Time and Truth, a drawing by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

Expanding the circle of regard for truth

Celebrate the launch of the Sydney Social Sciences and Humanities Advanced Research Centre (SSSHARC). Our expert panel will discuss the role of humanities in addressing the 'post truth' crisis.

Today’s 'post truth' crisis is causing alarm. One might assume that people say things in order to convey true information. However, language is increasingly being used in public conversations to signal stance or identity, irrespective of whether the claims made are true. This is a problem because we need to be able to trust what we hear if we are going to make good decisions.
Social science and humanities disciplines are central to the global debate around this problem, for numerous reasons. On the one hand they have been accused of exacerbating or even creating the problem, by developing the idea that truth is relative to historical and cultural context. On the other hand these fields provide important critical correctives to simple assumptions about truth and reality. How do we reconcile this tension?
To celebrate the official launch of the new Sydney Social Sciences and Humanities Advanced Research Centre (SSSHARC), we will explore these questions and more. Professor Nick Enfield will open the discussion by making the case for cultural change in our relation to truth. Fellow panellists – Associate Professor Rebecca Scott Bray, Professor Duncan Ivison and Dr Dalia Nassar – will respond and take up the issues from a range of perspectives, bringing in questions of truth in beauty, rights to know, and the search for justice in exposing the truth about death.

This event was held on Wednesday 21 November, 2018 at the University of Sydney.


  • Professor Nick Enfield - Inaugural SSSHARC Director and Professor of Linguistics, University of Sydney
  • Dr Dalia Nassar – Senior Lecturer, Department of Philosophy, University of Sydney
  • Associate Professor Rebecca Scott Bray – Associate Professor of Criminology and Socio-Legal Studies, University of Sydney
  • Professor Duncan Ivison – Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) and Professor of Political Philosophy, University of Sydney

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