From beginner-friendly introductions to comprehensive textbooks on truth, this page features philosophy books to suit any learning style. It’s important to note that there is no single best book on truth. The best book for you will depend heavily on your preferred learning style and the amount of time/energy you’re willing to spend reading.
It’s also worth noting that it is not a list of personal recommendations. Personal book recommendations tend to be highly subjective, idiosyncratic, and unreliable. This list is part of a collection of over 100 philosophy reading lists which aim to provide a central resource for philosophy book recommendations. These lists were created by searching through hundreds of university course syllabi, internet encyclopedia bibliographies, and community recommendations. Links to the syllabi and other sources used to create this list are at the end of the post. Following these links will help you quickly find a broader range of options if the listed books do not fit what you are looking for.
Here are the best philosophy books on truth in no particular order.
Truth: A Guide – Simon Blackburn
Publisher description: The author of the highly popular book Think, which Time magazine hailed as “the one book every smart person should read to understand, and even enjoy, the key questions of philosophy,” Simon Blackburn is that rara avis–an eminent thinker who is able to explain philosophy to the general reader. Now Blackburn offers a tour de force exploration of what he calls “the most exciting and engaging issue in the whole of philosophy”–the age-old war over truth.
The front lines of this war are well defined. On one side are those who believe in plain, unvarnished facts, rock-solid truths that can be found through reason and objectivity–that science leads to truth, for instance. Their opponents mock this idea. They see the dark forces of language, culture, power, gender, class, ideology and desire–all subverting our perceptions of the world, and clouding our judgement with false notions of absolute truth….
A Short History of Truth: Consolations for a Post-Truth World – Julian Baggini
Publisher description: How did we find ourselves in a “post-truth” world of “alternative facts”? And can we get out of it? A Short History of Truth sets out to answer these questions by looking at the complex history of truth and falsehood. It identifies ten types of supposed truth and explains how easily each can become the midwife of falsehood. There is no species of truth that we can rely on unquestioningly, but that does not mean the truth can never be established. Attaining truth is an achievement we need to work for, and each chapter will end up with a truth we can have some confidence in.
This history builds into a comprehensive and clear explanation of why truth is now so disputed by exploring 10 kinds of truth…
The Oxford Handbook of Truth – Michael Glanzberg
Publisher description: Truth is one of the central concepts in philosophy, and has been a perennial subject of study. Michael Glanzberg has brought together 36 leading experts from around the world to produce the definitive guide to philosophical issues to do with truth. They consider how the concept of truth has been understood from antiquity to the present day, surveying major debates about truth during the emergence of analytic philosophy. They offer critical assessments of the standard theories of truth, including the coherence, correspondence, identity, and pragmatist theories. They explore the role of truth in metaphysics, with lively discussion of truthmakers, proposition, determinacy, objectivity, deflationism, fictionalism, relativism, and pluralism. Finally the handbook explores broader applications of truth in philosophy, including ethics, science, and mathematics, and reviews formal work on truth and its application to semantic paradox. This Oxford Handbook will be an invaluable resource across all areas of philosophy.
Truth: A Contemporary Reader – Douglas Edwards
Publisher description:For the first time Truth: A Contemporary Reader brings together the essays that have shaped two aspects of a fundamental philosophical topic: the nature of truth and the value of truth.
Featuring 24 essays from 1878 to 2016, this up-to-date reader includes seminal work by leading figures in contemporary analytic philosophy. It charts the development of the central ‘grand proposals’ about the nature of truth, and subsequently how their influence gradually diminished in face of new theories developed in the 20th and 21st-centuries. The reader also demonstrates how truth is often taken to be valuable in various ways, in particular as the norm of correctness for belief and assertion, and the relationship between truth and other epistemic values….
The following sources were used to build this list:
University Course Syllabi:
- Theories of Truth – PHIL 402 | University of Michigan
- Theories of Truth – PHIL 168 | Stanford University
- Seminar on Truth – G9531 | Columbia University
- Bibliography for the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Truth
- Bibliography for the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Truth
- What is a good book aimed at the lay person on the nature of Truth?
- Help finding a small book on truth
You might also be interested in the following reading lists:
- The Best Introductory Philosophy Books
- The Best Introductory Books on Epistemology
- The Best Introductory Books on Metaphysics
Or browse this collection of over 100 philosophy reading lists to find more philosophy book recommendations.
The Daily Idea aims to make learning about philosophy as easy as possible by bringing together the best philosophy resources from across the internet. To get started, check out this organized collection of 400+ articles, podcasts, and videos on a wide range of philosophical topics.
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