Contradictions

How can you counteract someone after you say, for example:
“Everything is subjective” Response: “But that statement is objective”
“Nothing is absolute” Response: “But that statement is”
“Never say should” Response: “So I shouldn’t say should?”

Very simple. Is it possible to say these things without contradiction? Is there a solution? It may be simple and tried but I’m unfamiliar with it if so. I find them to be truths but the counter arguments stand, or is it all just a shortcoming of language? I remember something from a while ago, about a list that included everything. If it included everything, it would have to include itself and if it did, then there would be a contradiction…or something of the sort. Can anyone help this fool?

Contradiction is only potentially present when a claim is being made. Sentences purporting to make claims about “everything” are rarely (read: “never”) really claims at all.

What, for instance, does “Everything is subjective” actually mean?

It usually means “we cannot know anything with metaphysical certitude” or something like that. “We” is the true subject of any version of that sentence that truly makes a claim.

“Nothing is absolute” is a bit idiomatic - “Nothing” is the grammatical subject, but we are really saying something about “everything” again - and so about ourselves. Logically, nothing can be predicated of “nothing”.

Nothing can be predicated of nothing.

Drop some acid - you will discover about 27 ways that sentence can be read. You may remember three of them.

In general, ask if the subject can truly take a predicate, as stated.

Yes, there is a logical proof waiting for you if you want to know how something can both exist and not exist at the same time.

I wish you my best if you desire to find it.

These statements seem familliar… :smiley:

Statement the first: “Everything is subjective”. Your objection is that the assertion blataintly made by the statement contradicts itself by being objective.

Spoken from a subjective point of view (Everything we know), the statement “everything is subjective” is a subjective truth.

It is actually this statement “we don’t know or cannot prove that anything is objectivly true” with an arguable “yet” at the end.

Statement number 2: “Nothing is absolute”

Again with the ojection that if nothing is absolute than how can the assertion be absolute. it’s not. Taken out of context this statement was meant to say this : " We do not know or cannot prove any absolutes".

And you thricely objected to this statement “Never say should”…

This was taken extremely out of context… I remember saying this and it was largely a joke…

Someone said something like “Why should the world continue”

I told him to never say should because the obvious question “why should it end” puts an end to what was in fact a rant…

I take pride in my non-contracidtional self… Please be more careful of what you object over… The two first statements were meant to be read with some contextual imagination… the latter was meant to be humorous and helpful and all of them were meant to be pragmatic advice…

Nice try though :wink:

All discussions start with an agreement on the definition of the statements being made. I wish we could skip that and know what we’re trying to find an answer to. I’ll try to articulate a better definition for the above:

  1. Everything is subjective: Anything that we sense, and don’t, is prone to doubt. There is no objective reality if comprehension is a subjective experience. Example from your logic thread:
    p v q
    ~p
    Then q
    If I can’t comprehend logic, I have no reason to think the above is valid. My ability to comprehend the above statement (which is considered objective) rests on my PERSONAL (subjective) ability to do so.
    I assume something like mass is objective. Measuring that mass is based on an objective and static benchmark. BUT, if my perception is flawed, so that I feel 1 gram as 1000g and 1000g as itself, then a distinct benchmark no longer exists for me. Is there still an objective reality for me?

  2. Nothing is absolute: I don’t mean nothing as in nothingness, but that’s just a semantic issue. Nothing is absolute as in Everything is not absolute. I don’t like any of the nothingness arguments, and I didn’t mean to get into them.

Again, I’m not trying to argue definitions and I’m not looking for acid. The definition should be clear enough based on the answer that I’m looking for.
If the above definitions are clear enough, is it possible to use them without contradiction?

Wonderer, what you’ve said in short is “We can never know anything for sure”. It seems to me that you know that to be true for sure (we must know that we can never know). If you say no and you don’t know if that statement is true either, then we know nothing. But in order to reach that conclusion, we must first “know” that we know nothing. Another contradiction.

is it possible to live in an objective reality while being totally subjective?

When i make such a claim as “nothing is absolute” it is A meant to be taken pragmatically and also with a grain of salt…

here is the pragmatic deconstruction of why i make such a statement…

For all practical reasons, there is uncertainty in everything… From measurements to existence everything we know and experience is doubtable…

Here’s why the statement then becomes pragmatic…

Because i have never enountered an absolute in my life, nor do i expect to, i use the pragmatists fallacy of no contradictory evidence to conclude that i will never encounter an absolute, thus, everything is not absolute.

When socrates said “all i know is that i know nothing”, he countered your funny objections by saying “all i know”

I could easily do so similarily and not have given you this explanation of where the statements came from…

They were largely taken out of context and also mistakenly takes literally…

“All skies are blue”

“I will be dead in 1000 years”

“if you see tidle wave, run”

These statements all have blatant flaws, yet they all remain stead fast and true; useful.

Rouzbeh - nothing is clear in what you have said.

“Everything is subjective” is a statement. What, then, is “everything”? All that exists? Then the assumption in your statement is that something exists. What would that something be?

Our experience is “subjective”, if you will. Which we would expect - it’s ours, in the sense that it is the experience of each and every one of us.

It’s nonsense to say, and mean literally “Everything is subjective”. I think you mean that we each have our own experience of reality. But then that reality is something. That we cannot know for certian that each of us is experiencing the same thing, or even that we cannot know for sure that there is something outside us, or that we even exist in the way that we think we do, doesn’t remove the assumptions in "Everything is…anything - which can be read as "Everything has quality x (any quality).

You mean that there is no “objective” standard bywhich to make judgements about our individual experiences. Or you mean nothing at all.

Our individual judgements about reality are “subjective” - by definition.

I don’t strictly ever use the word “subjective” the way you do - I am making an exception to try to explain that you are merely misunderstanding the language that you are using.

Again, “we can’t know anything for sure” is not necessarily an objective or absolute statement. It is merely a best guess. There is no contradiction.

“I know that I don’t know anything” can mean “What I call ‘knowledge’ is actually justified belief that I hope is true”.

We use the word “know” in many ways - don’t confuse different and commonly accepted senses of that word.

I’m gonna try this a different way.

We use two different senses of “knowledge” - and many more, but I want to contrast just two.

One is “verifiable belief” - you state that there is a fire hydrant on the corner. I ask you how you know, and you reply that you’ve just seen it. I verify this by looking at the corner.

The other sense is one that only philosophers use - “metaphysical certitude”. This kind of knowledge confirms our senses.

In other words, we rely on our sense for knowledge, in the first usage. Since philosophical types often think that our senses are not reliable, they seek a higher form of knowledge - that ol’ metaphysical certitude - certitude beyond that which our (physical) senses can bring us.

The subjective-objective dichotomy cannot rightly be used in regard to “things”, as in “everything”. It is used in regard to our statements, or the judgements that inform our statements. It’s a troublesome dichotomy to begin with - one which i do not subscribe to. But to say that everything is subjective is nonsensical. I’ll accept for the moment that statements, beliefs, judgements - those can be “subjective” - I don’t want to argue against that yet (but I will if you make me). But I want to know about phenomenal “things” - things about which we can make statements.

Give me, please, an example of the kind of thing that is included in “everything” - give me one thing that belongs to the set “everything”. Not a statement about that thing, but the thing.

An argument for the objectivity of beliefs, I’ve never seen a successful argument of the sort so I’d be very interested if you would make that argument.

I will go along with the idea that things cannot be subjective/objective but I would like to know how the a green fairy is not a subjective “thing”, but the statement of seeing it is. If only I can see it, and it is not subject to the laws of the objective world, of an nonintoxicated reality, then it must be a subjective “thing”, no?

As for something that can be spared the statement and is part of everything: pens.

I’m the last guy that would make that argument.

Pens are subjective?

Listen Rouzbeh - replace “subjective-objective” with “individual-collective”. That keeps the paradigm “human”. And still gives you a differecne between what is merely a personal opinion and what is a shared one.

Naming something that you don’t believe exists, like a fairy, is not a sincere effort.

“I’ll accept for the moment that statements, beliefs, judgements - those can be “subjective” - I don’t want to argue against that yet (but I will if you make me)” I just wanted to see what kind of arguments could be used. I don’t want to make you, I’m just asking that you would. The reason I argue for things I don’t believe in is simply so I become more familiar with arguments and their counters.

“It’s nonsense to say, and mean literally “Everything is subjective”. I think you mean that we each have our own experience of reality. But then that reality is something. That we cannot know for certian that each of us is experiencing the same thing,” Understood. What I meant was “Our perception of things could very well be lies and that something could be anything else”. Point taken.

Back to the above post, I simply gave pens as a subset of everything. I wasn’t making an argument for/against their subjectivity, just answering the previous question. I’m lost here Faust, I am not a philosopher, nor have I read much formal philosophy, the reason I’m here and the reason I dislike most of the threads here is that they’re so empty of actual and useful content. I can’t learn anything from actual people. I like to read your thoughts, and see how they contrast with mine, and resolve the conflicts. If a fairy is not a good enough imaginary thing, a Jules Verne submarine in his time. An imaginary thing, but one that will materialize. Is that the type of imaginary you’re aiming for?

I thik I have not been clear, Rouzbeh. I wasn’t looking for an example that I would accept - only one that you could defend.

Maybe I should start over.

I think that often the problem you are pondering is really one of imprecise language. My view is that it is imprecise language that allows, that is necessary for, metaphysical arguments. Without such things as paired opposites, false dichotomies and confounded senses of words, rationalist and other metaphysical arguments are impossible.

Take now your example of the subjective-objective dichotomy. In any way that really makes sense, it is the individual-collective dichotomy mistated.

My experience, whether of a pen or of anything else is not the pen itself. It is my own experience, which we can call “subjective”. Which is to say it is my own individual experience. Now, how do I know that it is indeed a pen that I refer to in any statement about that pen? Through a collective device - language. We agree that it is a pen - and so call it that. (There is a bit of a problem here already, but I am going to ignore it for the moment.)

But how do any of us know that it is anything at all? Well, if we could know an arbiter, some independent judge, who could communicate this to us, we could know. This could be Descartes’ “undeceiving” God. Or it could be Hegel’s Spirit or Mind (take your pick, I think). Or, even less sensically, some sort of Universal Reason. In other words, some metaphysical entity or another is required for us to know, definitively, that some sort of objective reality exists, and that we can perceive (and, in some cases, conceive of) it.

So we are left with beliefs, or science, or correspondence, or some human, sense-based activity or conception. This begs the question, but so does the Universal Arbiter (of your choice).

More importantly, it dissolves the subjective-objective dichotomy, unless such an arbiter is present. Once stipulated, however, that arbiter becomes the first premise, from which the rest is deduced. So, you must start there, at some First Mover or another, which may or may not require a separate, previous argument (or maybe just that it be posited, like the Christian God is), before the subjective-objective dichotomy has any hope of being useful.

So, substitute “individual” for subjective - they are, so far, synonyms. But use “collective” for “objective” and you don’t need The Arbiter - you just need the history of human science, philosophy - thought - however imperfect that is. But language is a human thing (if it is a gift from God, your original problem is solved - again, read Descartes on this). You get better or worse guesses at the epistemic level - but those are what we use in everyday life.

Philosophy can reflect everyday life - it’s okay.

Some say is actually should reflect everday life.

Before you proceed to your next dichotomy, please enter your Universal Arbiter of choice. Thank you.

Fun stuff, faust.

As I have said before, I try to entertain at every turn.

I have made a small edit or two for clarity.

I’m still not sure if I have mispelled mistated.

Oh no I’m not arguing for or against language. The fact that we agree to call a specific thing something is not the issue. What I am arguing however is that what we know of the object and how it works, is not necessarily correct. In the same way that we discovered god(s) did not get angry and cause earthquakes and tornadoes andthat we are not the center of all existence (whatever that means). Although the majority believed that, it did not make it true. Hence the objective/subjective dilemma.

“Everything is subjective” is meant only to say that what we know about anything, like pens, could very well be wrong. There is no universal arbiter, unfortunately, but that and general agreement on something don’t make our knowledge any more credible (but for practical reasons), and therefore subjective.

Reading Descartes and others will unfortunately have to wait while I switch between break and exam preparations.

I got ya, Rouz. What we know of an object is not necessarily correct. I covered that -

"But how do any of us know that it is anything at all? Well, if we could know an arbiter, some independent judge, who could communicate this to us, we could know. This could be Descartes’ “undeceiving” God. Or it could be Hegel’s Spirit or Mind (take your pick, I think). Or, even less sensically, some sort of Universal Reason. In other words, some metaphysical entity or another is required for us to know, definitively, that some sort of objective reality exists, and that we can perceive (and, in some cases, conceive of) it. "

I am lost. What dilemma? We are not omniscient.

Is that a dilemma?

now that you understand, do you agree?

If I may, without changing the content, exchange “everything is subjective” to “truth is interpretation/perspective”, then we can successfully refute the response.

The response is employing a definition or version of “truth” that our statement implicitly denies. That is, our statement that “everything is perspective” recontextualizes the definition of truth. Truth, in the naive sense, the sense of ‘something out there’, is denied. It becomes nonsense, an illusion, something that does not exist. We have made the claim that truth doesn’t exist, and what we think is truth is actually perspective.

For someone to come back at us with “yeah but if that is true then that is objective”, is for them to completely misunderstand what we have said. It is a straw-man, they are employing the very definition of truth that we denied. Objective truth has no meaning on our recontextualization, the person has spoken nonsense. Truth is individualized for us, it is and can only be perspective, truth is a function of perspective.

Truth for us, is un-truth for them. What they call truth we call nonsense. We are not simply saying that, by accident, there doesn’t exist an objective truth. We are saying that the notion of objective truth is incomprehensible because it cannot “exist”.

The dilemma is not having absolute certainty about anything. What I understand of your argument is that you’re saying the objective-subjective argument is actually an argument about individual vs the collective. But what confuses me is that there is nothing to prove beyond all doubt that something is as it is. The pen for example. We agree to call it a pen, and my/our experience of the pen is subjective. It may not be as we perceive it, it may not be anything at all. A trick of the mind to display a spirit that leaves traces of color behind. You then said that the only way to have absolute certainty, is to have a universal arbiter. There is no such thing, and therefore the subjective/objective translated to individual/collective. The trouble I have here is that we still cannot know anything beyond a collective of subjective experiences, which leads me to conclude that everything is a matter of perception.
I think nihilistic put it pretty well. If someone says, well that too is a matter of perspective, then the same goes for their statement. I think all I’m trying to get to here is to prove the relationship between these statements. Something like x=x^2/x=x^3/x^2 until we get to a statement that is clear enough for an agreement. 2 arguments can’t be correct at the same time. The only reason no conclusion is reached is that we cannot necessarily see beyond limited perspectives, limited knowledge, persuasion through emotional appeal, rhetoric and whatnot. The justice system anywhere in the world is proof of that.

So, everything is a matter of perception until some higher knowledge is obtained, or we become omniscient.

The reason for me to attach any importance to that statement is that it shows me that there are no “self evident truths”. Everything can be argued, and few arguments can be concluded with one clear victor. It’s not due to the fact that some things are not obvious, and that both sides can be right at the same, but that our flawed perception makes it impossible to see an indisputable Truth. Be it the result of the bias of a religious person, or any other.

Yes it is true that we don’t know if we will ever rach an arbiter type status…

Which is why the assertions themselves require a dash of pragmatism…

You could make them satisfactory by putting “As we are,” infront of them…