Greg Yudin 1, 2
  • 1 Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences, Gazetnyy Pereulok, 3-5, Moscow, Russian Federation 125009
  • 2 Princeton University, 304 Laura Wooten Hall Princeton, NJ 08544

Against the Tyranny of Truth

2023, vol. 22, No. 1, pp. 9–28 [issue contents]
The place of truth in the public sphere and public politics has recently been shattered, as evidenced by the rise of concepts like “post-truth”. Severe concerns about truth being defenseless in the face of the masses embracing lies gave rise to the fears that unchained democracy together with the newest communication technologies threatens the destruction of the rational public sphere. This paper proposes a distinctly political approach to the challenges that truth is facing. It draws on Gabriel Tarde’s idea of publics as crowds to direct the attention towards political experiences sustaining the prevalence of different sorts of lying and truth-denial in the public sphere. Hannah Arendt’s observations on the inherent tensions between truth and politics are employed to demonstrate that the imposition of truth can be tyrannical and trigger its rejection as a properly political rebellious response. The paper proposes to differentiate between two distinct political-emotional experiences behind anti-truth politics, those of truth-rejection and truth-hostility, the latter resulting from a massive depoliticization and filled with cynicism and nihilism. It is argued that attempts to protect truth by extra-political means misapprehend the causes of resistance against truth, and are likely to result in the more destructive reactions. The paper hints at the need for re-establishing the political legitimacy of truth.
Citation: Yudin G. (2023) Against the Tyranny of Truth [Against the Tyranny of Truth]. The Russian Sociological Review, vol. 22, no 1, pp. 9-28 (in Russian)
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