‘Often it seems like different regimes of truth stand opposed to each other’, write Göran Dahlberg and Linn Hansén, introducing the current issue of Glänta, entitled ‘Sanningen’ (‘truth’). ‘We have thought a lot about avoiding far-fetched theoretical positions. No dumb relativism. No dumb objectivism. Though neither of these is particularly appealing, it is not easy to navigate between them.’
Postmodernism: One of the more benign offshoots of the post-truth phenomenon has been a revival of the old controversy over postmodernism. ‘Truth isn’t truth,’ claimed Donald Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, without being obviously influenced by either deconstruction or queer theory. And yet, argues historian of ideas Marci Shore writes, postmodernism does bear some responsibility for the emergence of post-truth politics.
While refusing any simple line of descent, Shore argues that postmodernism left the West philosophically and morally unequipped to deal with Putin, Trump, et al. The response to real communism among eastern European dissident intellectuals, she argues, provides better guidance on confronting the post-truth regimes of the present day than that of their contemporaries in the west. Read the article in Eurozine here.
The modern lie: Anna-Karin Selberg returns to Hannah Arendt’s dictum that ‘the deliberate denial of truth and the capacity to change facts are interconnected’. If the ‘modern lie’ is an ‘act that transforms history’, then modern truth-telling is to ‘bear witness from within the lie’, argues Selberg. ‘Introducing truth, in a situation in which it is erased, itself becomes a political action, no matter how unpolitical the witness is.’ But truth-tellers take a risk: ‘Since the liar is free to model their facts according to political interests and expectations, they will appear more credible.’
Also: Tormod Otter Johansen’s and Erik Björling’s inventory competing concepts of truth and their different functions.
More articles from Glänta in Eurozine.