Issue #2: Truth
In his short essay on truth, the Elizabethan natural philosopher Francis Bacon begins with: “What is truth? said jesting Pilate, and would not stay for the answer.”
Bacon’s point being, though we may ask for the truth, most people—in truth—don’t really want to know.
Nevertheless, we venerate truth as a virtue. Though what we mean by truth depends on the situation at hand. Some truths are facts: It’s true that water boils at 1 atmospheric pressure at 100 degrees Celsius. Other truths are values, such as the “self-evident” truths of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness listed in the American Declaration of Independence. In science, the quantitative data that grounds theories progresses understanding not by confirming an absolute truth, but by uncovering correlations and working to prove hypotheses false.
No matter the type, we all know that confronting the truth can be difficult if it wasn’t what you were expecting. So we often filter reality to find the truths that support our own. And if those can’t be found we may twist some other material into something resembling the truth. Stories with a sense of verisimilitude—or as the comedian Stephen Colbert calls it, “truthiness”—can sound right when they’re not.
Instead of turning from the answer, like jesting Pilate, it’s now easy to find facts that can be forged into armor rather than shared in good faith. And there’s plenty of people out there to tell you just the kind of truth you like.
So In this issue, we’re putting out a call for the truth. Whether it’s personal or universal, based in philosophy or science, an ideal form you remembered or a fact you discovered--Just tell us the truth.
Deadline: Dec. 1, 2017
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