I recently had someone make an argument from a mathematics background, to argue a point that had no actual correlation to the material world. When I began I asked them if they accepted objective Truth... clearly this was not enough, as that would include symbols while allowing oneself to argue as if only symbols existed.

what is a better way to determine if I'm speaking to a Modernist? How would I ask a more specific question, that would force the person to blatantly lie about their own starting positions?

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    As for science and math, a basic distinction is that the former is empirical and the latter axiomatic, but it is not very clear what you are asking. – Mr. Kennedy Mar 6 '17 at 6:52
  • This is question is too vague to answer. What exactly was the point this person was arguing? What do you mean by "Modernist" here, and why is it important to you to figure out whether someone is one? Why do you want to force people to lie about their positions? – Dan Hicks Mar 6 '17 at 11:54

How would I ask a more specific question ... ?

Refer to Gödels incompleteness theorem.

The first incompleteness theorem states that no consistent system of axioms whose theorems can be listed by an effective procedure (i.e., an algorithm) is capable of proving all truths about the arithmetic of the natural numbers. For any such formal system, there will always be statements about the natural numbers that are true, but that are unprovable within the system. The second incompleteness theorem, an extension of the first, shows that the system cannot demonstrate its own consistency.

What is Gödels theorem?

What Godel's theorem says is that there are properly posed questions involving only the arithmetic of integers that Oracle cannot answer. In other words, there are statements that--although inputted properly--Oracle cannot evaluate to decide if they are true or false. Such assertions are called undecidable, and are very complicated. And if you were to bring one to Dr. Godel, he would explain to you that such assertions will always exist.

Even if you were given an "improved" model of Oracle, call it OracleT, in which a particular undecidable statement, UD, is decreed true, another undecidable statement would be generated to take its place. More puzzling yet, you might also be given another "improved" model of Oracle, call it OracleF, in which UD would be decreed false. Regardless, this model too would generate other undecidable statements, and might yield results that differed from OracleT's, but were equally valid.

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  • I think you may have lead me to some information that helps me solve this delemma, Tarski's undefinability theorem. – J. M. Becker Mar 22 '17 at 2:43

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