Truth and Truthfulness An Essay in Genealogy

ISBN-10: 0691117918
ISBN-13: 9780691117911
Edition: 2002
List price: $39.95 Buy it from $28.12
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Description: What does it mean to be truthful? What role does truth play in our lives? What do we lose if we reject truthfulness? No philosopher is better suited to answer these questions than Bernard Williams. Writing with his characteristic combination of  More...

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Book details

List price: $39.95
Copyright year: 2002
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 2/22/2004
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 344
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.25" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 1.100
Language: English

What does it mean to be truthful? What role does truth play in our lives? What do we lose if we reject truthfulness? No philosopher is better suited to answer these questions than Bernard Williams. Writing with his characteristic combination of passion and elegant simplicity, he explores the value of truth and finds it to be both less and more than we might imagine. Modern culture exhibits two attitudes toward truth: suspicion of being deceived (no one wants to be fooled) and skepticism that objective truth exists at all (no one wants to be naive). This tension between a demand for truthfulness and the doubt that there is any truth to be found is not an abstract paradox. It has political consequences and signals a danger that our intellectual activities, particularly in the humanities, may tear themselves to pieces. Williams's approach, in the tradition of Nietzsche's genealogy, blends philosophy, history, and a fictional account of how the human concern with truth might have arisen. Without denying that we should worry about the contingency of much that we take for granted, he defends truth as an intellectual objective and a cultural value. He identifies two basic virtues of truth, Accuracy and Sincerity, the first of which aims at finding out the truth and the second at telling it. He describes different psychological and social forms that these virtues have taken and asks what ideas can make best sense of them today. Truth and Truthfulnesspresents a powerful challenge to the fashionable belief that truth has no value, but equally to the traditional faith that its value guarantees itself. Bernard Williams shows us that when we lose a sense of the value of truth, we lose a lot both politically and personally, and may well lose everything.

The Problem
Truthfulness and Truth
Authority
Nietzsche
Genealogy
Real and Fictional
Naturalism
The State of Nature Is Not the Pleistocene
How Can Fictions Help?
Shameful Origins
The Genealogy of Truthfulness
The State of Nature: A Rough Guide
The Division of Labour
Plain Truths
Space, Time, and Indeterminacy
Value: The Story So Far
Truth, Assertion, and Belief
Truth Itself
Assertions and Truth
Assertions and Knowledge
Beliefs and Truth
Sincerity: Lying and Other Styles of Deceit
Value: An Internal Connection?
Trust
Trustworthiness in Speech
Dispositions of Sincerity
Fetishizing Assertion
Deserving the Truth
Accuracy: A Sense of Reality
The Elaboration of Accuracy
Methods and Obstacles
Realismand Fantasy
Truthfulness and Freedom
What Was Wrong with Minos?
Introduction
Thucydides
"Legendary Times"
The Past and the Truth
From Sincerity to Authenticity
An Ambiguous Invention
Rousseau
Diderot and Rameau's Nephew
Steadying the Mind
Authenticity and Other People
Truthfulness, Liberalism, and Critique
Truth and Politics
Democracy and Liberty
The Marketplace of Ideas
Critique
The Critical Theory Test
Making Sense
Narratives
Structures and Explanations
Audiences
Needs
Endnote
The Vocabulary of Truth: An Example
Notes
Bibliography
Acknowledgements
Index

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