Bullshit Assertion

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    In his short article “On Bullshit” (1986, republished as a book in 2005), Harry Frankfurt diagnoses a distinctive problem of contemporary culture: that so much of it is bullshit. Today, bullshit abounds in advertising, politics, the media, and the academy; for this, Frankfurt blames the mass media, advertising, the party political system, and some currents in academic thought (notably postmodernism). More than diagnose a widespread problem, however, in “On Bullshit” Frankfurt develops a theoretical account of the nature of bullshit. In his account, Frankfurt holds that bullshit is, like lying, a dishonest assertion; however, he makes clear how bullshitting is different from lying and holds (startlingly) that bullshit is more dishonest than lying. In this chapter I consider bullshit as a distinct perversion of assertion next to lying. I hold that understanding bullshit and lying as perversions of assertion sheds light on assertion and how it functions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationOxford Handbook of Assertion
    EditorsSanford Goldberg
    PublisherOxford University Press
    ISBN (Electronic)9780190675233
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Jan 2019


    • bullshit
    • belief
    • norms of assertion
    • lying
    • Frankfurt


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