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Post-truth Society: Toward a Dialogical Understanding of Truth

Media, Technology and Education in a Post-Truth Society

ISBN: 978-1-80043-907-8, eISBN: 978-1-80043-906-1

Publication date: 8 July 2021


The post-truth moment comes at a time of deference for epistemic authority, which has serious implications for democracy. If democracy implies an epistemology, attempting to live a democratic way of life implies a theory about the nature of knowledge among other theoretical aspects (e.g. political and ethical). At the time of ‘fluid modernity’, the post-truth politics of renouncing truth damages the foundations of democracy, for how could we proceed with a democratic way of life without truth as a common denominator for deliberation? While a defining feature of the post-truth era is its intrinsic relativism, Gellner (2013) warns this could lead to ‘cognitive nihilism’. Thus, it is imperative to (i) find our way back to reasonableness (based on both reason and emotions) based on a Freirean dialogic middle ground, instead of renouncing truth (that is any notion of truth), and (ii) critically discuss possibilities for various approaches to truth-seeking. While it is important to question the foundation and reasonableness of truth, two crucial issues arise: which theory of knowledge and whose theory of knowledge should be accepted as the epistemological basis of truth? Moreover, this chapter will argue that a more plausible notion of truth is neither one that is based on intrinsic objectivity nor intrinsic relativism, but one that is based on the relationship between objectivity and subjectivity; that is a relational (nor relative) and dialectic understanding of truth which does not rule out the existence of facts but questions the political constructs of facts. The final section of the chapter focuses on the application of the understanding of truth as a relational dialogical epistemology. While arguing for a dialogical theory of truth, the chapter also problematizes the predominant view of evidence-based research and policy and offers an in-depth discussion of how our understanding of the relational dialogical notion of truth can be utilized in the analysis of cases involving pro-active discrimination and affirmative action.



Portelli, J.P. and Oladi, S. (2021), "Post-truth Society: Toward a Dialogical Understanding of Truth", Grech, A. (Ed.) Media, Technology and Education in a Post-Truth Society (Digital Activism and Society: Politics, Economy And Culture In Network Communication), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 11-28.



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