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Pamela Sue Anderson's A Feminist Philosophy of Religion (1998) and Grace Jantzen's Becoming Divine: Towards a Feminist Philosophy of Religion (1998) set the tone for subsequent feminist philosophies of religion. This Element builds upon the legacy of their investigations, revisiting and extending aspects of their work for a contemporary context struggling with the impact of 'post-truth' forms of politics. Reclaiming the power of collective action felt in religious community and the importance of the struggle for truth enables a changed perspective on the world, itself necessary to realise the feminist desire for more flourishing forms of life and relationship crucial to feminist philosophy of religion.
The phenomenon of post-truth poses a problem for the public policy-oriented sciences, including policy analysis. Along with “fake news,” the post-truth denial of facts constitutes a major concern for numerous policy fields. Whereas a standard response is to call for more and better factual information, this Element shows that the effort to understand this phenomenon has to go beyond the emphasis on facts to include an understanding of the social meanings that get attached to facts in the political world of public policy. The challenge is thus seen to be as much about a politics of meaning as it is about epistemology. The analysis here supplements the examination of facts with an interpretive policy-analytic approach to gain a fuller understanding of post-truth. The importance of the interpretive perspective is illustrated by examining the policy arguments that have shaped policy controversies related to climate change and coronavirus denial.
Epistemology is in many ways important for Spinoza’s philosophy. It underlies his metaphysics, as well as his ethics and his political theory, and it also connected in many interesting ways with his psychological views on the mental life of human subjects. It is against this background that the present chapter discusses several key concepts and doctrines that Spinoza establishes in his epistemology, such as his views on truth and adequacy, the definition of idea and the denial of the notion of innate ideas, the famous distinction of the three kinds or rather “genera” of knowledge, the cognitive psychology underlying the discussion of the process of the imagination, humanity’s capacity for rationality, and finally the idea of our being blessed by intuitive knowledge. Moreover, regarding Spinoza’s denial of skepticism as the basic motivation driving his epistemology, the chapter also shows how his epistemological views develop over time. Altogether, it is argued that Spinoza manages to establish an epistemology that is both quite consistent on its own terms and successful in providing a stable foundation for his metaphysical, ethical and political views.
This concluding chapter draws together some threads of the book, by
facing some objections about negation and more generally about the
conceptions of truth, falsity, validity, invalidity, and their
interrelations. The main question – why are there paradoxes?
– is asked three last times.
After his controversy with Schelling, Fichte orally presented several new versions of his Science in which he adopted, if not a new standpoint, certainly a new methodology that had repercussions for the earlier standpoint. Where the “I is I” was the principle of the earlier Science, the trope of “light,” used alternatively with Evidenz and Reason, was the new principle. Where Fichte had earlier urged his auditors to engage in productive thinking, he now encouraged them to practice “attention,” an attitude of being actively engaged in the passive reception of the objects that presented themselves to their grasp. They had to detect in them, but only indirectly, the source of the intelligibility that made their presence compelling yet itself remained unseen. The aim was to let this source pervade one’s life. Fichte was adopting a new kind of realism which was in fact more consistent with the monism to which he had been committed from the beginning. Chapter 3 explores in detail a key text of 1804 in which these changes are introduced. The ontological quietism to which Fichte’s Science now led was one possible existential attitude that the assumed monism fostered.
The introduction summarizes overall argument unfolding through the six main chapters of the book and provides basic motivation for pursuing the pragmatist considerations of the volume. It emphasizes that the concept of truth may seem to have become seriously threatened in our culture - especially due to familiar political events and the active use of the social media today. As pragmatism, particularly Jamesian pragmatism, might be considered partly responsible for these developments, a novel critical exploration of pragmatist resources for dealing with the issues concerning the responsible pursuit of truth across a wide range of human practices is needed. The introduction also offers preliminary reasons why the argument of the book moves through a rather complex discussion of Kantian transcendental philosophy (and transcendental pragmatism) instead of merely "directly" utilizing the classical pragmatists' views on truth as such.
This chapter continues the discussion of pragmatism and truth from the first chapter by further investigating pluralism about truth in the context of the philosophy of religion, particularly focusing on the debates on religious diversity. Arguing that pragmatism should firmly side with religious inclusivism instead of exclusivism, the chapter compares Jamesian pragmatic pluralism and individualism to Hannah Arendt's more politically framed conception of natality, i.e., human beings' capacity of spontaneously creating novelties into the world, of beginning something anew. This Jamesian-Arendtian entanglement of individuality and novelty can, the chapter proposes, be illuminated by means of holistic pragmatism (indebted to Morton White). The chapter also contains a critical discussion of Naoko Saito's views on what she calls "philosophy as translation" offering a distinctive perspective on pragmatist views on acknowledging diversity, pluralism, and otherness. A defense of Jamesian meliorism, as distinguished from Saito's Cavell-inspired "perfectionism", is also included.
The first chapter asks whether there is a threatening slippery slope from William James's pragmatist conception of truth (as presented in his 1907 work, Pragmatism), via Richard Rorty's radical neopragmatism, to Donald Trump's and other populists' fragmentation of the concept of truth, or even ultimately to the destruction of truth depicted in George Orwell's dystopic novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), whose character O'Brien was interestingly analyzed by Rorty in a 1989 essay on Orwell, arguing for the primacy of freedom over truth. The chapter criticizes Rortyan pragmatism by arguing that the concept of freedom also presupposes the concept of truth (and not just the other way round), also suggesting that, despite the unclarity of some of James's original ideas about truth, there is a sound core to the Jamesian conception of the pursuit of truth. It is, furthermore, suggested that the concept of truth may itself receive a plurality of interpretations within a (meta-level) pragmatist understanding of truth, one of them being the realistic correspondence account, which remains highly relevant, e.g., in the context of combatting post-truth politics.
Recent studies have observed that in Grotius’ legal doctrine the intellectual ambition to create a universal rule of law (natural law) coexists with a distinctively ‘modern’ use of the vocabulary of individual rights (natural rights). In this chapter, I argue that a more careful reading of Grotius’ engagement with the Aristotelian tradition might cast new light on this traditional dichotomy, and expand our understanding of Grotius’ theory of justice. Famously, Grotius relies on the Aristotelian notion of virtue ethics to introduce the concept of aptitude, which designs a more generic account of merit and moral fitness rather than a strict, enforceable legal claim. Far from being discarded as a ‘minor’ or ‘deficient’ source of right, aptitude plays a fundamental role in this context. Through his reading and translating of the Aristotelian commentator Michael of Ephesus, I will show how Grotius’ thin conception of right as aptitude and fitness provides his natural law doctrine with a heuristic requirement for right reason.
It is commonly believed that populist politics and social media pose a serious threat to our concept of truth. Philosophical pragmatists, who are typically thought to regard truth as merely that which is 'helpful' for us to believe, are sometimes blamed for providing the theoretical basis for the phenomenon of 'post-truth'. In this book, Sami Pihlström develops a pragmatist account of truth and truth-seeking based on the ideas of William James, and defends a thoroughly pragmatist view of humanism which gives space for a sincere search for truth. By elaborating on James's pragmatism and the 'will to believe' strategy in the philosophy of religion, Pihlström argues for a Kantian-inspired transcendental articulation of pragmatism that recognizes irreducible normativity as a constitutive feature of our practices of pursuing the truth. James himself thereby emerges as a deeply Kantian thinker.
Pre-transitional justice activities that expose past injustices during entrenched conflicts can incite strong reactions among actors who feel threatened by or dislike such activities, and who thus attempt to silence controversial truths. This article illuminates how attempts to silence controversial truths, in parallel with shutting down debate, can also have the unintended outcome of enlarging public discourse on previously marginalised issues. Thus, paradoxically, efforts to curb freedom of expression sometimes result instead in an expanded public capacity to debate previously silenced truths about the conflict. We conduct a case study of reactions to pre-transitional justice in Israeli society focusing on the so-called Nakba Law, enacted in 2011. Through interviews with members of the non-governmental organisation Zochrot, politicians, teachers and media persons, we first show the relationship between pre-transitional justice and enacting the Nakba Law. We then demonstrate that while the Nakba Law indeed aimed to hamper freedom of expression, it also enabled increased public knowledge about the meaning of Nakba. Our theoretical proposition regarding this paradox, in this case activated by instigating new memory laws, is highly relevant to other conflicts-in-resolution that experience pre-transitional justice processes.
Is truth the rule or the aim of assertion? Philosophers disagree. After reviewing the available evidence, the hypothesis that truth is the aim of assertion is defended against recent attempts to prove that truth is rather a rule of assertion.
There are two key limitations to the literature that explores the relationship between truth and closure in post-violence societies. The first is that this relationship has been assessed mostly as part of a larger debate focusing on the links between the truth and the seemingly related concept of reconciliation. The second is that to the extent that the literature has addressed the connections between truth and closure as such, it has focused almost exclusively on the operations and effects of courts and truth commissions. The article addresses both limitations by examining the relationship between truth and closure through the prism of a different institution, the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus. Relying on 34 in-depth interviews with key stakeholders, including relatives of missing persons on the island, it argues that the Committee's delivery of the truth has promoted closure in three distinct ways. At the same time it acknowledges that the type of truth and the way in which it is delivered can have detrimental consequences for the promotion of closure. A short video summarising the findings of this article is available here.
This paper defends a new version of truthmaker non-maximalism. The central feature of the view is the notion of a default truth-value. I offer a novel explanation for default truth-values and use it to motivate a general approach to the relation between truth-value and ontology, which I call truth-value-maker theory. According to this view, some propositions are false unless made true, whereas others are true unless made false. A consequence of the theory is that negative existential truths need no truthmakers and that positive existential falsehoods need no falsemakers.
Chapter 1 tells how even early on, as a presidential candidate but still a political novice, Trump had a special connection to some considerable number of the American people. It describes the demographic to whom he particularly appealed, the nature of his appeal, and the reasons for his appeal. It references how Trump’s candidacy could easily have stumbled, referencing an incident that shows how it nearly did. But then the chapter goes on to describe how and why he was able to survive near political disaster with relative ease. The visceral connection between Trump and his diehard followers explains why, despite so much gone wrong in 2020, a public health crisis and an economic crisis, Trump’s base held firm. The chapter finally makes clear how it is Trump’s base that explains everything – that explains how he was able to be so bad a president and get away with it, until Joe Biden finally pushed him out of the Oval Office.
The chapter is a careful chronicle - specifically of what happened between January and June 2020, after the new coronavirus was introduced into the United States. The narrative proceeds on roughly a month by month basis – it is intended to provide readers with precise reminders of what happened when, and of who did what when. The progression of the disease – Covid-19 – is in stark evidence. This against the backdrop of an administration that prefers to deny what actually is happening, that opts to address the economic crisis without first addressing the health crisis, and that gradually ensnares a large cast of characters in a wide web of deception and destruction.
This chapter addresses whether Gadamerߣs hermeneutics should be considered a kind of relativism or a sort of realism. In this consideration Gadamerߣs treatment of the concept of truth is also presented. This chapter argues that Gadamerߣs hermeneutics is on one side of the hermeneutical fork–the side of realism, as opposed to relativism. Gadamerߣs hermeneutics is considered in relation to the work of John McDowell. For Gadamer, our freedom and our knowledge are always situated and limited, but that does not undo Gadamerߣs commitment to realism and truth.
I spell out Kuhn’s rationale for pursuing the evolutionary approach. He first concluded that the historical record does not support the assumption that science develops teleologically towards the truth, which then led him to outline an evolutionary view of scientific development. Kuhn argues that the future of the sciences is open-ended and that the sciences are bound to diversify, not unify. Because the historical process of the sciences leads to an ever more fragmented outcome, there is no coherent worldview at the end of this process. Kuhn thought that not only sciences fail to arrive at the final truth about the world, but that truth as correspondence to the mind-independent world must be rejected. Because sciences’ niches, in which sciences are practiced, change, there simply is no fixed and permanent mind-independent world to which statements and theories could correspond. Nevertheless, Kuhn was interested in the function of ‘truth,’ that is, the possibility to judge whether beliefs and theories should be accepted or rejected. I argue that a specific Sellarsian pragmatist notion of truth, which understands truth as semantic assertibility, serves Kuhn’s interests well.
The chapter addresses the works of the major defender of the conciliarism of the Council of Basel: John of Segovia. John was notable for the profundity of his thought: he addressed fundamental concepts, including the nature of authority, the role of trust and the idea that ultimately only the truth has authority. In contrast there are considered the works of John of Turrecremata who provided the most important defence of he papalist position – the greatest work of ecclesiology of the late Middle Ages. This chapter also considers the works of Antonio de' Roselli – these showed clearly the difficulties involved in applying modern notions of conciliarism and papalism in attempting to understand the thought of this period. The chapter ends with an evaluation of conciliarism. This shows that it was overwhelmingly a scholastic and clerical movement; that it was not as radical as it might appear.
How was power justified in late medieval Europe? What justifications did people find convincing, and why? Based around the two key intellectual movements of the fifteenth century, conciliarism in the church and humanism, this study explores the justifications for the distribution of power and authority in fifteenth- and early sixteenth-century Europe. By examining the arguments that convinced people in this period, Joseph Canning demonstrates that it was almost universally assumed that power had to be justified but that there were fundamentally different kinds of justification employed. Against the background of juristic thought, Canning presents a new interpretative approach to the justifications of power through the lenses of conciliarism, humanism and law, throwing fresh light on our understanding of both conciliarists' ideas and the contribution of Italian Renaissance humanists.