- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Penguin (25 May 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0141014253
- ISBN-13: 978-0141014258
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.6 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 226,806 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Truth: A Guide for the Perplexed Paperback – 25 May 2006
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"Blackburn's lively new book 'Truth: A Guide' will challenge and surprise you.... The great achievement of 'Truth' is to encapsulate the major lines of argument on this intractable question within the covers of a book you can read in a day or two. His chapter on Nietzsche, the fountainhead of modern philosophy and the patron saint of relativism, is worth the price of admission by itself."--Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com"Admirably sketching the battle lines currently staked out over the idea of objective truth, [Blackburn] makes his subject lively and accessible even as he parts some of its deepest waters.... Blackburn considers truth 'the most exciting and engaging issue in the whole of philosophy, ' and, with wit and erudition, he succeeds in proving that point."--Publishers Weekly"Fluid, highly literate, and deeply informed.... Highly recommended for academic philosophy and literature collections. --Library Journal"Gently leads the reader on a guided tour of one s
About the Author
Simon Blackburn is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cambridge, and one of the most widely respected philosophers of our time. He is the author of many influential books, including the best-selling Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy (1994), Think (1999) and Being Good: A Short Introduction to Ethics (2001). He edited the prestigious philosophy journal MIND from 1984 to 1990. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and a frequent contributor to New Republic, and to discussion programmes on Radio 4 in the UK, and reviews for The Independent and The Sunday Times.
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Top Customer Reviews
This conflict between an absolutist perspective and a relativistic perspective is first found in the dialogues of Plato. In one sense these perspectives are spectrums of opinion, and what Blackburn calls the simplistic end, I would call the most assertive, so for example a fundamentalist approach which requires the establishment of an interpretive authority which determines its own prerogative to assert that the truth is the most literal interpretation – which not only excludes any other interpretation and any other self-appointed body that claims its own prerogative is seen as heretical. Equally, the relativistic extreme is a distortion of the recognition that people may have their own opinions, in so far as those opinions are seen as ‘truth’ and that each individual has a prerogative to proclaim them as such. So where can there be any certainty, and while those politicians who have lied to us, have to live with their lie – for which of course you need a really thick skin, the rest of us have to live with the consequences of the lie that were never considered.Read more ›
Chapter 1 - "Faith, Belief and Reason" - draws in three more similarly abused and important terms. While this might seem to be multiplying our difficulties before we have begun, these are all connected and their meanings interdependent. People either give reasons for or have faith in the truth of any particular belief. That sounds simple, inclusive and nicely symmetrical, and surely covers all bases. The harmony is an illusion. The absolutist, often of a religious temperament, cannot resist the allure of dogma, while relativism "chips away at our right to disapprove of what anybody says." Both sides bicker over questions of authority.Read more ›
Of course these are caricatures but they represent extreme poles in the controversy. Blackburn does a pretty good job of debunking the religionists pretentions and not a bad job of knocking the postmodernists (mainly Rorty). Truth really is as simple as we thought it was and, yes, it is still worth a lot. On the way Blackburn gives us a fair summary of Hume, Nietzsche and Davidson (all worth knowing well).
Well worth a read, especially if you are interested in the idea of truth - as I am - but even if you are just interested in philosophical controversy.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent book - leads you through an enquiry that will really make you think.Published 12 months ago by mr_pod
Takes you through the ancient and modern philosophical attempts to nail down truth, discusses the merits and flaws as you move through the centuries and suggests the most... Read morePublished on 17 Dec. 2012 by John R Holmes
Lucid, thought provoking treatise. A good start for those seeking truth, rather than those who have their 'truths' provided for them by some form of superstition.Published on 4 Nov. 2009 by A. J. Davies