Known Unknowns, Truth Isn’t Truth, Etc.

Jonathan Mayhew, The Difference Between Truth and Falsehood, Right and Wrong:

IF there be any such thing as wisdom, as opposed to ignorance and folly, it consists in knowing the truth; and a man is wise in the same degree that he does so. There is no knowledge, but of some truth or fact: Or, in other words, knowledge presupposes the being of truth, or something to be known. Now if there be no such thing as truth, there is nothing to be known: and consequently every man, yea, every being whatever, must be intirely ignorant and destitute of knowledge; as destitute of it, not only as the horse and mule which have no understanding, but as any part of senseless inanimate matter. So that notwithstanding all the noise there has been in the world about wisdom and folly; notwithstanding the universal applause that has been bestowed on some persons, as gloriously distinguished from the rest of mankind by a happy genius and peculiar sagacity; yet in reality all this is at bottom nothing but empty words without any meaning at all. Socrates and Plato, Locke and Newton, were not superiour, in point of wisdom, to the most illiterate husband-man.

Nay; upon this sup|position, even Pyrrho and Arcesilaus themselves, the great leaders of the sceptic tribe, knew no more than those whom they upbraided with their ignorance. This, indeed, is a consequence which the Pyrrhonists will hardly be perswaded to own. For there are none more apt than they, to value themselves upon their superiour wisdom and penetration. And they please themselves in par|ticular with the thought of their being the discoverers of this mighty arcanum, that there is no such thing as truth, as distinguished from error. But if there be no such thing as truth, why will they please themselves for their sagacity in making this discovery? Or why will they endeavour to bring others over to their opinion, when by their first, and I might add, their only, principle, those others are no more in an error than themselves. Such is the perplexity, the endless labyrinth, that a man brings himself into, by asserting for truth, that there is no such thing as truth.

Old Rudy G, the modern Pyrrho

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