Do We Live in an Era That is Post-Truth?

Adam Zyglis / Buffalo News

-John Searle

Delving into the nuances of the most recent presidential election, it's rather noteworthy to highlight Trump's triumph in pivotal states such as Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, and Wisconsin. These states, which previously sided with the Democrats, played a decisive role in swinging the victory in Trump's favor. Had Clinton secured these states, the overall election result would have tilted in her direction.

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Now, this observation isn't anchored in abstract metalinguistic commentary; rather, it's a simple deduction based on states, electoral votes, and the consequential victory. Drawing from the known facts about the electoral vote distribution and the constitutional prerequisites for presidential election, one can conclude that a win for Clinton in these states would have heralded her victory in the entire electoral race.

Drawing a broader perspective, for individuals with the capacity for metalinguistic reflections on truth, there's no dichotomy between interest in truth and interest in reality. Essentially, truth is invariably intertwined with reality. To articulate this insight more meticulously: it isn't insinuated that a genuine interest in reality necessitates the capability to make true assertions. Take, for instance, my dog. He's significantly influenced by real-world stimuli, yet lacks the linguistic tools to express truths. It's entirely plausible for beings to be engrossed in the real world without crafting true or false statements.

However, for those with a linguistic structure capable of mirroring reality, an affinity with reality intrinsically denotes an affinity with truth. Consequently, the idea of transcending into a "post-truth" era is tantamount to sidestepping reality itself. Any sentient adult, with any degree of interest in the world around, is fundamentally tethered to the concept of truth. As such, truth retains its perennial relevance in our discourse and understanding.

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Cite as: John Searle, Do we live in an era that is ‘Post-Truth’?, 1 Jour. of Pol. Th. & Philo. 87-95(2017).

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