Is Consensus Required in the Pursuit of Truth?

Nicholas Rescher

in Pluralism

Published in print September 1995 | ISBN: 9780198236016
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191679162 | DOI:

Series: Clarendon Library of Logic and Philosophy

Is Consensus Required in the Pursuit of Truth?

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This chapter examines the importance of consensus in the pursuit of truth. It discusses the philosophy of prominent exponents and advocates of cognitive consensus including Aristotle and his Nicomachean Ethics, Saint Augustine, John Stuart Mill, Charles Sanders Peirce, and Jürgen Habermas. It identifies opponents and critics of cognitive consensus that include sceptics, cognitive elitists, and social science critics. This chapter concludes that as far as rational inquiry is concerned, consensus is no more than a regulative ideal that cannot be expected to be achieved in concrete situations.

Keywords: consensus; truth; Aristotle; Nicomachean Ethics; Saint Augustine; John Stuart Mill; Charles Sanders Peirce; Jürgen Habermas; sceptics; cognitive elitists

Chapter.  8275 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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