12 votes Truth be sold: How truth became a product Posted March 8 by patience_limited Tags: religion, philosophy, rationalism, postmodernism, consumerism, truth, long read https://thecorrespondent.com/322/truth-be-sold-how-truth-became-a-product/7514229030-36b9d1cf Link information This data is scraped automatically and may be incorrect. Authors Rob Wijnberg Published Mar 5 2020 Word count 4032 words 6 comments Collapse replies Expand all Comments sorted by most votes newest first order posted relevance OK  skybrian March 8 Link We're in an era of high uncertainty and distrust. I think skepticism is a rational response to an uncertain world, and sometimes I'm flirting with nihilism myself. I think an approach that might... We're in an era of high uncertainty and distrust. I think skepticism is a rational response to an uncertain world, and sometimes I'm flirting with nihilism myself. I think an approach that might be helpful is truth minimalism. Acknowledge that figuring out what's true is actually hard and takes a lot of time. But, much of the information we get is about things that are irrelevant to our daily lives. We don't actually need to know what's true to make most decisions. You need to learn to triage - is this something I need to know? If not, don't take a side. Maybe add some questions you're curious about to your collection. But this should be combined with spending a lot of time researching stuff you do need to know. 8 votes wexx March 9 Link Parent This is really good advice, and something I struggle with all the time. Thanks! This is really good advice, and something I struggle with all the time. Thanks! 4 votes moocow1452 March 8 Link Meta: That read in a minute feature is pretty darn neat. Big fan of it. Meta: That read in a minute feature is pretty darn neat. Big fan of it. 4 votes patience_limited (OP) March 8 Link This essay aims to analyze the philosophical underpinnings of Truth in the current era by breaking down historical approaches to it. Selected excerpts: This essay aims to analyze the philosophical underpinnings of Truth in the current era by breaking down historical approaches to it. Selected excerpts: Some argue that with fact-free politics and fake news running amok, we’ve entered a society that is post truth, but I wouldn’t want to go that far just yet. To me, the better question would be: assuming truth is still with us in some way, what type of truth is characteristic of the times we live in? Now that, in turn, might sound like a ridiculously general question: truth about what, for whom, and in what sense? The role that truth plays in politics differs quite dramatically from its role in, say, science. And the type of truth that is dominant in North Korea or Saudi Arabia is very different from the type of truth that characterises a country like the United States or the Netherlands. Still, certain types of truth can be distinguished that were dominant in our collective thinking for long periods of history. When I say "our collective thinking", I’m specifically referring to western thinking. And when I say "thinking", I don’t just mean the way in which prominent philosophers viewed the world, but also – and maybe even above all – how society as a whole perceived the world around it. If you look at history from that perspective, which eras of truth lie behind us? I would like to specify three: the premodern era, the modern era, and the postmodern era. From that starting point, I want to ask the question: if it is the case that these eras are behind us, then what type of truth is characteristic of the times we live in? To put it differently: Truth is not found in the sensory reality around us, but given to us by a "higher" reality above and outside us. Attaining Truth required a leap of faith – a surrender to the transcendent. Behold the birth of the first era: Truth as Faith. This type of truth was characteristic of the west from roughly three centuries before Christ to 16 centuries after Christ. In what we now call the "modern era", truth was no longer viewed as a purely metaphysical concept elevated beyond our grasp, but something tangible – and indeed, physical – in the earthly here and now. A pivotal figure in this shift was French philosopher René Descartes, the forefather of rationalism, who laid the foundation for the idea that the Truth could in fact be known. Logic and reason could be used to comprehend reality and discover the Truth. Truth changed from something that was given to something that could be found. This period brought us objectivity as an ideal, as well as the concept of progress and a mouldable world. Behold the birth of the second era: Truth as Knowledge. "You cannot rise above interpretations and get to facts" (the premodern ideal: rising above the earthly reality and arriving at the Truth), "and you cannot dig down below interpretations and get to facts" (the modern ideal: digging into the earthly reality and arriving at the Truth). Behold the birth of the third era: truth as a construct. In the same way that the Industrial Revolution and the emergence of modern science helped to bring about faith in Truth as Knowledge, the first world war (and later the second) caused the idea of truth as a construct to gain momentum and take hold. The first and second world wars fostered an enormous distrust of Truth with a capital T. The deconstruction of Truth initiated by postmodern thinkers aimed to undermine its mobilising power: humankind had to be "liberated" from all those false authorities that had laid claim to truth over the centuries. Neoliberal free market thinking started out as a deconstruction of ideology and authority, but, despite its origins, grew into an ideological dogma in its own right, leading to a far-reaching economisation of our worldview. Moral and ontological dogmas were replaced by economic criteria. No one believed in Truth, Knowledge and Morality with a capital letter anymore; they were supplanted by the so-called "neutral" concepts of productivity, efficiency and return on investment. In politics, healthcare, education, science, media and the arts: economic criteria became the measure of all things in every aspect of society. Now, citizens are consumers, patients "shop" for their healthcare, students "invest" in their academic "career", immigrants are "fortune seekers" or "cheap labour", the elderly are dubbed "growing expenses", artists have to be "creative entrepreneurs", and the gross national product is the godly measure of our collective well-being. 2 votes json March 8 Link My initial thought while reading the headline was about The Truth podcast. Which is excellent short stories and radio fiction. Of course, this is not related to the article. My initial thought while reading the headline was about The Truth podcast. Which is excellent short stories and radio fiction. Of course, this is not related to the article. Kuromantis March 8 Link Feels like something Steve Cutts would say. Hopefully we don't end up with 1984 instead. The absence of a liberating, emancipatory core is, in my view, the most important characteristic that distinguishes the type of truth endemic in our time from the types of truth that preceded it. All those prior truths did seek to be emancipatory or liberating. Truth as Faith aimed to free people from an unchanging world plagued by disease and poverty by envisioning a transcendent world that offered the prospect of redemption. Truth as Knowledge aimed to liberate people from the submissiveness and passivity that accompanied this faith in transcendence by envisioning a knowable, makeable world where progress was possible. And truth as a construct aimed to liberate people from the destructive forces of universalism and utopianism that had accompanied faith in Truth with a capital T by envisioning a deconstructed world in which the individual would be in control. But what does our truth aim to achieve? What does truth as a product want beyond satisfying our needs – ad infinitum? You could say: our truth has taken on a new form, but without a new goal. The aim is neither redemption nor progress nor change, only satisfaction. Feels like something Steve Cutts would say. Hopefully we don't end up with 1984 instead.