Tuesday, April 25, 2017
First Installment- Peyton Burke
The book I am writing about is called Bullshit and Philosophy. This book goes into depth about philosophy and the different kinds of bullshit around philosophy. The section I focused on of “Bullshit and Philosophy” was called “The Pragmatics of Bullshit, Intelligently Designed,” by George A. Reisch. This section starts off telling us about how one definition of bullshit leaves us with a puzzle. It says, “Liars must pay attention to the truth, if only to avoid speaking it. Bullshitters don’t. They are essentially indifferent to whether or not what they say is true. They just don’t care and their indifference may be infectious.” This reminds me of when people say they are going to BS a homework assignment or paper. They don’t find out the truth and stay away from it, they just say stuff whether it is true or not. If you were to make up a lie, you would have to know what the truth is so you can avoid speaking it. When bullshitting, you just take the easiest way to get something done and do not really pay attention to whether or not the information you are using is completely true. Then it begins talking about Intelligent Design, also known as ID. Reisch says his definition of bullshit is different than the one heard before because it is inspired by Intelligent design. Intelligent Design is well known for its criticism of evolutionary theory and its claims that organisms are too complex to have evolved solely under the influence of natural evolutionary processes. Intelligent Design’s supporters insist, science itself indicates that the history of life on earth involved intervention by some supernatural “intelligent designer” such as God. Reisch does not believe that humans could have developed the same and would not be as intelligent had they evolved through evolution. Later in my section it talks about semantics. Semantics is the branch of linguistics and logic concerned with meaning. Reisch claims that the involvement of the difference between semantic and pragmatic analyses of language, is the reason the other definition of bullshit focuses on the properties of the bullshitter’s speech and stops short of inquiring into larger, ulterior goals that bullshit usually serves. In the book it says, “Semantics concerns properties of language such as meaning, truth or falsity- relations, that is, between words and sentences, on the other hand, and the things or states of affairs they describe or refer to, on the other.” The section ends with a case for purism about bullshit. Reisch claims that “one implication of this pragmatic definition of bullshit is that there’s really not quite that much of it about. It has a specific pragmatic structure, does not come into being by accident, and is certainly not very effective unless it is crafted with good measures of creativity and pragmatic intelligence in the use of language.” With this he is saying, the definition of bullshit is not very complicated, but will not be a reasonable definition unless the creator of the definition uses creativity and has good knowledge on pragmatic intelligence in the use of language.