Analyse & Kritik

Journal of Philosophy and Social Theory


"Sophia Rosenfeld"

Titel: Are we Really Past Truth? A Historian’s Perspective
Autor: Sophia Rosenfeld
Seite: 265-283

The prevalence of the term post-truth suggests that we have, in the last few years, moved from being members of societies dedicated to truth to being members of ones that cannot agree on truth’s parameters and, even worse, have given up trying. But is this really what has happened? The author argues that, under the sway of the Enlightenment, truth has actually been unstable and a source of contention in public life ever since the founding moment for modern democracies in the late eighteenth century; the ‘post’ in ‘post-truth’ elides this complex history even as it accurately describes some of the conditions of our moment. What that means, though, is that rather than attempt to turn the clock back to past models and practices for restoring the reign of truth, we should be looking for new, post-Enlightenment paradigms for how to define and locate truth in the context of democracy, as well as new mechanisms for making this possible.

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Focus: Post-truth and Democracy
2021 (43) Heft 2

The concept of ‘post-truth’ has existed for a while, but after the Oxford dictionary named it ‘word of the year’ in 2016, it has permeated public and academic debates. Since then, it has become synonymous with the populist threat to the liberal-democratic order. The concept points to the impression that we are entering an age of decay in which the achievements of modernity—objectivity, science, rationality, and democracy—are being gradually replaced by emotionality, agnotology, irrat...

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