Jack Lyons Unit 2 Post 3

2. As Frankfurt says, “it is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullshit requires no such conviction”. Therefore, it is understandable to inform the public as much as possible about the point of debate first; that way they will be forced to create an informed opinion and will only be lying if they reduce discourse to anything less than total honesty. Moreover, we can signal to one another in discourse that we are not bullshitting by citing facts with sources as much as we can when in dialogue. Can we really expect this though? Is it really possible or desirable to totally uproot bullshit from our discourse? From what my discussion group concluded on Thursday, it is my belief that bullshit has a pragmatic function in conversation. The social utility of bullshit comes from its entertaining factor but also by getting your audience to listen to you if you are addressing an important problem that many are uninformed on. This is why politicians, political pundits, and even comedians all use bullshit so regularly.

3. As asked in my plenary response on translation: what did Prof. Denham mean in bringing up the concluding quotation of his part of the lecture? He quoted Celan in saying that ‘the poem seeks its meaning in the audience’. Does this mean that literature interacts in an autonomous way from what the creator might have had in mind? What is the significance of this in respect to approaching what Walter Benjamin calls “pure language”?

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