06 Jul For and Against Truth
- Professor John Keane, Director, Sydney Democracy Network
- Professor Colin Wight, Department of Government and International Relations, School of Social and Political Sciences
There are many signs we’ve entered a ‘post-truth’ era defined by the burial of ‘objective facts’ thanks to a public avalanche of ‘appeals to emotion and personal belief’ (OED). Critics of this ‘post-truth’ trend like to stress the political dangers of growing government secrecy, the lies of politicians, corporate bullshit, media silence and populists’ talk of ‘fake news’. They call for a recovery of ‘truth’ in public life.
But how credible is the appeal by journalists and others to recapture ‘truth’ in our public lives? What exactly is truth? Why is it important? Or is it not as important as we imagine? Does truth-telling have its limits? Might ‘truth’ be fading from our lives, and might bidding ‘farewell to truth’ be a good thing? Two white, male still-very-much-alive professors explain their agreements, and their disagreements.