The Argument from Truth

This is the eleventh in a series of posts responding to a list of 20 arguments for the existence of god from this article. To be fair, the article does state that these arguments don’t make a case except when taken all together, using the metaphor of a rope, but I am analyzing them individually so I have responses when I encounter the argument later in other sources.

This argument is closely related to the argument from consciousness. It comes mainly from Augustine.

  1. Our limited minds can discover eternal truths about being.
  2. Truth properly resides in a mind.
  3. But the human mind is not eternal.
  4. Therefore there must exist an eternal mind in which these truths reside.

Can we discover eternal truths? I don’t know. However, though truth by definition can only exist in the mind (“truth is the mind’s conformity with reality”), truth cannot by definition exist without some reality. In other words, “the world is spherical” is a truth, but the reality of the spherical planet existed before it was recognized as a truth. Therefore, even if there are eternal truths and we can learn them, that doesn’t require an eternal mind as much as an eternal reality. The conclusion simply does not follow from the premises, especially as truth can be lost and relearned.

This proof might appeal to someone who shares a Platonic view of knowledge—who, for example, believes that there are Eternal Intelligible Forms which are present to the mind in every act of knowledge. Given that view, it is a very short step to see these Eternal Forms as properly existing within an Eternal Mind. And there is a good deal to be said for this. But that is just the problem. There is too much about the theory of knowledge that needs to be said before this could work as a persuasive demonstration.

So this isn’t meant to be convincing anyway. Good job wasting time.


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