PHL 101 Paper 2

PHL 101 Paper 2 - Evan Vandegriff PHL101 Essay 2 Option 1.)...

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Evan Vandegriff PHL101 Essay 2 Option 1.) Every day, we can see clear examples of both bullshit and lying and the varying consequences of both these actions. But what is bullshit, exactly? What are the characteristics of bullshit? What is the truth? Can bullshit be harmful? The purpose of this paper is to answer these questions while at the same time showing that bullshit can definitely sometimes be harmful. By examining: the meaning of the word “bullshit” as defined by Harry Frankfurt, why Frankfurt thinks that bullshit is harmful, and a clearly defended original argument, the possibility of harm from bullshitting will be shown. In Harry Frankfurt’s small book “On Bullshit”, he distinguishes the meaning of bullshit while at the same time showing us numerous ways that it can be harmful. The essence of bullshit centers on the idea that bullshitters have no concern for the truth. However, real bullshit extends beyond this center idea because we realize that bullshitters assign no value to truth in any context. To any person who values the truth in any capacity, bullshit can completely throw them for a loop because they find it hard to believe people would just completely disregard the truth without any effort to discovering it. Bullshit differs from lying because liars recognize the truth and just choose to deceive because they believe something different or want others to believe something different. Therefore, a further clarification is that bullshitting generally serves to misrepresent the bullshitter but falls short of lying. Frankfurt believes that bullshitting can be very harmful and more harmful then lying. He states: “Both in lying and in telling the truth people are guided by their beliefs concerning the way things are. These guide them as they endeavor either to describe the
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world correctly or to describe it deceitfully. For this reason, telling lies does not tend to unfit a person for telling the truth in the same way that bullshitting tends to. . ..The bullshitter ignores these demands altogether. He does not reject the authority of the truth, as the liar does, and oppose himself to it. He pays no attention to it at all. By virtue of this, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are.” 1 Essentially, Frankfurt believes that bullshit is so harmful because it is the greatest enemy of truth. Frankfurt
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This note was uploaded on 03/05/2008 for the course PHL 101 taught by Professor Braun during the Spring '08 term at Rochester.

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PHL 101 Paper 2 - Evan Vandegriff PHL101 Essay 2 Option 1.)...

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