Friday, July 06, 2007

The battle rages on over here: 51% Protestant. This is an interesting read, watching this dispensationalist evangelical struggle with truth. Is truth so ambiguous it can't be defined? Here is a statement that I found troubling:

"Again, I continue to be misunderstood about a fundamental point (something I’ve underscored over and over again): Just as an evangelical is not defined by majority opinion about what evangelicals believe, a Catholic is not defined by official pronouncements about what Catholics believe."

In other words, if these positions can't be defined, no one is responsible for what "group x" teaches. Roman Catholics cannot be held responsible for what their church officially teaches, because everyone interprets it differently. Evangelicals cannot be held responsible for what any evangelical teaches, because there is not an agreed upon consensus of evangelical teaching.

Funny though, Jesus held people responsible for what the Scriptures taught.


pilgrim said...

This is what happens when the concept of truth becomes meaningless. Of course actual truth is still out there even if we ignore it.

GeneMBridges said...

Why is it an illicit move to hold the Roman Catholic to his own rule of faith?

Apolonio said...

"Is truth so ambiguous it can't be defined?"

I think you mean "vague" right? How do you define truth? Do you do it in a Tarskian way? As for the definition of truth, if you have any solutions to the liar paradox, please tell me. Just philosophically messing with you :-)

L P Cruz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
L P Cruz said...


I meant to say.

Why should one's definition of truth has to solve the liar paradox?

The nature of human language is that it is so strong it can have self referential statements, you can never escape that. Yet there are statements that can be decided. I can decide if you are a human being or not, I can decide if the sky is blue or not. These are none self referential.

If you are appealing to the fact that there are true statements in first order logic that have no proof to bolster RC dogma, well that is the point. You can not know if it is true if you have no proof. You beg the question. You have to prove nevertheless, your dogma is one of those true statements that can not be proven. Then what is the proof of that, it satisfies that.

In intuitionistic logic, that won't work.

Apolonio said...


it was more of a joke than a serious comment. it took scott soames a whole book to explain what truth is and the same with marian david. hey, if you have a good definition of truth which counters the liar paradox then my hat to you.

anyway, in seriousness to your statements, you said, "You can not know if it is true if you have no proof." I'm pretty sure many good philosophers would disagree with that, especially Plantinga. I have no proof that 1+1=2, but I know it. I cannot prove that the sun will "rise" again tomorrow, but I know it will. I know induction but I have no proof. I cannot prove that my sense-perception is reliable but I know it is. You seem to fail to distinguish between what Ernie Sosa calls animal knowledge and reflective knowledge. He has a new book coming out on virtue epistemology. Maybe you should take a look at it.

L P Cruz said...


Thanks, I can take a joke, I jest at times too.

I have no counter for liar's paradox since a language that allows self reference will always wind up with sentences that undecidable. However, some sentences are decidable though not all.

The thing is that one may have no proof that 1+1=2 but mathematicians do. Check Number Theory, you will see we do have a proof that 1+1=2, or even 7 - 5 = 2.

When you look at that 1+1=2, you see a scribble on paper. It is us who gives meaning to what that scratch in paper happens to be, but we have to be consistent.

In maths (or at least philosophy of maths), you can see that they do have a rigorous definition of truth. More particularly check Constructive Mathematics, there no statement is accepted true if there is no proof of it.


Apolonio said...


but a person can know 1+1=2 without access to that proof (if there is one, I'm letting this go for the sake of the argument). or take induction, logical laws, etc. i can think of many things where you don't have a proof for X but you can know X. i suggest the reformed epistemologists on this issue.

again, i was commenting on (non-seriously) james' question, is truth so [vague] that it cannot be defined? and since you admitted that you have no counter for the liar paradox, then we wonder if can *define* truth, that is, using language which allows for self-referential statements.

L P Cruz said...


I do understand and we are not to take your jab so seriously, I was just chiming in.

I do hope you do not actually believe and require that the definition of truth has to avoid liar paradox

What I am saying is that you are arguing as a philosopher but there is another world where such notion can have rigorous definition of truth.

If you take the propositional language, it is not powerful enough but there you do not have liar paradox coming in, yet it has a definition of truth. Think of tautologies in PL.

There are logics (I am working on one) that are extremely useful that do not have liar paradox since it won't let you, they are modal.



Apolonio said...


alright, we'll end it there. i dont know what you meant by modal logic not having the liar paradox though. i will recommend scott soames' book on truth