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The word ‘truth’ derives from an Anglo-Saxon word meaning ‘straight.’ Because of that origin we talk of an arrow ‘flying true.’ When we trust people, as when we enter agreements and contracts with them, we are assuming that they are straight; both for social individual relationships this assumption is indispensable. But truth can also be destructive and disruptive: how do we best accommodate the vital need for straightness and the occasions when it does more harm than good? What are the uses, the necessities, and the limits of trust?
Anthony Grayling MA, DPhil (Oxon) FRSL, FRSA is Master of the New College of the Humanities, and a Supernumerary Fellow of St Anne's College, Oxford. Until 2011 he was Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London.
He has written and edited over thirty books on philosophy and other subjects; among his most recent are The Good Book, Ideas That Matter, Liberty in the Age of Terror and To Set Prometheus Free. For several years he wrote the Last Word column for The Guardian newspaper and a column for The Times. He is a frequent contributor to the Literary Review, Observer, Independent on Sunday, Times Literary Supplement, Index on Censorship and New Statesman, and is an equally frequent broadcaster on BBC Radios 4, 3 and the World Service. He writes the Thinking Read column for the Barnes and Noble Review in New York, is the Editor of Online Review London, and a Contributing Editor of Prospect magazine.
In addition he sits on the editorial boards of several academic journals, and for nearly ten years was the Honorary Secretary of the principal British philosophical association, the Aristotelian Society. He is a past chairman of June Fourth, a human rights group concerned with China, and is a representative to the UN Human Rights Council for the International Humanist and Ethical Union. He is a Vice President of the British Humanist Association, the Patron of the United Kingdom Armed Forces Humanist Association, a patron of Dignity in Dying, and an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society.
Anthony Grayling was a Fellow of the World Economic Forum for several years, and a member of its C-100 group on relations between the West and the Islamic world. He has served as a Trustee of the London Library and a board member of the Society of Authors. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. In 2003 he was a Man Booker Prize judge, in 2010 was a judge of the Art Fund prize, and in 2011 the Wellcome Book Prize. He was the chairman of the 2014 Man Booker Prize.
He supports a number of charities including Plan UK, Greenpeace, Médecins Sans Frontières, Amnesty International and Freedom from Torture. He is also a sponsor of Rogbonko School in Sierra Leone.
His latest books are The God Argument (March 2013) and Friendship (September 2013). Anthony Grayling's new book is The Challenge of Things (March 2015).