Results for 'bullshit'

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Bibliography: Bullshit in Applied Ethics
  1. Bullshit Questions.Dennis Whitcomb - forthcoming - Analysis.
    This paper argues that questions can be bullshit. First it explores some shallowly interrogative ways in which that can happen. Then it shows how questions can also be bullshit in a way that’s more deeply interrogative.
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  2. Bullshit in Politics Pays.Adam F. Gibbons - forthcoming - Episteme:1-21.
    Politics is full of people who don’t care about the facts. Still, while not caring about the facts, they are often concerned to present themselves as caring about them. Politics, in other words, is full of bullshitters. But why? In this paper I develop an incentives-based analysis of bullshit in politics, arguing that it is often a rational response to the incentives facing different groups of agents. In a slogan: bullshit in politics pays, sometimes literally. After first outlining (...)
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  3. Bullshit, Pseudoscience and Pseudophilosophy.Victor Moberger - 2020 - Theoria 86 (5):595-611.
    In this article I give a unified account of three phenomena: bullshit, pseudoscience and pseudophilosophy. My aims are partly conceptual, partly evaluative. Drawing on Harry Frankfurt's seminal analysis of bullshit, I give an account of the three phenomena and of how they are related, and I use this account to explain what is bad about all three. More specifically, I argue that what is defective about pseudoscience and pseudophilosophy is precisely that they are special cases of bullshit. (...)
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  4. Raising the tone: Definition, bullshit, and the definition of bullshit.Andrew Aberdein - 2006 - In Hardcastle Reisch (ed.), Bullshit and Philosophy. Open Court. pp. 151-169.
    Bullshit is not the only sort of deceptive talk. Spurious definitions are another important variety of bad reasoning. This paper will describe some of these problematic tactics, and show how Harry Frankfurt’s treatment of bullshit may be extended to analyze their underlying causes. Finally, I will deploy this new account of definition to assess whether Frankfurt’s definition of bullshit is itself legitimate.
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  5. Bullshit, trust, and evidence.Adrian Briciu - 2021 - Intercultural Pragmatics 18 (5):633-656.
    It has become almost a cliché to say that we live in a post-truth world; that people of all trades speak with an indifference to truth. Speaking with an indifference to how things really are is famously regarded by Harry Frankfurt as the essence of bullshit. This paper aims to contribute to the philosophical and theoretical pragmatics discussion of bullshit. The aim of the paper is to offer a new theoretical analysis of what bullshit is, one that (...)
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  6. Metaphysics, bullshit, and the analysis of philosophical problems.Bryan Frances - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):11541-11554.
    Although metaphysics has made an impressive comeback over the past half century, there are still a great many philosophers today who think it is bullshit, under numerous precisifications of ‘That’s just bullshit’ so that it’s a negative assessment and doesn’t apply to most philosophy. One encounters this attitude countless times in casual conversations, social media, and occasionally in print. Is it true?
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  7. On Bullshit Harry G. Frankfurt Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005, 67 pp., $9.95. [REVIEW]Karl Pfeifer - 2006 - Dialogue 45 (3):617-620.
    According to Frankfurt’s analysis, bullshitting and lying necessarily differ in intention. I argue contra Frankfurt that (i) bullshitting can be lying, and that (ii) bullshitting need involve neither misrepresentation nor intention to deceive. My discussion suggests that bullshit is not capturable by a simple formula and that, although illuminating, Frankfurt’s analysis is limited to one paradigm.
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  8. “Many people are saying…”: Applying the lessons of naïve skepticism to the fight against fake news and other “total bullshit”.Jake Wright - 2020 - Postdigital Science and Education 2 (1):113-131.
    ‘Fake news’ has become an increasingly common refrain in public discourse, though the term itself has several uses, at least one of which constitutes Frankfurtian bullshit. After examining what sorts of fake news appeals do and do not count as bullshit, I discuss strategies for overcoming our openness to such bullshit. I do so by drawing a parallel between openness to bullshit and naïve skepticism—one’s willingness to reject the concept of truth on unsupported or ill-considered grounds—and (...)
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  9. Bald-faced bullshit and authoritarian political speech: Making sense of Johnson and Trump.Tim Kenyon & Jennifer Saul - 2022 - In Laurence R. Horn (ed.), From Lying to Perjury: Linguistic and Legal Perspectives on Lies and Other Falsehoods. Boston: De Gruyter Mouton. pp. 165-194.
    Donald Trump and Boris Johnson are notoriously uninterested in truthtelling. They also often appear uninterested even in constructing plausible falsehoods. What stands out above all is the brazenness and frequency with which they repeat known falsehoods. In spite of this, they are not always greeted with incredulity. Indeed, Republicans continue to express trust in Donald Trump in remarkable numbers. The only way to properly make sense of what Trump and Johnson are doing, we argue, is to give a greater role (...)
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  10. Disfluency attenuates the reception of pseudoprofound and postmodernist bullshit.Ryan E. Tracy, Nicolas Porot, Eric Mandelbaum & Steven G. Young - 2023 - Thinking and Reasoning 1.
    Four studies explore the role of perceptual fluency in attenuating bullshit receptivity, or the tendency for individuals to rate otherwise meaningless statements as “profound”. Across four studies, we presented participants with a sample of pseudoprofound bullshit statements in either a fluent or disfluent font and found that overall, disfluency attenuated bullshit receptivity while also finding little evidence that this effect was moderated by cognitive thinking style. In all studies, we measured participants’ cognitive reflection, need for cognition, faith (...)
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  11. On Bullshitting and Brainstorming.Kerry S. Walters - 1988 - Teaching Philosophy 11 (4):301-313.
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  12. Simulation, seduction, and bullshit: cooperative and destructive misleading.Leslie A. Howe - 2017 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 44 (3):300-314.
    This paper refines a number of theoretical distinctions relevant to deceptive play, in particular the difference between merely misleading actions and types of simulation commonly considered beyond the pale, such as diving. To do so, I rely on work in the philosophy of language about conversational convention and implicature, the distinction between lying and misleading, and their relation to concepts of seduction and bullshit. The paper works through a number of possible solutions to the question of what is wrong (...)
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  13. Wenn Wahrheit wertlos wird: Demonstrativer Bullshit in der digitalisierten Öffentlichkeit.Romy Jaster & David Lanius - 2021 - In Romy Jaster & David Lanius (eds.), Politische Bildung für die «neue» Öffentlichkeit? Springer. pp. 175-195.
    Das aktuelle politische Zeitgeschehen offenbart zunehmend ein Phänomen, das in der philosophischen Fachliteratur als „Bullshit“ bezeichnet wird. Im Unterschied zum Lügner, der über die Fakten täuschen will, stellt der Bullshitter seine Behauptungen ohne jedwede Orientierung an der Wahrheitsfindung auf. Wir unterscheiden verschiedene Arten von Bullshit und führen das Konzept des demonstrativen Bullshits ein. Wie wir zeigen, hat demonstrativer Bullshit im politischen Diskurs besondere Sprengkraft. Bullshitten politische Akteure demonstrativ, untergraben sie damit die Norm der Wahrheit im gesellschaftlichen Diskurs (...)
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  14. Different Kinds and Aspects of Bullshit.Hans Maes & Katrien8 Schaubroeck - 2006 - In Hardcastle Reisch (ed.), Bullshit and Philosophy. Open Court.
    In this paper, we aim to show that there is a particular kind of bullshit that is not dealt with in Harry Frankfurt’s and G.A. Cohen’s critiques of bullshit. We also point out the evaluative complexity of bullshit. Frankfurt and Cohen both stress its negative and possibly destructive aspects, but one might wonder whether bullshit need always and necessarily be reprehensible. We will argue that there are positive or at least neutral aspects to some kinds of (...)
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  15. Artspeak. The Bullshit Language of Art.Pascal Unbehaun - 2021 - Polish Journal of Aesthetics 4 (63):15-31.
    Pseudo-profound language is a stylistic means in many different contexts, like advertising, politics, economics, or even science. Contemporary visual art is notoriously known for its variant: artspeak. We develop a syntactical analysis and show how artspeak is constructed. We point out that it is “evocative” bullshit in that it aims at contextualizing art with traditional art myths (i.e., artists are, among other adjectives, autonomous, critical, or free). Furthermore, we argue that artspeak should be regarded as a particular type of (...)
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  16. Kitsch and the Social Pretense Theory of Bullshit Art.Lucas Scripter - 2021 - Polish Journal of Aesthetics 4 (63):47-67.
    This essay argues that bullshit art is a meaningful concept that differs from bullshitting about art, although the two may occur in tandem. I defend what I call the social pretense theory of bullshit art. On this view, calling a work of art ‘bullshit’ highlights a discrepancy between the prestige accorded a work of art and its nonsense character. This category of aesthetic criticism plays a unique role that cannot be identified with kitsch but bears only a (...)
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  17. Wittgenstein on Reasonable Doubt and Calling Bullshit.Frank Hernandez - 2021 - Acta Cogitata: An Undergraduate Journal in Philosophy 1 (9):74-88.
    In this essay I analyze a passage from Ludwig Wittgenstein’s On Certainty. This excerpt contains the expression “O, rubbish!” (Ach Unsinn), which I consider to be closely related to the notions of “bullshit” developed by Harry Frankfurt and Gerald A. Cohen. The relevance of this essay is illustrated with lively examples, both related to contemporary society and identified by Wittgenstein about 70 years ago. The paper is organized in six sections containing 1) an introduction to the topic, 2) an (...)
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  18. What is Fake News?Nikil Mukerji - 2018 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 5:923-946.
    An important way in which philosophy can contribute to public discourse is by clarifying concepts that are central to it. This paper is a philosophical contribution in that spirit. It offers an account of fake news—a notion that has entered public debate following the 2016 US presidential election. On the view I defend, fake news is Frankfurtian bullshit that is asserted in the form of a news publication. According to Frankfurt’s famous account, bullshit has two characteristics. There is, (...)
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  19. A conceptual analysis of fake news.Nikil S. Mukerji - manuscript
    In this paper, I offer a conceptual analysis of fake news. In essence, I suggest analysing this notion as a species of Frankfurtian bullshit. This construal, I argue, allows us to distinguish it from similar phenomena like bad or biased journalism and satire. First, I introduce four test cases. The first three are, intuitively, not cases of fake news, while the fourth one is. A correct conceptual analysis should, hence, exclude the first three while including the fourth. Next, I (...)
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  20. Lie for the Other: A Socio-Analytic Approach to Telling Lies.Rauf Oran - 2023 - Logos and Episteme 14 (1):29-51.
    It is a widely held view that lying is defined in the traditional tripartite model as the conjunction of a statement, the false belief, and the intended deception. Much of the criticisms have been levelled at the third condition—intended deception—with contemporary counterexamples. My main criticism of the traditional and contemporary model of lying centres on that philosophers discard the social existence of the hearer. Schutz‘s phenomenological sociology gives a sheer inspiration to redefine the third condition by taking the hearer as (...)
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  21.  34
    Crítica de la mentira emotiva.Pablo Vera Vega - 2022 - Forum for Contemporary Issues in Language and Literature 3 (10):29-42.
    One of the most relevant facets of our time is the supposed rise of post–truth. Without committing ourselves to its existence, we can, from Philosophy, think, at least, about some of its facets. And the facet that we will reflect on here is that of post–truth as an emotional lie. However, given that “emotional lying” meaning is not clear, I will justify that what emotional lying privilegedly means can be deduced from the philosophical theory of bullshit. That deduction comes (...)
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  22. Towards a response to epistemic nihilism.Jake Wright - 2021 - In Alison MacKenzie, Jennifer Rose & Ibrar Bhatt (eds.), The Epistemology of Deceit in the Postdigital Era: Dupery by Design. Springer. pp. 39-59.
    This chapter develops an account of epistemic nihilism—roughly, the rejection of truth’s intrinsic or instrumental value in favor of statements that reject or obscure truth to secure an advantage for the speaker—by examining three instances of such nihilism: lying, bullshit, and trolling. It further argues that epistemic nihilism, exacerbated by changes in the media landscape, can pose a significant threat to liberal democratic institutions and ideals by undermining the democratic ideal of good faith engagement on a level playing field, (...)
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  23. A New Take on Deceptive Advertising.Andrew Johnson - 2010 - Business and Professional Ethics Journal 29 (1-4):5-32.
    The publication of Harry Frankfurt’s 1986 essay “On Bullshit,” and especially its republication as a book in 2005, have sparked a great deal of interest in the philosophical analysis of the concept of bullshit. The present essay seeks to contribute to the ever-widening discussion of the concept by applying it to the realm of advertising. First, it is argued that Frankfurt’s definition of bullshit is too narrow, and an alternative definition is defended that accommodates both Frankfurt’s truth-indifferent (...)
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  24. Political Corruption as Deformities of Truth.Yann Allard-Tremblay - 2014 - Les ateliers de l'éthique/The Ethics Forum 9 (1):28-49.
    This paper presents a conception of corruption informed by epistemic democratic theory. I first explain the view of corruption as a disease of the political body. Following this view, we have to consider the type of actions that debase a political entity of its constitutive principal in order to assess corruption. Accordingly, we need to consider what the constitutive principle of democracy is. This is the task I undertake in the second section where I explicate democratic legitimacy. I present democracy (...)
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  25. Bad Language Makes Good Politics.Adam F. Gibbons - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Politics abounds with bad language: lying and bullshitting, grandstanding and virtue signaling, code words and dogwhistles, and more. But why is there so much bad language in politics? And what, if anything, can we do about it? In this paper I show how these two questions are connected. Politics is full of bad language because existing social and political institutions are structured in such a way that the production of bad language becomes rational. In principle, by modifying these institutions we (...)
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  26. The Big Shill.Robert Mark Simpson & Eliot Michaelson - 2020 - Ratio 33 (4):269-280.
    Shills are people who endorse products and companies for pay, while pretending that their endorsements are ingenuous. Here we argue that there is something objectionable about shilling that is not reducible to its bad consequences, the lack of epistemic conscientiousness it often relies upon, or to the shill’s insincerity. Indeed, we take it as a premise of our inquiry that shilling can sometimes be sincere, and that its wrongfulness is not mitigated by the shill’s sincerity, in cases where the shill (...)
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  27. Was sind und was sollen die unechten Gefühle?Kevin Mulligan - 2009 - Swiss Philosophical Preprints.
    Was heisst – eigentlich -“unecht”? Was sind unechte Gefühle? Das Unechte gehört zur grossen Familie des Falschen - der Lüge, der Verlogenheit, der Unwahrhaftigkeit, der Unaufrichtigkeit, der Heuchelei, der Hypokrisie, des Hohlens, zur Familie von «phoniness», «humbug», «bullshit » und «cant». Aber wo gehört es hin?
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  28. De nieuwe poortwachters van de waarheid.Massimiliano Simons - 2020 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 1 (82):33-56.
    The central claim of this article is that post-truth requires a political and socio-economical perspective, rather than a moral or epistemological one. The article consists of two parts. The first part offers a critical examination of the dominant analyses of post-truth in terms of shifting standards of the origin and the evaluation of facts. Moreover, the claim that postmodernism is the cause of post-truth is examined and refuted. In the second part an alternative perspective is developed, centring around the notion (...)
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  29. On the Virtues of Inhospitality: toward an Ethics of Public Reason and Critical Engagement.Lawrence Torcello - 2014 - Philo 17 (1):99-115.
    This article seeks to re-conceptualize Rawlsian public reason as a critical tool against ideological propaganda. The article proposes that public reason, as a standard for public discourse, must be conceptualized beyond its mandate for comprehensive neutrality to additionally emphasize critique of ideologically driven ignorance and propaganda in the public realm. I connect uncritical hospitality to such ideological propaganda with Harry Frankfurt’s concept of bullshit. This paper proposes that philosophers have a unique moral obligation to engage bullshit critically in (...)
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  30. Vectors of epistemic insecurity.Emily Sullivan & Mark Alfano - 2020 - In Ian James Kidd, Quassim Cassam & Heather Battaly (eds.), Vice Epistemology. New York, NY: Routledge.
    Epistemologists have addressed a variety of modal epistemic standings, such as sensitivity, safety, risk, and epistemic virtue. These concepts mark out the ways that beliefs can fail to track the truth, articulate the conditions needed for knowledge, and indicate ways to become a better epistemic agent. However, it is our contention that current ways of carving up epistemic modality ignore the complexities that emerge when individuals are embedded within a community and listening to a variety of sources, some of whom (...)
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  31. Which Direction Do We Punch: The Powers and Perils of Humour Against the New Conspiracism.Chris A. Kramer - 2022 - In Rashi Bhargava & Richa Chilana (eds.), Punching Up in Stand-Up Comedy. Routledge Chapman & Hall. pp. 235-254.
    This chapter will evaluate humor used with the specific intent to reveal glaring epistemic errors that lead to injustice; flaws in reasoning so transparent that straightforward logic, argument, and evidence seem ineffectual against them, and in some cases, just silly to think such tools would be needed. Laughter seems to be one of the only sane responses. In particular, I will assess how humor can combat conspiracy theories, propaganda, lies, and bullshit. The last one I view in Harry Frankfurt's (...)
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  32. The contradictions and dangers of Bruno Latour’s conception of climate science.Philippe Stamenkovic - 2020 - Disputatio 9 (13).
    This article debunks Bruno Latour’s seemingly pro-scientific and well-intentioned posture. I briefly summarize Latour’s constructivist, relativist, hybridist, and mystic philosophy, insisting on his radicalization in his last two books. I show that Latour’s conception is akin to “pseudo-profound bullshit”, inasmuch as he tries to hide his mysticism behind the invocation of scientific facts. I then concentrate on Latour’s politicization of climate science, showing that it is: self-contradictory from an epistemological point of view, since it presupposes scientifically established facts while (...)
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  33. What Kind of Revolutionary is Mr. Robot?Shane J. Ralston - 2017 - In Richard Greene & Rachel Robison-Greene (eds.), Mr. Robot and Philosophy: Beyond Good and Evil Corp. Open Court. pp. 73-82.
    Besides being the title of an EP by The (International) Noise Conspiracy, “Bigger cages, longer chains!” is an anarchist rallying cry. It’s meant to ridicule those political activists who compromise their ideals, make demands and then settle for partial concessions or, to put it bluntly, bargain with the Man. In the T.V. series Mr. Robot, Christian Slater plays the anarchist leader of a hacktivist group known as fsociety. Mr. Robot won’t negotiate with the FBI and E(vil) Corp for bigger cages (...)
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  34. Moral Grandstanding.Justin Tosi & Brandon Warmke - 2016 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 44 (3):197-217.
    Moral grandstanding is a pervasive feature of public discourse. Many of us can likely recognize that we have engaged in grandstanding at one time or another. While there is nothing new about the phenomenon of grandstanding, we think that it has not received the philosophical attention it deserves. In this essay, we provide an account of moral grandstanding as the use of public discourse for moral self-promotion. We then show that our account, with support from some standard theses of social (...)
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  35. What is fake news?Romy Jaster & David Lanius - 2018 - Versus 2 (127):207-227.
    Recently, the term «fake news» has become ubiquitous in political and public discourse and the media. Despite its omnipresence, however, it is anything but clear what fake news is. An adequate and comprehensive definition of fake news is called for. We take steps towards this goal by providing a systematic account of fake news that makes the phenomenon tangible, rehabilitates the use of the term, and helps us to set fake news apart from related phenomena. (You can email us for (...)
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  36. The Politics of Post-Truth.Michael Hannon - 2023 - Critical Review: A Journal of Politics and Society 35 (1):40-62.
    A prevalent political narrative is that we are facing an epistemological crisis, where many citizens no longer care about truth and facts. Yet the view that we are living in a post-truth era relies on some implicit questionable empirical and normative assumptions. The post-truth rhetoric converts epistemic issues into motivational issues, treating people with whom we disagree as if they no longer believe in or care about truth. This narrative is also dubious on epistemic, moral, and political grounds. It is (...)
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  37. Rationalization, Evidence, and Pretense.Jason D'Cruz - 2014 - Ratio 28 (3):318-331.
    In this paper I distinguish the category of “rationalization” from various forms of epistemic irrationality. I maintain that only if we model rationalizers as pretenders can we make sense of the rationalizer's distinctive relationship to the evidence in her possession. I contrast the cognitive attitude of the rationalizer with that of believers whose relationship to the evidence I describe as “waffling” or “intransigent”. In the final section of the paper, I compare the rationalizer to the Frankfurtian bullshitter.
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  38. Fake News: The Case for a Purely Consumer-Oriented Explication.Thomas Grundmann - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Our current understanding of ‘fake news’ is not in good shape. On the one hand, this category seems to be urgently needed for an adequate understanding of the epistemology in the age of the internet. On the other hand, the term has an unstable ordinary meaning and the prevalent accounts which all relate fake news to epistemically bad attitudes of the producer lack theoretical unity, sufficient extensional adequacy, and epistemic fruitfulness. I will therefore suggest an alternative account of fake news (...)
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  39. Antisocial Modelling.Georgi Gardiner - 2022 - In Mark Alfano, Jeroen De Ridder & Colin Klein (eds.), Social Virtue Epistemology. Routledge.
    This essay replies to Michael Morreau and Erik J. Olsson’s ‘Learning from Ranters: The Effect of Information Resistance on the Epistemic Quality of Social Network Deliberation’. Morreau and Olsson use simulations to suggest that false ranters—agents who do not update their beliefs and only ever assert false claims—do not diminish the epistemic value of deliberation for other agents and can even be epistemically valuable. They argue conclude that “Our study suggests that including [false] ranters has little or no negative effect (...)
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  40. Why do we still work so much? Reflections on an Automated Society.Nicholas Kluge Corrêa - manuscript
    For more than a century now, the automation of the means of work has created great apprehension among us. After all, will we all be replaced by machines in the future? Will all forms of labor be automatable? Such questions raise several criticisms in the literature concerned with machine ethics. However, in this study, I will approach this problem from another angle. After all, we can criticize the automation of the means of work in several ways. I invite the reader (...)
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  41. The truth about assertion and retraction: A review of the empirical literature.Markus Kneer & Neri Marsili - forthcoming - In Alex Wiegmann (ed.), Lying, Fake News, and Bullshit. Bloomsbury.
    This chapter reviews empirical research on the rules governing assertion and retraction, with a focus on the normative role of truth. It examines whether truth is required for an assertion to be considered permissible, and whether there is an expectation that speakers retract statements that turn out to be false. Contrary to factive norms (such as the influential “knowledge norm”), empirical data suggests that there is no expectation that speakers only make true assertions. Additionally, contrary to truth-relativist accounts, there is (...)
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  42. What does it take to tell a lie?Emanuel Viebahn - forthcoming - In Alex Wiegmann (ed.), Lying, Fake News, and Bullshit. Bloomsbury. pp. 1-24.
    Lying requires asserting a disbelieved proposition, that much is widely accepted in the debate on how to define lying. But what else is required? Does lying require a particular linguistic manner of expression, such as saying? Does the proposition asserted have to be false (and not merely disbelieved)? And does lying require an intention to deceive? The aim of this chapter is to provide an opinionated introduction to the debates on these questions that takes into account both theoretical considerations and (...)
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