14
THE PATH TO TRUTH

This book seeks to chart a path between the rocks of fundamentalism and relativism. It seeks to maintain that the passionate intensity of the former should be rejected and that the centre can hold.

In the first part of this book the anti-realist challenge to a traditional, realist approach to religious, moral and other truth claims was set out. It was argued that the attempt to prove the existence of God fails and that an appeal to revelation, by use of Reformed Epistemology, also fails. The obvious alternative is anti-realism or, in psychology, constructivism, which allows each religious group to claim truth and only to appeal to their own stories and traditions to substantiate this truth. Truth is then based on coherence within a specific form of life.

The second part began with Kant and traced a path down one divide in the intellectual road through Hegel, Marx, Ivan Karamazov and Nietzsche, which leads to post-modernism and an even more radically relative understanding of truth. This renders the whole idea of a real world absurd and, with it, all talk of God.

The task in this third part is to consider how religious and moral realist truth claims can still be made in the face of the challenges presented by anti-realism and post-modernism. The history of religion has included claims to transcendence which go beyond a transcendence located solely within the human psyche or community. Yet such claims seem increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to

-123-

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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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