Lesson 02.02

Logical Absolutes

 

   

     Logical absolutes are the building blocks of discussion and analysis.  When seeking to establish truth, all of our thinking must include the position that there are absolute truths. We cannot have a rational discussion if there are no logical absolutes because then our thinking would be self-contradictory. As stated in the previous lesson (Three Laws of Logic), if I were to contradict myself in a conversation, you would be right in pointing out that I had made a mistake. Your observation would be accurate because of the law of non-contradiction. (It is a law, not a recommendation) This is important for us to understand because rationality, discovering truth, establishing truth, exposing error, etc., cannot be done if we are illogical.
     Critical thinking, debate, exposing faulty thinking, etc., presupposes the existence of logical absolutes.  This does not mean that all people who try and be logical are aware that they are necessarily presupposing the existence of logical absolutes.  But rational discussion is based upon these absolutes -- whether or not a person acknowledges it. 
     Without a standard of rationality, we cannot expose what is irrational. Whether or not someone recognizes this presupposition is irrelevant to the fact that the foundation of rationality is built upon absolute truth and logical absolutes. We cannot have a rational discussion if truth is relative. I remember having a conversation with someone who told me that truth was relative to the individual and that there were no such things is logical absolutes. I then responded with the sentence "Blue sleeps faster than Wednesday." I waited for his response. After a bit he finally asked me what I was saying? I responded with something like, "I fly in grass colored fishing barks." Of course, he made the comment that I was making absolutely no sense, whereupon I responded that he was correct. If everything is relative, I told him, then our conversation would have no meaning. I told him that in order to have rational dialogue we have to have a common truth, common absoluteness.  If we don't have this we can have no dialogue.  Therefore, in order to have a rational discussion, we must assume that there are principles of logic on which we base discussions, point, counterpoint, etc.. I mentioned logical absolutes several times to which he replied, "What are logical absolutes?"

Logical Absolutes

     Logical absolutes are logical truths that are absolute. In other words, they are always true, everywhere, all the time. An example would be, "Something cannot bring itself into existence." We know this is true because if something does not exist, it cannot have any attributes and would not be able to perform any action. Bringing something into existence is in action. But if something does not exist, it does not have any attribute by which it might perform an action. If it can't perform an action, nothing can be accomplished and it could not bring itself in the existence. We can then see that the statement "something cannot bring itself into existence" is an absolute truth.
     Another example of a logical absolute is the statement, "Something cannot be itself and not itself at the same time in the same sense." This should remind you of the law of non-contradiction. Normally, when I bring this up to people who deny that there is such a thing as absolute truth, I then remind them that if they were to point out that I was being self-contradictory later, that they would have no right of asserting such an absolute truth if the law of non-contradiction was not valid. I tell them that they presuppose the validity of logical absolutes in order to have a rational discussion and to deny logical absolutes is, ultimately, irrational.  Therefore, if they say there is no absolute truth, then they undermine the very foundation of that person's own argument.  Besides, to say that there is no absolute truth is an absolute statement of truth.  The statement would be self-contradictory, therefore to say that there is no absolute truth cannot be a true statement.
     Do you see how important this is? What I often do with people, usually relativists and atheists, is to undermine their system of thinking. A relativist, for example, says that all points of view are equally valid. But how is that possible if one point of view contradicts another point of view?  Both points of view cannot be correct if they are mutually exclusive. This would violate the law of non-contradiction. An atheist, on the other hand, cannot account for the laws of logic because if there is no absolute mind (God) we cannot have absolute logic. (More on this in the next lesson). By undermining the presuppositions of an atheist (and a relativist), it is far easier to unravel his arguments.
     Please understand that rational thought presupposes absolute truth.  We cannot have a basis for rational discussion without absolute truths -- and these absolute truths include logical absolutes.  If there were no such things as logical absolutes, then everything would be relative and no real truth could be established.

 

------------------------ Focus Points ------------------------

  1. In order to have rational dialogue, we must assume that there are absolute truths.
  2. We cannot have rational dialogue without presupposing logical absolutes.
  3. If there were no such things as logical absolutes, then everything would be relative and no truth could be established.

 


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