Tomás Quintero: Unit 2 Assignment 3

Option 1: Frankfurt’s bullshitter is characterized by lack of concern for the truth. Think back to the James reading for a moment: to make sense of Frankfurt, do we need to think of truth as the rationalist does, or will James’ pragmatist view of truth serve just as well for defining bullshit?

When Frankfurt refers to the bullshitter in Bullshit, one sees that they have a lack of concern for the truth. The question that arises from this then becomes: “what is the truth?” James Williams’s On Pragmatism expands on the truth and that there are two ways to think of it: the rationalist way of the truth and the pragmatic way of the truth. With the rationalist way, there are many complete versions of the truth––they are set. With the pragmatic way, there is a single truth that grows and develops over time––in whatever direction it is put to follow. Thinking back to Frankfurt’s reading, when someone bullshits, they are deliberately misrepresenting the truth, altering the original storyline, albeit sloppily. In a bullshitting situation, someone is editing the truth and letting the story flow from there. With that, I am to believe that James’ pragmatist view of the truth serves best for defining Frankfurt’s bullshit as it lets the truth develop in terms of the bullshit. 

Option 3: In my lecture on Thursday, I’ll spend part of the time recapping Unit 2. In your post, ask a question about any part of Unit 2. Time permitting, I’ll address some of these in lecture. Aim for about a paragraph: in addition to asking the question, explain why you’re asking it—that is, why did you find this puzzling? You might also speculate briefly on what the answer might be.

Our truths are platformed on beliefs about our reality in which we find the connections (or lack thereof) between entities around us. If cognitive relativism uses beliefs to help us form our conceptual frameworks, where based on our beliefs, a standard of true and false is created, does that mean that one’s entire reality can be considered bullshit? In Thinking it Through, Appiah says that things are considered true or false based on the standard beliefs composing the conceptual framework of humans. If someone proposes a theory that is aligned with the common beliefs, people are going to give it value; however, if the proposed theory is not aligned with these beliefs, then it’s going to be devalued and rejected. What puzzles me is this: if someone’s truth is unlike what is commonly accepted, is their reality going to be considered less valuable? In other words, bullshit?

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