Rights and Worlds: The Political Significance of Belonging

Rights and Worlds: The Political Significance of Belonging.  Paper presented by Shannon Hoff at Guelph University, January 17, 2014.

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Modernity is characterized by an assertion of the individual as a singular unit of significance and its various systems (political, legal, economic, and so on) have taken their lead from the idea of the individual as the bearer of rights. This modern prioritization of the individual, however, while a powerful accomplishment, is also problematic: it does not adequately recognize how the individual it prioritizes would itself point to other contexts of significance by which its identity is constituted and made meaningful. This paper will explore this basic tension between these two visions of selfhood – one expressed in terms of "rights" and the other in terms of "worlds". It will show how care for these basic worlds of significance is necessary for the very operation of rights, and it will point to various ways in which the significance of these "worlds" could be politically recognized and protected.

Truth Matters: Knowledge, Politics, Ethics, Religion

Truth Matters: Knowledge, Politics, Ethics, Religion. Lambert Zuidervaart, Allyson Carr, Matthew J. Klaassen and Ronnie Shuker, editors. McGill-Queen's University Press. January 2014

A pioneering study of why truth is important in philosophy, public culture, and everyday life.

Find it at: McGill-Queen's University Press

Also see: Truth Matters Interdisciplinary Conference

Why should we seek and tell the truth? Does anyone know what truth is? Many are skeptical about the relevance of truth. Truth Matters endeavours to show why truth is important in a world where the very idea of truth is contested.

Putting philosophers in conversation with educators, literary scholars, physicists, political theorists, and theologians, Truth Matters ranges across both analytic and continental philosophy and draws on the ideas of thinkers such as Aquinas, Balthasar, Brandom, Davidson, Dooyeweerd, Gadamer, Habermas, Kierkegaard, Plantinga, Ricoeur, and Wolterstorff. Some essays attempt to provide a systematic account of truth, while others wrestle with the question of how truth is told and what it means to live truthfully. Contributors address debates between realists and anti-realists, explore issues surrounding relativism and constructivism in education and the social sciences, examine the politics of truth telling and the ethics of authenticity, and consider various religious perspectives on truth.

Most scholars agree that truth is propositional, being expressed in statements that are subject to proof or disproof. This book goes a step farther: yes, propositional truth is important, but truth is more than propositional. To recognize how it is more than propositional is crucial for understanding why truth truly matters.

Contributors include Doug Blomberg (ICS), Allyson Carr (ICS), Jeffrey Dudiak (King’s University College), Olaf Ellefson (York University), Gerrit Glas (VU University Amsterdam), Gill K. Goulding (Regis College), Jay Gupta (Mills College), Clarence Joldersma (Calvin College), Matthew J. Klaassen (ICS), John Jung Park (Duke University), Pamela J. Reeve (St. Augustine’s Seminary), Amy Richards (World Affairs Council of Western Michigan), Ronnie Shuker (ICS), Adam Smith (Brandeis University), John Van Rys (Redeemer University College), Darren Walhof (Grand Valley State University), Matthew Walhout (Calvin College), and Lambert Zuidervaart (ICS).