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Apologies if this question has been asked before, I looked at similar ones and couldn't find one that answered this exact question.

Is there such a thing as truth completely independent of conditions, axioms or anything of a similar nature? In mathematics (and epistemology as a whole) we generally need to establish a set of axioms before moving forwards, because our perspective and understanding is limited. However, when it comes to reality, I've always believed that the nature of one thing or another is implicit, regardless of our capacity to understand it. We may not understand it or be able to explain it well given the limitations of language and thought but truth simply is. If I am missing something please let me know.

Simply put, is there anything about the nature of our universe, existence, etcetera which is only true in respect to certain rules that are accepted? I feel like I'm making a simple thing more complicated than it needs to be. Thank you.

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  • Added tags 'reality' and 'objectivity'.
    – J D
    Feb 9, 2022 at 23:12
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    Pragmatic theories of truth are broadly constructivist in their approach to truth. From the article: "Instead of truth being ready-made for us, James asserts we and reality jointly "make" truth. This idea has two senses: (1) truth is mutable, (often attributed to William James and F.C.S. Schiller); and (2) truth is relative to a conceptual scheme (more widely accepted in Pragmatism)." Those of us who accept constructivism see objectivity as a malleable consensus.
    – J D
    Feb 9, 2022 at 23:19
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    No, such truth would need of a transcendental rule which could validate it, the equivalent of a divine statement; we can't access such domain (see: noumenon). So, what is common truth sustained upon? Reason is based on tautologies (see: Kant). I want to survive because I want to exist and vice-versa. 1=1 because it fits my experience, which is possible because 1=1. Any deep fact can be explained by other reasons, in a circular form.
    – RodolfoAP
    Feb 10, 2022 at 18:31
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    There is a difference between truth and reality. Truth can only be assigned to statements, and those, obviously, depend on the concepts in them, otherwise they are meaningless. The concepts, in their turn, depend on the type of intellect that conceives them, its resources, etc. So truth is not "simply", only reality simply is. And reality is not pre-packaged into any kind of concepts to make sense of "completely independent" truth.
    – Conifold
    Feb 10, 2022 at 19:51
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    Your "complete objective truth" spec sounds like Kant's Thing-in-itself, and by Kant's Critique, our minds may attempt to correlate in useful ways, perhaps even closely accurate ways, with the structure and order of the various aspects of the universe, but cannot know these "things-in-themselves" (noumena) directly. As a concession if you'd like to formulate your desired truth in such correlated inference, then it must be language dependent and it's nontrivial to find such a formula in any expressively adequate languages or metalang per logic... Feb 10, 2022 at 21:00

13 Answers 13

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Truth is the correspondence to reality, self evident, universal, global, timeless and absolute.

Let's just assume the following (false) statement for a moment:

There is no objective truth

The verb is implies an assertion about the objective order of things, the conformity to reality. This would be a contradiction in itself, since the existence of objective truth cannot be evaluated without objectiveness.

Objective truth must therefore not only exist, but is a prerequisite for objective assertions to be made at all.

Physics reveals objective truth. Mathematics reveals objective truth. Without objective truth, science couldn't exist at all.

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    Thank you. I feel like what you're essentially saying is the pursuit of truth or even attempt to express truth implies the existence of it. Correct me if I'm wrong. Feb 9, 2022 at 23:05
  • That's the correspondent theory of truth. :D There are others. See here. Objectivity might be seen as consensual intersubjectivity.
    – J D
    Feb 9, 2022 at 23:14
  • Can you expand on "The verb is implies an assertion about the objective order of things, the conformity to reality." It would be of interest to me to consider a formal argument.
    – Galen
    Feb 9, 2022 at 23:25
  • Newtonian Mechanics is not truth, just a good approximation. General Relativity is a better approximation, but not really truth, it doesn't include gravitation...
    – Just me
    Feb 19, 2022 at 10:48
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I doubt that you will find a satisfactory answer for this question.

The topic of "Truth" is very complicated, and there are many different approaches on how to handle it. There is no objective, common, understanding of what "Truth" is, at all. It is very hard to answer questions like this on concepts that are for all intents or purposes more or less undefined, or defined in several different ways by different people.

To get some insight into what people have thought on that, just take an eagle's eyes view on the table-of-contents of the corresponding Wikipedia page on Truth. One book that stands out is "Kirkham, R: Theories of Truth: A Critical Introduction (Bradford Books)", which talks about Truth within more than 400 pages.

The same goes for concepts like "reality", "existence", "universe", "matter", "time" and so on... all of those are squishy and up to discussion/definition.

For a real chance at answering your question, you'd have to specify the context in which you are asking - or in other words, provide axioms. Which leads us back in a circle to your question of whether it is to provide Truth directly, without having anything else to work with.

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Completely objective or absolute truth is like infinity, a name for a notion, rather than an actual physical reality. An assumption at best, but workable as such. In practice you can assume your own existence to be absolute truth, simply because as subjective as it may seem, that is as absolute as it will ever get to you.

In science, objective truth is generated by simply ignoring all objectives except the ones covered by the assumption. This allows for abstraction of problems and solutions that may or may not work in real life.

In my opinion, one of the most underestimated and undervalued experiences in life is finding out how wrong you are. The stuff I am writing right now, could be the most ignorant nonsense ever written, but there is only one way to find out if it is. Absolute truth serves as an instrument to get there.

So,... is there such a thing as completely objective truth?

It may seem scary sometimes, but there is if you say there is, because you say there is. On a cosmic scale, there is no up or down until someone calls it.

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    So that's the thing, since this is my perspective and there's no way to really prove it to be true or untrue, I'm trying to see if there's anyone who can say otherwise. If not, I will have to accept it as "as close to the truth as possible," in the style of the scientific method. Feb 10, 2022 at 4:54
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    @EthanDandelion My point exactly. That plus the fact that one should take pride in getting minus votes on this site. The better answers are seldom the ones at the top. You know, the ones with all the votes must be those supported by objective truth. :)
    – user57804
    Feb 10, 2022 at 16:14
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What you are asking about is an important part of epistemology, which is concerned with knowledge in general. Here you will find different philosophers defining the meaning of 'truth' in various ways. Those that believe that there is such a thing as (objective) 'truth' will often argue that truth is about a correspondence between between a thought/knowledge and a world that's independent of the mind, which is known as the correspondence theory of truth. In light of this the question then becomes about what and how we can know the outside world.

More specifically the doubt whether one can know anything would fall under Philosophical skepticism which has taken various shapes throughout history.

This should hopefully give you the terms to be able to research these questions.


Personally the way I 'answered' this question for myself is that all relative knowledge - no matter what the large majority of knowledge - is one way or another based on other knowledge. At the 'start' of this web (wherever it may be) of relative knowledge there is either objective knowledge or relative knowledge. IF it is relative, then all my knowledge is meaningless including my reasoning about the meaningfulness of knowledge. Thus the only meaningful possibility is that the 'start' of this tree requires objective knowledge.

Where such objective knowledge could enter our web of knowledge becomes a more complex question, and before one can even consider that one would have to consider which knowledge claims could even be objective (regardless of whether they are). Many philosophers have argued that human perception would (have to) be objective in this way, but I never was able to justify their reasoning (also worth reading about realism and idealism in general). More broadly religions have a decent conceptual basis for the claim that the things they describe are events where objective knowledge entered our web. And then there is stuff like Plato's ideals and all that, but that all gets far too 'vague' for me.

And all that still leaves me with the belief that all knowledge I have is relative, and that the best thing I can do is to get 'closer' to objective knowledge. The question becomes more 'how to judge the quality of a truth claim' and not 'is this true?'.

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I think objective absolutely exists. Whether we understand things or not, they will go on existing, they will be governed by laws of the universe. One might say, well how do you know the laws of universe won't change over time?Well, if they do, then there will be a reason and truth for it that maybe we don't understand, but like Molder from X-Files says, "The truth is out there"

And ya, 1+2=2, the distance from me and my refrigerator is less distance then from me and the moon. There is more mass in 100lb then 50lb...there are so many absolute truths it actually astonishes me that people want to argue this for the sake of arguing... quoting them saying " ya but what about physics, do we know everything about physics? " No we don't need to understand everything to know that truth exists.

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  • As it’s currently written, your answer is unclear. Please edit to add additional details that will help others understand how this addresses the question asked. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Meanach
    Nov 17, 2023 at 8:57
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Our concept of truth is based on our assumptions about our reality -- we assume that this reality actually exits (and is not a figment of our imagination) and that it has certain properties. Those assumptions, I believe, are the axioms that you have mentioned. They cannot be proven once and for all, but their validity can be tested. Or, rather, we can make certain predictions based on those axioms, and those predictions can be tested (and that's what science is about).

And, I agree again, usually we make those assumptions intuitively and, therefore, implicitly. Here, however, is my attempt to spell them out:

  1. We all share and belong to one and only objective reality. "Objective" means that the existence of the reality itself and of everything that happens in it is independent of our awareness of those things, and of our own existence.
  2. In this reality, nothing happens at random but every thing can be traced to its cause in the past. In other words, this reality is deterministic.
  3. We, humans, can identify the patterns, in the ways the causes create their effects, and imagine the processes driving those patterns. By doing so, we achieve an understanding of how this world works, and use this understanding to accomplish the things we want, shaping this reality to our liking. It is this understanding that we call truth (or knowledge of the truth).1

Aside from our capacity to understand (and to know the truth), we also have a separate mental faculty that let us make statistical (or intuitive) inferences about our circumstances. This comes handy whenever our understanding is lacking (which is often because we are not born "preinstalled" with any of it).

1 This understanding (and its truth) is individual -- it gets created by and belongs to the person who put it together. However, since we all aim to understand the same objective reality, our understandings of it, and our truths, should also be the same -- and often they are.

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One way around your conundrum is to consider true to be a label invented by humans that is applied conventionally in certain circumstances. For example, in mathematics the label true is applied to statements that follow from the axioms. The label true is also conventionally applied to statements about reality which appear to us as being in accord with reality. In England, it tends to be warmer in summer than in winter, is a statement that would be considered true in that sense. Whether you would consider that statement to be completely objective depends on how you use those words. I suspect most people would accept the statement as being completely objective, while others might point out that England, winter and summer are products of the human mind. Others might say that idea of an average temperature is a human concept- that in 'reality' the temperature is what it is at an instant. Others might say that temperature itself is a human construct, a label we have invented to refer to the amount of kinetic energy possessed by atoms and molecules in a region of space. Others might say that the idea of atoms and molecules is a human one, etc etc. Necessarily, any understanding we have of reality is through the lens of the human mind, and in that sense there is inevitably some degree of subjectivity. Whether you consider that degree of subjectivity to be important or merely a quibble is up to you.

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Objectivity arises , changes and vanishes. For example - consider the objective truth , food or fuel is always required for life or a machine to function properly. The truth is objective as it is true for all biological or non-biological systems. There is no dispute. However the nature of fuel or food can change.It can change from gasoline to diesel to petrol to electricity for mechanical systems. It can change from grass to vegetables and plants to flesh etc for life systems. The requirements for food or fuel can even vanish if we believe the religions.

Another objective truth is : matter attracts matter. Whether we are talking about earthly matters or liquid matter or gaseous matter or photons or atoms or dark matter , matter always attracts matter. There are theories which tend to modify the objectivity but the fact remains that matter attracts matter. We have yet to see how this truth vanishes in certain cases.

Another objective truth is : Functional knowledge always increases with time as time moves forward. This is true regardless of who is speaking. However even this truth arises , changes(as there is a change in field of interest) and vanishes. It vanishes if we go backward in time in future. It is speculative for most of us but there is nothing in physics which stops it from happening.

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Heidegger's phenomenology is knocked sideways by Derrida's deconstruction, putting paid to a certain truth. In Heidegger's phenomenology beings come from Being and truth is the truth of Being. The beings (living or inanimate) have their characteristics, but as their foundation Being is altogether different—i.e. not a being—otherwise the foundation would contain what it founds. Being is the nouminal clearing—the surroundings from which beings discern their objects, correctly or mistakenly. E.g. Letter on Humanism

metaphysics recognizes the clearing of Being either solely as the view of what is present in "outward appearance" (idea) or critically as what is seen as a result of categorial representation on the part of subjectivity. This means that the truth of Being as the clearing itself remains concealed for metaphysics. However, this concealment is not a defect of metaphysics but a treasure withheld from it yet held before it, the treasure of its own proper wealth.

So the truth of the nouminal 'out-there' is concealed. This is fairly standard. On to Derrida's deconstruction: Reciprocal destroyers

Derrida depicts Nietzsche, Freud, and Heidegger, three of his greatest influences, as ultimately trapped within a destructive spiral of denunciation. ...

They are all more or less naïve, more or less empirical, more or less systematic, more or less close to the formulation or even to the formalization of [their] circle. It is these differences which explain the multiplicity of destructive discourses and the disagreement between those who make them. It was within concepts inherited from metaphysics that Nietzsche, Freud, and Heidegger worked, for example. Since these concepts are not elements or atoms and since they are taken from a syntax and a system, every particular borrowing drags along with it the whole of metaphysics. This is what allows these destroyers to destroy each other reciprocally—for example, Heidegger, considering Nietzsche, with as much lucidity and rigor as bad faith and misconstruction, as the last metaphysician, the last "Platonist." One could do the same for Heidegger himself, for Freud, or for a number of others.

No one's system has the monopoly. Even the truth of the noumenon is shakable.

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Yes there absolutely is emphasized text an objective truth, which is observable and verifiable. Truth like that is scary, people don't want to hear objective truth. Objective truth is the way things are, people wanna deny it.

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    – D J Sims
    Jan 16 at 23:35
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Is there such a thing as truth completely independent of conditions, axioms or anything of a similar nature?

No, I don’t think so. In mathematics, the concepts, symbols, and so forth must together make sense. So it is true in physics, chemistry, and other hard sciences.

But the key concept is "to make sense." To do so, the data and the reasoning process must follow the laws of logic. Such laws supply the conditions and axioms that truth is dependent upon.

Good question.

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Is there such a thing as completely objective truth?

Yes, there definitely is! At least:

"You asked that question on this site". (At some "period in time"...)

("As long (English) "language" "has meaning"...)

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  • So a "more absolute"/time robust truth: There was/is/will be "doubt"! ;)
    – xerx593
    Nov 17, 2023 at 7:05
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    As it’s currently written, your answer is unclear. Please edit to add additional details that will help others understand how this addresses the question asked. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Meanach
    Nov 17, 2023 at 9:00
  • How does OP know he's not a brain-in-a-jar, being fed false memories of this moment and images of this post? Something to consider. Nov 29, 2023 at 10:39
  • Then...they also must have jared & fed you&me ...(and all witnesses) (so we can never know about the jars and the feeding, but when we (1-all) have been fed with the same "truth", it is getting "completely objective"...and these "brains in jars guys" (there is no "reality"..) they can also "touch children", @ConnieMnemonic !?
    – xerx593
    Nov 29, 2023 at 14:08
  • The problem you have @xerx598 is that, from OPs perspective, you can't prove that you exist. You know that you're real, but OP doesn't. You and I could just be an illusion in the jar to make the whole thing more convincing. Nov 29, 2023 at 14:57
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Ultimately, no. Truth depends on power, like the postmodernist said; however, that power is called GOD and, practically, we don't get to decide what the Truth is at our own convenience.

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