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Thursday, April 30, 2009
By Steven L. Taylor

How would you interpret the following statement?

”It is a piece of idle sentimentality that truth, merely as truth, has any inherent power denied to error, of prevailing against the dungeon and the stake’

I am honestly curious.

Bonus points if you can name the source (without resorting to looking it up, that is).

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4 Responses to “A Quiz for the Audience”

  1. Brett Says:

    I think you could say that there is nothing inherent about truth that prevents it from being suppressed any more than error. That it, people are equally willing to die for truths as errors, and repression works against them both.

    But later, also, the esteemed author says: “The real advantage which truth has consists in this, that when an opinion is true, it may be extinguished once, twice, or three times, but in the course of ages, there will generally be found persons to rediscover, until some of its reappearances falls on a time when from favourable circumstances it escapes persecution until it has made such head as to withstand all subsequent attempts to suppress it.”

    In other words, the propagation of truth has just as much chance of being squelched by suppression as that of error. There is no teleological element of truth that makes its acceptance inevitable or its ability to withstand suppression better. What allows truth to flourish is that, if it really is true, it will be there at some later time for someone else to rediscover.

  2. Ratoe Says:

    God that’s impenetrable.

    My first thought was that it was a French post-structuralist, but I was forced to look on the google to tell me I was off base.

    I won’t give it away!

  3. cynicalone Says:

    My guess – Someone that espouses utilitarianism.
    To be honest, the quotations in Brett’s comment pushed me in that direction.

  4. Leonard Says:

    To me, it says that the “inherent power” lies in the effectiveness of the sales pitch, not the quality of the product. Machiavellian marketing at its finest.

    [...Googling the phrase...]

    Not particularly surprised at the source, though I wouldn’t have guessed.


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