Political theorists Jeremy Elkins and Andrew Norris observe that American political culture is deeply ambivalent about truth. On the one hand, voices on both the left and right make confident appeals to the truth of claims about the status of the market in public life and the role of scientific evidence and argument in public life, human rights, and even religion. On the other hand, there is considerable anxiety that such appeals threaten individualism and political plurality. This anxiety, Elkins and Norris contend, has perhaps been greatest in the humanities and in political theory, where many have responded by either rejecting or neglecting the whole topic of truth.
The essays in this volume question whether democratic politics requires discussion of truth and, if so, how truth should matter to democratic politics. While individual essays approach the subject from different angles, the volume as a whole suggests that the character of our politics depends in part on what kinds of truthful inquiries it promotes and how it deals with various kinds of disputes about truth. The contributors to the volume, including prominent political and legal theorists, philosophers, and intellectual historians, argue that these are important political and not merely theoretical questions.
Introduction —Jeremy Elkins and Andrew Norris From Nobel Lecture: Art, Truth, and Politics	 —Harold Pinter
PART I. OPINION AND AGREEMENT Chapter 1. Concerning Practices of Truth —Jeremy Elkins Chapter 2. Truth and Politics —Linda M. G. Zerilli Chapter 3. Truth and Disagreement —Robert Post Chapter 4. Speaking Power to Truth —Wendy Brown
PART II. AUTHORITY AND JUSTIFICATION Chapter 5. Cynicism, Skepticism, and the Politics of Truth —Andrew Norris Chapter 6. Democracy as a Space of Reasons —Michael P. Lynch Chapter 7. Truth and Democracy: Theme and Variations —William A. Galston Chapter 8. On Truth and Democracy, Hermeneutic Responses —David Couzens Hoy Chapter 9. Too Soon for the Counterreformation —Jane Bennett Chapter 10. Response to Norris, Lynch, and Galston —Martin Jay
PART III. DECISION AND DELIBERATION Chapter 11. Democracy and the Love of Truth —Bernard Yack Chapter 12. J. S. Mill on Truth, Liberty, and Democracy —Frederick Rosen Chapter 13. Can This Marriage Be Saved? The Relationship of Democracy and Truth —Rogers M. Smith Chapter 14. Democratic Politics and the Lovers of Truth —Nadia Urbinati
PART IV. TRUTH AND PUBLIC REASONS Chapter 15. Truth and Public Reason —Joshua Cohen Chapter 16. The Truth in Political Liberation —David Estlund Chapter 17. Truth at the Door of Public Reason: Response to Cohen and Estlund —Josiah Ober Chapter 18. Just Gimme Some Truth: A Pragmatist Proposal —Robert Westbrook
List of Contributors Index Acknowledgments
Jeremy Elkins is Associate Professor of Political Science and Affiliated Professor of Philosophy at Bryn Mawr College. Andrew Norris is Associate Professor of Political Science and Affiliated Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
"A welcome contribution to the ongoing debates in political theory regarding the troubled relationship of truth and politics. The contributors to Truth and Democracy are theorists who have serious and deep concerns with the subject and are struggling mightily with the paradoxes and conundrums they are presented with."—Thomas L. Dumm, Amherst College
"Truth and Democracy explores an important set of questions: Can truth be set aside or rejected in politics? If truth is to be considered, in what way should it matter and what significance would this have for democracy? The book contains strong work by a number of prominent scholars, and the alternation between extended reflection and critical reflection makes for a stimulating dynamic of engagement."—Keith J. Bybee, Syracuse University