Holistic Alethic Pluralism: A Reformational Research Program
What is it about?
This essay lays out a research program on the idea of truth. First it describes challenges to the idea of truth in contemporary philosophy and gives reasons why a robust conception of truth is needed. Next it presents two overriding concerns that such a conception should address. In addressing these concerns, I plan to take up three sets of issues: relations between propositional truth and the discursive justification of truth claims; distinctions and connections between propositional and nonpropositional truth; and the sorts of cultural practices and social institutions within which truth occurs. My detailed response to these issues, as sketched in the last section of the essay, is to propose a holistic, normative, and structurally pluralist conception of truth, one that I call holistic alethic pluralism. Propositional truth is important but not all-important, and reformational philosophy needs to show why that is so.
Why is it important?
The essay serves as an introduction to my decades-long attempt to provide a new understanding of truth that is much broader than standard notions of factual truth. Because factual truth and scientific work are under attack, it is crucial for philosophers to explain, in a culturally relevant way, why factual truth is important, and also why there is more to truth than factual truth. I have begun to do this in two books—Artistic Truth (Cambridge UP, 2004) and Truth in Husserl, Heidegger, and the Frankfurt School (MIT Press, 2017)—and I will complete the project in a new book that interacts more prominently with analytic philosophy.
The following have contributed to this page: Lambert Zuidervaart
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