What does truth mean in the aftermath of this post-fact election? Philosophers from Foucault to Derrida taught a generation to distrust claims of empirical truth, and now a new generation of spin doctors and aggressive political campaigners have emerged to ensure the lesson sticks in the mind of the American public. Do we need to reclaim the truth from those who manipulate the facts for their own ends? Or should we accept the mantra of freshman philosophy students: ‘Nothing is true.’
In this debate from the Institute of Art and Ideas, eminent American philosopher John Searle, perhaps best known for his ‘Chinese Room’ argument, post-postmodernist Hilary Lawson and Historian of Ideas Hannah Dawson attempt to reclaim truth for the common people.