Must be a slow news day

Interesting. I’m told that Why Truth Matters was scheduled to be discussed on Classic FM this evening, on Newsnight. I don’t know though, I tried the Listen Again button but although I got the player and clicked on the sound button, I couldn’t get it to play. In the unlikely event that anyone is interested, there it is. (In the even more unlikely event that anyone would like to transcribe it for me, do feel free!)

Update: dear kind Arnaud did a transcript for me. (Or perhaps he simply made it up; it’s certainly pleasing enough to be a fantasy.) Merci, Arnaud.

John Brunning: Well next stop, Chris, a book on a subject I know is dear to your heart.

Chris Powling: Very much so. It’s called Why Truth Matters. It’s by Ophelia Benson & Jeremy Stangroom. Now, they are a couple of philosophers and they are taking on a subject which I have been turning in my mind for many years now. 25 years ago I took an allegedly, once again that very useful word, literature course which turned out actually to be about cod philosophy. We were talking about deconstructionism and postmodernism and relativism and all these “-isms”, most of which I suspected at the time were codswallop. So do Ophelia and Jeremy, thank goodness, and in WTM they are establishing the case for good, old-fashioned rationality. You need to get your facts right, you need to get your logic right and you need to put the two together in a valid argument. About time too, say I.

John Brunning : So not just a fascinating but also an important one, you’d say?

Chris Powling : I think it’s hugely important because of course what it does, really, is challenge the lazy notion that we can all construct our own truths and they are all equally valid, that a religious fundamentalist for instance is as likely to be right as an Oxbridge philosopher, which I think is an absolute nonsense, a complete nonsense and they expose it for what it is. What this book is, I think, is a redevelopment of that old 18th century enlightenment which had rather gone out of fashion. It’s good to see it back.

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