[PLing] WKAP talk (online) by Romy Jaster (HU Berlin) on 20 January 2021, 16.45h (CET), "Bullshit, Norms, and Politics"

Max Kölbel max.koelbel at univie.ac.at
Thu Jan 7 12:07:56 CET 2021

Dear colleagues and friends,

Happy New Year to everyone!

The 2020-21 WKAP season will continue with a talk by:

Romy Jaster (Humboldt Universität Berlin)

on Wednesday 20 January 2021, 16.45 – 18.45h (virtual conference room) 

Bullshit, Norms, and Politics

In the talk, I will present a novel account of bullshit. On the view I will put forward, an assertion is bullshit iff the speaker is indifferent to the norms of assertion prevailing in a context. This can be read as either a rejection or a specification of Frankfurt’s characterization of bullshit.  According to Frankfurt, the hallmark of bullshit is the speaker’s indifference to the truth. I’ll argue, first, that Frankfurt’s characterization is false if „indifference to the truth“ is understood to mean „indifference to the truth value of the utterance“. Secondly, I’ll argue that the bullshitter’s indifference is best understood as being directed towards norms of assertion: assert only what you know, what you have evidence for, what you believe. Third, I’ll argue that which of these norms prevails is a matter of context, so that whether an assertion is bullshit turns out to be a matter of context as well. Having established this account of bullshit, I will go on to argue against the popular idea (also put forward by Frankfurt) that a bullshitter necessarily intends to deceive her audience about her indifference. While true in some cases, this understanding of bullshit overlooks the existence of what I call „ostentative bullshit“, i.e. bullshit that carries its indifference to the norms of assertion on its sleeve. That is unfortunate, because acknowledging ostentative bullshit is vital to understanding how bullshit has been utilized in political communication in recent years. 

IMPORTANT: The talk will take place in a virtual conference room (on Zoom). If you would like to attend, please send an email to Sandrine Klot (alexandra.klot at univie.ac.at <mailto:alexandra.klot at univie.ac.at>) by Tuesday, Jan 19th, she will send you the link.

Still to come in WKAP 2020-21:

17 March 2021	Jenny Saul (University of Waterloo)
21 April 2021		Eran Tal (McGill)
26 May 2021		Katherine Ritchie (UC Irvine)
16 June 2021		Seth Yalcin (UC Berkeley)

Wiener Kolloquium Analytische Philosophie
Details: https://wkap.phl.univie.ac.at/ <https://wkap.phl.univie.ac.at/>

Max Kölbel

Institut für Philosophie
Universität Wien
Universitätsstraße 7 (NIG)
1010 Wien

Tel: +43 1 4277 46470

max.koelbel at univie.ac.at <mailto:max.koelbel at univie.ac.at>
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