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Bullshitting, Lying, and Indifference toward Truth
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Philosophy. Uppsala University, Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7467-7263
2017 (English)In: Ergo, Vol. 4, no 10, p. 277-309Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper is about some of the ways in which people sometimes speak while be-ing indifferent toward what they say. We argue that what Harry Frankfurt called ‘bullshitting’ is a mode of speech marked by indifference toward inquiry, the coop-erative project of reaching truth in discourse. On this view bullshitting is character-ized by indifference toward the project of advancing inquiry by making progress on specific subinquiries, represented by so- called questions under discussion. This ac-count preserves the central insight of Frankfurt’s influential analysis of bullshitting in seeing the characteristic of bullshitting as indifference toward truth and falsity. Yet we show that speaking with indifference toward truth is a wider phenomenon than the one Frankfurt identified. The account offered in this paper thereby agrees with various critics of Frankfurt who argue that bullshitting is compatible with not being indifferent toward the truth- value of one’s assertions. Further, we argue that, while bullshitting and lying are not mutually exclusive, most lies are not instances of bullshitting. The account thereby avoids the problem that Frankfurt’s view ulti-mately is insufficient to adequately distinguish bullshitting and lying.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 4, no 10, p. 277-309
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-379059DOI: 10.3998/ergo.12405314.0004.010OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-379059DiVA, id: diva2:1295411
Available from: 2019-03-11 Created: 2019-03-11 Last updated: 2019-07-17Bibliographically approved

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