Truth: A History and a Guide for the Perplexed
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Written by a renowned Oxford historian, this fascinating volume presents a global history of truth. Sharp and authoritative, Truth manages to touch every period of human experience; it leaps from truth-telling technologies of "primitive" societies to the private mental worlds of great philosophers; from spiritualism to science and from New York to New Guinea. In clear, lucid prose, this little book takes on an enormous subject and makes it understandable to anyone.
already known, with measurable neural effects. Routine patterns which match the model stored in the cortex stimulate a signal different from the alarm activated by unfamiliar input. Which came first? The binarist notion, or the monist? 'The tale is not mine,' said a character in a lost play by Euripides. 'I had it from my mother: how heaven and earth were one form and when they were parted from one another, they gave birth to all things, and gave forth to the light trees, flying things, beasts,
been mystical practitioners, however, who have described the experience of feeling cosmic unity through meditation - the technique of looking within oneself for truth - as well as through contemplation, which derives impressions from what is beheld, perceived or apprehended and dwells on them. Those of us who have not had mystical experiences find it hard or impossible to imagine what such a feeling might be like. The efforts of mystics to explain it do not always help. Sex acts are their cliches
Society for Psychical Research, founded in London in 1882, is striking evidence of the success of the movement. By their nature, the claims of spiritualism could not be demonstrated by scientific methods, but science could detect frauds; every exposure therefore served to reinforce the claims of mediums whose imposture escaped detection. In a series of what were acclaimed as dazzlingly successful seances from the 1860s onwards, Daniel Home appeared to achieve levitation and get musical
partly of his devising. Logic provides the most obvious instance. Logic is not the whole of reason, and the works of Aristotle are not the whole of logic. But his attempt to formalize the processes by which reason sorts out truths from falsehoods was hardly improved by any successor until the late nineteenth century. Even then the philosophers who developed logic beyond the point at which he had left it still used his work as a starting-point. To this day, for most people - in the kind of
he made surprising discoveries about natives' beliefs which seemed to oscillate, on a conventional scale, between sophistication and savagery. He found that they felt no reverence for the spirits of the dead and paid them no rites, except for a share of food at the annual yam-harvest, when the spirits, if angry, had power to disrupt the weather. People did, however, freely make jokes at the spirits' expense without fear for the consequences. As in nearby Tikopia, ghosts revisited the living in