Sunday, 5 November 2017

More Alternative Truths

 More Alternative Truths

As someone who taught philosophy for a couple of decades, I am regularly fascinated by attempts to define truth.

It is commonly assumed that the truth of anything is single and incontrovertible; all we have to do is find out what it is. Once we've done that, we can be quite confident that anyone holding an alternative view is just plain wrong.

But as Protagoras painstakingly explained to anyone who'd listen 2,500 years ago, that's not how the world actually works. Man is the measure of all things.

For example, since I live in Scotland I'm relatively unaccustomed to high temperatures. On holiday in Greece this past summer, I found the weather too hot to be borne and retired hastiliy to the air-conditioned cool of the Archaeological Museum. Outside, Greeks who found the weather no great challenge were engaged in strenuous physical labour repairing the road. So was the weather too hot or not?

Well, it was too hot for me and not too hot for them; we were both right and this particular truth turns out to be relative, not absolute.

Fast forward a couple of millennia from Protagoras and we find Spinoza comparing truth to a scene witnessed by different people through different coloured glass. This was the inspiration for ‘A Sonnet on Truth’ which appears in the forthcoming anthology ‘More Alternative Truths’ (see above.)

Although I’ve had poetry published before and once won the poetry competition held in association with my local Falkirk Tryst Festival, I’ve never before had a poem published in a paying market. I hope you like it.

Actually I was very surprised to make the Table of Contents here twice. The second piece is a short story entitled ‘Conspiracy of Silence’. This explores the perennial argument between the two groups of historians who, when I was at university, we used to call the Conspiracy School and the Cock-up School. Are recent events the outcome of someone’s dastardly plot or just another mess resulting from human incompetence? Well who knows?

I hope you enjoy this one too, as well as all the other pieces in this anthology inspired by recent events in US politics.

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