4
ANTI-REALISM IN RELIGION AND MORALITY

Anti-realism rejects the correspondence theory of truth and maintains that what makes statements true is that they cohere or fit in with other true statements within a given form of life. The idea of justification or foundations for knowledge simply does not, antirealists claim, make sense. Rather, every form of life has certain ground rules which one is educated to accept and which, within this form of life, it does not make sense to doubt. For instance, until recently in the field of science the idea that natural laws always hold was accepted, as was the idea that there are no inexplicable events and all events have a cause.1 It was also accepted that the speed of light is an absolute and that time travel is impossible. No-one can prove these to be true, instead they are the basic presuppositions of the scientific form of life and, in the future, it is possible that they may be shown to be false -- just as many previously unquestioned assumptions of science have subsequently been rejected.

Take a statement like 'This is a chair'. There is no way this can be proved, instead everyone in our society accepts this because we have been educated into a form of life where we take this for granted. In Roman society, however, no-one would recognises what we call a chair as a chair, because they did not have chairs. In some African tribal societies certain areas are taboo and the spirits control every aspect of the life of the society. When a person dies, they join the other ancestors and individuals can intercede for the help of the

-38-

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What Is Truth?
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page III
  • New College Lectures and Publications V
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Dedication and Acknowledgments xi
  • Part One - What is Truth? 1
  • 1 - The Implications of a Denial of Truth--Or the Claim to Have It 3
  • 2 - Realism and Anti-Realism 12
  • 3 - Foundations Without Indubitability 29
  • 4 - Anti-Realism in Religion and Morality 38
  • 5 - Constructivism in Psychology 49
  • Part Two - There is No Truth Out There 63
  • 7 - Ontology and Epistemology 65
  • 8 - Hegel and Marx 74
  • 9 - Nietzsche and Ivan Karamazov 79
  • 10 - The Denial of a Real World 89
  • 11 - Post-Modernism 95
  • 12 - Post-Modernism and Self-Identity 105
  • 13 - Interim Conclusion 117
  • Part Three - The Centre Can Hold 121
  • 14 - The Path to Truth 123
  • 15 - The Kotzker 126
  • 16 - Soren Kierkegaard and Subjectivity 132
  • 17 - Wittgenstein and Perspicuity 141
  • 18 - The Sufis 151
  • 19 - Vaclav Havel and Living the Truth 156
  • 20 - Fear and Freedom 164
  • 21 - Bringing the Threads Together 182
  • Notes 190
  • Index 201
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