The Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year for 2016 was ‘post-truth’ which they defined as: ‘Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.’ According to many commentators we are supposedly living in an age of ‘post-truth politics’, an age where public figures are seemingly immunized against facts and where the falsehoods, fallacies and contradictions contained within public utterances or even policy statements can be dismissed with a mere shrug of the shoulders. Furthermore, politics is more and more presented as a means of protecting, perhaps privileging, certain identities. As such, for many politics has become a zero-sum game where conciliation and discourse ethics takes a backseat to unbridled agonism and othering.
But are we in fact living in a ‘post-truth’ age? And furthermore, what might be the moral, political and epistemological consequences of speaking of our times in these terms?
These topics were the focus of PEACEcast Episode 3 – Post Truth Politics – where Dave talks to Dr Joel Harrison (law scholar) and Byron Smith (theological ethicist and environmental activist) about the concept of ‘post-truth politics.’ Can justice prevail without truth?
For our February PEACEtalk Dave Taylor and Byron Smith engaged in a public conversation about these issues and more – and a recording will be available soon.
About the speakers:
Dave Taylor is the founder and director of PEACEtalks and a regular speaker on issues related to politics and culture. Dave’s current research is on the work of Giorgio Agamben and how it can be related to areas of environmental abandonment referred to as ‘sacrifice zones.’
Byron Smith is a theological ethicist and political theologian specialising in the ethical and theological implications of climate change. Byron is also the assistant minister at Paddington Anglican Church.
About PEACE: PEACEtalks is a monthly event hosted by Paddington Anglican Church aimed at serving the community by promoting and cultivating deep conversations about life, the world and everything. ‘PEACE’ stands for ‘political, ethical, artistic & cultural engagement’. As such, our events seek to take all of these areas of our shared humanity seriously in a world where such things are often marginalized. We also seek to demonstrate the ways in which spiritual and theological reflection enable us to look at all of these important areas afresh.