Post-Truth: Perspectives, Strategies, Prospects
Following the Brexit referendum and the election of Donald J. Trump as president of the United States, the Oxford English Dictionary elected ‘post-truth’ as its Word of the Year in 2016. Similarly, the Gesellfschaft für deutsche Sprache chose ‘postfaktisch’ ('post-factual') as the German word of 2016. Despite the interesting terminological difference, both institutes defined ‘post-truth’ as the situation in which public discourse is shaped by emotions, personal belief, or 'felt truth' rather than objective facts. Ever since, political commentators, journalists, historians, sociologists, psychologists, cultural critics, and philosophers have attempted to account for the various phenomena that characterize our 'post-truth era.'
At a time when the Brexit saga seemingly refuses to end and the first presidency of Trump is almost over, Post-Truth: Perspectives, Strategies, Prospects starts from the conviction that a better grasp of the post-truth phenomenon requires an interdisciplinary dialogue across different fields and perspectives. Together, we will consider the following questions: How have we arrived at a 'post-truth era'? How does it relate to other historical periods? How does ‘post-truth’ relate to other modes of counterfactual or fictional reasoning? How can we cope with, or even remedy the 'post-truth condition'? What is so great about truth anyway? And what, if anything, comes after ‘post-truth’? By connecting and deepening the existing but dispersed insights on this elusive topic, we hope to craft new, inclusive ways to tackle it.
The organizing committee consists of an interdisciplinary panel of KU Leuven researchers:
- Simon Truwant (Institute of Philosophy)
- Dick Houtman (Centre for Sociological Research)
- Ine Goovaerts (Centre for Political Research)
- Pieter Vermeulen (Literary Studies)
- Stijn De Cauwer (Cultural Studies)