We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Department of Theology and Religion


Publication details for Professor Paul D. Murray

Murray, Paul D. (2006). On Valuing Truth in Practice Rome's Postmodern Challenge. International Journal of Systematic Theology 8(2): 163-183.

Author(s) from Durham


This essay probes whether there can be any real and fruitful dialogue between Roman Catholic self-understanding in relation to truth and postmodern questioning of the value of all such truth-talk, at least as traditionally conceived. After an introductory section situating the essay in context, the exploration moves through four phases. First, there are some initial reflections on the place of truth in Catholic self-understanding and the significant shaping force this exerts on Catholic structure and practice. Second, attention shifts to asking after the motivating factors behind Rorty’s trenchant disavowal of ‘objectivity’ in favour of ‘solidarity’, or localised agreement, as the only viable basis for interpreting and acting within the world. Having noted the challenges that Rorty’s concerns pose to Catholic self-understanding, attention turns in the third part to review the counter-case that can be made for the lasting significance of a revised aspiration for truth as the articulation of reality. The final section further probes the challenge that this position in turn holds for the concern that Catholicism give appealing, inspiring, convincing and, in this sense, authoritative witness to the task of discerning together the truth in love.


This essay was commissioned for the "Redeeming Truth: Considering Faith and Reason" volume, edited by Laurence Paul Hemming and Susan Frank Parsons (London: SCM Press, 2006) where it will come out in due course. The editor of the "International Journal for Systematic Theology" requested that permission be granted for it also to be published in the journal prior to the book being published. Permission was duly granted.