Unit 2 Post
Below are three topics for Sunday’s post. Post on any TWO of them:
Option 2: What’s the most effective way to reduce the amount of bullshit in contemporary discourse? Be sure to use Frankfurt’s specific notion of bullshit—so in that sense, the question is really asking: What’s the best way to get people to care about truth when they speak or write?
Option 3: In my lecture on Thursday, I’ll spend part of the time recapping Unit 2. In your post, ask a question about anypart 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.
In today’s society there is an incomprehensible amount of information available at the click of a button. This wealth of knowledge offers can be liberating, but also overwhelming, especially because there is no guarantee what you are consuming is credible. Unfortunately, I believe that some people will never care whether they are contributing to this false narrative, because bullshitting is a means to an end. For example, politicians will always make false promises and lie to improve their public image. Now, bullshitting is necessary to win an election, because even if you choose not to bullshit, someone else will. I believe that bullshitting will always exist in some capacity, so it’s the responsibility of the consumer to care about the truth in the media they consume, because some people will never care about truth when they speak or write. Another issue related to flat-out bullshit are the sneaky biases that are incorporated into our everyday media, particularly the news. It’s almost impossible to receive unaltered information from the news, especially when politics or social issues are topic of discussion, but whether you watch Fox or MSNBC, it’s essential to accept that your information of choice is biased. However, if one cares about the truth of the information they consume, they are less likely to contribute to the issue of misinformation when they speak or write, because they are both educated and mindful. Therefore, I think the best way to reduce the amount of bullshit in contemporary discourse is to educate yourself on its prevalence and identification, and then make a concerted effort to speak and write authentically.
What is the difference between a widely accepted belief and the truth? If one believes strongly enough in an opinion, can it become truth, even if it is only a personal truth? For example, today we accept that the earth revolves around the sun, and regard this as truth, but is it simply a theory? In Kuhn’s passage he describes a paradigm shift as a change in the commonly held belief, but makes the distinction that the new way of thinking is not necessarily better, just different. People used to believe that the sun revolved around the earth, and regarded this as fact, just as we consider the heliocentric model as fact today. However, according to this belief that one theory is not better than another, just different, can we definitively say that today’s widely-accepted belief is factual? Of course one could argue that today we have satellite imaging etc., which corroborates the theory, and gives our current belief greater credibility than previous ideas. However, it raises the question- what amount of evidence is necessary for a theory to become a fact?