Fact or Fake? How the «Liberal Arts» serve the Search for Truth

René Descartes (1596–1650), French philosopher, scientist, and mathematician; Donald J. Trump (born 1946), 45th President of the USA.

Do you Remember the Birth of «Alternative Facts»?

In January 2017, Kellyanne Conway, then advisor to 45th US President Donald Trump, had used this phrase for the very first time. This, to justify false statements made by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer about audience size during Trump’s inauguration in front of the Capitol. Conway’s statements, made during an interview on the American political talk show «Meet the Press», hosted by Chuck Todd, should go down in the history books as a frontal assault on the core values of the Enlightenment: The former «Cogito, ergo sum» («I think, therefore I am») of the philosopher René Descartes had suddenly turned into «I feel, therefore I am right», which was to characterise Trump’s entourage style during his presidential years. How could it have come to this?

Conway: You’re saying it’s a falsehood and Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that.”

Todd: Alternative facts are not facts. They are falsehoods.”

Conway: If we’re going to keep referring to the press secretary in those types of terms I think we’re going to have to rethink our relationship here.”

Conway: Press Secretary Gave ‘Alternative Facts’

Back to the Roots of the «Liberal Arts»

With her statement, Kellyanne Conway has swept away the frameworks of thought from antiquity and the Middle Ages in a dash. More so-called “Alternative Facts” should follow. However, since the Middle Ages there have been tried and tested means against distortion of reality, namely the so-called “Liberal Arts” (“Septem Artes Liberales”). With their help, crude logics of thought can be seen through and falsified, even in the post-digital age. Let’s listen to our brand new friend, ChatGPT, and its definition of the “Liberal Arts”:

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