Truth, Communication, and Democracy

Douglas Porpora, Seif Sekalala


This article argues that truth is vital to deliberative democracy and to communication as an academic discipline. Our definition of truth is critical realist in nature—that is, it refers to an ontologically objective reality. We briefly explore the history and concepts of deliberative democracy and its presuppositions of epistemic rationality, doxastic voluntarism, and ontological realism. The article then outlines the breakdown of the concept and practice of truth and deliberative democracy before and during the age of Trump and the treatment of truth by the profession of journalism as well as the academic discipline of journalism studies. Finally, we provide a critical-realist take on the resolution of truth debates and an affirmation of truth as a democratic value.


alternative facts, critical realism, democracy, media bias, objectivity, post-truth, truth

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