Ideal for the Election Season and Brexit Bluster. How Much of Brexit Narrative BullShit?
Why is there so much bullshit in politics? Does a particular kind of bullshit flourish in French philosophy?
These are questions which have excited lots of academics in recent years, partly because they are fascinating and important questions – but mainly because it allows us to swear in public.
Academics discuss two key ideas of bullshit. (I’m working on a third, but it’s not ready yet.) The first and most famous comes from Harry Frankfurt’s famous essay On Bullshit. The essence of bullshit, for Frankfurt, ‘is not that it is false but that it is phony.’ The bullshitter may or may not deceive us, or intend to deceive us, about the alleged facts. ‘What he does necessarily attempt to deceive us about is his enterprise.’ In short, the essence of Frankfurt-bullshit is phoniness, indifference to truth.
Frankfurt’s essay is great fun, but quite frustrating, not least because of the…
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