Dietrich von Hildebrand acknowledges that our minds are not the measure of reality, but that reality is the measure of our minds. People may disagree in fundamental ways, but as long as they appeal to truth as the norm for their views, they can rationally discuss their disagreements.  But if they no longer even claim that their views are based on the truth of things, if they appeal instead to the will to power or to pragmatic usefulness, then rational exchange breaks down and people can settle their differences only with recourse to force. 

Von Hildebrand did intellectual battle with all the many forms of the "dethronement of truth" in contemporary thought, precisely because he understood that venerating truth and living by it is the foundation of a life based on reason rather than on force. He also understood that the acknowledgement of truth involves an acknowledgment of our creaturehood, even as the refusal to live under truth is at the same time a refusal to live as creature. We fail to recognize our "metaphysical condition" if we fail to understand the sovereignty of truth.

“The truthful person recognizes a solemnity in every assertion. He grasps that in everything he utters, he is called to bear witness to the truth.”
From The Art of Living

Recommended Reading

See Also

Aesthetics Volume I

Dietrich von Hildebrand understood the centrality of beauty not merely to art but to philosophy, theology, and ethics. In his ambitious and comprehensive Aesthetics, now translated into English for the first time, Hildebrand rehabilitates the concept of beauty as an objective rather and purely subjective phenomenon. His systematic account renews the Classical and Christian vision of beauty as a reliable mode of perception that leads humanity toward the true, the good, and ultimately the divine. There is no more important issue in our culture--sacred or secular--than the restoration of beauty. And there is no better place to start this urgent enterprise than Dietrich von Hildebrand's Aesthetics. - Dana Gioia | From the Foreword

Topics:Beauty  •  Truth  •  Subjectivity  •  Objectivity  •  Value  •  Art

Liturgy and Personality

The principal point of the book you are about to read is that the liturgy of the Church decisively shapes a healthy personality. Hildebrand insists throughout the text that the primary purpose of the liturgy is not to form the personality but to give proper praise to God, the supreme value. Nevertheless, precisely by ordering human beings to thoroughly to God, the liturgy does in fact, as a derivative effect, contribute to their flourishing. - Bishop Robert Barron | From the Foreword

Topics:Liturgy  •  Personality  •  Truth  •  Value  •  Virtue  •  Reverence

A New Concordat?

Reno, R.R. (2015), "A New Concordat", First Things: The Journal of Religion, Culture, and Public Life, January 2015

Beauty in the Light of Redemption

This essay presents Dietrich von Hildebrand's thoughts on beauty, in a succinct distillation. It was originally published in the collection The New Tower of Babel