In 1980, Michel Foucault began a vast project of research on the relationship between subjectivity and truth, an examination of conscience, confession, and truth-telling that would become a crucial feature of his life-long work on the relationship between knowledge, power, and the self. The lectures published here offer one of the clearest pathways into this project, contrasting Greco-Roman techniques of the self with those of early Christian monastic culture in order to uncover, in the latter, the historical origin of many of the features that still characterize the modern subject. They are accompanied by a public discussion and debate as well as by an interview with Michael Bess, all of which took place at the University of California, Berkeley, where Foucault delivered an earlier and slightly different version of these lectures.
Foucault analyzes the practices of self-examination and confession in Greco-Roman antiquity and in the first centuries of Christianity in order to highlight a radical transformation from the ancient Delphic principle of “know thyself” to the monastic precept of “confess all of your thoughts to your spiritual guide.” His aim in doing so is to retrace the genealogy of the modern subject, which is inextricably tied to the emergence of the “hermeneutics of the self”—the necessity to explore one’s own thoughts and feelings and to confess them to a spiritual director—in early Christianity. According to Foucault, since some features of this Christian hermeneutics of the subject still determine our contemporary “gnoseologic” self, then the genealogy of the modern subject is both an ethical and a political enterprise, aiming to show that the “self” is nothing but the historical correlate of a series of technologies built into our history. Thus, from Foucault’s perspective, our main problem today is not to discover what “the self” is, but to try to analyze and change these technologies in order to change its form.
One of Norway’s most celebrated literary figures of the nineteenth century, Henrik Wergeland worked tirelessly for the civil rights of Jews in Norway. He used the words and structure of his poetry to enliven the ideals of truth, freedom, and equality. This translated volume, containing several of Wergeland’s most prominent poems, beautifully encapsulates the compelling force of his message, allowing its enduring influence to benefit a wider contemporary audience.
In The Art of Reading as a Way of Life: On Nietzsche’s Truth Daniel T. O’Hara traces critically the current reception and translation of Nietzsche’s corpus and then some of Nietzsche’s boldest textual experiments in the art of reading as a way of life, including those in The Birth of Tragedy, The Gay Science, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, The Anti-Christ, and Ecce Homo.
The shape of this critical tracing begins, however, in the middle of his career with The Gay Science andmoves on to Thus Spoke Zarathustra, which Nietzsche believed was the central work of his life. It then revalues Ecce Homo, Nietzsche’s final autobiographical statement about his life and career, and concludes with a comparative analysis of two works from the beginning and end of that career: respectively, The Birth of Tragedy and The Anti-Christ. O’Hara’s highly original study, which uses Badiou’s theory of the truth-event as a guide, will surely provoke larger conversations across many disciplines.
In these learned essays, Joseph M. Levine shows how the idea and method of modern history first began to develop during the Renaissance, when a clear distinction between history and fiction was first proposed. The new claims for history were met by a new skepticism in a debate that still echoes today.
Levine's first three essays discuss Thomas More's preoccupation with the distinction between history and fiction; Erasmus's biblical criticism and the contribution of Renaissance philology to critical method; and the way in which Renaissance rhetoric, as in Thomas Elyot's Book of the Governor, continued to inhibit the autonomy of history. He then shows how these issues persisted into the eighteenth century, even as critical method developed. He concludes with a close description of the great controversy that culminated in Edward Gibbon's day over the authenticity of a biblical text that had been used for centuries to defend the Trinity but which turned out to be a forgery. Levine shows how by then all sides were ready to concede the autonomy of history.
It’s frequently said that we live in a “post-truth” age. That obviously can’t be true, but it does name a real problem on our hands. Getting things right is hard, especially if they’re complicated. It takes preparation, diligence, and honesty. Wisdom, according to Thomas Aquinas, is the quality of right judgment. This book is about the problem of becoming wise, the problem “before truth.” It is about that problem particularly as it comes up for religious, philosophical, and theological truth claims. Before Truth: Lonergan, Aquinas, and the Problem of Wisdom proposes that Bernard Lonergan’s approach to these problems can help us become wise. One of the special problems facing Christian believers today is our awareness of how much our tradition has developed. This development has occurred along a path shot through with contingencies. Theologians have to be able to articulate how and why doctrines, institutions, and practices that have developed—and are still developing—should nevertheless be worthy of our assent and devotion.
After her adoptive mother’s death, Lori Jakiela, at the age of forty, begins to seek the identity of her birth parents. In the midst of this loss, Jakiela also finds herself with a need to uncover her family’s medical history to gather answers for her daughter’s newly revealed medical ailments. This memoir brings together these parallel searches while chronicling intergenerational questions of family. Through her work, Jakiela examines both the lives we are born with and the lives we create for ourselves. Desires for emotional resolution comingle with concerns of medical inheritance and loss in this honest, humorous, and heartbreaking memoir.
Can the novel survive in an age when tales of historical figures and contemporary personalities dominate the reading lists of the book-buying public?
Naomi Jacobs addresses this question in a study of writers such as William Styron, E. L. Doctorow, and Robert Coover, who challenge the dominance of nonfiction by populating their fictions with real people, living and dead. Jacobs explores the genesis, varieties, and implications of this trend in a prose as lively as that of the writers she critiques.
Using as a case study Robert Coover’s portrait of Richard Nixon in The Public Burning, Jacobs addresses the important legal and ethical questions raised by this trend and applies contemporary libel law to the fictionalization of living people, such as Richard Nixon. She closes her study by speculating on the future of this device and of the novel.
In this new installation of his work, William E. Connolly examines entanglements between volatile earth processes and emerging cultural practices, highlighting relays among extractive capitalism, self-amplifying climate processes, migrations, democratic aspirations, and fascist dangers. In three interwoven essays, Connolly takes up thinkers in the "minor tradition" of European thought who, unlike Cartesians and Kantians, cross divisions between nature and culture. He first offers readings of Sophocles and Mary Shelley, asking whether close attention to the Anthropocene could perhaps have arrived earlier had subsequent humanists absorbed their lessons. He then joins Deleuze and Guattari's notion of an abstract machine with contemporary earth sciences, doing so to compare the Antique Little Ice Age of the late Roman empire to contemporary relays between extractive capitalism and accelerating climate processes. The final essay stages a dramatic dialogue between Alfred North Whitehead and Michel Foucault about the pursuit of truth during a time of planetary turbulence. With Climate Machines Fascist Drives, and Truth, Connolly forges incisive interventions into key issues of our time.
Between the mid-1930s and the late ’40s, the center of the jazz world was a two-block stretch of 52nd Street in Manhattan. Dozens of crowded basement clubs between Fifth and Seventh avenues played host to legends such as Billie Holiday and Charlie Parker, as well as to innumerable professional musicians whose names aren’t quite so well known. Together, these musicians and their audiences defied the traditional border between serious art and commercial entertainment—and between the races, as 52nd Street was home to some of the first nightclubs in New York to allow racially integrated bands and audiences. Patrick Burke argues that the jazz played on 52nd Street complicated simplistic distinctions between musical styles such as Dixieland, swing, and bebop. And since these styles were defined along racial lines, the music was itself a powerful challenge to racist ideology.
Come In and Hear the Truth uses a range of materials, from classic photographs to original interviews with musicians, to bring the street’s vibrant history to life and to shed new light on the interracial contacts and collaborations it generated.
The curious paradox of romance is that, throughout its history, this genre has been dismissed as trivial and unintellectual, yet people have never ceased to flock to it with enthusiasm and even fervor. In contemporary contexts, we devour popular romance and fantasy novels like The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Game of Thrones, reference them in conversations, and create online communities to expound, passionately and intelligently, upon their characters and worlds. But romance is “unrealistic,” critics say, doing readers a disservice by not accurately representing human experiences. It is considered by some to be a distraction from real literature, a distraction from real life, and little more.
Yet is it possible that romance is expressing a truth—and a truth unrecognized by realist genres? The Arthurian literature of the Middle Ages, Karen Sullivan argues, consistently ventriloquizes in its pages the criticisms that were being made of romance at the time, and implicitly defends itself against those criticisms. The Danger of Romance shows that the conviction that ordinary reality is the only reality is itself an assumption, and one that can blind those who hold it to the extraordinary phenomena that exist around them. It demonstrates that that which is rare, ephemeral, and inexplicable is no less real than that which is commonplace, long-lasting, and easily accounted for. If romance continues to appeal to audiences today, whether in its Arthurian prototype or in its more recent incarnations, it is because it confirms the perception—or even the hope—of a beauty and truth in the world that realist genres deny.
Desire and Truth offers a major reassessment of the history of eighteenth-century fiction by showing how plot challenges or reinforces conventional categories of passion and rationality. Arguing that fiction creates and conveys its essential truths through plot, Patricia Meyer Spacks demonstrates that eighteenth-century fiction is both profoundly realistic and consistently daring.
Dickens’s Forensic Realism: Truth, Bodies, Evidence by Andrew Mangham is one of the first studies to bring the medical humanities to bear on the work of Dickens. Turning to the field of forensic medicine (or medical jurisprudence), Mangham uncovers legal and medical contexts for Dickens’s ideas that result in new readings of novels, short stories, and journalism by this major Victorian author. Dickens’s Forensic Realism argues that the rich and unstable nature of truth and representation in Dickens owes much to the ideas and strategies of a forensic Victorian age, obsessed with questioning the relationship between clues and truths, evidences and answers.
As Mangham shows, forensic medicine grew out of a perceived need to understand things with accuracy, leaning in part on the range of objectivities that inspired the inorganic sciences. At the same time, it had the burden of assisting the law in convicting the guilty and in exonerating the innocent. Practitioners of forensic medicine were uniquely mindful of unwanted variables such as human error and the vagaries of interpretation. In readings of Oliver Twist, Our Mutual Friend, Bleak House, The Pickwick Papers, Great Expectations, and Dickens’s early journalism, Mangham demonstrates that these questions about signification, perception, and reality are central to the stylistic complexities and playful tone often associated with Dickens. Moreover, the medico-legal context of Dickens’s fiction illuminates the richness and profundity, style and impact of Dicken’s narratives.
Addressing contemporary interest in the relationship between metaphysics and ethics, as well as the significance of beauty for ethics, Alice Ramos presents an accessible study of the transcendentals and provides a dynamic rather than static view of truth, goodness, and beauty.
Despite its centrality to its field, there is no consensus regarding what rhetorical theory is and why it matters. The Ethical Fantasy of Rhetorical Theory presents a critical examination of rhetorical theory throughout history, in order to develop a unifying vision for the field. Demonstrating that theorists have always been skeptical of yet committed to "truth" (however fantastic), Ira Allen develops rigorous notions of truth and of a "troubled freedom" that spring from rhetoric’s depths. In a sweeping analysis from the sophists Aristotle, and Cicero through Kenneth Burke, Chaïm Perelman and Lucie Olbrechts-Tyceta, and contemporary scholars in English, communication, and rhetoric’s other disciplinary homes, Allen offers a novel definition of rhetorical theory: as the self-consciously ethical study of how humans and other symbolic animals negotiate constraints.
Winner, 2015 LAJSA Best Book in Latin American Jewish Studies
The practices of interrogation, torture, and confession have resurfaced in public debates since the early 2000s following human rights abuses around the globe. Yet discussion of torture has remained restricted to three principal fields: the legal, the pragmatic, and the moral, eclipsing the less immediate but vital question of what torture does.Figurative Inquisitions seeks to correct this lacuna by approaching the question of torture from a literary vantage point.
This book investigates the uncanny presence of the Inquisition and marranismo (crypto-Judaism) in modern literature, theater, and film from Mexico, Brazil, and Portugal. Through a critique of fictional scenes of interrogation, it underscores the vital role of the literary in deconstructing the relation between torture and truth. Figurative Inquisitions traces the contours of a relationship among aesthetics, ethics, and politics in an account of the "Inquisitional logic" that continues to haunt contemporary political forms. In so doing, the book offers a unique humanistic perspective on current torture debates.
In his explorations of the relations between the sacred and violence, René Girard has hit upon the origin of culture—the way culture began, the way it continues to organize itself. The way communities of human beings structure themselves in a manner that is different from that of other species on the planet.
Like Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Émile Durkheim, Martin Buber, or others who have changed the way we think in the humanities or in the human sciences, Girard has put forth a set of ideas that have altered our perceptions of the world in which we function. We will never be able to think the same way again about mimetic desire, about the scapegoat mechanism, and about the role of Jewish and Christian scripture in explaining sacrifice, violence, and the crises from which our culture has been born.
The contributions fall into roughly four areas of interpretive work: religion and religious study; literary study; the philosophy of social science; and psychological studies.
The essays presented here are offered as "essays" in the older French sense of attempts (essayer) or trials of ideas, as indeed Girard has tried out ideas with us. With a conscious echo of Montaigne, then, this hommage volume is titled Essays in Friendship and in Truth.
What happens to people and the societies in which they live after genocide? How are the devastating events remembered on the individual and collective levels, and how do these memories intersect and diverge as the rulers of postgenocidal states attempt to produce a monolithic “truth” about the past? In this important volume, leading anthropologists consider such questions about the relationship of genocide, truth, memory, and representation in the Balkans, East Timor, Germany, Guatemala, Indonesia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sudan, and other locales.
Specialists on the societies about which they write, these anthropologists draw on ethnographic research to provide on-the-ground analyses of communities in the wake of mass brutality. They investigate how mass violence is described or remembered, and how those representations are altered by the attempts of others, from NGOs to governments, to assert “the truth” about outbreaks of violence. One contributor questions the neutrality of an international group monitoring violence in Sudan and the assumption that such groups are, at worst, benign. Another examines the consequences of how events, victims, and perpetrators are portrayed by the Rwandan government during the annual commemoration of that country’s genocide in 1994. Still another explores the silence around the deaths of between eighty and one hundred thousand people on Bali during Indonesia’s state-sponsored anticommunist violence of 1965–1966, a genocidal period that until recently was rarely referenced in tourist guidebooks, anthropological studies on Bali, or even among the Balinese themselves. Other contributors consider issues of political identity and legitimacy, coping, the media, and “ethnic cleansing.” Genocide: Truth, Memory, and Representation reveals the major contribution that cultural anthropologists can make to the study of genocide.
Contributors. Pamela Ballinger, Jennie E. Burnet, Conerly Casey, Elizabeth Drexler, Leslie Dwyer, Alexander Laban Hinton, Sharon E. Hutchinson, Uli Linke, Kevin Lewis O’Neill, Antonius C. G. M. Robben, Debra Rodman, Victoria Sanford
Hegel's classic Phenomenology of Spirit is considered by many to be the most difficult text in all of philosophical literature. In interpreting the work, scholars have often used the Phenomenology to justify the ideology that has tempered their approach to it, whether existential, ontological, or, particularly, Marxist. Werner Marx deftly avoids this trap of misinterpretation by rendering lucid the objectives that Hegel delineates in the Preface and Introduction and using these to examine the whole of the Phenomenology. Marx considers selected materials from Hegel's text in order both to clarify Hegel's own view of it and to set the stage for an examination of post-Hegelian philosophy.
The primary focus of Marx's book is on the account. Hegel gives of the phenomenological journey from natural consciousness to philosophical wisdom (or absolute knowledge, as Hegel calls it). In showing that Hegel's many statements concerning consciousness 'finding itself' or 'knowing itself' in its world can be understood as discovering the rationality of the conditioning world, Marx offers a solution to several sets of interrelated problems that have troubled students of Hegel. His book contains valuable analyses of the relation between Hegel's thought and that of Descartes and Kant as well as that of Karl Marx, and it also sheds considerable light on the question of the internal unity or coherence of the Phenomenology.
Hermeneutics and Truth
Brice R. Wachterhauser Northwestern University Press, 1994 Library of Congress B3248.G34H47 1994 | Dewey Decimal 121.68
The claim that all human thought involves "interpretation," that all human thought is in some way relative to a contingent context of cognitive, theoretical, practical, and aesthetic considerations, has become widely accepted, but waht we understand by "truth" and how we should best pursue it are questions raised with renewed force once a hermeneutical starting point has been embraced. Brice R. Wachterhauser's collection Hermeneutics and Truth is an attempt to contribute to this concersation.
No thinkers have wrestled with the issue of truth and interpretation in more illuminating ways for the Continental tradition of philosophy than Heidegger and Gadamer. Hermeneutics and Truth is a dual focus on Heidegger and Gadamer, but it concentrates primarily on Gadamer's efforts to think through the issue of truth for hermeneutics and only secondaily on Heidegger's thought on this issue.
History and Truth
Paul Ricoeur, Foreward by David M. Rasmussen, Introduction by Charles Kelbley Northwestern University Press, 2007 Library of Congress B2430.R552E5 2007 | Dewey Decimal 901
In this volume, Paul Ricoeur investigates the antinomy between history and truth, or between historicity and meaning. He argues that history has meaning insofar as it approaches universality and system, but has no meaning insofar as this universality violates the singularity of individuals' lives. Imposing unity upon truth, or unifying the diversity of knowledge and opinion, creates a singular and universal history but destroys historicity and subjectivity. Allowing for singularities in history promotes a multiplicity of truths over a single, unique truth, and thereby annihilates system
In this volume, Paul Ricoeur investigates the antinomy between history and truth, or between historicity and meaning. He argues that history has meaning insofar as it approaches universality and system, but has no meaning insofar as this universality violates the singularity of individuals' lives. Imposing unity upon truth, or unifying the diversity of knowledge and opinion, creates a singular and universal history but destroys historicity and subjectivity. Allowing for singularities in history promotes a multiplicity of truths over a single, unique truth, and thereby annhilates system.
Reinhard Hütter’s main thesis in this third volume of the Sacra Doctrina series is that John Henry Newman, in his own context of the nineteenth century, a century far from being a foreign one to our own, faced the same challenges as we do today; the problems then and now differ in degree, not in kind. Hence, Newman's engagement with these problems offers us a prescient and indeed prophetic diagnosis of what these problems or errors, if not corrected, will lead to—consequences which have more or less come to pass—and, furthermore, an alternative way which is at once thoroughly Catholic and holds contemporary relevance.
The introduction offers a survey of Newman’s life and works and each of the subsequent four chapters addresses one significant aspect of Christianity that is not only contested or rejected by secular unbelief, but also has a counterfeit for which not only Christians, but even Catholics have fallen. The counterfeit of conscience is the “conscience” of the sovereign subject (Ch. 1); the counterfeit of faith is the “faith” of one who does not submit to the living authority through which God communicates but rather adheres to the principle of private judgment in matters of revealed religion(Ch.2); the counterfeit of doctrinal development is twofold: (i) paying lip service to development while only selectively accepting its consequences on the grounds of a specious antiquarianism and (ii) invoking development theory to justify all sorts of contemporary changes according to the present Zeitgeist (Ch. 3). Finally, the counterfeit of the university are all those “universities” whose end is not to educate and thereby to perfect the intellect, but rather to feed more efficiently the empire of desire that is informed by the techno-consumerism of today (Ch. 4). The book concludes with an epilogue on Hütter’s journey to Catholicism.
The complaint is all too common: I know something about that, and the news got it wrong. Why this should be, and what it says about the relationship between journalism and truth, is exactly the question that is at the core of Tom Goldstein’s very timely book.
Other disciplines, Goldstein tells us, have clear protocols for gathering evidence and searching for truth. Journalism, however, has some curious conventions that may actually work against such a goal. Looking at how journalism has changed over time--and with it, notions about accuracy and truth in reporting—Goldstein explores how these long-standing and ultimately untrustworthy conventions developed. He also examines why reliable standards of objectivity and accuracy are critical not just to a free press but to the democratic society it informs and serves. From a historical overview to a reconsideration of a misunderstood book about journalism (The Journalist and the Murderer) to a reflection on the coverage of the war in Iraq, his book offers a remarkably wide-ranging and thought-provoking account of how journalism and truth work—or fail to work—together, and why it matters.
Lenin Reloaded is a rallying call by some of the world’s leading Marxist intellectuals for renewed attention to the significance of Vladimir Lenin. The volume’s editors explain that it was Lenin who made Karl Marx’s thought explicitly political, who extended it beyond the confines of Europe, who put it into practice. They contend that a focus on Lenin is urgently needed now, when global capitalism appears to be the only game in town, the liberal-democratic system seems to have been settled on as the optimal political organization of society, and it has become easier to imagine the end of the world than a modest change in the mode of production. Lenin retooled Marx’s thought for specific historical conditions in 1914, and Lenin Reloaded urges a reinvention of the revolutionary project for the present. Such a project would be Leninist in its commitment to action based on truth and its acceptance of the consequences that follow from action.
These essays, some of which are appearing in English for the first time, bring Lenin face-to-face with the problems of today, including war, imperialism, the imperative to build an intelligentsia of wage earners, the need to embrace the achievements of bourgeois society and modernity, and the widespread failure of social democracy. Lenin Reloaded demonstrates that truth and partisanship are not mutually exclusive as is often suggested. Quite the opposite—in the present, truth can be articulated only from a thoroughly partisan position.
Contributors. Kevin B. Anderson, Alain Badiou, Etienne Balibar, Daniel Bensaïd, Sebastian Budgen, Alex Callinicos, Terry Eagleton, Fredric Jameson, Stathis Kouvelakis, Georges Labica, Sylvain Lazarus, Jean-Jacques Lecercle, Lars T. Lih, Domenico Losurdo, Savas Michael-Matsas, Antonio Negri, Alan Shandro, Slavoj Žižek
Living the Truth: A Theory of Action
Klaus Demmer, MSC. Translated by Brian McNeil. Foreword by James F. Keenan, SJ Georgetown University Press, 2010 Library of Congress BJ1249.D4413 2010
How is moral theology related to pastoral theology? In this first English translation of Living the Truth, Klaus Demmer answers this question by offering a complete theory of action. Its crucial element is truthfulness, which Demmer claims is a basic attitude that must be translated concretely into our individual decisions. Demmer demonstrates that the demand for truthfulness offers a critical corrective to the usual praxis whereby ethical norms are formulated. This has significant consequences for every area of ethical directives, including questions about celibacy and partnerships.
Demmer moves away from the act-centered morality that dominates the neo-Scholastic manuals of moral theology. His concern is to show how our actions embody and carry out a more original anthropological project. Not only does this anthropological project condition our insights into goods and values, it provides the criteria by which our actions are judged morally. This book will be welcomed by all who are looking for ethical norms, and by all whose task it is to formulate such norms.
In The Logic of Being, Paul Livingston examines the relationship of truth and time from a perspective that draws on Martin Heidegger’s thought and twentieth-century analytic philosophy. In his influential earlier work The Politics of Logic, Livingston elaborated an innovative “formal” or “metaformal" realism. Here he extends this concept into a “temporal realism” that accounts for the reality of temporal change and becoming while also preserving realism about logic and truth.
Livingston's formal and phenomenological analysis articulates and defends a realist position about being, time, and their relationship that understands that all of these are structured and constituted in a way that does not depend on the human mind, consciousness, or subjectivity. This approach provides a basis for new logically and phenomenologically based accounts of the structure of linguistic truth in relation to the appearance of objects and of the formal structure of time as given.
Livingston draws on philosophers from Plato and Aristotle to Davidson and Heidegger in this exploration. In it, readers and scholars will discover innovative connections between continental and analytic philosophy.
Yves Bonnefoy, France's most important living poet, is also a literary and art critic of renown; in writing so extensively on the visual arts, he continues the critical tradition begun in the eighteenth century by Diderot and continued in succeeding centuries by Baudelaire, Apollinaire, and other leading French poets.
The sixteen essays collected here show the breadth and depth of Bonnefoy's writings on art, aesthetics, and poetics. His lyrical ruminations range across centuries and cultures, from Byzantium to postwar France, from the paintings of Piero della Francesca to the sculptures of Alberto Giacometti and the photographs of Henri Cartier-Bresson, from the Italian Giorgio Morandi to the American Edward Hopper. Always fascinated in his poetry by the nature of color and light and the power of the image, Bonnefoy continues to pursue these themes in his discussion of the lure and truth of representation. He sees the painter as a poet whose language is a visual one, and seeks to find out what visual artists can teach those who work with words. More philosophical than historical and more poetic than critical, the essays express Bonnefoy's deep sympathy for the creative process and his great passion for individual works of art.
Bonnefoy's engagement with great art in The Lure and the Truth of Painting sheds light on the philosophy of presence and being that animates his poems. This book will be welcomed by lovers of Bonnefoy's poems and by everyone interested in the creation, history, and appreciation of art.
Yves Bonnefoy's numerous books include New and Selected Poems and In the Shadow's Light, both published by the University of Chicago Press. Richard Stamelman is director of the Center for Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Cultures and professor of romance languages at Williams College. He is the author of Lost beyond Telling: Representations of Death and Absence in Modern French Poetry.
"Few exponents of contemporary French letters deserve the attention of the reading public in America more than Yves Bonnefoy. . . . [His] writings . . . are an important lighthouse on the contemporary cultural coastline."—Emily Grosholz, The Hudson Review
The current trend toward machine-scoring of student work, Ericsson and Haswell argue, has created an emerging issue with implications for higher education across the disciplines, but with particular importance for those in English departments and in administration. The academic community has been silent on the issue—some would say excluded from it—while the commercial entities who develop essay-scoring software have been very active.
Machine Scoring of Student Essays is the first volume to seriously consider the educational mechanisms and consequences of this trend, and it offers important discussions from some of the leading scholars in writing assessment.
Reading and evaluating student writing is a time-consuming process, yet it is a vital part of both student placement and coursework at post-secondary institutions. In recent years, commercial computer-evaluation programs have been developed to score student essays in both of these contexts. Two-year colleges have been especially drawn to these programs, but four-year institutions are moving to them as well, because of the cost-savings they promise. Unfortunately, to a large extent, the programs have been written, and institutions are installing them, without attention to their instructional validity or adequacy.
Since the education software companies are moving so rapidly into what they perceive as a promising new market, a wider discussion of machine-scoring is vital if scholars hope to influence development and/or implementation of the programs being created. What is needed, then, is a critical resource to help teachers and administrators evaluate programs they might be considering, and to more fully envision the instructional consequences of adopting them. And this is the resource that Ericsson and Haswell are providing here.
Picture your twenty-first birthday. Did you have a party? If so, do you remember who was there? Now step back: how clear are those memories? Should we trust them to be accurate, or is there a chance that you’re remembering incorrectly? And where have the many details you can no longer recall gone? Are they hidden somewhere in your brain, or are they gone forever?
Such questions have fascinated scientists for hundreds of years, and, as Alison Winter shows in Memory: Fragments of a Modern History, the answers have changed dramatically in just the past century. Tracing the cultural and scientific history of our understanding of memory, Winter explores early metaphors that likened memory to a filing cabinet; later, she shows, that cabinet was replaced by the image of a reel of film, ever available for playback. That model, too, was eventually superseded, replaced by the current understanding of memory as the result of an extremely complicated, brain-wide web of cells and systems that together assemble our pasts. Winter introduces us to innovative scientists and sensationalistic seekers, and, drawing on evidence ranging from scientific papers to diaries to movies, explores the way that new understandings from the laboratory have seeped out into psychiatrists' offices, courtrooms, and the culture at large. Along the way, she investigates the sensational battles over the validity of repressed memories that raged through the 1980s and shows us how changes in technology—such as the emergence of recording devices and computers—have again and again altered the way we conceptualize, and even try to study, the ways we remember.
Packed with fascinating details and curious episodes from the convoluted history of memory science, Memory is a book you'll remember long after you close its cover.
Metaphors We Live By
George Lakoff and Mark Johnson University of Chicago Press, 2003 Library of Congress P106.L235 2003 | Dewey Decimal 401
The now-classic Metaphors We Live By changed our understanding of metaphor and its role in language and the mind. Metaphor, the authors explain, is a fundamental mechanism of mind, one that allows us to use what we know about our physical and social experience to provide understanding of countless other subjects. Because such metaphors structure our most basic understandings of our experience, they are "metaphors we live by"—metaphors that can shape our perceptions and actions without our ever noticing them.
In this updated edition of Lakoff and Johnson's influential book, the authors supply an afterword surveying how their theory of metaphor has developed within the cognitive sciences to become central to the contemporary understanding of how we think and how we express our thoughts in language.
The Nature of Truth
Sergio Troncoso Northwestern University Press, 2003 Library of Congress PS3570.R5876N38 2003 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
This convention-challenging suspense novel represents the next wave of Latino literature, eschewing the stereotypical story of poverty in the barrios or discrimination to explore the differences--and links--between righteousness and evil in the search for moral truth.
Helmut Sanchez is a young researcher in the employ of the renowned scholar Werner Hopfgartner. By chance Sanchez discovers a letter written in the 1950s by Hopfgartner mocking feelings of guilt over the Holocaust. Appalled, he digs into the scholar's life, determined to find the truth and finally uncovering the evidence of Hopfgartner's sordid past. Sure of his conclusions, Helmut decides that only one shocking act is morally correct. When he does, the consequences are immense, and the toll taken on his mind and conscience is amplified when one of his friends is wrongly accused of the crime-and is wrongly left to pay for it.
Intelligent and literate, The Nature of Truth breaks new ground in Latino literature, focusing on how a contemporary man of unique heritage--a Mexican-German who has come to America by way of Germany--navigates a complex moral universe and how his journey reflects the tension between justice and righteousness in American life.
Further information about the author can be found at his web site: <A HREF="http://sergiotroncoso.com">http://sergiotroncoso.com.</A>
As an African American woman born in 1943, Maxine Childress Brown possessed a unique vantage point to witness the transformative events in her parents’ lives. Both came from the South -- her father, Herbert Childress, from Nashville, TN, and her mother, Thomasina Brown, from Concord, NC. The oldest of three daughters, Maxine was fascinated by her parents’ stories. She marveled at how they raised a well-respected, middle-class family in the midst of segregation with the added challenge of being deaf.
Her parents met in Washington, DC, where they married and settled down. Her father worked as a shoe repairman for $65 per week for more than 15 years. A gifted seamstress, her mother gave up sewing to clean houses. Because of their modest means, Maxine and her sisters lived more than modest lives. When Maxine’s tonsils became infected, her parents could not afford the operation to have them removed. For her high school prom, her mother bought her a dress on credit because she had no time to sew. Herbert Childress showed great love for his young daughters, but events turned him to bitterness and to drink. Throughout all, Thomasina encouraged her girls, always urging them to excel. She demanded their honest best with her signature phrase, her flat hand raised from her mouth straight up in the air, “on the beat of truth.”
Perhaps no country in history has so directly and thoroughly confronted its past in an effort to shape its future as has South Africa. Working from the belief that understanding the past will help build a more peaceful and democratic future, South Africa has made a concerted, institutionalized effort to come to grips with its history of apartheid through its Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In Overcoming Apartheid, James L. Gibson provides the first systematic assessment of whether South Africa's truth and reconciliation process has been successful. Has the process allowed South Africa to let go of its painful past and move on? Or has it exacerbated racial tensions by revisiting painful human rights violations and granting amnesty to their perpetrators? Overcoming Apartheid reports on the largest and most comprehensive study of post-apartheid attitudes in South Africa to date, involving a representative sample of all major racial, ethnic, and linguistic groups. Grounding his analysis of truth in theories of collective memory, Gibson discovers that the process has been most successful in creating a common understanding of the nature of apartheid. His analysis then demonstrates how this common understanding is helping to foster reconciliation, as defined by the acceptance of basic principles of human rights and political tolerance, rejection of racial prejudice, and acceptance of the institutions of a new political order. Gibson identifies key elements in the process—such as acknowledging shared responsibility for atrocities of the past—that are essential if reconciliation is to move forward. He concludes that without the truth and reconciliation process, the prospects for a reconciled, democratic South Africa would diminish considerably. Gibson also speculates about whether the South African experience provides any lessons for other countries around the globe trying to overcome their repressive pasts. A groundbreaking work of social science research, Overcoming Apartheid is also a primer for utilizing innovative conceptual and methodological tools in analyzing truth processes throughout the world. It is sure to be a valuable resource for political scientists, social scientists, group relations theorists, and students of transitional justice and human rights.
Philosophical Standardism is ideal for bringing one of the field’s preeminent scholars into the classroom. In this novel empirical treatment of fundamental issues in philosophy, Nicholas Rescher propounds an unorthodox approach to philosophical doctrines that is predicated on the idea of standardism.
A fascinating collection of studies, The Politics of Truth and Other Untimely Essays explores the historical and theoretical underpinnings of personal liberty and free government and provides a trenchant analysis of the crisis of civic consciousness endangering both of them today. The book addresses a range of issues in contemporary political philosophy and constitutional theory. These are seen to be all the more urgent in importance because of the surging aspirations for liberty in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet empire and the post-Cold War anomaly of crisis, malaise, and disarray in free government itself in America and in other bastions of modern democracy.
While each essay can stand alone, there is an underlying thematic unity to the collection. The fundamental problem considered throughout is whether and to what extent the fall of communism may mark an epoch in world history. These questions are applied to the East Central European nations struggling to achieve free government and personal liberty. The elements required to identify the preconditions of liberty are addressed and specific attention is given to the terms of institutionalization in the American founding.
Several essays focus on American political thought, with emphasis on the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Two elements, in particular, are treated: the jurisprudential and common law background to the American political tradition and the centrality of religion within the unfolding of the American political experiment. Sandoz explores the uncommon alliance of philosophers, statesmen, and evangelists during the nation's founding. This alliance, nurturing communities of persons bound together by their faith and a mutual regard for one another, played a vital role in the establishment of the system of freedom under law.
Sandoz sees the tension between religion and natural law as a constant in the human struggle for freedom. That the preservation of liberty under law is no easy task is acknowledged and addressed as it can be seen in the American founding, in the post-communist struggle of East Central Europe, and in the deepening contemporary crisis of American society. Anyone interested in the "politics" of "truth" will appreciate this volume.
Cora Diamond follows two major philosophers as they think about thinking, and about our ability to respond to thinking that has gone astray. Acting as both witness to and participant in the encounter, she provides fresh perspective on the value of Wittgenstein’s and Anscombe’s work, and demonstrates what genuinely independent thought can achieve.
In 1928, after eleven years of extensive research and editing, Dr. Jacob Baart de la Faille finally finished the first catalogue raisonné of Vincent van Gogh’s work. Soon after, however, de la Faille discovered that he had mistakenly listed dozens of forged works as genuine in the catalog. He quickly set out to set the record straight but was met with strong resistance from art dealers, collectors, critics, politicians, amongst others—all of whom had self-interested reasons to oppose his corrections.
To this day, the international art world struggles to separate the real Van Goghs from the fake. A Real Van Gogh begins with the story of de la Faille and moves into the late decades of the twentieth century, outlining the numerous clashes over the authenticity of Van Gogh’s works while simultaneously exposing the often bewildering ramifications for art critics and scholars when they bring unwelcome news.
For Rousseau, "consecrating one's life to the truth" (his personal credo) meant publicly taking responsibility for what one publishes and only publishing what would be of public benefit. Christopher Kelly argues that this commitment is central to understanding the relationship between Rousseau's writings and his political philosophy.
Unlike many other writers of his day, Rousseau refused to publish anonymously, even though he risked persecution for his writings. But Rousseau felt that authors must be self-restrained, as well as bold, and must carefully consider the potential political effects of what they might publish: sometimes seeking the good conflicts with writing the truth. Kelly shows how this understanding of public authorship played a crucial role in Rousseau's conception—and practice—of citizenship and political action.
Rousseau as Author will be a groundbreaking book not just for Rousseau scholars, but for anyone studying Enlightenment ideas about authorship and responsibility.
Throughout the recent culture and science “wars,” the radically new conceptions of knowledge and science emerging from such fields as the history and sociology of science have been denounced by various journalists, scientists, and academics as irresponsible attacks on science, absurd denials of objective reality, or a cynical abandonment of truth itself. In Scandalous Knowledge, Barbara Herrnstein Smith explores and illuminates the intellectual contexts of these crude denunciations. A preeminent scholar, theorist, and analyst of intellectual history, Smith begins by looking closely at the epistemological developments at issue. She presents a clear, historically informed, and philosophically sophisticated overview of important twentieth-century critiques of traditional—rationalist, realist, positivist—accounts of human knowledge and scientific truth, and discusses in detail the alternative accounts produced by Ludwik Fleck, Thomas Kuhn, Michel Foucault, Bruno Latour, and others.
With keen wit, Smith demonstrates that the familiar charges involved in these scandals—including the recurrent invocation of “postmodern relativism”—protect intellectual orthodoxy by falsely associating important intellectual developments with logically absurd and morally or politically disabling positions. She goes on to offer bold, original, and insightful perspectives on the currently strained relations between the natural sciences and the humanities; on the grandiose but dubious claims of evolutionary psychology to explain human behavior, cognition, and culture; and on contemporary controversies over the psychology, biology, and ethics of animal-human relations. Scandalous Knowledge is a provocative and compelling intervention into controversies that continue to roil through journalism, pulpits, laboratories, and classrooms throughout the United States and Europe.
Seeking the Truth
Richard Reinsch II Catholic University of America Press, 2016 Library of Congress B908.B61R45 2016 | Dewey Decimal 191
This anthology of essays from the great nineteenth-century thinker Orestes A. Brownson will engage the reader with key writings from one of the most compelling American Catholic intellectuals. Brownson was a spiritual seeker who migrated through Presbyterianism, Universalism, skepticism, Unitarianism, and Transcendentalist thought, and finally at age 41 to Catholicism. Politically he found himself anticipating socialism in the 1830s, then, turning into a disciple of John Calhoun's states rights constitutionalism, and later he incorporated his criticisms of mass democracy into a unique philosophical defense of the Constitution that emerged in full bloom during the Civil War.
How do we come to trust our knowledge of the world? What are the means by which we distinguish true from false accounts? Why do we credit one observational statement over another?
In A Social History of Truth, Shapin engages these universal questions through an elegant recreation of a crucial period in the history of early modern science: the social world of gentlemen-philosophers in seventeenth-century England. Steven Shapin paints a vivid picture of the relations between gentlemanly culture and scientific practice. He argues that problems of credibility in science were practically solved through the codes and conventions of genteel conduct: trust, civility, honor, and integrity. These codes formed, and arguably still form, an important basis for securing reliable knowledge about the natural world.
Shapin uses detailed historical narrative to argue about the establishment of factual knowledge both in science and in everyday practice. Accounts of the mores and manners of gentlemen-philosophers are used to illustrate Shapin's broad claim that trust is imperative for constituting every kind of knowledge. Knowledge-making is always a collective enterprise: people have to know whom to trust in order to know something about the natural world.
In a new retelling of the romantic rationalist adventure of ideas that is Hegel’s classic The Phenomenology of Spirit, Robert Brandom argues that when our self-conscious recognitive attitudes take Hegel’s radical form of magnanimity and trust, we can overcome a troubled modernity and enter a new age of spirit.
Written for the ordinary consumer as well as for advertisers and trade regulators, this book aims to demonstrate how advertising can better serve its audience. Ivan Preston takes us down the slippery slope, from the high ground of honest product information to the unscrupulous bottom-of-the-barrel claims that are wholly false. Along the way he documents the subtle misrepresentations, half and lesser truths, and exploitations of our gullibility that abound in contemporary advertising.
Is the faith journey a matter of reflection, of emotion, or of obedience? Is there valid and convincing evidence that does enable human beings to assent to Jesus Christ and his message? What is the influence of cognitive assumptions and of affective tende
At one time in Europe, there was a point to pain: physical suffering could be a path to redemption. This religious notion suggested that truth was lodged in the body and could be achieved through torture. In Tortured Subjects, Lisa Silverman tells the haunting story of how this idea became a fixed part of the French legal system during the early modern period.
Looking closely at the theory and practice of judicial torture in France from 1600 to 1788, the year in which it was formally abolished, Silverman revisits dossiers compiled in criminal cases, including transcripts of interrogations conducted under torture, as well as the writings of physicians and surgeons concerned with the problem of pain, records of religious confraternities, diaries and letters of witnesses to public executions, and the writings of torture's abolitionists and apologists. She contends that torture was at the center of an epistemological crisis that forced French jurists and intellectuals to reconsider the relationship between coercion and sincerity, or between free will and evidence. As the philosophical consensus on which torture rested broke down, and definitions of truth and pain shifted, so too did the foundation of torture, until by the eighteenth century, it became an indefensible practice.
Current rhetorical and critical theory for the most part separates writing from consciousness and presumes relative truth to be the only possible expressive goal for rhetoric. These presumptions are reflected in our tradition of persuasive rhetoric, which values writing that successfully argues one person’s belief at the expense of another’s. Barbara Couture presents a case for a phenomenological rhetoric, one that values and respects consciousness and selfhood and that restores to rhetoric the possibility of seeking an all-embracing truth through pacific and cooperative interaction.
Couture discusses the premises on which current interpretive theory has supported relative truth as the philosophical grounding for rhetoric, premises, she argues, that have led to constraints on our notion of truth that divorce it from human experience. She then shows how phenomenological philosophy might guide the theory and practice of rhetoric, reanimating its role in the human enterprise of seeking a shared truth. She proposes profession and altruism as two guiding metaphors for the phenomenological activity of "truth-seeking through interaction."
Among the contemporary rhetoricians and philosophers who influence Couture are Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Martin Buber, Charles Altieri, Charles Taylor, Alasdair Maclntyre, and Jürgen Habermas.
Our emerging world system is bringing the great traditions and cultures it has spawned into ever more intimate and dangerous contact. Langan argues that we must struggle toward a unity of discourse respectful of genuine experiences of varying civilizations if we are to live peacefully on one planet.
"What a splendid book! Reading it is a joy, and for me, at least, continuing reading it became compulsive. . . . Chandrasekhar is a distinguished astrophysicist and every one of the lectures bears the hallmark of all his work: precision, thoroughness, lucidity."—Sir Hermann Bondi, Nature
The late S. Chandrasekhar was best known for his discovery of the upper
limit to the mass of a white dwarf star, for which he received the Nobel
Prize in Physics in 1983. He was the author of many books, including The Mathematical Theory of Black Holes and, most recently, Newton's Principia for the Common Reader.
Truth and Existence
Jean-Paul Sartre University of Chicago Press, 1992 Library of Congress B2430.S33V4713 1992 | Dewey Decimal 121
Truth and Existence, written in response to Martin Heidegger's Essence of Truth, is a product of the years when Sartre was reaching full stature as a philosopher, novelist, playwright, essayist, and political activist. This concise and engaging text not only presents Sartre's ontology of truth but also addresses the key moral questions of freedom, action, and bad faith.
Truth and Existence is introduced by an extended biographical, historical, and analytical essay by Ronald Aronson.
"Truth and Existence is another important element in the recently published links between Sartre's existentialist ontology and his later ethical, political, and literary concerns. . . . The excellent introduction by Aronson will help readers not experienced in reading Sartre."—Choice
"Accompanied by an excellent introduction, this dense, lucidly translated treatise reveals Sartre as a characteristically 20th-century figure."—Publishers Weekly
Jean-Paul Sartre (1906-1980) was offered, but declined, the Nobel Prize for literature in 1964. His many works of fiction, drama, and philosophy include the monumental study of Flaubert, The Family Idiot, and The Freud Scenario, both published in translation by the University of Chicago Press.
Truth and Irony
Terence J. Martin Catholic University of America Press, 2016 Library of Congress B785.E64M333 2015 | Dewey Decimal 199.492
Tapping into selected works of Erasmus of Rotterdam, this book offers a series of philosophical meditations designed to retrieve and deploy a distinctively Erasmian manner of thinking - one that is capacious in its perception, agile in its judgments, and unsettling in its irony. In purpose, it takes a philosophical route, addressing perennial questions of self-knowledge - what we can know and how best to communicate what we take to be true, what we ought to do or how we should live, and what we might hope for or what would offer us fulfilment. In method, however, this work taps into the various strategies of irony at play in the works of Erasmus, looking for guidance in handling these age-old questions. What readers will find in Erasmus is a knack for playfully reversing appearances and realities, a penchant for pushing disturbing questions relentlessly to the limit, and a skill for juxtaposing oddly matched opposites. Again and again, Erasmus presses readers to rethink these fundamental questions with dexterity and nuance, ever ready to appreciate the surprising and unsettling upshot of ironic insight.
"Gathered here is a selection of the essays [of] the distinguished Hungarian born novelist Stephen Vizinczey. . . . Taken together they have a weight and amplitude of a very high order. . . . What is most impressive about these essays (apart from their range and erudition) is the way that literature and life are so subtly intertwined with each other. The passion for the one is the passion for the other. As it ought to be in criticism, but seldom is."—Mark Le Fanu, The Times (London)
"If a critic's job is to puncture pomposity, deflate over-hyped reputations and ferret out true value, then Vizinczey is master of the art."—Publishers Weekly
"Stephen Vizinczey comes on like a pistol-packing stranger here to root out corruption and remind us of our ideals. He carries the role off with inspired gusto. His boldness and pugnacity are bracing and can be very funny."—Ray Sawhill, Newsweek
"Every piece in the book is good, and many are so good that, after dipping into the middle, I stayed up half of the night, reading with growing amazement and admiration."—Bruce Bebb, Los Angeles Reader
In 1995, South Africa’s new government set up the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a lynchpin of the country’s journey forward from apartheid. In contrast to the Nuremberg Trials and other retributive responses to atrocities, the TRC’s emphasis on reconciliation marked a restorative approach to addressing human rights violations and their legacies. The hearings, headed by Bishop Desmond Tutu, began in spring of 1996.
The commission was set up with three purposes: to investigate abuses, to assist victims with rehabilitation, and to consider perpetrators’ requests for amnesty. More than two decades after the first hearings, the TRC’s legacy remains mixed. Many families still do not know what became of their loved ones, and the commission came under legal challenges both from ex-president F. W. de Klerk and the African National Congress. Yet, the TRC fulfilled a vital role in the transition from apartheid to democracy, and has become a model for other countries.
This latest addition to the Ohio Short Histories of Africa series is a trenchant look at the TRC’s entire, stunningly ambitious project. And as a longtime activist for justice in South Africa and a former commissioner of the TRC, Mary Ingouville Burton is uniquely positioned to write this complex story.
In the medieval period, as in the media culture of the present, learned and popular forms of talk were intermingled everywhere. They were also highly mobile, circulating in speech, writing, and symbol, as performances as well as in material objects. The communication through and between different media we all negotiate in daily life did not develop from a previous separation of orality and writing, but from a communications network not unlike our own, if slower, and similarly shaped by disparities of access. Truth and Tales: Cultural Mobility and Medieval Media, edited by Fiona Somerset and Nicholas Watson, develops a variety of approaches to the labor of imaginatively reconstructing this network from its extant artifacts.
Truth and Tales includes fourteen essays by medieval literary scholars and historians. Some essays focus on written artifacts that convey high or popular learning in unexpected ways. Others address a social problem of concern to all, demonstrating the genres and media through which it was negotiated. Still others are centered on one or more texts, detailing their investments in popular as well as learned knowledge, in performance as well as writing. This collective archaeology of medieval media provides fresh insight for medieval scholars and media theorists alike.
In the Middle Ages, the heretic, more than any other social or religious deviant, was experienced as an imaginary construct. Everyone believed heretics existed, but no one believed himself or herself to be a heretic, even if condemned as such by representatives of the Catholic Church. Those accused of heresy, meanwhile, maintained that they were the good Christians and their accusers were the false ones.
Exploring the figure of the heretic in Catholic writings of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries as well as the heretic's characterological counterpart in troubadour lyrics, Arthurian romance, and comic tales, Truth and the Heretic seeks to understand why French literature of the period celebrated the very characters who were so persecuted in society at large. Karen Sullivan proposes that such literature allowed medieval culture a means by which to express truths about heretics and the epistemological anxieties they aroused.
The first book-length study of the figure of the heretic in medieval French literature, Truth and the Heretic explores the relation between orthodoxy and deviance, authority and innovation, and will fascinate historians of ideas and literature as well as scholars of religion, critical theory, and philosophy.
Political and civil discourse in the United States is characterized by “Truth Decay,” defined as increasing disagreement about facts, a blurring of the line between opinion and fact, an increase in the relative volume of opinion compared with fact, and lowered trust in formerly respected sources of factual information. This report explores the causes and wide-ranging consequences of Truth Decay and proposes strategies for further action.
Embarking on an ethnographic journey to the inner barrios of Havana among practitioners of Ifá, a prestigious Afro-Cuban tradition of divination, Truth in Motion reevaluates Western ideas about truth in light of the practices and ideas of a wildly different, and highly respected, model. Acutely focusing on Ifá, Martin Holbraad takes the reader inside consultations, initiations, and lively public debates to show how Ifá practitioners see truth as something to be not so much represented, as transformed. Bringing his findings to bear on the discipline of anthropology itself, he recasts the very idea of truth as a matter not only of epistemological divergence but also of ontological difference—the question of truth, he argues, is not simply about how things may appear differently to people, but also about the different ways of imagining what those things are. By delving so deeply into Ifá practices, Truth in Motion offers cogent new ways of thinking about otherness and how anthropology can navigate it.
Even before the controversy that surrounded the publication of A Million Little Pieces, the question of truth has been at the heart of memoir. From Elie Wiesel to Benjamin Wilkomirski to David Sedaris, the veracity of writers’ claims has been suspect. In this fascinating and timely collection of essays, leading writers meditate on the subject of truth in literary nonfiction. As David Lazar writes in his introduction, “How do we verify? Do we care to? (Do we dare to eat the apple of knowledge and say it’s true? Or is it a peach?) Do we choose to? Is it a subcategory of faith? How do you respond when someone says, ‘This is really true’? Why do they choose to say it then?”
The past and the truth are slippery things, and the art of nonfiction writing requires the writer to shape as well as explore. In personal essays, meditations on the nature of memory, considerations of the genres of memoir, prose poetry, essay, fiction, and film, the contributors to this provocative collection attempt to find answers to the question of what truth in nonfiction means.
Contributors: John D’Agata, Mark Doty, Su Friedrich, Joanna Frueh, Ray González, Vivian Gornick, Barbara Hammer, Kathryn Harrison, Marianne Hirsch, Wayne Koestenbaum, Leonard Kriegel, David Lazar, Alphonso Lingis, Paul Lisicky, Nancy Mairs, Nancy K. Miller, Judith Ortiz Cofer, Phyllis Rose, Oliver Sacks, David Shields, and Leo Spitzer
The Truth in Painting
Jacques Derrida University of Chicago Press, 1987 Library of Congress BH39.D4513 1987 | Dewey Decimal 701.17
"The four essays in this volume constitute Derrida's most explicit and sustained reflection on the art work as pictorial artifact, a reflection partly by way of philosophical aesthetics (Kant, Heidegger), partly by way of a commentary on art works and art scholarship (Van Gogh, Adami, Titus-Carmel). The illustrations are excellent, and the translators, who clearly see their work as both a rendering and a transformation, add yet another dimension to this richly layered composition. Indispensable to collections emphasizing art criticism and aesthetics."—Alexander Gelley, Library Journal
"The four essays in this volume constitute Derrida's most explicit and sustained reflection on the art work as pictorial artifact, a reflection partly by way of philosophical aesthetics (Kant, Heidegger), partly by way of a commentary on art works and art scholarship (Van Gogh, Adami, Titus-Carmel). The illustrations are excellent, and the translators, who clearly see their work as both a rendering and a transformation, add yet another dimension to this richly layered composition. Indispensable to collections emphasizing art criticism and aesthetics."—Alexander Gelley, Library Journal
Truth in Philosophy
Barry Allen Harvard University Press, 1993 Library of Congress BD171.A3855 1993 | Dewey Decimal 121
The goal of philosophers is truth, but for a century or more they have been bothered by Nietzsche's question, "What is the good of truth?" Barry Allen shows what truth has come to mean in the philosophical tradition, what is wrong with many of the ways of conceiving truth, and why philosophers refuse to confront squarely the question of the value of truth--why it is always taken to be an unquestioned concept. What is distinctive about Allen's book is his historical approach. Surveying Western thought from the pre-Socratics to the present day, Allen identifies and criticizes two core assumptions: that truth implies a realist metaphysics, and that truth is a good thing.
Reviews of this book: "Two related yet distinct questions are the central ostensible concerns of this book: what is the objection to a correspondence theory of truth?; why--if we should--should we consider truth to be the ultimate value? These questions are considered in the light of the work of six philosophers: Nietzsche; William James; Heidegger; Derrida; Wittgenstein; and Foucault...[A] thoroughly interesting and valuable book."
--Hugh V. McLachlan, The Philosopher
"A good, provocative, and important book. It explains the views of a set of important continental philosophers in a way that will be accessible to students...At the same time, this is not an attempt to sugarcoat continental philosophy for analytic consumption. The views Allen defends--clearly and effectively--are views that I myself am committed to combatting and that I am certain most analytic philosophers will want to combat. But that is all the more reason for reading this book."
--Hilary Putnam, Harvard University
"Truth in Philosophy does an excellent job explaining that there is in recent continental philosophy (Nietzsche, Heidegger, Derrida, and Foucault) a viable theory of truth. Allen's book has the additional virtue of providing this explanation against a remarkably clear account of the historical background of the ancient Greek and early modern theories of truth criticized by the late-modern and post-modern continental thinkers."
Thomas Remington discusses the methods used by the Communist Party to manage communications in Soviet society. Covering literature produced by Soviet scholars from the 1970s and 1980s, that studies the organization, content, usage, and impact of propaganda, Remington views how Party officials intrinsically manage the structure of the Soviet communications system, through rhetoric of both conservatism and reform.
In the last chapter of Walden, Henry David Thoreau proclaims a simple yet profound conviction: "Any truth is better than make- believe." Edward Galligan shares this conviction. In The Truth of Uncertainty: Beyond Ideology in Science and Literature, he argues that contemporary American critics should embrace literary truths with all of their ardent uncertainties rather than cling to the make-believe certainties of ideologies.
Postmodern critics fail to ask the truth-seeker's essential question, What does the evidence prove? and instead trust the generalizations and slogans of ideologies to guide their interpretations. Attempting to be up-to-date and profound, these critics lose sight of the literature they are supposed to explore.
The Truth of Uncertainty celebrates values commonly associated with modern, not postmodern criticism, applying them to contemporary works in a series of fresh and unusual inquiries. Galligan finds important implications for criticism in work from the physical sciences that are rarely touched on by American intellectuals, such as Gerald M. Edelman's Bright Air, Brilliant Fire: On the Matter of the Mind and Roger Penrose's The Emperor's New Mind: Concerning Computers, Minds, and the Laws of Physics. Likewise, he finds illumination in the works of novelists that American critics have largely ignored—Josef Skvorecky, George V. Higgins, Mary Lee Settle, Robertson Davies.
As a consequence of dealing with these "unusual" texts, Galligan presents a refreshing interpretation of a number of important concepts: language is grounded in talk; all literary criticism is subjective and tentative because reading is a highly subjective enterprise; and, most important, the world is real and any truth is indeed better than make-believe. He moves from a rejection of criticism in the service of ideology to an affirmation of criticism in the service of truthfulness.
The ideas celebrated in The Truth of Uncertainty are timeless and valuable. Galligan returns to the text and provides a penetrating critique of the state of contemporary criticism, which has abandoned truth for ideology. The result is an eloquent salute to literature itself.
Truth: Studies of a Robust Presence brings together groundbreaking studies of objective truth as a robust, philosophically consequential reality and a compelling presence in all areas and dimensions of human life.
Hegel's Phenomenology is considered by many to be the most difficult book in the philosophical canon. While some authors have published excellent essays on various chapters and aspects of the book, few authors have successfully tackled the whole.
In The Unity of Hegel's "Phenomenology of Spirit", Jon Stewart interprets Hegel's work as a dialectical transformation of Kantian transcendental philosophy, providing from this unified standpoint a case for Hegel's own conception of philosophy as a system. In restoring them to their larger systematic contexts, Stewart clarifies Hegel's individual analyses, as well as indicating the meaning and significance of the transitions and illustrating the parallelisms between the respective analyses. Many of Hegel's main themes-
universal-particular, mediacy-immediacy-are traced through the text, demonstrating Hegel's formal continuity.
By examining at the microlevel the particulars of the dialectical movement, and by analyzing at the macrolevel the role of the argument in question in the context of the work as a whole, Stewart provides a detailed analysis of the Phenomenology and a significant scholarly demonstration of Hegel's own conception of the Phenomenology as a part of a systematic philosophy.
Using the works of Dante as its critical focus, María Rosa Menocal’s original and imaginative study examines questions of truth, ideology, and reality in poetry as they occur in a series of texts and in the relationship between those texts across time. In each case, Menocal raises theoretical issues of critical importance to contemporary debates regarding the structure of literary relations. Beginning with a reading of La vita nuova and the Commedia, this literary history of poetic literary histories explores the Dantean poetic experience as it has been limited and rewritten by later poets, particularly Petrarch, Boccaccio, Borges, Pound, Eliot, and the all but forgotten Silvio Pellico, author of Le mie prigioni. By blending discussions of Dante’s own marriage of literature and literary history with those investigations into the imitative qualities of later works, Writing in Dante’s Cult of Truth presents an intertextual literary history, one which seeks to maintain the uncanniness of literature, while imagining history to be neither linear nor clearly distinguishable from literature itself.
Three years before his death, Michel Foucault delivered a series of lectures at the Catholic University of Louvain that until recently remained almost unknown. These lectures—which focus on the role of avowal, or confession, in the determination of truth and justice—provide the missing link between Foucault’s early work on madness, delinquency, and sexuality and his later explorations of subjectivity in Greek and Roman antiquity.
Ranging broadly from Homer to the twentieth century, Foucault traces the early use of truth-telling in ancient Greece and follows it through to practices of self-examination in monastic times. By the nineteenth century, the avowal of wrongdoing was no longer sufficient to satisfy the call for justice; there remained the question of who the “criminal” was and what formative factors contributed to his wrong-doing. The call for psychiatric expertise marked the birth of the discipline of psychiatry in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as well as its widespread recognition as the foundation of criminology and modern criminal justice.
Published here for the first time, the 1981 lectures have been superbly translated by Stephen W. Sawyer and expertly edited and extensively annotated by Fabienne Brion and Bernard E. Harcourt. They are accompanied by two contemporaneous interviews with Foucault in which he elaborates on a number of the key themes. An essential companion to Discipline and Punish, Wrong-Doing, Truth-Telling will take its place as one of the most significant works of Foucault to appear in decades, and will be necessary reading for all those interested in his thought.