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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published online by De Gruyter Saur January 12, 2023

Alethic Rights and Alethic Pluralism in Libraries

Riccardo Ridi ORCID logo EMAIL logo
From the journal Libri

Abstract

The concept of truth, although unavoidable, is very problematic from a philosophical point of view and, in the field of librarianship, it is even more disputed for various reasons: inapplicability to libraries’ collections and reference services; scarcity of resources necessary in the event of a possible application; conflict with the value of intellectual neutrality. The “alethic rights” proposed by D’Agostini in 2017, pertinent to truth claims in social contexts, can be interpreted in two ways: the “strong” way is not applicable to libraries because it would lead to the same problems caused by the research of the truthfulness of each document preserved by libraries and of any information provided by their reference services; the “weak” way would instead be applicable to libraries, but it is more appropriate not to apply this either, both because there would be the risk that it could be interpreted in the strong way, and because its application would still be redundant compared to what already happens in libraries and to what, if necessary, could be obtained in emergency situations by applying instead the principle of social responsibility. In the library field it would be more sensible and useful to apply, instead of alethic rights, the epistemological theory of “alethic pluralism” by Wright (1992). Truth and Objectivity. Cambridge: Harvard University Press and Lynch (2009). Truth as One and Many. Oxford: Clarendon, which defines the concept of truth in a way compatible with technical practices and with deontological rules currently more widespread in libraries.


Corresponding author: Riccardo Ridi, Department of Humanities, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Dorsoduro 3484/d, 30123, Venezia, Italy, E-mail:

Acknowledgements

I thank Peter Lor for the encouragement and Juliana Mazzocchi for helping with the translation.

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Published Online: 2023-01-12

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