Trust and Truth

“A world of truth is a world of trust, and vice versa. In it, there is something larger than individuals seeking their own interest. Truth becomes the intellectual equivalent of a public space that we can all inhabit, whatever our desires and predilections. It was only when science developed ways of testing the truth of hypotheses by experiment, evidence and evaluation that knowledge became more than opinion and real progress could be made in this arena. Where there is honesty – truth and truthfulness – there tends to be law, order and prosperity. A respect for truth is essential for authority, collaborative endeavour and human graciousness. But it requires humility. I have to be able to recognise that certain facts are true even though they challenge my convictions. I have to acknowledge that there is something larger than me. What has happened in recent years is that the shrinking of the moral arena and the move from ‘We’ to ‘I’ has converged with the new technologies of communication to damaging effect. What was once a public respect for truth has been replaced by the noise of social media and the absence of any form of quality control on the Internet.”

Morality, Chapter 11, p. 167