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Hardcover | $40.00 Short | £32.95 | 256 pp. | 6 x 9 in | June 2017 | ISBN: 9780262036283
eBook | $28.00 Short | June 2017 | ISBN: 9780262340434
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Truth in Husserl, Heidegger, and the Frankfurt School

Critical Retrieval


The idea of truth is a guiding theme for German continental philosophers from Husserl through Habermas. In this book, Lambert Zuidervaart examines debates surrounding the idea of truth in twentieth-century German continental philosophy. He argues that the Heideggerian and critical theory traditions have much in common—despite the miscommunication, opposition, and even outright hostility that have prevailed between them—including significant roots in the phenomenology of Edmund Husserl. Zuidervaart sees the tensions between Heideggerian thought and critical theory as potentially generative sources for a new approach to the idea of truth. He argues further that the “critical retrieval” of insights from German continental philosophy can shed light on current debates in analytic truth theory.

Zuidervaart structures his account around three issues: the distinction between propositional truth and truth that is more than propositional (which he calls existential truth); the relationship between propositional truth and the discursive justification of propositional truth claims, framed in analytic philosophy by debates between epistemic and nonepistemic conceptions of truth; and the relationship between propositional truth and the objectivity of knowledge, often presented in analytic philosophy as a conflict between realists and antirealists over the relation between “truth bearers” and “truth makers.” In an innovative and ambitious argument, drawing on the work of Husserl, Heidegger, Horkheimer, Adorno, and Habermas, Zuidervaart proposes a new and transformative conception of truth.

About the Author

Lambert Zuidervaart is Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto. He is the author of Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory (MIT Press), Artistic Truth, Social Philosophy after Adorno, Religion, Truth, and Social Transformation, and other books.


“Charting a new path toward a comprehensive conception of truth by examining strengths and weaknesses of twentieth-century German philosophical approaches, Zuidervaart’s ‘critical retrieval’ adroitly moves beyond the sterile isolation of these approaches from their Anglophone brethren and from each other.”
Dan Dahlstrom, Silber Professor of Philosophy, Boston University; author of Heidegger’s Concept of Truth
“Lucidly and succinctly Lambert Zuidervaart critically retrieves crucial insights into truth from seminal writings in twentieth-century German philosophy. The dynamic dialogues he constructs speak to the main concerns of contemporary theories, while showing the limitations of their focus on propositional truth. His book takes important steps toward the development of a more comprehensive conception, in which truth, intersecting with goodness, calls for societal transformation.”
Maeve Cooke, Professor of Philosophy, University College Dublin
“In his meticulously researched and elegantly written new book, Lambert Zuidervaart offers an account of the adventures of the concept of truth in Husserl, Heidegger, and the Frankfurt School. This informative and insightful new work has done scholars and students of critical theory and modern German philosophy a huge service.”
James Gordon Finlayson, Director of the Center for Social and Political Thought, University of Sussex
“A timely must-read for anyone interested in truth, objectivity, justification, and authentication. Countering the idea of a ‘post-truth’ age, Zuidervaart situates propositional truth within a more comprehensive conception of truth extending beyond the academy to other domains of public life.”
Barbara Fultner, Professor of Philosophy and Women’s and Gender Studies, Denison University; translator of Jürgen Habermas’s Truth and Justification