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These Are Not Words

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The title of this post is a simple form of a self-refuting statement, also commonly refered to as an oxymoron.  Madeline over at mandmandmandm.blogspot.com has made a list of five philosophical refutations that employ self-reference.  It is really worthwhile to get these under your belt, for when someone tries one of these frequently used statements on you.



1. There is no such thing as truth.

Example (1.) asserts a truth, so if it is true that there is no such thing as truth then (1.) is false. Conversely, if it is false that there is no such thing as truth then (1.) is false.

The negation of (1.) that there is such thing as truth is not just true but is necessarily true. Example (1.) is self-refuting and its negation is self-verifying.

Conclusion: There is such thing as truth. Anyone who says there is not is wrong.

2. It is wrong to judge.

Example (2.) asserts a judgment; as such, it refers to itself, so if it is true that it is wrong to judge then (2.) is false, the asserter purports to make a correct moral judgement. Conversely, if it is false that it is wrong to judge then (2.) is false.

The negation of (2.) that it is right to judge is not just true but is necessarily true. Example (2.) is self-refuting and its negation is self-verifying.

Conclusion: It is right to judge. Anyone who says it is not is judging you.

Now we have the basics, let’s try something trickier.

3. All religions are true.

Christianity is a religion. If (3.) is true, then Christianity is true. Christianity teaches that it is the only true religion, therefore, all religions except Christianity are false. According to (3.),Christianity is the only true religion.

Turning now to some slightly more useful examples

4. Nothing is true unless science proves it.

Really, including example (4.) itself?

5. Nothing can be known.

Example (5.) itself cannot be known, as such it is not known whether anything is knowable or not.


Click here for Madeline's original post.

Related posts: Truth, Deterioration of Soceity Accelerating

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