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|Print List Price:||£13.95|
Save £2.56 (18%)
True to Life: Why Truth Matters (MIT Press) Kindle Edition
|Length: 224 pages|
Top Customer Reviews
In Orwell's 1984, "the most terrifying aspect of the Ministry of Truth isn't its ability to get people to believe lies, it is its success at getting them to give up on the idea of truth altogether". Few of us will ever find ourselves in circumstances as desperate as Winston's, thank goodness, but, even for those of us relatively comfortably off in liberal democracies, there are more subtle forces at work, eroding our confidence when it comes to questions of truth.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
In a much needed work on the topic, Lynch argues that the concept of truth *is* important in one's personal and political life. The book proceeds by exposing the existing theories that have contributed to the attitude that the concept of truth is either unnecessary or insignificant, and providing specific reasons to tie truth to our desire for leading a full and authentic life.
Though previous reviews have claimed that Lynch's "politics intrude at several points," I would argue that any political color found in the book is merely supplemental, and can be taken or left aside from the central theses. Also, given that the book is intended to bridge the gap between the seemingly academic and the moral and political, some degree of commentary on current political events are a natural element to the book.
The takeaway is that the book is a stimulating read, and I would recommend it to anyone who either is interested in truth as a subject to itself, or is dubious/curious about its relation to everyday life.
True to Life attempts to make the case that not only is truth something good to strive for its own sake but also something necessary for a well-functioning liberal society. For each of his own arguments, Lynch presents possible opposing views as well as his refutations to those views. Overall, I think he makes a convincing case that the pursuit of truth is necessary because it is both instrumentally good and because it is good for its own sake. I will not pretend to be able to restate his case but I will attempt to add a couple of other reasons why the pursuit of truth is good. First, lying can become a habit, one that can become more comfortable with the more it is practiced. This can lead to decline in other virtues and an increase in other vices. For example, the person who gets comfortable with lying about why they are home getting late from work, while perhaps initially for no bad reason, may soon be tempted to engage in some other wrongdoing during the time that now covered by the lie. Second, lying deprives, in a sense, other people of the opportunity to exercise other good character traits. For example, being honest about a harm caused gives the offended person the chance to exercise forgiveness, compassion and understanding. Obviously that would not be the primary purpose of truth-telling, but the reality is that these characteristics are also ones that need introduction and practice for one to become "good" at them, as in to know when to exercise them properly.
That said, as a layperson, I found Lynch's book to be relatively easy to comprehend and appropriately challenging when the details called for it. I highly recommend it for anyone wanting a thorough understanding of the philosophical viewpoints on truth, both those that see it as a worthwhile pursuit, and those that do not.
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