I take it that logic and math can conceivably produce truths independent of humans (platonic truths), and probably ethics and maybe analyticity can as well. Ethical truths might conceivably be platonic, outside of human authority (I'm pretty sure some philosophers think this), and analyticity provides truths, in virtue of meaning. I want truth, irrespective of humans, which is not part of the above 4 disciplines.

If they exist, what do platonic/a priori truths look like without using math, logic, ethics, and analyticity? Like forget them, can we still come up with a priori truths - even after using empirical study- which aren't true purely from their meanings (analyticity)? I include "even after empirical study" because some platonic mathematical truths took empirical study, like the 4-color theorem.

So for an example, is there a treatment of natural language like "all bachelors are male", which treats it as a truth independent of humans without the above 4 discourses? That is, its truth does not take humans actually instantiating it to be true, and still falls outside of the above 4, and is true.

I don't think there is necessarily analyticity or logic even in the bachelors case, and yet it still might be true regardless of humans existing. Of course we do exist, but it might remain a truth even if we didn't. "All bachelors are male" perhaps can be interpreted as I seek as, "if there are humans who develop language and have the norm of marriage, they will call their unmarried males something which is etymologically similar to a popular term which typically applies to single males."

That phrasing seems to have a inkling of platonic truth, no? I know it is still 99.99% synthetic, and took some empirical study to get going, but with additional massaging can we make it even more a priori? And then, is it an a priori/platonic statement like the 4-color theorem?

Could someone at least help me on what is going on by this unraveling of shorter synthetic statements into longer, more a priori ones?

(I don't think this is a dead-end, idiosyncratic understanding because these "if ___ " statements seem to be how fictionalism in mathematics works, i.e. [mathematical objects might not exist, but if they do, they produce true statements] is true regardless of humans)

  • The question makes no sense as written and then you require not to use logic as if that is a thing alone. You need to reword this so people can understand what you mean. Some truths are independent from humans. Some truths are directly true because of the language for example. Ethics is often confused with Psychology so I do not know what you mean by ethics without qualified descriptions. It sounds like you are confusing AUTHORITIES with FACTS or TRUTH.
    – Logikal
    Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 17:28
  • A priori means without empirical knowledge; do you think tha male and marriage are non-empirical? Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 17:33
  • @Logikal okay I’ll try to rephrase it but I may have to delete it. Maybe I’m too far off. The only platonic “truths” I’m accustomed to seem to be from logical, math, or ethical (what is right/wrong, how to act) -centric topics. In those topics it seems like truth means true regardless of humans. I’m trying to ask if that notion of truth from those disciplines can be brought into scientific or everyday centric discourse. Not as authority but just as true regardless of humans.
    – J Kusin
    Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 17:41
  • @MauroALLEGRANZA We need empirical study to get at many a priori mathematical truths. Male and marriage may play the exact same role as computer-aided math, both help get at platonic truths. Look at how the 4-color theorem was proved and it is now an a priori truth.
    – J Kusin
    Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 17:44
  • 1
    You are confused. The thing you refer to as Platonic truths has a NAME: OBJECTIVEL TRUTHS. We as humans start from there & form a language to describe those objective truths. Objective truths must be absolute: unchanging forever. There is no such thing as an objective truth years ago and now it is not objective anymore. You are confusing objective truths with human authority. In this world we have humans who love to be in charge of others. They speak truths subjectively due to their status. Objective truths do not operate the way authorities do. We speak objectively originally to communicate.
    – Logikal
    Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 20:37

2 Answers 2


Findlay was a top-notch philosopher. See his Gifford Lecture. https://www.giffordlectures.org/lectures/discipline-cave

This is Platonism on a high level. (Some of the late work of John Niemeyer Findlay). https://www.jnfindlay.com/

Also look into Nicolai Hartmann https://nicolaihartmannsociety.org/

I don’t pretend to understand their full work on/using Plato myself. However since you are interested in Plato then you may get something from them.

  • I think both of these philosophers have a SEP article too.
    – Gordon
    Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 18:34
  • 1
    Thanks. I think I need to step up my philosophy game to understand them. Findlay seems to have high respect for non-concrete objects (abstract, ficitonal, etc), so that seems quite connected to my question--if platonic truths invade most of human activity, we should definitely have maximal respect for the non-concrete.
    – J Kusin
    Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 18:55

Platonic truths without math, logic, ethics, or analyticity?

Platonic realism is the philosophical position that universals or abstract objects exist objectively and outside of human minds.

Thus, if we are committed to Platonic realism, we have to believe that any universals or abstract objects we believe exist have to exist objectively and outside human minds and therefore outside our own mind.

This may apply to anything from justice and moral principles to equality, meanness, eagerness, ratiocination etc.

Mathematics is just the tip of this particular iceberg.

This is presumably why people are sometimes prepared to die for their ideas.

  • Thank you. Is there platonic realism for science?
    – J Kusin
    Commented Oct 22, 2022 at 12:51
  • 1
    @JKusin It follows from what I say here. But Platonic realism is a philosophical, indeed a metaphysical, position. So it is up to each of us to decide if it makes any sense. I suspect most scientists are by professional inclination not motivated to believe it has any value at all. Commented Oct 22, 2022 at 16:29

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