Political theorists Jeremy Elkins and Andrew Norris observe that
American political culture is deeply ambivalent about truth. On the
one hand, voices on both the left and right make confident appeals
to the truth of claims about the status of the market in public
life and the role of scientific evidence and argument in public
life, human rights, and even religion. On the other hand, there is
considerable anxiety that such appeals threaten individualism and
political plurality. This anxiety, Elkins and Norris contend, has
perhaps been greatest in the humanities and in political theory,
where many have responded by either rejecting or neglecting the
whole topic of truth.
The essays in this volume question whether democratic politics
requires discussion of truth and, if so, how truth should matter to
democratic politics. While individual essays approach the subject
from different angles, the volume as a whole suggests that the
character of our politics depends in part on what kinds of truthful
inquiries it promotes and how it deals with various kinds of
disputes about truth. The contributors to the volume, including
prominent political and legal theorists, philosophers, and
intellectual historians, argue that these are important political
and not merely theoretical questions.
Subjects: Political Science
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