On bulls

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  • Publicado : 25 de marzo de 2011
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One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much
bullshit. Everyone knows this. Each of us contributes his share. But we
tend to take the situation for granted. Most peopleare rather confident of
their ability to recognize bullshit and to avoid being taken in by it. So the
phenomenon has not aroused much deliberate concern, or attracted much
sustained inquiry. Inconsequence, we have no clear understanding of what
bullshit is, why there is so much of it, or what functions it serves. And we lack a
conscientiously developed appreciation of what it means to us. Inother words, we
have no theory. I propose to begin the development of a theoretical understanding
of bullshit, mainly by providing some tentative and exploratory philosophical
analysis. I shallnot consider the rhetorical uses and misuses of bullshit. My aim is
simply to give a rough account of what bullshit is and how it differs from what it
is not, or (putting it somewhat differently) toarticulate, more or less sketchily, the
structure of its concept. Any suggestion about what conditions are logically both
necessary and sufficient for the constitution of bullshit is bound to besomewhat
arbitrary. For one thing, the expression EXOOVKLW is often employed quite loosely—
simply as a generic term of abuse, with no very specific literal meaning. For
another, the phenomenon itselfis so vast and amorphous that no crisp and
perspicuous analysis of its concept can avoid being procrustean. Nonetheless it
should be possible to say something helpful, even though it is not likelyto be
decisive. Even the most basic and preliminary questions about bullshit remain,
after all, not only unanswered but unasked. So far as I am aware, very little work
has been done on this subject.I have not undertaken a survey of the literature,
partly because I do not know how to go about it. To be sure, there is one quite
obvious place to look—the 2[IRUG(QJOLVK'LFWLRQDU\ The 2(' has...
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