Reviews elsewhere on the web:
Guardian Unlimited
Thomas Scarborough
Andy Armitage
Independent.co.uk

Simon Blackburn

Truth: A Guide for the Perplexed

Philosophers have always been wary of the idea of 'absolute truth', but can one express a reasonable scepticism and yet avoid the 'anything goes' of postmodernism? In 'Truth: A Guide for the Perplexed', Simon Blackburn guides the reader through such issues. The book is based on a series of eight Gifford lectures that Blackburn gave in Glasgow in 2004. As such it is more of a discussion of the issues, rather than trying to give any definite answers, although at the end Blackburn does express a hope that those arguing about such issues will find much more common ground.

Blackburn looks at what has been said by a great many philosophers, and in particular he criticises those who have gone in for excessive relativism, for example Nietzsche and Richard Rorty. He shows that such relativism always seems to claim more than it can deliver - it leads to contradictory talk somewhere along the line. Blackburn's own position seems to be closest to what he calls minimalism - there is no difference between saying 'X is true' and just saying 'X', and so much of the argument is pointless. Overall I would say that if you want a gentle guide to these often contentious philosophical issues then you will find this to be a very thought-provoking book.

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Paperback 272 pages  
ISBN: 0141014253
Salesrank: 4431615
Weight:0.49 lbs
Published: 2006 PENGUIN
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Amazon.co.uk info
Paperback 272 pages  
ISBN: 0141014253
Salesrank: 48868
Weight:0.49 lbs
Published: 2006 Penguin
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Paperback
ISBN: 0141014253
Salesrank: 1503026
Weight:0.49 lbs
Published: 2006 PENGUIN
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Product Description
This volume is designed to set out some of the central issues in the theory of truth. It draws together, for the first time, the debates between philosophers who favor 'robust' or 'substantive' theories of truth, and those other, 'deflationist' or minimalists, who deny that such theories can be given. The editors provide a substantial introduction, in which they look at how the debates relate to further issues, such as the Liar paradox and formal truth theories.