Truth, rightness and educational research: discussing the relevance of Habermas’ concepts of truth and rightness in the context of the “post-truth condition”
Anniina Leiviskä (University of Helsinki)
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This paper addresses the relevance of Habermas’ notions of truth and rightness in the context of the contemporary “post-truth condition.” The paper challenges the rejection of the concept of truth that is characteristic of some epistemological positions employed in educational research and related fields. The paper argues that this rejection might fuel rather than help to resolve the problems that are associated with the post-truth condition and the many phenomena related to it. The paper employs Habermas’ distinction between objective and normative validity, and the attendant notions of truth and moral rightness, to demonstrate that the rejection of truth in some epistemological positions, including feminist standpoint theory, is based on philosophically problematic assumptions. Finally, the paper provides a defense of the concepts of truth and moral rightness by illustrating their epistemic and normative functions in scientific research and in the prevailing public and political culture.
Anniina Leiviskä works as a university lecturer at the Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki in Finland. Her research focus areas include democracy and democratic education, social and political inclusion and global citizenship education. She is currently starting a new research project “Democratic Education and Political Polarisation in the Era of Global Crises” (funded by the KONE foundation), which focuses on the current challenges of democratic education, including the climate crisis and the increasing political polarisation of democratic societies.
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