Four people with radically differing worldviews meet on a train and start talking about what they believe in. Even though they talk about a completely mundane subject, soon their conversation turn into a lively discussion that varies from cold logical deduction to heated personal confrontations. Each one starts out with certainty that they are right, but not for long. In a tradition dating back to Plato, Timothy Williamson utilizes a fictional dicussion in order to examine questions about truth and lies, knowledge and belief. In a tradition that dates back to Plato, Timothy Williamson utilizes the form of conversation to explore questions regarding truth and lies, knowledge and belief. Is truth always relative to perspective? Is every opinion flawed? Similar ideas were used in the fight against dogmatism and intolerance, but are they compatible with a serious understanding of every opposing viewpoint? Tetralogue is written in an understandable language, it doesn’t require any prior knowledge of philosophy, and presents its problems simply and accessibly. Is one viewpoint truly right, and the other wrong? It is up to the reader to decide.
Even though the author rarely uses philosophical terms, barely mentions great philosophers, and keeps the discussion constantly focused on the same trivial theme, he successfully demonstrates a few important, foremost cognitive and theoretical principals of modern philosophy. Philosophical viewpoints are not explicated. Instead, they are naturally and intuitively profiled through a complex dialogical game of claims and opposing views, statements of claims and searching for counterarguments through claims.
Even though a good philosophical argument can, in principle, by an unlucky chain of events, have negative political consequences, this is uncommon. In the long run, philosophical confusion is unlikely to offer a secure basis for firm political values. Instead it opens too much space for opportunistic interpretations which can serve the interests of a certain politicians. Moreover, a political value such as tolerance cannot be unlimited because, without an appropriate understanding of its basis, we end up in a bad position for determining its limits. Philosophers are better for politics when they maintain their intellectual sincerity and don’t agree to self-censorship. Speculating about political consequences is a dangerous path for philosophers.
- ISBN: 978-953-369-005-6
- Original title: Tetralogue: I'm Right, You're Wrong
- Dimensions: 136 × 210 mm
- Year of the edition: 2022
- Number of pages: 160
- Cover: paperback
- Original language: English
- Translation: Martina Blečić