about Descartes and his philosophy (based on your use of the cogito argument)? That might be answerable but you may also want to browse the question we already have on the cogito. Several seem similar. / If the question is more broadly, " is there a proof or has a philosopher proved, that things can be absolute and observed by each in the same way?", then an ambiguity is whether you want to know if (a) anyone has offered such a proof or (b) if any proof is accepted by all. – virmaior – 2015-08-05T05:33:10.033

(And then does the e.g., afterwards mean "is there any such proof in any domain?" -- where again the ambiguity is whether such a proof is accepted by all or not) – virmaior – 2015-08-05T05:34:14.880

I have put in the cogito statement because it's the most fundamental thing I know, which is assumed to be true. But the question is really if there is a proof. It just needs to be true and not accepted by all. – Sider – 2015-08-05T05:42:42.603

Two thoughts then. First, an ideal answer would then point out one reference to an argument for something "absolute" (still trying to grasp precisely what you're hoping for better -- it sounds like you're interested in "foundationalism")? Second, "true and not accepted by all" puts us in a bit of a bind, because the judgment whether the proof is "true" would be up to you as the op (which would be problematic because then the question would be opinion-based)? – virmaior – 2015-08-05T06:03:56.580

This still seems way to broad. There are various book-length arguments on both sides of this. – James Kingsbery – 2015-08-05T18:12:53.097

@James Kingsbery: My question was if there was a proof or if someone has proved it. So more about the ideas. – Sider – 2015-08-05T18:27:08.587

Right, as asked this is broad and opinion-based. I certainly think the answer is affirmative, but there are smart people who disagree with me. – James Kingsbery – 2015-08-05T18:30:22.093

@virmaior thanks for your response. I think you have answered my question. I liked to know if there is something which isn't opinion depending. Or better a proof that there are things which doesn't depends on the eyes you are using looking at it. But without knowing everything we can't even judge about the question if we use our opinion because its our opinion itself which judges about itself. So for proving something you always need to assume things. – Sider – 2015-08-05T18:49:15.047

@Sider This book might be of interest to you : http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/5827

The first two chapters in particular lay out the problem you described and an analysis of it. You might be able to edit your question after reading to a more specific one.

– hellyale – 2015-08-05T19:52:59.680

It looks like there's a decent number of people who think this can work... I still think it's too broad and just going to attract answers where people push arguments that work for them but are not universally accepted. I'll withdraw my hold, and see what happens. – virmaior – 2015-08-09T04:44:52.680



Has any philosopher proved the existence of an absolute? I'm tempted to say, sure, all of them have. The problem is their absolutes are all dissolute.

Your question is really very broad. You are right that cogito ergo sum is regarded by most these days to contain unwarranted assumptions. The attempt to ground knowledge and reason in some sort of unimpeachable "absolute," whether Aristotelean substance, Thomistic God, or Kantian transcendental subject is regarded these days with grave suspicion. At the very least, we might say it is not exactly the height of fashion.

Perhaps the most fraught and fruitful period of this struggle arose with German idealism, Fichte's "I AM I" and Hegel's "Geist." Today we might say that the "Speed of Light" is a kind of absolute to all possible subjects and measuring instruments in all frames of reference, but I'm not sure anyone knows what that really means.

If you want books on the subject, I'd hardly know where to begin. For a popular overview you might try Jim Holt's "Why Does the World Exist?" It will supply you with many names and viewpoints from philosophy and physics on the question of "ultimate existence," which is at least related to your, again, very broad inquiry.

Nelson Alexander

Posted 2015-08-04T21:58:29.983

Reputation: 11 748

I like your sight of the relative truth like this is the case in science with its world models. The speed of light is indeed a known fundamental constant but it's still measured in human units but thinking of it as an always measurable constant makes some kind of absolute (also if it's not clear if its truly constant trough every frequency). – Sider – 2015-09-03T19:38:24.557


You always need a ground or starting point, especially when discuss such a fundamental and broad issue. Descartes chose his thinking mind instead of things around him because the latter would finally depend on the first via our senses or the kind. What is yours? Assuming that nothing exists? What is the "nothing" then? You'll soon find yourself in a much worse mess.

Like others have said, huge loads have been produced for any starting ground you may pick up, just go choose one.


Posted 2015-08-04T21:58:29.983

Reputation: 85