Searle vs Lawson: After the End of Truth

Searle vs Lawson: After the End of Truth – part 1

Is there such a thing as objective truth? One of the world’s most influential analytic philosophers defends realism and philosophy’s classical values.
John Searle | American philosopher noted for his seminal work in the philosophy of language and mind.

Searle 39 2

Read the alternative perspective on the existence of objective truth from post-realist philosopher Hilary Lawson here.

I have been a professional teacher of philosophy now for 60 years. One persistent philosophical confusion I have discovered is the temptation among intelligent undergraduates to adopt a conception of relativism about truth. It’s not easy to get a clear statement of relativism, but the general idea is something like this: there is no such thing as objective truth. All truth statements are made from a perspective and the perspective is inherently subjective and the result is that truth is always relative to the interests of the truth-staters. So what is true for me is true for me, and what is true for you is true for you. Each of us has a right to our own truth.

Part of the appeal of this view is that is seems both empowering and democratic. It is empowering because I get to decide what is true for me, and democratic because everybody else has the right to decide what is true for them.

I think this view cannot be stated coherently, and what I want to do is to expose its incoherence.


Photograph of John Searle

Photograph of John Searle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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