http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2013/10/some-varieties-of-bullsht.html

What interests me here is the distinction between lies and BS.  With lies, you are against the truth.  With BS, you just don't care.  

So it has a different purpose... or may not!

You may be giving BS not to convince others of your words, but to convince them of something else:  say, you give 'em a lot of crap detail about issue X, not because you care what they think of issue X, but to convince them you're smart.  You may want to distract them from something else (like why you haven't done something you promised).  You may want to make sharp, clear questions seem fuzzy, so you can get away with something.  Or not face something.

On tests, you may simply be hoping some of your guesses happen to be right.  So you make lots of them.

It reminds me of the poetry of T. S. Eliot.  He's not talking about mermaids and peaches and Michelangelo; he's talking about feeling old and insecure... but it works.

Those are my random thoughts on BS.  What's yours?  Do you BS others -- or yourself?  Is your BS detector online -- and do you find others' to work too?  (Feel free to BS, but be warned:  with a thread title like this, everybody's going to be on the lookout for it!)  

Views: 59

Replies to This Discussion

I never read the essay that made this a topic, so I won't talk about that. But I can tell you that this suggestion that big speeches are for self-promotion reminds me of what may have been the hallmark of the classical sophists. That, I suppose, would be the high end of the range. In that case, as far as I understand, there is a kind of skepticism of society--there being no knowledge of the human things, or the political things, there can be no truth. (This could be argued in this way: The science of nature studies the unchanging things--there is knowledge there; science of the very variable human things is impossible; theoretical physics is the most important, or nearly, politics the least, or nearly.) That is why persuasion is important--human beings can be dangerous, or useful--whereas truth simply does not matter.

There is a lot of this nowadays as well; I suppose that whenever there is no persuasive argument that human things do admit of scientific or philosophic inquiry, this opinion may flourish, so to speak, that there is no truth, only opinions.--I think Americans call this spin. I think it goes very far. I remember hearing Mr. Stewart & Mr. Colbert say, as a kind of defense of their shows, that they do comedy, or entertain. (Suggesting that nobody takes them seriously--they are innocent, for their activity is innocuous, & they have no influence on serious life.) But of course their comedy includes criticism of political opinions they dislike; if it is only entertainment, that is because there is no truth about the human things, or political things--all they can do is persuade those who laugh at their jokes to vote their sense of humor, so to speak...

RSS

Latest Activity

Rebekah replied to O'Neal's discussion Is this negligence?
"A mall employee would be a third-party beneficiary to a security contract.  Since there were representations to him about the level of security, there might even be some kind of contract between OP and the mall or security company.  It…"
8 minutes ago
Regular Joe replied to Nate Thallas's discussion The strangest date of my life
"When it comes to boobs, we all win. "
10 minutes ago
Regular Joe replied to Josh Williams's discussion New hairstyle
"It's definitely a skullet. That's exactly what he should ask his barber for."
11 minutes ago
Regular Joe replied to Brad Williams's discussion Hunting Big Game if you Could?
"If you're hunting bison for meat, that's one thing. If you're hunting it for sport, as you've pointed out, that's another. The point I was trying to make was that hunting a lot of big exotic game is about as sporty as…"
12 minutes ago
Pale Horse replied to Dave's discussion What's your favourite ad that inspires you to be a better man?
"They inspire me to make memes."
16 minutes ago
Regular Joe replied to Brandon's discussion Admiring aspects of times of oppression
""Was apartheid good for whites in South Africa?  Sure.  Was it terrible for blacks?  Absolutely."   "Well, no." The convenience of oppression VS the challenges of freedom is what this boils down…"
17 minutes ago
Nick H replied to Dave's discussion What's your favourite ad that inspires you to be a better man?
"I like the most interesting man in the world ads. Not sure about inspiring me to be a better man but they do inspire me to do more and see more"
18 minutes ago
Pale Horse replied to Josh Williams's discussion New hairstyle
"That is definitely a rattail. *shudder*"
19 minutes ago

© 2014   Created by Brett McKay.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service