Truth with a capital T

December 6, 2002

As is shown by Ray Monk's review of Bernard Williams's Truth and Truthfulness ("Up against a tide of denial", THES , November 29), academic philosophers are once again busy fabricating a muddle about truth.

Pitting "defenders" of truth against its alleged "deniers" is a silly and partisan way of putting the issue, except for extremists on both sides.

To claim that what counts as true has to be contextualised according to the occasion is not a denial of truth but a commonsensical lesson of experience in human communication.

"True" is an everyday word with everyday uses that few of us in practice find perplexing. If the 21st century kicks off by trying to resurrect the grand old "problem" of Truth-with-a-capital-T, we are in for a philosophically boring millennium.

Roy Harris
Oxford

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