Category: On Popper

Wadsworth: 2003.

The infinity of absolute truth

But if ‘2 + 2 = 4’ is true, then it follows that ‘2 + 2 = 5’ is false—and that ‘2 + 2 = 6’ is false, and that ‘2 + 2 = 7’ is false, and so on. But if these statements are false, then the statements ‘“2 + 2 = 5” is false’ and ‘“2 + 2 = 6” is false’ and ‘“2 + 2 = 7” is false’ are one and all true. And it is easy to see that we can, in this way, generate an infinite number of true statements that are of no interest to science at all, or to anyone else for that matter. [57]

Just the facts

Earlier I said that Popper believed in absolute and objective truth. This is very easily misunderstood, especially if we equate a definition of ‘truth’ with a criterion of truth. But whether or not truth is absolute has nothing whatsoever to do with whether or not we have a criterion for determining what it is. ‘Absolute’ simply means that something is not con­ditional or relative to anything else. Popper thought that truth is absolute in just this sense. Being true is different from being-believed-to-be true. It is not relative to or conditioned by what anyone believes. And it does not depend upon a theory, or evidence, or a historical context, or anything else—except the facts. [51]