Power Politics and the Making of Truth: The Medieval World of Knowledge and Being in Historiographic Metafiction (English Edition)


Power Politics and the Making of Truth: The Medieval World of Knowledge and Being in Historiographic Metafiction (English Edition)

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What if anything can we know and is knowledge obtained by experience or by reason?Can the complexity of existence ever be fully understood?Closely examined not all knowledge-systems have equal value in finding truth. Whether we gain knowledge directly or indirectly there are many different ways of knowing. We experience the world through universally acknowledged truths documented as facts that seem immutable whereas our personal truths are shrouded in subjective ambiguity. As part of the human condition beliefs and feelings can exist independently from facts. Consequently no one theory of truth makes sense of what we call ‘reality’ but we readily assume that reason is a better guide to action than feeling. Still the problem of self-deception looms large in appearances and judgements. Then must we silence the irrational voices inside and outside and make an effort to understand the complexity of our existence to save us from chaos? Umberto Eco continues the tradition of philosophical novels a genre in which scientific concepts logic and systems of knowledge form an essential part of the story. Eco explores the dichotomies between truth and falsehood belief and systems of knowledge reality and perception which can be subsumed under the categories of epistemology (the origin nature and limits of knowledge) and ontology (modes of experience the categorical structure of reality the nature or essence of individuals and objects). Set in the middle ages both narratives are filled with questions about what can be known to exist and the nature of and certainty about what does exist. Silas Mumford illustrates the connection between Eco’s postmodern metafictions The Name of the Rose and Baudolino in the light of Eco's numerous theoretical works. Both novels incorporate metaphysical and philosophical issues in a framework of fictionalized medieval controversies that engage with the nature of truth justifications for a variety of beliefs and the conceptual making of reality. The historical struggle between nominalism and realism between totality and detail and between empiricism and dogmatism makes for a philosophical tour de force.

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