On Truth and Instrumentalisation

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This paper makes two claims. Firstly, it shows that thinking the truth of any particular concept (such as politics) is founded upon an instrumental logic that betrays the truth of a situation. Truth cannot be thought ‘of something’, for this would fall back into a theory of correspondence. Instead, truth is a function of thought. In order to make this move to a functional concept of truth, I outline Dewey’s criticism, and two important repercussions, of dogmatically instrumental philosophy. I then show how Badiou’s philosophy is indeed guilty of instrumentalisation, but emphasise that his prioritisation of truth is nevertheless important to maintain. The second claim this paper makes is that the criticism of Deleuze’s conception of truth as circular is misplaced, as it is founded on the assumption that Deleuze conceptualises the truth of objects. Instead, I show that, for Deleuze, truth is not a property of an object but of its production. To reach this conclusion, I develop what I call Dewey’s account of pragmatic instrumentalisation (as opposed to the dogmatic instrumentalisation he criticises) into Deleuze’s conceptualisation of truth as the process of making sense of our precarious world. I conclude by making some provisional remarks that Deleuze’s pragmatic account of truth paves the way for an ethics that is not founded on truths it cannot explain (i.e. God or mathematics), but as an ongoing, subversive practice.
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Archival date: 2016-08-26
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