“Power and Truth”

Steven Lukes in conversation with Jon Baskin at the Vienna Humanities Festival 2018

30. July 2019
Magazine > Voices > “Power and Truth”

We are living in an unsettling time, one key feature of which is epistemic closure: the refusal of large parts of the population to accept traditional ways of overcoming political differences through compromise, embracing an absolute kind of tribalism instead.

The great social theorist and intellectual historian Steven Lukes addresses this situation in conversation with The Point’s Jon Baskin, harkening back to Hannah Arendt’s suggestion that “truth and politics are on very bad terms with each other.” Observing developments in the United States and elsewhere, he contemplates her radical conclusion that the essence of truth is impotence, the essence of power deceit.

Cover picture: © Patryk Grądys /

Vienna Humanities Festival

“Hope and Dispair” – is the motto of the 4th Vienna Humanities Festival, which
will be hosting an inspiring exchange of ideas between science, art and culture from 26 to 29 September 2019.

The Vienna Humanities Festival, organised by the IWM, Wien Museum and Time to Talk, is a series of around 40 Events (in German and English) which takes place annually in September at the Wien Museum, TU Wien, Evangelische Volksschule and Stadtkino.

The topic of 2018 “Power and Powerlessness” focused on the vulnerability of democracies in Europe in light of historical events embedding them in the context of contemporary socio-political developments.