The Temptation of Absolute Truth

Twentieth Century 16:216-222 (1962)
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It is obvious that the fact that I consider my views to be true does not mean that they are true. However, not only is it my obligation to say what I think to be the case, but I do not know what else I should or even could say. It may be suggested – pointlessly – that I should say what is objectively true and not what I subjectively think to be true. The suggestion is pointless because if I thought my views to be true merely subjectively, I would not entertain them; it is precisely because I think that they are objectively true that I do in fact hold them. It may also be suggested, equally unhelpfully, that if there existed a system of philosophy which contained the truth and nothing but the truth, then we should teach that system and not the views that we personally consider to be true. Since some people think that such a system does indeed exist, let us consider why this suggestion does not enable us to say something other than what each of us considers to be true.


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