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.
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.
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.
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.
- 344 pages
- 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
From this author
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