Volume 93, Issue 3, Summer 2019
Friendship versus the Normativity of Truth
A Catholic Response to a False Dilemma
According to some contemporary epistemologists, truth is a norm of belief: for any proposition p, one ought to believe that p only if p is true. It is sometimes also held that the evaluation of beliefs in terms of their truth-value is universal: truth is a norm of all, and not merely some, of one’s beliefs. Taken together, these claims have inspired the “friendship objection” to the truth-norm. According to this objection, friendship sometimes requires that friends violate the truth-norm when it comes to their beliefs about each other. I begin by discussing how the friendship objection poses a potential problem for the Catholic philosophical tradition. Then, I attempt to resolve the objection by arguing that it is committed to a false dilemma about friendship. Drawing on insights of Gabriel Marcel and Dietrich von Hildebrand, I sketch a virtue by which friends negotiate the demands of both friendship and truth.