New Theoretical Insights into Untruthfulness
  • ISSN 0929-0907
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9943
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This paper addresses the question whether is a reasonable pragmatic category. In the first part of the paper, drawing on the insights of Harry Frankfurt’s seminal essay, bullshit is defined as an act of insincere asserting where the speaker shows (a) a loose concern for the truth, and (b) does not want the addressee to become aware of condition (a). The author adds to this definition the condition (c) requiring that the bullshitter expresses more than is adequate with respect to condition (a). In the second part of the paper, it is discussed whether the above definition can cope with special types of bullshit considered to be a challenge to Frankfurt’s definition. These are , , and . It is shown that there is hope for establishing a reasonable pragmatic category of bullshitting if it is related to certain levels of pragmatic description, e.g. conversational implicatures, that can explain the putative challenges.


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