MIND & SPIRIT

On Bullshit

Have you EVER encountered bullshit on IAB? Ever? Of course not!

Well, just so you know, there is bullshit out there in the world. Here’s the intro to the theoretical analysis of bullshit by a philosopher. Read the entire 15 page “On Bullshit” Essay by Harry Frankfurt here.

Intro: One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit. Everyone knows this. Each of us contributes his share.

But we tend to take the situation for granted. Most people are rather confident of their ability to recognize bullshit and to avoid being taken in by it.

So the phenomenon has not aroused much deliberate concern, or attracted much sustained inquiry.

In consequence, we have no clear understanding of
what bullshit is,
why there is so much of it,
or what functions it serves.

My aim is simply to give a rough account of what bullshit is and how it differs from what it is not, or (putting it somewhat differently) to articulate, more or less sketchily, the structure of its concept.

Deeper in the text:
It is just this lack of connection to a concern with truth, this indifference to how things really are, that I regard as of the essence of bullshit.

What bullshit essentially misrepresents is neither the state of affairs to which it refers nor the beliefs of the speaker concerning that state of affairs. Those are what lies misrepresent, by virtue of being false. Since bullshit need not be false, it differs from lies in its misrepresentational intent.

 

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