Søren Kierkegaard said: “Truth is Subjectivity. Objective truths are concerned with the facts of a person’s being, while subjective truths are concerned with a person’s way of being.” He opined that objective truths for the study of subjects like mathematics and science are relevant and necessary but argued that objective truths do not shed any light on a person’s inner relationship to his existence.

Alfred North Whitehead said: “There are no whole (objective) truths; all truths are half-truths. It is trying to treat them as whole truths that play the devil”.

The problem with objective truth as it relates to history is that we can’t really know what happened in the past because we weren’t there and because there are as many historical interpretations of what transpired as there are historians writing about that history. Hence revisionists’ claims that the constant revision of history is part of the normal scholarly process of writing history.

In Descent from the Hill, Helena’s father, Rolf, claims that if you read four biographies of the same person, after you finish them you’ll wonder if the four authors were writing about the same person. He’s essentially denying that objective truth is possible beyond math and science. “Each author uses different references and has his own personal biases”. Of course Rolf has a secondary gain in claiming that truth is usually subjective, but I will not go into that so as to not leave a spoiler for those who have not yet read the novel.

The basis of truth used by Nazi Germany was the Darwinian principle of survival of the fittest. The leaders of Germany saw their nation as a superior group a “Stronger People” and the rest of the world as an inferior people, a “Weaker People”. Is this truth—that they espoused—objective or subjective? You be the judge.

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