Can "facts" survive the advent of modern political practices of lying? This essay revisits Arendt's "Truth and Politics" to explore this question. Arendt ties the fate of facts closely to that of common sense, which both depends upon facts and is charged with combating the lies that would assault not only individual facts but factuality itself. Arendt hewed closely to our two major philosophical traditions of common sense. While she recognized the ways in which common sense as koine aisthesis, or an individual faculty of epistemological coherence, could be co-opted by totalitarian ideology, she was less aware of how her own notion of "community sense" (following the tradition of sensus communis) could be pressed into the service of an accelerating democratic/capitalist conversion of facts into opinions ("opinionization"). Given the co-optation of these traditions of common sense by modern practices of political lying, I argue for an alternative approach, inspired by Aristotle and rooted in perception, where "sensing in common" nurtures a sense of [what can come to be held in] common.


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pp. 545-560
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