The other night I found myself having a discussion at a party, and after a while it became rather philosophical, and I found myself having to defend a position that I thought should have been obvious to anyone who had spent some time thinking about the matter. The idea was that the truth is true regardless of whether anyone believes it or not. My friends were arguing against this position by saying that this was just my belief, or my perception of reality. However this doesn't even scratch the argument I was making, as I freely admit that my perception could be completely erroneous, yet whatever is real, exists whether I perceive it or believe in it or not.
I got them to agree that if something exists, its existence is not dependent on any mind perceiving it or not, but they wouldn't agree that existence necessarily exists, which I found rather confusing. According to them the fact that existence exists is merely my belief. They also seemed to disagree quite adamantly with the idea of truth that is independent of minds. To me, truth is true regardless of whether it is believed/accepted or not, and this is self-evident. It soon came to the point where I was essentially arguing against a self-refuting circular argument. My friends were essentially arguing from some kind of relativist, solipsist, nihilist, post-modernist position. I did not quite understand exactly what they were trying to argue for, but the message that I was getting from them was that: all perception is false, truth is relative, we can't know the truth and there is no absolute truth.
This position I find to be self-refuting, as it is predicated on a truth claim that says either that we can't know the truth or there is no truth, and an absolute truth statement that says that truth is relative. It's circular and illogical because it attempts to avoid criticism by appealing to its own dogma, which wasn't shown to be true in the first place.
I cannot take a position seriously if it inevitably defines its own demise by asserting self-refuting premises. Any view of reality must presume by default that existence exists, reality is real and truth is true, and belief or perception have no bearing on them. As Johannes Kepler famously said "Once miracles are admitted, every scientific explanation is out of the question". In this situation it is not so much miracles and scientific explanation, but rather once epistemological nihilism is admitted, every single belief, explanation and idea is out of the question, including epistemological nihilism itself.
Not only do I find these ideas to be false in the highest degree, it seems to be a rather depressing and dangerous idea to hold. Once truth in all forms is rejected, everything is futile. From this viewpoint, all inquiry is misguided and useless, life has no meaning inherently, and any meaning you ascribe to it is merely illusory and false. The reason I say that it is a dangerous view is that society simply would not function if it were a widely held belief. It is a philosophy of futility.
Feedback and criticism are welcome.