• Jack Cummins
    4.4k
    I have thinking about this while reading Jonathan Sacks' book, 'Morality: Restoring the Common Good in Divided Times', (2020). Sacks explores the nature of values, speaking of 'cultural climate changes'.He looks at fragmentation, and he has a chapter on the concept of post-truth, which is about the way in which there is so much fabrication in the knowledge and information, especially within the media and internet communication, even the concept and generation of 'fake news'.

    He points to the way in which truth was based on the concept of trust and the significance of the principle of 'truth'. He argues,
    '... for most of the history of the West there has been a countervailing principle, derived from religion on the one hand, philosophy on the other, that valued truth as an end in itself. It must not be bent, distorted, disguised or compromised for the sake of other ends'.

    He also argues that,
    'What has happened in recent years is that the shrinking of the moral arena from 'We' to 'I' has converged with the new technologies of communication to a damaging effect. What was once a public respect for truth has been replaced by the noise of the social media...'He also introduces the postmodernist perspective and its querying of objective meaning. This is what makes the concept of 'truth' in itself questionable.

    So, to what extent can truth be explained logically, or empirically, or in terms of values and, to what extent does the idea of 'post-truth capture fragmentation in philosophical understanding? There are threads which explore the logical aspects of truth, but I am intending this to be more about the meaning of truth and how this comes into play in values. Some may see truth as a matter of logic and, to what extent is it about the principles of rationality or about human meaning and the framing of understanding? it is in this context which I raise the question of 'post- truth' and its significance, in relation to the idea of 'truth'. How do you understand the concept of 'post-truth" itself?

  • Mww
    3.4k
    the significance of the principle of 'truth'Jack Cummins

    Does he say what the principle of truth is? Wouldn’t its significance depend on that?
  • Jack Cummins
    4.4k

    As far as I can see, Jonathan Sacks doesn't come with a clear definition of the principle of truth. However, in my own reading, : the understanding of the meaning of the idea of 'truth' has been explored more fully in Julian Baggini's, 'A Short History of Truth: Consolations for a Post-Truth World' (2017). In this work, Baggini considers the various perspectives on the meaning of the concept of truth, including logical, esoteric, relative and moral truths'. This suggests how many aspire to the idea of understanding truth, but it has different angles and meanings, rather than being a straightforward principle.
  • Pantagruel
    2.1k
    So, to what extent can truth be explained logically, or empirically, or in terms of values and, to what extent does the idea of 'post-truth capture fragmentation in philosophical understanding? There are threads which explore the logical aspects of truth, but I am intending this to be more about the meaning of truth and how this comes into play in values.Jack Cummins

    Presumably, our values are what "drive" us - that is, what supply the motive power to what we actually do do in the world. I'd assume that there is a correlation between the awareness of the correspondence of one's values with something true, and the motive force there derived. To the extent that our values are based in fantasy, it'd be unlikely that we would actualize them. Truth really is the only pragmatic option.
  • Jack Cummins
    4.4k

    I would say that values are based on what matters and how meaningful is constructed. It may be partly based on fantasy, as some underlying mythic construct of reality. However, unless one lives in a soliptist reality it is related to tangible knowledge and epistemology. However, truth may be a rather imprecise idea because it can encompass understanding of explanations and culturally constructed and personal meanings. In many ways, it is a vague term, but, in spite of it, the concept of truth may be important for trying to formulate any philosophy, as the 'ultimate' perspective, or way of seeing. The understanding of 'post-truth' may arise in connection with the plurality of angles and perspectives.
  • Mww
    3.4k
    rather than being a straightforward principle.Jack Cummins

    Ok; thanks.
  • Jack Cummins
    4.4k

    Your post gave me a chance to clarify my own understanding of truth. I read Baggini's book several months ago and found it significant. However, I didn't bring into the thread on Pontius Pilate's question, 'What is truth?', because it is all about logical propositions and logic. I am inclined to think that Pilate's question about truth was not about logical propositions at all, but about various perspectives and biases in the process of perception.

    I am not sure that 'post-truth' or 'truth' is simply a matter of logic and descriptive propositions. That was the approach of Bertrand Russell, which was influential in the analytic philosophy of the twentieth century. Nevertheless, it is only one perspective in the understanding of the meaning of 'truth'.
  • Pantagruel
    2.1k


    But whatever is the truth, you only get as close to it as "believing this true."

    So how can you ever be confident in the motivation behind your own beliefs?
  • Banno
    18.6k
    But whatever is the truth, you only get as close to it as "believing this true."Pantagruel

    More fucking relativist rubbish. It's true you wrote that, it's true you are reading this. Truth isn't private. But when folk mistake truth for mere belief, they open themselves up to post-truth and all the political errors that ensue.
  • Jack Cummins
    4.4k

    The belief that some ideas are ultimately correct is one's point of view and establishing it universally is another matter entirely. Of course, there is consensus, which is the intersubjective aspect. This may lead to the empirical aspects, which give rise to realism. Alternatively, there are systems of rational thinking, such as a priori.

    With these varying epistemological approaches there are ways of coming to explanations. Nevertheless, motivations for why people believe what they believe are significant, and it may be impossible for any to approach truth in complete objective neutrality. That is because each person comes from a subjective perspective based on sentience, emotions and life experiences.
  • Jack Cummins
    4.4k

    I know that you believe in logic but to what extent is that the only basis for 'truth'? I am not dismissing logic and rationality, and I am not a complete relativist. But, logic may not give the full picture, because it leaves out the imagination and the realm of meanings.
  • Tate
    1.4k
    post-truth and all the political errors that ensue.Banno

    Politicians exploit a longing for truth. If everyone was a postmodern philosopher, people like Trump would be screwed because everyone would start with the assumption that he's peddling myths of former greatness now gone down the toilet because we're stupid.

    As it is, the people love the drama of being 'in the know' in a world of deluded followers of mainstream news.
  • Tate
    1.4k
    I agreed with some of that and disagreed with other parts, but overall: :up:
  • Mww
    3.4k
    I am inclined to think that Pilate's question about truth was not about logical propositions at all, but about various perspectives and biases in the process of perception.Jack Cummins

    That’s fine. We often do assert, or claim to know, what is true....or not true, or undeterminable, but only one of those, mind you.....and our own perspectives and biases do influence those assertions or claims. Thing is, our various perspectives and biases are not contained in our perceptions, which only informs us there is something to which an assignment of a truth value, is possible.

    On the other hand, you’d be correct to say the verification, or, the proof, for the truth values we assign, is through the process of perception. But this presupposes a truth value to which the proof relates, therefore cannot be the reason for the assignment, nor the methodology by which it is determined. You can’t verify something that isn’t there to be verified.

    How big can a can a’worms get anyway, right?
  • Pantagruel
    2.1k
    The most productive hypothesis seems to me to assume that belief in truth has positive merits. What the exact nature of those merits is is what we learn.
  • Joshs
    3.9k
    Thing is, our various perspectives and biases are not contained in our perceptions, which only informs us there is something to which an assignment of a truth value is possible.Mww

    Our perceptions are in themselves perspectival biases.

    “…whatever perception we have of the world is shaped by our efforts to organize and integrate all of the dimensions of our experience into a coherent whole. How we go about this will be dictated by the level
    of our education, by our expectations, and by our desires, and so the vi­sion we have will always be as much a reflection of ourselves and our prejudices as it is a discovery of “how things really are”.( John Russon)
  • Paine
    694

    So, does Russon mean to say that recognizing perspective as a necessary element is not a rejection of a shared reality?

    Which writing did the quote come from?
  • Joshs
    3.9k


    It’s from Human Experience
    Philosophy, Neurosis,
    and the Elements of Everyday Life
  • Tom Storm
    5k
    I am intending this to be more about the meaning of truth and how this comes into play in values. Some may see truth as a matter of logic and, to what extent is it about the principles of rationality or about human meaning and the framing of understanding? it is in this context which I raise the question of 'post- truth' and its significance, in relation to the idea of 'truth'. How do you understand the concept of 'post-truth" itself?Jack Cummins


    I don't think this subject has much to do with truth as such. It's about a distrust of mainstream truth, not the notion of truth per say. Trump voters, for instance, are very certain about truth.

    But I don't think truth has ever been especially popular with people. People tend to follow the dominant narratives and prejudices of their culture or subculture. Certainly those who follow religions (for instance) have rarely been concerned with examining the truth of their beliefs. These are unquestioned and inherited models of reality. Nor have racists or misogynists been much concerned with the truth of their worldview and values either.

    One of the concerns today is there seems to be too many competing truths to build stable shared agreement about how society should function. We have almost lost common values and have become atomised and riddled with internecine conflicts. In trying to determine how to manage an economy, deal with poverty, provide education and negotiate geopolitical, issues this is a dangerous space. But perhaps we never had shared values, perhaps we just had dominant mainstream, held strong by fear of difference and fear of consequences.

    Perhaps this situation was inevitable, since the post-Enlightenment questioning, skeptical spirit was bound to keep peeling the layers of the onion away only to find at some point that there were no layers left.
  • Joshs
    3.9k
    I don't think this subject has much to do with truth as such. It's about a distrust of mainstream truth, not the notion of truth per say. Trump voters, for instance, are very certain about truth.

    I don't think truth has ever been especially popular with people. People tend to follow the dominant narratives and prejudices of their culture or subculture. Certainly those who follow religions (for instance) have rarely been concerned with examining the truth of their beliefs. These are unquestioned and inherited models of reality. Nor have racists or misogynists been much concerned with the truth of their worldview and values either.
    Tom Storm

    Your second paragraph seems to contradict your first. You start by appearing to argue that people believe that they are very much committed to the truth ( like Trump supporters) , and in service of their notion of truth they proceed to embrace some positions and reject others.
    Then in your second paragraph you claim that people are not interested in truth. Are you trying to make a distinction between their perception of their commitment to truth and what they actually do?
    That’s the funny thing about truth. There’s not much left of it once we clear away bias and perspective, except a circular argument that truth is what is factually correct. Is the assertion that those who hold onto racist and misogynist views are simply ‘factually incorrect’ itself a circular argument?
  • Mww
    3.4k
    Our perceptions are in themselves perspectival biases.Joshs

    I understand this to be the psychological consensus. If such is the case, we are at a loss as to which to blame for our mistakes, our perception because they are biased, or our judgements because they are irrational. We have enough trouble with ourselves, without Ma Nature making it all the more troublesome.

    I would agree with your quote, if it had said, “Whatever understanding we have of the world.....”, as this is certainly influenced by our subjective inclinations as well as our reason.
  • Tom Storm
    5k
    Then in your second paragraph you claim that people are not interested in truth. Are you trying to make a distinction between their perception of their commitment to truth and what they actually do?Joshs

    Indeed. What I'm suggesting is that people hold ideas as certain without any attempt to assess if the ideas or models they hold are true. Seems to me that the truth often matters very little to those who hold The Truth.

    Is the assertion that those who hold onto racist and misogynist views are simply ‘factually incorrect’ itself a circular argument?Joshs

    I would argue that their ideas are harmful to other people, which is a judgment call on my part, and I am comfortable with the contradictions or inadequacies inherent in holding this view.
  • 180 Proof
    9.8k
    Some may see truth as a matter of logic and, to what extent is it about the principles of rationality or about human meaning and the framing of understanding?Jack Cummins
    Broadly speaking, a value which satisfies a variable of a self-consistent function is a truth (Dewey-Quine?) Narrowly, a truth is also a public fiction without which a species cannot survive or a community cannot function (Nietzsche?)

    How do you understand the concept of 'post-truth" itself?
    For me it indicates ... wtf ... "alternative facts" (i.e. H. Frankfurt's bullshit).
  • javi2541997
    2.2k
    How do you understand the concept of 'post-truth" itself?
    For me it indicates ... wtf ... "alternative facts" (i.e. H. Frankfurt's bullshit).
    180 Proof

    :up: :100:
  • Jack Cummins
    4.4k

    I guess that the concept of 'post-truth' is 'bullshit'. It may be about gossip and outright lies. Some newspapers contain accounts which are probably false or biased forms of persuasion. I can remember being advised at one point by a college tutor to read various ones for this reason. Also, I remember in sociology that there was an emphasis on how the mass media represent the ideas of the elite who own the media companies, and how stories are put forward in order to sell the papers as 'the manufacture of news'.
  • Tom Storm
    5k
    Also, I remember in sociology that there was an emphasis on how the mass media represent the ideas of the elite who own the media companies, and how stories are put forward in order to sell the papers as 'the manufacture of news'.Jack Cummins

    Chomsky: Manufacturing Consent. Kind of old news, right?

    But there is a difference between news which supports an elite or skews accounts in various ways and disseminating views that America is under threat from shape shifting lizard people and pederast conspiracies.
  • Jack Cummins
    4.4k

    The 'Pandemos' is an interesting read and the question of 'truth' was an area of concern amidst the pandemic, as there was so much conspiracy theories. The facts were being ignored when some people were believing the conspiracies.

    It is against a background of 'uncertainty' that such confusion about 'truth' often emerges. In the pandemic, it was about dealing with a previously unknown virus and both medical professionals were struggling to understand. Even now, there are still some uncertainties, when people are having long term health problems which are being seen as post-Covid. I read an article on my phone a couple of weeks ago, saying that there is some uncertainty about whether such problems are caused by the virus itself or the vaccine. I really don't know if there is any 'truth' for this, or the details of the evidence.

    I get so many news items, some of which are controversial, showing up on my phone, which is probably why I wonder about the idea of 'post-truth', especially with the internet. One long disputed 'truth' is whether Princess Diana's death was simply a car crash or an assassination. Some other deaths of prominent figures have a certain amount of speculation, but a lot may be speculation. However, speculation may give rise to rumours and 'Chinese whispers' may generate a babble of post-truth.
  • Jack Cummins
    4.4k

    The ideas of Chomsky are relevant. I have a book of selected writings by him on my shelf. So, thanks for referring to him, because I hadn't made the link. So, I will have a look at his will have a look at his writings later today and see if there is anything relevant which I can find to add to this thread.
  • Jack Cummins
    4.4k

    The way in which perceptions are subjective, involving biases, is what makes 'truth' unclear. I remember working and their being critical incidents. When various people present spoke or wrote reports there were so many variations in details and the specific sequences of events. When accounts differ there can be incidents of people trying to conceal aspects for their own benefit. However, some of it may be due to the way people process events. It may be such perception is based on internal narrative construction in the translation of experience into memories.
  • Jack Cummins
    4.4k

    I am definitely all in favour of the search for 'truth' and see it as one of the purposes of philosophy. There is a danger if one gives up looking for truth. Probably, the most one can do is recognised that we all have 'blindspots' and be try to be aware of one's own subjective biases and values, through reflective thinking.
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