Naomi’s Review of Handling Truth: Navigating the Riptides of Rhetoric, Religion, Reason, and Research
September 15, 2015
This was a really quick read. I found the argument that these four categories of truth are fundamentally independent and cannot challenge each other’s domains to be difficult, but also pretty accurate. I read this for a grad school class on transitional justice where we discussed how to understand other people’s point of view based on their “type” of truth (3 Stars).
Review of Handling Truth: Navigating the Riptides of Rhetoric, Religion, Reason, and Research
This was a very interesting book. It is instructive to consider that “truth” means different things in different arenas. The author does a great job of articulating what truth may mean in different contexts, and what the context means to those who want to challenge the validity of the truth as seen by another. (John Fredrickson’s 5 star review, July, 2013)
Plato’s Cave – The Orlando Philosophy Meetup Group – discussed the concept of four domains of truth as outlined in Handling Truth: Navigating the Riptides of Rhetoric, Religion, Reason, and Research. See a discussion of the four domains (i.e., Rhetorica, Mystica, Logica, and Empirica) by Steve S. and Swami:
SAMJ Editorial about Handling Truth: Navigating the Riptides of Rhetoric, Religion, Reason, and Research.
By William Melvin Gardner. Pp. 192. $12.95 (paperback), $9.95 (ebook for Kindle and Nook). Logica Books. 2012. ISBN 978-0-9761875-1-6 and 978-0-9761875-2-3, respectively. Information and contact available at: handlingtruth.com
Do not tell a patient that they have cancer–they cannot handle this and behave inappropriately. This was the gist of the teaching of my mentor, Professor Jannie Louw, when I was a medical student. This book does not deal with such, now outdated, patient-related specifics, but with the four main domains of truth. These concepts are most helpful when we, as medical scientists, find ourselves perplexed by people (and our patients) latching onto other beliefs rather than taking our advice. Gardner’s descriptions of the domains of truth: rhetorica, mystica, logica and empirca, are an easy read and help us to make sense of why and how people differ in their views of the world. (thefreelibrary.com)
J P de V van Niekerk
Managing editor, SAMJ
Thomas Horan’s Review Handling Truth: Navigating the Riptides of Rhetoric, Religion, Reason, and Research (for Amazon)
“Something a little bit astonishing:”
“Self-published, I assume, it’s something of a gift from the gods; straightforward, plainly written, lovely in that way you know you must have articulated these simple things before, you just can’t quite remember doing it. And they are crucial things.”
“He [William Melvin Gardner] has an important argument to convey; he does it well; it’s crucially important. I hope it sells millions and goes to every high school senior, and every person in political and religious and scientific office in the country.” (Amazon: May 2, 2013)
Kyle Connors’ review
of Handling Truth: Navigating the Riptides of Rhetoric, Religion, Reason, and Research by William Melvin Gardner:
“I sense a paradigm shift in my future:”
“Although I’m not 100% sold on what Mr. Gardner has to say in this book it has me thinking. Any book that can get me to question the current way I think about things is certainly worth reading. These 4 domains of Truth are cultural, and I would imagine some cognitive dissonance must be navigated through when re-framing reality into Mr. Gardner’s truths. What’s best about this book is how accessible it is; it can be very hard to digest certain books (especially after a long day at work), but I can understand and retain it all. A delight to read. Highly recommended!” (Amazon: March 20, 2013)
William Melvin Gardner (author of Handling Truth: Navigating the Riptides of Rhetoric, Religion, Reason, and Research) was interviewed on Saturday, April 20th, at 3:00 on WBAI Radio in NYC. The program was “Equal Time from Freethought,” and the interviewer was Xaquri Rzetelny. The 53-minute interview can be replayed from the WBAI archives:
Review of Handling Truth: Navigating the Riptides of Rhetoric, Religion, Reason, and Research for Skeptical Inquirer (November-December, 2012) by Richard Bond.
Richard Bond writes, “He [Gardner] has a unique ability to take a complex philosophical topic and make it clear and readily understandable;” and he ends his review with, “Handling Truth should be of interest to anyone in psychology or politics, as well as those who have an interest in philosophy.”
Underlying theme of William Melvin Gardner’s Handling Truth: Navigating the Riptides of Rhetoric, Religion, Reason, and Research.
Disputes between the four domains of truth are inevitable, and the resulting controversies endure simply because they cannot be resolved. The domains can coexist, even within a single head, but their differences can- not be reconciled. To the extent we wish to dwell or travel in multiple domains, we must learn to accept irreconcilable truths.
Final assessment of the human predicament as we enter the 21st Century.
Handling Truth: Navigating the Riptides of Rhetoric, Religion, Reason, and Research (2012) by William Melvin Gardner.
So the Information Express roars into the twenty-first century, destination unknown. We all have a one-way ticket and a seat by the window; we are going somewhere together, at a faster and faster pace. Where are we heading? Should we try to slow down, to return to the search for truth, or must we speed onward, gathering more and more unvetted information?
To the extent we wish to search for truth in more than one domain, we must learn to accept contradictory truths. If we expect truth to be universally accepted, we will remain blind to the primary and enduring source of these contradictions and disagreements. Only when we understand and respect the borders and rules of all four domains of truth can we hope to understand why we disagree. Or, for that matter, why we agree.