The meaning of universities in the post-truth era

Jerzy Wilkin

Abstract


The main statement of the paper is that the post-truth is expanding at an unprecedented rate, continuously forcing itself into new areas of public life and permeating millions of minds. This phenomenon has not so far been satisfactorily explained by researchers of global-range social phenomena. The paper presents various definitions of post-truth and its interpretations. The argument revolves around what truth means and what it is threatened by, as well as the most important institution that is, by definition, concerned about the truth: the university. The article outlines the functions of the university and contemporary conditions of its functioning, including the threats to the preservation of its mission and axiological foundation: striving towards the truth. The idea of the university, created in Europe at the beginning of the second millennium, has shown to be strong and durable. It has adopted various organisational forms, depending on the period and region. The secret of the universities’ persistence and meaning cannot be considered apart from the history of the European civilisation. However, the phenomenon of post-truth expansion is the most serious threat to this institution. The expansion of post-truth also leads to changes in the quality of the public life, bringing about its degeneration, with considerable contributions of the numerous pathologies of the Internet, distribution of lies and surprisingly quickly growing acceptance of this phenomenon.


Keywords


post-truth; truth; university; expansion of lies

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