Review by Dr Pravin Thevathasan
Dethronement of Truth
by Dietrich Von Hildebrand
Dietrich Von Hildebrand (1889-1977) was one of the truly great Catholics of the twentieth century. He was a leading philosopher in the realist phenomenological movement. These essays come from 1936, 1943 and 1965. They are prophetic.
Truth, says the author, has been dethroned. It has in good measure been dethroned by false philosophies. The author examines the works of Locke, Hume and Kant. Contrary to Kant, the author shows us that it is not our minds that determine reality. Rather, reality is the measure of our minds. From Descartes and Kant, we fall into the subjectivist trap: if we cannot even accept truth as something objectively out there, how can we even debate what is true. Let us look at gender ideology, something not mentioned in this book. Ten years ago, the experts told us that you can create your own reality. You can look at a man and say he is a woman. I may say otherwise. We will agree to disagree. As Justice Kennedy put it: "At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning..." Of course now such a "right" no longer exists in our cancel culture! All the confusion that currently reigns was examined so many years ago by Von Hildebrand.
For Von Hildebrand, truth is not a concept. It is a person, Jesus Christ. Von Hildebrand was not a Thomas, but he certainly believed that faith and reason are in perfect harmony.
In his own life, Von Hildebrand was devoted to truth and he therefore fought both Nazism and Communism. He was considered a progressive before the Second Vatican Council and a reactionary afterwards. In truth, he had not changed. He spent the last years of his life confronting the errors of Modernism within the Church.
This is a work of integrity written by a man of great integrity.