This is the third in Delmarva Today: Writer’s Edition’s three part series on truth. In the first the nature of truth was discussed and what it might mean to live in a post-truth era. The second program focused on truth in civil society and how cultures develop when truth is denigrated. In today’s program, the focus is on truth and its relation to politics. Wilson’s guests are Don Rush, Adam Wood, and Michael O’Loughlin. Don Rush is Associate Program Director- Sr. Producer News and Public Affairs; at Delmarva Public Radio, and Adam Wood, is Chairman of the Department of English at Salisbury University, and chair of the Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure. Michael O’Loughlin is a professor in the Political Science Department at Salisbury University.
In her brilliant article “Truth and Politics” Hannah Arendt suggests that truth is neither given to nor disclosed to man but is produced by the human mind. She goes on to say that the modern age has assigned mathematical, scientific, and philosophical truths such as discoveries, theories, and axioms, for example to the common class of rational truth. This Arendt distinguishes from factual truth, the invariable outcome of people living and acting together. And because facts and events are the invariable outcome of people living and acting together and constitute the texture of the political realm, it is factual truth that is the realm of truth and politics. In a wide ranging discussion, Wilson’s guests will address three main questions about truth and politics raised by Arendt.
Are truths given or are they constructs of the human mind?
Is factual truth the domain of politics?
Is there a common understanding of factual truth that we can depend on?