Tag Archives: truth

Truth, Socratic Dialogue, Internet Threads, and Giambattista Vico

Giambattista Vico was, from 1699-1741, a professor of rhetoric at the University of Naples, and I love the open way that he ended his speech, “On the Study Methods of Our Time” (1709). It represents well the spirit of Italian humanism that … Continue reading

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Thinking about Nietzsche: does truth matter?

One thing that the religious fundamentalist and the secular scientist agree on is this: what is actually true matters. Or, as they say on the X Files, “The truth is out there.” I’m not interested in denying that the world really … Continue reading

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Existential Flungness in a Twilight Zone Episode

The first ten minutes of this Twilight Zone episode is Rod Serling channeling Beckett, Kafka, and Sartre. It’s very cool. Unfortunately, the rest of the episode is not on YouTube. I know the ending, though, and will tell you what it … Continue reading

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Robert Campin (1375-1444): the truth will out?

I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I get a “the truth will out” vibe from the paintings of Robert Campin—a sort of protective concealment-revelation cycle of some sort functioning as a subtext in at least some of … Continue reading

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You feel what you feel

And it’s okay to be honest about it. When someone says that your emotional response does not fit the situation, tell them about Meursault in Albert Camus’s The Stranger and share with them this song from the 1970s:

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Quote of the Day

Henry David Thoreau: Let us settle ourselves, and work, and wedge our feet downward through the mud and slush of opinion, and prejudice, and tradition, and delusion, and appearance, that alluvion which covers the globe, through Paris and London, through … Continue reading

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How I Combine Richard Rorty’s Atheist Pragmatism with My “Spiritual Agnosticism”

It ain’t easy, and it requires a bit of Kant and Kierkegaard to get there, but below is what I believe at this point in my life, and how I have arrived at believing it. First, here is what I … Continue reading

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Truth, Carrying a Torch, and Justice, Carrying a Sword, Pursue a Person Who Has Violated the Moral Law

In this case, committing a murder:   The painting, by the way, is part of the Getty Museum’s permanent collection. It’s titled, “Justice and Divine Vengeance Pursuing Crime”. I snapped the above image of it this weekend, while in Westwood. The painter’s … Continue reading

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Emily Dickinson on Telling the Truth

And, implicitly, on how to make art: Tell all the Truth but tell it slant— Success in Circuit lies Too bright for our infirm Delight The Truth’s superb surprise As Lightening to the Children eased With explanation kind The Truth … Continue reading

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I Love Richard Rorty

Richard Rorty on “Truth” (with a capital “T”) v. merely human democratic justification via rhetoric and persuasion:

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What Might I Substitute for Empiricism in Getting at the Truth of Ultimate Questions?

I would say nothing. I think that empiricism and reason are the best that we can do. So then why, as an agnostic, am I defending (in a previous post) Francis Collins’s explicitly theological gestures? Here’s why: I think that, with … Continue reading

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Once You Leave the Realm of the Empirical, How Do You Discriminate Between Non-Empirical Languages?

I think this is a very tricky question. Once you leave the sciences and the languages of empiricism that scientists speak to one another in, or once you come up against questions that empiricism cannot directly address (such as should … Continue reading

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Poem of the Day: Emily Dickinson’s “Tell the Truth but tell it slant”

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant— Success in Circuit lies Too bright for our infirm Delight The Truth’s superb surprise As Lightening to the Children eased With explanation kind The Truth must dazzle gradually Or every man be … Continue reading

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Ticket to Ride

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“New Day”: Will.I.am’s New Post-Election Barack Obama Video

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Distorted Recall and False Belief: A New York Times Essay on Why People Believe Weird Things

The following essay, titled “Your Brain Lies to You,” by Sam Wang and Sandra Aamodt, appeared in the New York Times on June 27, 2008:   FALSE beliefs are everywhere. Eighteen percent of Americans think the sun revolves around the earth, one … Continue reading

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