Bullshit and the Norms of Assertion
Romy Jaster (Humboldt-University, Berlin) will present at the Virtual International Consortium for Truth Research on April 12, 10:00am EDT / 14:00 UTC.
Abstract: With his seminal “On Bullshit”, Frankfurt drew attention to the fact that lies are not the only form of untruthful assertions: there is also bullshit – assertions which are characterized by a specific attitude of indifference on the bullshitter’s part. In the literature, Frankfurt is usually read as characterizing bullshit via two conditions: (1) the bullshitter is indifferent to the truth and (2) the bullshitter tries to deceive her audience about the fact that she is indifferent to the truth. In the talk, I argue that neither of the two conditions is necessary. In contrast to (1), I propose that the bullshitter’s characteristic indifference is directed, not at truth itself, but at the norms of assertion. Against (2), I draw attention to the fact that recent political communication exhibits a form of bullshit that is ostentative in the sense that the bullshitter displays her indifference toward the norms of assertion quite openly. Accepting (2) obscures this phenomenon.
You can register for the talk at: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIocu-prj4iGdY0NwHUWjPYWLvywnGfLeku