Saturday, 21 May 2016

Thought 218: Factual and Philosophical Truth

In her essay Truth and Politics, collected in her volume Between Past and Future, Hannah Arendt makes a useful distinction between factual truth and philosophical truth.

I made much use of this distinction in my past blog post Factual Truth and Created Political Facts calling facts the raw stuff of political thinking, polemics and manipulation.

Whereas factual truth is what preoccupies analysts, philosophical truth is what preoccupies thinkers.

The two preoccupations are not of course mutually exclusive. 

The ability to tell factual truth I think would require great skill in terms of evaluating the veracity of information as well as observing external contemporary developments whereas the ability to tell philosophical truth would require a great amount of introspection and self-knowledge that nonetheless draws from external observation and interaction. 

Let it be said, however, that one's view of philosophical truth, whether conscious or subconscious, is likely to colour how one gets to grips with and interprets factual truth and thus how one analyses the contemporary climate. 

The converse also holds, i.e. factual awareness can colour one's philosophical worldview.