Truth: A Guideby Simon Blackburn
The author of the highly popular book Think, which Time magazine hailed as "the one book every smart person should read to understand, and even enjoy, the key questions of philosophy," Simon Blackburn is that rara avisan eminent thinker who is able to explain philosophy to the general reader. Now Blackburn offers a tour de force exploration of what/i>/i>… See more details below
The author of the highly popular book Think, which Time magazine hailed as "the one book every smart person should read to understand, and even enjoy, the key questions of philosophy," Simon Blackburn is that rara avisan eminent thinker who is able to explain philosophy to the general reader. Now Blackburn offers a tour de force exploration of what he calls "the most exciting and engaging issue in the whole of philosophy"the age-old war over truth.
The front lines of this war are well defined. On one side are those who believe in plain, unvarnished facts, rock-solid truths that can be found through reason and objectivitythat science leads to truth, for instance. Their opponents mock this idea. They see the dark forces of language, culture, power, gender, class, ideology and desireall subverting our perceptions of the world, and clouding our judgement with false notions of absolute truth. Beginning with an early skirmish in the warwhen Socrates confronted the sophists in ancient AthensBlackburn offers a penetrating look at the longstanding battle these two groups have waged, examining the philosophical battles fought by Plato, Protagoras, William James, David Hume, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Richard Rorty, and many others, with a particularly fascinating look at Nietzsche. Among the questions Blackburn considers are: is science mere opinion, can historians understand another historical period, and indeed can one culture ever truly understand another.
Blackburn concludes that both sides have merit, and that neither has exclusive ownership of truth. What is important is that, whichever side we embrace, we should know where we stand and what is to be said for our opponents.
"Admirably sketching the battle lines currently staked out over the idea of objective truth, [Blackburn] makes his subject lively and accessible even as he parts some of its deepest waters.... Blackburn considers truth 'the most exciting and engaging issue in the whole of philosophy,' and, with wit and erudition, he succeeds in proving that point."Publishers Weekly
"Fluid, highly literate, and deeply informed.... Highly recommended for academic philosophy and literature collections. Library Journal
"Gently leads the reader on a guided tour of one simple questionwhether there is a universally applicable set of data that can be called capital-T 'Truth'and its infinite complications."Seattle Times
"If you're annoyed, even incensed, at the relativism and ironic nihilism of the youth (or their free-thinking professors), and you're looking for a vicarious voice to denounce the abject postmodern menace and stand up for Western rationalism, this could be the book for you."Barry Allen, The Globe and Mail
"The pleasure of reading this beautifully written and crafted book is almost sensual, so complete does each sentence seem in its witty unfolding. Blackburn takes up the knottiest philosophical issuestruth, justice, belief, evidence, interpretationand without dissolving the knots he carefully undoes them, and then, in some cases, reties them. A wonderful embracing tour through the minefield of philosophical controversy that will inform the novice and delight the afficionado."Stanley Fish
"Between the Scylla of relativism and the Charybdis of absolutism, Simon Blackburn does not merely navigate, but pleasure-sails, visiting and appreciating each. Whether you are appalled by postmodernism, incensed by smug scientism, or simply 'perplexed,' you'll find Blackburn's 'guide' edifying. Learn here what truth is, why it is so elusive, and what hope there is for human knowledge."Louise Antony, Professor of Philosophy, The Ohio State University
- Oxford University Press
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