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Tyrants of truth: a genealogy of hyper-real politics

Nøhr, Andreas Aagaard (2017) Tyrants of truth: a genealogy of hyper-real politics. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.mqdo9m13ta5h


This thesis challenges the widely accepted discourse of post-truth politics, which finds support in what is in this thesis referred to as ‘antinomy hypothesis’ – the belief that politics and truth are opposites and external to one another, where one exists the other disappear; truth is abstract and absolute, while politics is a theatre of appearances with no room for truth. In contrast, this thesis explores the conditions of possibility for thinking that we inhabit a world of post-truth politics, by proposing the concept of the ‘politics of truth’ – the struggle at the most general level of society where the true is separated from the false and where what gets to count as truth and reality is decided. If truth only has value in so far as it serves life then the central problem in the politics of truth, the thesis argues, is to establishes the socio-political limits of thought: how and by what practices is it possible for thought to test its own truth in politics? It is by erecting the epistemological space that sets out possible answers to this question that thought became the tyrant of truth, which today has taken form of hyper-real politics of truth. This thesis thus asks the genealogical question: what will or wills have shaped the politics of truth, so that it today has become hyper-real? To answer this question the thesis develops a theory of ‘traditions of thought’ based on the French school of Historical Epistemology. The rest of the thesis explores, in a series of chronological chapters spanning from Archaic Greece until today, how the politics of truth has been problematized in thought through the concepts of parrhēsia, exhortation, public critique, and hyper-real politics. In hyper-real politics of truth where the real is in the process of being replaced by its copy, there is no space for the difference of thought, only the positive mode of thought that affirms and produces more truth.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2017 Andreas Aagaard Nøhr
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JC Political theory
Sets: Departments > International Relations
Supervisor: Neumann, Iver

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