Knowledge and Information LO30900

From: Terje A. Tonsberg (
Date: 01/20/04

Replying to LO30892 --

I said:

> >1+1=2
> >The part is always smaller than its whole
> >Singapore is a place
> >Germans fought in WWII
> >The first two are true because to claim otherwise is blatantly
> >absurd. The third and fourth are true because there is no possibility
> >of a conspiracy to lie among the witnesses. The key then, is how to
> >know when the possibility of falsehood remains, not absolutely
> >avoiding labelling a proposition as true or false.

On Sat, 17 Jan 2004, Mark W. McElroy replied:

> To say that 'Singapore is a place' is clearly false in the sense that
> it is not universally true. Singapore happens to be a nation-state.
> Thus, it is a government entity, and not a place at all. This
> provides us with evidence that the universality of your claim is
> clearly false.

Is there a place called Singapore or not? Yes or no? If you landed at
Singapore airport, and someone asked "are you in Singapore?" Would you
say "not in universal terms"?

Mark says:
> Next, that '1+1=2' is also not always true. We know this from
> Einstein's relativity theory, and there are also many cases where
> adding two things together does not necessarily result in a sum of
> two. If I add two drops of water together, I get only one drop, not
> two.

Before you added them together were they two drops or not? 1+1=2
doesn't mean that that counted elements can't ever transfor into
something else. There is no element of time in the equation. I said
1+1=2, (a count) you answered, "no, because 1+1=>1 or 2 or 3 etc." (a

Moreover, how do you "know" that Einstein existed? Or that there there
is such a theory? If you doubt his existence, why should I bother
myself to answer this e-mail that you are also not sure exists? How
does one accept an argument one is not sure exists made by a man one
is not sure existed? How does one find the time to write e-mails one
is not sure exist?

Mark says:
> a colleague of mine, Mark Notturno, calls 'Floating
> Foundationalism': a doctrine that admits that there may not, in fact,
> be any foundational truths with certainty, but whose advocates carry
> on as though there were. To implicitly suggest that certain rules of
> inference are unassailable as premises, and that claims or conclusions
> derived from them should be regarded as true with certainty is to
> commit this error and to prove nothing at all.

I bet if your friend had a gun to his head or someone stole his wallet
he would have no doubts regarding their existence, or his own. If he
was drowning and shouting "Help! help!" and the people on the beach
responded "We are not sure you exist! Moreover, we are not sure you
need help!" would he shout back "You may be right! Carry on!"? Sounds
like a scene from a Monty Python show.

This is nothing but sophistry.



"Terje A. Tonsberg" <>

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