December 6, 2017 at 19:00
auditorium 240 (first floor, Rectorate), SU “St. Kliment Ohridski “


a public lecture by Prof. Dimitar Vatsov:

On Truth and University Today



In this lecture I will shortly outline the performative theory of truth elaborated in my last book (This is True! Sofia: New Bulgarian University, 2016).  I will show that truth-telling is a specific practical gesture, a particular speech device: the utterances of the type “This is true!” generalize what is declared to be true as a sample, as a model to be followed, as a paradigm that should be reiterated always in the same way (but mention that often delusions and for sure lies repeat the same formula). Being a practical gesture – being a performative, – truth-telling never ends in an absolute truth. The truths we utter even in mathematics and physics have certain degree of uncertainty.

This theory has its public consequences: it opens possibilities for its own political uses and abuses that are to be pointed out in advance. Treating truth-telling as a speech device enacts additional democratization of the access to truth: It critically rejects every claim for a monopoly over truth. But the democratization of the truth-telling puts the authority of science and respectively of the universities in question. The on-going marketization of “the truths” is the first challenge to this authority. The second challenge is coming from The Web with its openness in which the authority of the sources is not secured. Moreover, if truth is simply a speech device for producing patterns of behavior, then the strategically organized insistence on some patterns – in the commercial advertisements but also in the political disinformation and propaganda nowadays, – is an open possibility. Do we live in the “era of Post-Truth”? And how the authority of the universities historically based on truth can be reestablished?



Balkanski – Panitza Institute for Advanced Study

New Bulgarin University, “Philosophy and Sociology” Department

SU “St. Kliment Ohridski”