by Katie Stepp

Plato, Albert Camus, Hannah Arendt and John Beauregard recently gathered at the University of West Georgia to discuss the nature of truth.

UWG philosophy students How? It’s all part of the Meeting of the Minds, an annual event hosted by the Department of Philosophy in the College of Arts and Humanities in which students pose as famous philosophers to discuss an interesting topic.

This event, in its 18th year, provides the opportunity for philosophy students to debate with one another while taking on the role of the most well known historical philosophers. The event is open to the public for anyone to enjoy.

The students’ commentary was comical, which got the audience engaged.

Plato opened up the discussion by portraying his idea that “truth must be in the eternal realm. The idea of truth allows for the reflections of what we see on earth,” while Camus quickly declared, “The truth is absurd.”

Arendt made it clear that she was present in the discussion to talk about “factual truth to be a constituent part of the texture of the political realm as it informs us of our past and our history.” She declared opinions are informed by facts.

Beauregard’s answer to the question of what is truth is that “the discourses of truth are impossible.”

“They elude themselves,” he said. “Truth begs the question of what is reality, what is knowledge or the ability to comprehend then cohere and communicate that reality to others.”

Throughout the discussion, Arendt and Beauregard went back and forth,discussing where truth can be found — if it can be found at all.

“There is no truth,” Beauregard claimed. “There is only information. Facts that are traded around through gossip and media.”

Although the students all had very different opinions on the question, all came to the conclusion the truth is a topic that deserves a great deal of thought and we cannot simply assume that we know what it is.

The discussion was moderated by student Taylor Gowans and featured students Alex Callahan, Avery Chandler, Maria Constanza Garrido Sierralta and Tommy Jordan posing as Plato, Camus, Arendt and Beauregard, respectively.

Dr. Janet Donohoe, professor of philosophy and dean of the UWG Honors College, hosted the event, saying the Meeting of the Minds shows the philosophy department encourages students to think more critically and deeper to explore these difficult topics that society proposes. Performers challenged audience members to think critically with an open mind.

Students and faculty in the audience were encouraged to ask questions at the end of the performance. Question topics ranged from “what is after truth?” to “is there a happy ending that all philosophers can come to?”

Posted on April 9, 2018