- Publisher: Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd.
- Format: Paperback | 208 pages
- Dimensions: 128mm x 194mm x 20mm | 240g
- Publication date: 7 August 2007
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 0826495281
- ISBN 13: 9780826495280
- Sales rank: 283,758
Truth has always been a central preoccupation of philosophy in all its forms and traditions. However, in the late twentieth century truth became suddenly rather unfashionable. The precedence given to assorted political and ideological agendas, along with the rise of relativism, postmodernism and pseudoscience in academia, led to a decline both of truth as a serious subject, and an intellectual tradition that began with the Enlightenment. "Why Truth Matters" is a timely, incisive and entertaining look at how and why modern thought and culture lost sight of the importance of truth. It is also an eloquent and inspiring argument for restoring truth to its rightful place. Ophelia Benson and Jeremy Stangroom, editors of the successful ButterfliesandWheels.Com website - itself established to 'fight fashionable nonsense' - identify and debunk such nonsense, and the spurious claims made for it, in all its forms. Their account ranges over religious fundamentalism, Holocaust denial, the challenges of postmodernism and deconstruction, the wilful misinterpretation of evolutionary biology, identity politics and wishful thinking. "Why Truth Matters" is both a rallying cry for the Enlightenment vision and an essential read for anyone who has ever been bored, frustrated, bewildered or plain enraged by the worst excesses of the fashionable intelligentsia.
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Jeremy Stangroom is co-editor (with Julian Baggini) of The Philosophers' Magazine and the successful philosophy books, What Philosophers Think and Great Thinkers A-Z. He and Ophelia Benson are editors of www.butterfliesandwheels.com.
"'In this book, Benson and Stangroom are wide-ranging in their knowledge and in the thinking about what they know, and so the books appears laid out almost like a collection of essays that are connected by the theme described above. Anthropology, evolutionary psychology and sociobiology, feminism, philosophies of various sorts, and the politics of Nazism are all touched on or addressed. Each chapter is interesting in its own right.... The book is beautifully written, and sprinkled with passages of both insight and literary value.' Entelechy: Mind and Culture 'British philosophers Ophelia Benson and Jeremy Stangroom array their immense talent... in Why Truth Matters. What they're on about is a prevailing intellectual indifference to coherence, logic, rationality, and evidence. It's a world-view that holds that there is no historical truth and almost everything is a mere social construction. Discovery is conflated with invention, myth is elevated alongside empirical evidence, and no lines are drawn between fact and fiction....Most of us will get the main point Stangroom and Benson are making: truth matters because human beings are the only species capable of finding it out.' Straight.com, July 13, 2006 'As polemics go, it is short and adequately pugnacious. Yet the authors do not paint their target with too broad a brush. At heart, they are old-fashioned logical empiricists - or, perhaps, followers of Samuel Johnson, who, upon hearing of Bishop Berkeley's contention that the objective world does not exist, refuted the argument by kicking a rock. Still, Benson and Stangroom do recognize that there are numerous varieties of contemporary suspicion regarding the concept of truth....They bend over backwards in search of every plausible good intention behind postmodern epistemic skepticism. And then they kick the rock.' Inside Higher Ed, June 2006"
Table of contents
1. The Antinomies of Truth; 2. Truth, Doubt and the Philosophers; 3. The Truth Radicals; 4. The Social Construction of Truth; 5. Politics, Ideology and Evolutionary Biology; 6. Wishful Thinking and Epistemological Confusion; 7. Institutions, Academe and Truth; 8. Why Truth Matters.