Beyond the Cave
Beyond the Cave challenges the contemporary materialist and post-truth world view, and provides a considered alternative.
Truth is increasingly marginalized. Powerful news interests, social media and political orators all seem to point to the idea that the days of absolute Truth are past. Religions have always claimed to stand for a transcendent dimension to reality and to the idea of an absolute claim to Truth but, in the West, religion has been and is declining in influence. Fundamentalism is on the rise and this, combined with relativism, contributes to the current malaise.
Peter Vardy has a passionate commitment to helping people think about key issues deeply, yet writes in a lucid and clear style. In Beyond the Cave he explains why claims to absolute Truth have become severely eroded but he also charts a way forward.
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Aptly subtitled ‘a philosopher’s quest for Truth’, this is a definitive and forthright philosophical statement from a former vice-principal of Heythrop College in the University of London. It is a robust defence of Truth rooted in transcendent reality and a powerful riposte to post-modernism, relativism, fundamentalism and scientism, affirming that our deep purpose is to live a life of courage, integrity and compassion, grounded in the virtues. For many years, the author was a member of the London Society for the Study of Religions, founded by Baron von Hugel and Claude Montefiore in 1904. The founding statement refers to the importance of spiritual insight and vitality linked to peace of soul, but he left this group in 2017 when he felt it had become a talking shop and had itself succumbed to the rising tides of modernism. The book brings readers back to the perennial philosophical questions. It is set out in two parts: the descent into the cave and rekindling the flame. The first part takes readers through the history of western philosophy and the idea of absolute Truth rooted in the Eternal. It explains the religious imperative in the context of the rise of atheism, especially in its latest form of expression. The discussion here is exceptionally clear and well- informed. The author moves on to explain the significance of a post- truth world and raises fundamental questions about artificial intelligence and the future of humanity. He sees the near collapse of the importance of Truth as ‘linked to a lack of interest and what it means to be human’, which also impacts on the structure of education. The rest of the book is devoted to a detailed consideration of such topics as the nature of argument and reality, explanation and potentiality, possibility and necessity (free will), and the relevance of the Eternal. Readers looking for a deeper understanding of how we arrived at our modern predicament and how to move beyond it will find this eloquent articulation compelling and informative - we need more thinkers like Vardy intelligently expressing their views on these essential topics. These are culturally vital matters, as the author’s engagement with Kierkegaard also indicates, and provide us with a meaningful orientation that is largely missing. ~ David Lorimer, Paradigm Explorer
................The themes of his timely and absorbing new book — dedicated to the founding members of the London Society for the Study of Religions — are the issue of truth, what it means to be human and whether the idea of an Eternal dimension can have relevance in the modern world. He argues convincingly that a post-truth situation leads only to despair and disillusionment over the seeming futility and meaningless of existence............. ~ Geoff Ward/Medium .com
Vardy is an acclaimed Philosopher of Religion and a passionate educator. His work’s mission is to help us think with more clarity about many of the issues where emotion or received opinions hold sway. He describes how we live in a ‘post-truth’ age, to our cost. Vardy argues, both in detail and with passion. ~ Progressive Voices , Review
I absolutely loved this book. Peter Vardy surveys 2500 years of philosophical thought, and brings the wisdom of the centuries to bear on our shallow post-truth society. Vardy argues cogently for values that are thoughtlessly swept aside in a relativistic culture. His book should be compulsory reading for all who teach Religious Studies and Philosophy, their pupils and society, who will ultimately benefit from Vardy's insights. ~ Sarah MacDonald, Head of Religion and Philosophy, Haileybury College
Dr Vardy’s book is a bracing tonic. When a culture ceases to focus on truth above all other concerns, it becomes a slum peopled by self-serving ideologues, ever in danger of imploding into insanity and increasing silliness. This book offers a diagnosis on many fronts and offers a therapy, from sources old and new, to cure what ails us. For him “post truth” must lead to a new getting of wisdom. This book will be a valuable resource for educators, their directors and their students, and a sign of hope for us all. ~ Professor Anthony Kelly CssR, ACU
In a post-truth world, this is a splendidly energetic and thoughtful book about discovery and truth. The great questions of our destiny and of what it means to be human are often ignored on the one hand by the relativists who believe that ‘my truth’ is what matters, and on the other hand by fundamentalists who wish to impose their ‘truth’ on the world. The critique of modern educational aims is especially telling. ~ Christopher Lewis, Christ's College, Oxford
In this lucid and comprehensive study, Peter Vardy challenges contemporary relativism, nihilism, and anti-realism. Aflame with passion, he makes a strong case and champions the age-old quest of truth-seeking. He argues that the voice of the Eternal has been largely silenced by post-truth culture—in this book he seeks to reawaken our consciousness. ~ Professor Dan Cohn Sherbok, 3
Peter Vardy is a brilliant teacher and has produced here an invigorating alternative to prevailing ideas. Beyond The Cave provides a vital resource which invites us to fully consider what is at stake in the pursuit of truth. This book will inspire a new wave of enquiry into the nature of truth, what it means to be human and why all this matters so much. ~ Kate Rogers, Head of Religion and Philosophy, Chiswick School
A timely and important book. ~ Victor De Wall
A wonderfully written piece. All students should be encouraged to ready this as it provides an opportunity to think deeply and to be challenged about the Nature of Truth and what it means to be a human free from the cultural obsession with materialism. ~ Margaret Daniels, Head of Religious Studies, Queen Mary's High School Walsall