“What is 21st century truth?” – what a great question! Truth today is what it’s always been: the connection between our beliefs and the world around us. For a belief to be true, the world has to contain a corresponding state of affairs, in virtue of which the belief is true. Except in very special cases, truth is an objective matter.
Knowing what’s true, and who to trust, is hard (and increasingly so). But little that’s worthwhile comes easily. We have to work hard to find the important truths and to discern truthfulness from misdirection, obfuscation, and outright lying.
We should value the truth because many of our most important social conventions, including meaning itself, rely on our telling the truth to one another.
Iris Murdoch's writings on our inner lives – both in her moral philosophy and her novels – is a refreshing change from much 20th century moral philosophy, which tends to focus exclusively on how to act outwardly. Her novels exploring freedom and honesty, particularly Under the Net, somehow manage to combine deep philosophical observation with genuine humour and beautiful writing.