Truth's Debt to Value

David Weissman

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Is something true because we believe it to be so or because it is true? How can a culturally bound community achieve scientific knowledge when values, attitudes, and desires shape its beliefs? In this book an eminent philosopher considers various schools of thought on the nature of truth. David Weissman argues that truth exists in the correspondence between statement and fact: what can be said about our world can be measured against a reality that has a character and existence independent of any property we ascribe to it.

Weissman begins by evaluating the transcendental paradigm of Kant that has exercised enormous influence in the development of Western thought over the past two hundred years. He develops his critique of the Kantian model, in which value judgments underlie the perception or construction of truth, asserting that it is seriously flawed because it renders a determination of truth impossible. Weissman examines various value-driven perspectives on truth developed by such philosophers as Foucault, Derrida, and Rorty, for whom truth is only the set of affirmations, principles, and procedures sanctioned by power and value. However, says Weissman, truth is the required adjunct to desire. Knowing who we are, where we have been, and the consequences of what we have done is the essential preparation for choosing what to do next. We must respect the integrity of a world we have not made and find our way within it with the help of attitudes and desires that have been informed by truth.

David Weissman is professor of philosophy at City University of New York. 

"A tour de force. This book is unique in the sense that Dewey's Experience and Nature or Royce's The World and the Individual are unique. It is a must for anyone engaged in contemporary metaphysical discourse."—Jude Dougherty, Catholic University of America

"Weissman has put his finger on a genuinely central issue in the current philosophical scene, and his competence in both Anglo-American and continental European philosophy makes him a player very much worth reading and watching."—Joseph Margolis, Temple University

"Truth's Debt to Value is a stone kicking realist's percussive reaction to antirealist metaphysics and theories of truth."—Adam Kovach, Canadian Philosophical Review

ISBN: 9780300124804
Publication Date: July 28, 1993
368 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
Discourse on the Method and Meditations on First Philosophy

René Descartes; Edited by David Weissman; Essays by William

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