“The choice between competing theories is arbitrary, since there is no such thing as objective truth.” (Karl Popper, The Open Society and its Enemies, Vol. II (London, 1963), p. 369f.)
Originally, in a slack post in response to the “Cognitive Relativism” reading from Prof. Robb’s unit, I wrote the following (edited for clarity’s sake, as there were a few grammatical nightmares in there):I think there is such a thing as objective truth, in the sense that there is theoretically a way to go about opening a can of beans the “best” way, but until it is known to us the “truth” will remain multi-pronged. By “multi-pronged” I mean that if we were to ever make a breakthrough or have one presented to us by helpful aliens, the truths we held up prior to that breakthrough would not suddenly become falsehoods.
These things would be true up until they are not because the absolute truth/Truth presented overshadows them, but that wouldn’t render them untrue in the past. Before my sister was born, I was an only child, but now I am not. That doesn’t mean that back then I wasn’t an only child. I believe that until these absolute truths are discovered – if they ever are – they can hold no sway over present truths.
There’s a lot here that I didn’t express properly– to the point that it comes off as nonsense. I was deep in the rabbit hole when I wrote this, and having had a bit of time to climb out of it and look back with fresh eyes, I feel that I might now be able to express my thoughts on objective truth more clearly.
In this revision process, I’m comfortable holding on to the first of the two paragraphs above, but I’ll scrap everything from the second but the last sentence: “I believe that until these absolute truths are discovered – if they ever are – they can hold no sway over present truths.” This gets pretty close to what I was trying to convey in that second paragraph. Here are my tidied up thoughts:
I believe in absolute truth in the same way I believe that of the infinite number of branching paths before me, there is one that will leave me the happiest. And there is next to no way I’ll stumble across that path. In my original post I was ultimately trying to get at the difference between theoretical versus practical belief. Because though I believe in absolute truth, I also believe in the necessity of practical truths– in accepting that I am beyond unlikely to stumble across that “perfect path” or across absolute truth, so to fixate on them would be to neglect the multitudes of truths that make up the present.