This paper addresses the question whether bullshit is a reasonable pragmatic category. In the first part of the paper, drawing on the insights of Harry Frankfurt’s seminal essay, bullshit is defined as an act of insincere asserting where the speaker shows (a) a loose concern for the truth, and (b) does not want the addressee to become aware of condition (a). The author adds to this definition the condition (c) requiring that the bullshitter expresses more certainty than is adequate with respect to condition (a). In the second part of the paper, it is discussed whether the above definition can cope with special types of bullshit considered to be a challenge to Frankfurt’s definition. These are evasive bullshitting, bullshit lies, and bald-faced bullshitting. It is shown that there is hope for establishing a reasonable pragmatic category of bullshitting if it is related to certain levels of pragmatic description, e.g. conversational implicatures, that can explain the putative challenges.
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Cited by 16 other publications
Bien, Eric Nenkia
2021. How Obscurantism Differs from Bullshit: A Proposal. Theoria 87:6 ► pp. 1497 ff.
2021. Bullshit, trust, and evidence. Intercultural Pragmatics 18:5 ► pp. 633 ff.
Littrell, Shane, Evan F. Risko & Jonathan A. Fugelsang
2021. ‘You can’t bullshit a bullshitter’ (or can you?): Bullshitting frequency predicts receptivity to various types of misleading information. British Journal of Social Psychology 60:4 ► pp. 1484 ff.
2021. Ambiguous specificity: The production of foreign policy bullshit in electoral contexts. Politics 41:1 ► pp. 15 ff.
2023. Populist Bullshit in International Politics. In Political Communication and Performative Leadership [The Palgrave Macmillan Series in International Political Communication, ], ► pp. 225 ff.
2018. Lügen. In Handbuch Pragmatik, ► pp. 334 ff.
2018. The Linguistics of Lying. Annual Review of Linguistics 4:1 ► pp. 357 ff.
2019. Book review. Journal of Pragmatics 147 ► pp. 17 ff.
2022. Konzepte des Lügens: Widersprüche und Vagheiten. In Über Widersprüche sprechen [Contradiction Studies, ], ► pp. 41 ff.
2022. Technical Language as Evidence of Expertise. Languages 7:1 ► pp. 41 ff.
Rosa, Simone Bernardi della
2023. “Se le lettere e la dottrina frutta mai nulla, ciò è in virtù non della verità, ma dell’impostura”. Sulla fertilità concettuale e altri aspetti rivelatori delle Bullshit. European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy XV:2
Schuberth, Florian, Geoffrey Hubona, Ellen Roemer, Sam Zaza, Tamara Schamberger, Francis Chuah, Gabriel Cepeda-Carrión & Jörg Henseler
2023. The choice of structural equation modeling technique matters: A commentary on Dash and Paul (2021). Technological Forecasting and Social Change 194 ► pp. 122665 ff.
2020. Playing the Bullshit Game: How Empty and Misleading Communication Takes Over Organizations. Organization Theory 1:2 ► pp. 263178772092970 ff.
2023. Epistemically exploitative bullshit: A Sartrean account. European Journal of Philosophy 31:3 ► pp. 711 ff.
Čavojová, Vladimíra, Ivan Brezina & Marek Jurkovič
2022. Expanding the bullshit research out of pseudo-transcendental domain. Current Psychology 41:2 ► pp. 827 ff.
Čavojová, Vladimíra, Eugen‐Călin Secară, Marek Jurkovič & Jakub Šrol
2019. Reception and willingness to share pseudo‐profound bullshit and their relation to other epistemically suspect beliefs and cognitive ability in Slovakia and Romania. Applied Cognitive Psychology 33:2 ► pp. 299 ff.
This list is based on CrossRef data as of 9 november 2023. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers.
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