Truth has always been a central preoccupation of philosophy in all its forms and traditions. However, in the late twentieth century truth became suddenly rather unfashionable. The precedence given to assorted political and ideological agendas, along with the rise of relativism, postmodernism and pseudoscience in academia, led to a decline both of truth as a serious subject, and an intellectual tradition that began with the Enlightenment. "Why Truth Matters" is a timely, incisive and entertaining look at how and why modern thought and culture lost sight of the importance of truth. It is also an eloquent and inspiring argument for restoring truth to its rightful place. Ophelia Benson and Jeremy Stangroom, editors of the successful ButterfliesandWheels.Com website - itself established to 'fight fashionable nonsense' - identify and debunk such nonsense, and the spurious claims made for it, in all its forms. Their account ranges over religious fundamentalism, Holocaust denial, the challenges of postmodernism and deconstruction, the wilful misinterpretation of evolutionary biology, identity politics and wishful thinking.
"Why Truth Matters" is both a rallying cry for the Enlightenment vision and an essential read for anyone who has ever been bored, frustrated, bewildered or plain enraged by the worst excesses of the fashionable intelligentsia.
Jeremy Stangroom is co-editor (with Julian Baggini) of The Philosophers' Magazine and the successful philosophy books, What Philosophers Think and Great Thinkers A-Z. He and Ophelia Benson are editors of www.butterfliesandwheels.com.
1. The Antinomies of Truth; 2. Truth, Doubt and the Philosophers; 3. The Truth Radicals; 4. The Social Construction of Truth; 5. Politics, Ideology and Evolutionary Biology; 6. Wishful Thinking and Epistemological Confusion; 7. Institutions, Academe and Truth; 8. Why Truth Matters.