On the erosion of democracy by truth

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

This article proposes a counterintuitive approach to the timely phenomenon of so-called post-truth politics. The article argues that the premise of a post-truth politics misdiagnoses the particular crisis of truth that now threatens to undermine democratic norms and institutions. Social and political appeals cited as prime examples of an allegedly proliferating “post-truth” mentality do not abandon truth; those appeals rationalize available forms of truth conducive to the legitimation of authoritarian power. They do so, the article maintains, by simultaneously undermining opportunities for pluralistic deliberation over conditions of truth itself and promoting extra-deliberative versions of truth (based on biological supremacy, historical destiny, or cultural heritage). In supporting these claims, the analysis shows how the spread of particular forms of truth (not the simple loss of it) can Erode democracies from within and, concomitantly, how authoritarian regimes may be invested in a regime of truth as much as any other sociopolitical system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)416-440
Number of pages25
JournalPhilosophy and Rhetoric
Volume51
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

Fingerprint

Erosion
Democracy
Deliberation
Destiny
Regime of Truth
Authoritarian Regimes
Cultural Heritage
Supremacy
Mentality
Legitimation

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy

Cite this

@article{8c970868259a44a6815ea67d2cb99d6b,
title = "On the erosion of democracy by truth",
abstract = "This article proposes a counterintuitive approach to the timely phenomenon of so-called post-truth politics. The article argues that the premise of a post-truth politics misdiagnoses the particular crisis of truth that now threatens to undermine democratic norms and institutions. Social and political appeals cited as prime examples of an allegedly proliferating “post-truth” mentality do not abandon truth; those appeals rationalize available forms of truth conducive to the legitimation of authoritarian power. They do so, the article maintains, by simultaneously undermining opportunities for pluralistic deliberation over conditions of truth itself and promoting extra-deliberative versions of truth (based on biological supremacy, historical destiny, or cultural heritage). In supporting these claims, the analysis shows how the spread of particular forms of truth (not the simple loss of it) can Erode democracies from within and, concomitantly, how authoritarian regimes may be invested in a regime of truth as much as any other sociopolitical system.",
author = "Vivian, {Bradford James}",
year = "2018",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.5325/philrhet.51.4.0416",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "51",
pages = "416--440",
journal = "Philosophy and Rhetoric",
issn = "0031-8213",
publisher = "Penn State University Press",
number = "4",

}

On the erosion of democracy by truth. / Vivian, Bradford James.

In: Philosophy and Rhetoric, Vol. 51, No. 4, 01.01.2018, p. 416-440.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

TY - JOUR

T1 - On the erosion of democracy by truth

AU - Vivian, Bradford James

PY - 2018/1/1

Y1 - 2018/1/1

N2 - This article proposes a counterintuitive approach to the timely phenomenon of so-called post-truth politics. The article argues that the premise of a post-truth politics misdiagnoses the particular crisis of truth that now threatens to undermine democratic norms and institutions. Social and political appeals cited as prime examples of an allegedly proliferating “post-truth” mentality do not abandon truth; those appeals rationalize available forms of truth conducive to the legitimation of authoritarian power. They do so, the article maintains, by simultaneously undermining opportunities for pluralistic deliberation over conditions of truth itself and promoting extra-deliberative versions of truth (based on biological supremacy, historical destiny, or cultural heritage). In supporting these claims, the analysis shows how the spread of particular forms of truth (not the simple loss of it) can Erode democracies from within and, concomitantly, how authoritarian regimes may be invested in a regime of truth as much as any other sociopolitical system.

AB - This article proposes a counterintuitive approach to the timely phenomenon of so-called post-truth politics. The article argues that the premise of a post-truth politics misdiagnoses the particular crisis of truth that now threatens to undermine democratic norms and institutions. Social and political appeals cited as prime examples of an allegedly proliferating “post-truth” mentality do not abandon truth; those appeals rationalize available forms of truth conducive to the legitimation of authoritarian power. They do so, the article maintains, by simultaneously undermining opportunities for pluralistic deliberation over conditions of truth itself and promoting extra-deliberative versions of truth (based on biological supremacy, historical destiny, or cultural heritage). In supporting these claims, the analysis shows how the spread of particular forms of truth (not the simple loss of it) can Erode democracies from within and, concomitantly, how authoritarian regimes may be invested in a regime of truth as much as any other sociopolitical system.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85062361570&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85062361570&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.5325/philrhet.51.4.0416

DO - 10.5325/philrhet.51.4.0416

M3 - Review article

AN - SCOPUS:85062361570

VL - 51

SP - 416

EP - 440

JO - Philosophy and Rhetoric

JF - Philosophy and Rhetoric

SN - 0031-8213

IS - 4

ER -