Lecture 18: November 16 , 2011 (PHL217H1)
1. Ordinary testimony and extraordinary events
2. The banality of lies? Hannah Arendt in Public
- She is a Jew. She was from early on a public intellectual and was both
widely read and widely attacked. The attack characterised of her
being a self hating Jew. Arendt responded to these controversies using
- Arendt says in “truth and politics” modern political lies deals with
things that are not secret but open to all.
3. Impotent truth vs. deceitful power: a thought experiment
- The complete substitution of lie for modern reality becomes plausible.
- The decisive condition does not exist; this would be a power
- Factual truth becomes more malleable to distortion through lying and
- Organized lying was never suspected as being an adequate threat to
- Superstition was more feared.
- Traditional lies concerned particulars and were never meant to
deceive everyone; only intended for specific circumstances and to
people who knew they were lying.
4. The vulnerability of factual truth
- The two kinds of factual truth; historical truth and rational truth
- Arendt lists four reasons which are Truth discovered by the mind
(rational truth), second reason is there is not reason a particular
human event hap