Münchhausen trilemma

A thought experiment used to demonstrate the impossibility of proving any truth / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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In epistemology, the Münchhausen trilemma is a thought experiment intended to demonstrate the theoretical impossibility of proving any truth, even in the fields of logic and mathematics, without appealing to accepted assumptions. If it is asked how any given proposition is known to be true, proof in support of that proposition may be provided. Yet that same question can be asked of that supporting proof, and any subsequent supporting proof. The Münchhausen trilemma is that there are only three ways of completing a proof:

Muenchhausen_Herrfurth_7_500x789.jpg
Baron Munchausen pulls himself out of a mire by his own hair.

The trilemma, then, is the decision among the three equally unsatisfying options. Karl Popper's suggestion was to accept the trilemma as unsolvable and work with knowledge by way of conjecture and criticism.[citation needed]

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