"Fernandez-Armesto shows how - at different times, in different societies - people have tried to distinguish truth from falsehood; he also exposes the basic human assumptions about truth that have informed and determined these truth-telling strategies. All truth-finding can be reduced, he argues, to a few basic types, which have always been available, but which have been combined in varying proportions. These types are still useful. They can help us survive contemporary uncertainty and rebuild life after doubt."--BOOK JACKET.
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The pursuit of truth, says Felipe Fernández-Armesto, is "the quest for language that can match reality." He believes that the nature of that quest has never quite been fully understood; Truth aims to fill the void. He identifies four key methods of determining the truth--what we feel, what we are told, what we figure out, and what we observe--which are given poetic names such as "the hairy ball--teeth optional" and "the cage of wild birds." These four methods always exist together in every culture, although each one may be differently valued in different places at different times.
But Western philosophy after Descartes, in Fernández-Armesto's assessment, has been largely hostile to these ways of knowledge, and has steadily come to question the very existence of truth. His summation of post-Cartesian philosophy is a largely negative one, which veers dangerously close to ad hominem assaults. Nietzsche, for example, who "was praised too much in his youth for his superior powers of mind and never achieved prowess or position to match," is dismissed as "a sexually inexperienced invalid" whose philosophy was "warped and mangled out of his own lonely, sickly self-hatred." Pragmatism and existentialism, two of the 20th century's most important philosophical movements, are found inadequate; the former is "the philosophy of lovers of technology," while the latter "represents the retreat of Luddites and pessimists into the security of self-contemplation." But even though "philosophical subjectivisms, scientific uncertainties, and dumbing, numbing linguistics" have served to undermine the notion of truth, Fernández-Armesto believes, they cannot destroy it thoroughly. It seems that even in the face of relativism, truth will win out.About the Author:
Felipe Fernandez-Armesto has been a member of the Modern History Faculty of Oxford University since 1983. His many previous works include Columbus and Millennium.
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Descripción St Martins Press, 1999. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. 1st Edition. ## NEW book is clean, crisp, unclipped and unmarked. First Edition. First printing. Full number line. Dust jacket has minimal shelf wear. No marks in or on book. NOT A REMAINDER. Not ex library. Not book club. 257 pages. Index. Dust jacket protected in a crystal clear MYLAR cover. Unopened, unread. New First Edition. Nº de ref. de la librería 002799
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