Arand discusses the relative nature of truth in this work of nonfiction.
Though many people think of truth as something that is fixed, objective, and eternal, Arand argues that it is anything but. Rather, he posits that truth is an evolving set of circumstances tied to and affected by the myriad variables of our mercurial human condition as well as biological and cultural evolution. “I propose a view that defines the meaning of a belief as a commitment to behave—to think, feel, or act—in certain ways with respect to certain objects or events,” he writes. “Consequently, meaning cannot be understood as something fixed by metaphysical properties like essences or ends. Rather, meaning is more or less elastic depending on the relative variance or invariance of the environmental backdrop against which this evolution has occurred.” The work is divided into two sections: the descriptive “What Can We Know?” and the prescriptive “How Should We Live?” The former deals with the evolving nature of truth, and the latter, with its implications for human morality, liberty, and responsibility. Central to Arand’s description of truth is the concept of “corrigibility,” which he defines as the capability of an institution—political, economic, academic, professional, etc.—to adapt itself “to the changing demands of the environmental conditions that constitute [its] raison d’être.” Arand coins a few other concepts—e.g., “essentialism,” “telism”—to describe his ideas, but for the most part he eschews jargon, writing in simple, accessible prose that even epistemological novices should be able to follow. He bolsters his argument with examples from the history of religion, philosophy, politics, and art, always explaining these references and sometimes supplementing his points with graphics and reprinted artwork. Though his ideas may not be shattering for the well-read, they are presented in a way that makes them digestible while demonstrating their meaningful application in the real world.
An accessible, enlightening rumination on the nature of truth.