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

Carl Monster replied to Jaya Jagannath's discussion Here is Practical Explanation about Next Life, Purpose of Human Life, philosophical/religious facts, theories etc.
"Buddhas have no sense of humor."
8 seconds ago
Andrew replied to RM's discussion Girl at work
"I don't think women like making a decision under pressure. That's a fair point, Will "
1 minute ago
Rick Shelton replied to Jaya Jagannath's discussion Here is Practical Explanation about Next Life, Purpose of Human Life, philosophical/religious facts, theories etc.
"That and the fact that Thursday is from Nordic mythology (Thor's day) as is Friday (Freya's day).  Sunday could be Norse as well because Sun was a god, who guided the sun (imagine that).  Moon, who was the guide for the moon was…"
10 minutes ago
Matthew Perry replied to Matthew Perry's discussion Where to start a collection? in the group Fountain Pens
"I have a Lamy safari and while it's not very nice to look at it is by far the best writing pen I have"
10 minutes ago
Christopher McLaughlin left a comment for T Patrick Bailey
"Thanks for the friend request! How are you?"
12 minutes ago
Sean replied to Jaya Jagannath's discussion Here is Practical Explanation about Next Life, Purpose of Human Life, philosophical/religious facts, theories etc.
"Anybody else out there finding themselves missing that flaming finger guy from a few years back?  The one who worshiped Crowley and thought Alec Baldwin's speech in Glengarry Glenross was the utter epitome  manliness?"
19 minutes ago
Rick Shelton replied to Daniel's discussion Decorating my apartment medieval style?
"Yeah like, "Don't hang your junk"."
20 minutes ago
Tim Dienes replied to Ricky's discussion I-group Judgements in the group New Warriors
"I visited an open I-group for six weeks, and it was a good experience, and there was true processing going on. I hope to return to the same group soon, since my initiation is less than three weeks away. Sorry to hear that it was not functioning…"
22 minutes ago

© 2014   Created by Brett McKay.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service